Friendly Planet vs Discover Corps - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 4
Value — 4.0
Guide — 4.0
Activities — 4.0
Lodging — 4.0
Transportation — 3.9
Meals — 3.8
Overall — 4.5
Value — 4.5
Guide — 4.5
Activities — 4.5
Lodging — 4.5
Transportation — 4.5
Meals — 4.5
Recent Reviews

A Taste of China

5.0 January 2017
CK
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 3.0
In 2012, my family and I took a 10 day trip to Xian, Beijing, and Shanghai. Our trip included all our transportation, hotels, and most of our meals. We stayed in 4 star hotels where a breakfast buffet was always included. They severed a lot of "Eastern breakfast" items, but most was "Western breakfast" style food. In Xian, we visited the Terra Cotta warriors, and a couple other sites around the city. The only downside was that our hotel was located in a part of the city that did not seem very central. Due to this, there wasn't too much to see and explore on our own once the tour bus brought us back. In Shanghai, we had a guided tour of downtown, and took a day trip to a nearby city that was known for their water canals. While we were there, we all took a boat ride down a canal. Our hotel was directly on the Bund, so in the evenings, we were able to explore a lot on our own. The city was amazing, and our tour guide was as well. Definitely one of the most amazing cities I've visited. Finally, our trip ended in Beijing. While there, we made a day trip to the Great Wall of China. We also went to see the Forbidden City, Tian'anmen Square, and the Temple of Heaven. Overall, the guided tour we went on was excellent. We had a great guide, and really got to see a lot of the most famous landmarks the country has.
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Tour Friendly Planet Travel Company Reviews

I highly recommend Friendly Planet Travel.

5.0 January 2017
C
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I recently returned from the Exotic Peru tour with visits to Lima, Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, Aguas Calientes, and Machu Picchu. The first part of the trip went well, but mid-way in the tour, I lost my passport - a huge deal. My individual angst was then overshadowed by the travel challenges we all faced as a group - a railway strike, closure of shops and restaurants in Aguas Calientes, airport closure at Cuzco, affecting all travelers to scramble for lodging and transport home. Throughout both the individual and group issues, Friendly Planet and their local agents went above and beyond to assure the best accommodations possible. A special shout out to our tour guide, Jamie A. Caballero Perez, who maintained positivity, grace and poise throughout the circumstances that came our way. I was eventually reunited with my passport - wonderful news - but Friendly Planet was at my side every step of the way. A fabulous trip with challenges that were handled well.
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Tour Friendly Planet Travel Company Reviews

A wonderful experience!

5.0 January 2017
E
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I took Friendly Planet's Taste of China tour last month, with the Hong Kong extension, and had a wonderful experience. It could not have gone more smoothly. The Chinese tour guides were terrific - friendly and knowledgeable and open to answering all of our questions. This was my first trip to Asia and I loved immersing myself in the history and culture and cuisine. The Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors, Victoria Harbour, every day was something new and amazing. I'd definitely recommend Friendly Planet.
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Tour Friendly Planet Travel Company Reviews

Fun in Japan

5.0 November 2018
JCO
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We really enjoyed our Discover Corps tour and can't wait to return to Japan. My wife and I took the Discover Corps cultural trip to Japan (Started in Tokyo-then a bullet train to Kyoto & more local trains to Osaka). The transportation system works well and no cars were ever needed. We were completely taken care of from booking and then thru the process. Adrienne did a great job of informing us of all the details-no planning required. Our guides in Japan, Aki and Miwa, were very knowledgeable local people & made sure we were having a unforgettable time! The cultural experience in Japan was terrific. Great mix of excitement; watching Sumo and participating in Kendo. The food was wonderful plus we were able to participate in sushi making!
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Tour Discover Corps Company Reviews

Excellent

5.0 July 2018
B
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We lived in the African bush for 10 days. Accommodations were wonderful - tents with nice furniture and attached bathrooms. Plenty of hot water! Food was delicious and quite sophisticated. But the best were the wildlife experiences led by an extremely knowledgeable and personable guide. All the staff were kind and professional.
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Really superb trip--highly recommended!

5.0 July 2017
TT
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This trip was really superb, starting with the folks like Alex in the San Diego office to our tour guide in Havana, Orelvis (a perfect gentleman if there ever was one--and he seemed to know absolutely EVERYTHING about Havana), and our driver, Boris (who was an extremely safe driver, and the SUV that was our transportation was a practically new Honda), and our friendly hostess at the casa particular (B&B).

But at breakfast at the casa particular, keep in mind the CDC guidelines for healthy travel: cook it, boil it, peel it (yourself) or FORGET IT. So the bowl of fruit and the fruit juices? Pass them up in favor of coffee and toast. I know that sounds boring, but after I got home, I ended up in the hospital emergency room for dehydration due to e-coli--my fault for not following the CDC guidelines.

Also, to get up to my room at the casa particular, I had to climb a narrow, curved marble staircase--I took extra care not to fall either on the way up or on the way down.

The activities and attractions were first rate (but you must keep in mind that you're on "Cuban time," and not everything runs like a Swiss train). From the Hemingway house to the canon ceremony (which I loved even though it was a substitution for another event that was unexpectedly closed) to the jazz club (again, we went to one jazz club that for some reason didn't work out, but no problem--Orelvis took us to another jazz club recommended by his supervisor in Havana) to the art museum to the Malecon to the outdoor terrace at the Hotel Nacional and more, it was amazing how much we saw of Havana in about 72 hours.

There were only four people on the trip, and that was both a good thing and a bad thing--good because each of us received a great deal of attention from Orelvis and bad because two of the four didn't want to follow the itinerary and often went off on their own and then kept the rest of us waiting for them to return (highly frustrating--finally Boris said, "the schedule is the schedule," and we stopped catering to them). One of them spoke fluent Spanish--good for her--but I did wish that Orelvis had curtailed the lengthy conversations that she initiated with him, which the rest of us could not understand.

Two of my favorite activities were ones that I arranged myself: attending the world-class ballet at the gorgeously restored el Gran Teatro and then taking a yellow 1950 Chevrolet convertible with an Italian driver, who was an absolute hoot, back to the casa particular.

And the food at the private restaurants known as paladars was first rate. We even had lunch at one that Anthony Bourdain recently featured on his CNN travel show "Parts Unknown."

Just a small word of caution: sometimes there wasn't enough bottled water in the SUV in which we were riding, especially when we were dropped off at the casa particular at night. Make sure that you have plenty of bottled water with you at all times. (The CDC even recommends that you brush your teeth with bottled water.)

I also wish I had brought another pair of shoes with me because with all of the walking in the heat of the Cuban sun, my feet swelled. Fortunately, I had brought some Band-Aids with me, which helped cushion the sore spots.

I highly recommend this trip--to my way of thinking, it's much better than taking a cruise ship that only docks in Havana for one or two nights--and the "Havana Weekend Getaway" is the most popular trip to Cuba that is offered by Discover Corps, as I learned from Orelvis.
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Tours 2 Trips 28 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 376 $ 399
Operator Type Group Tour Operator Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Private Guided Trips
  • Custom Itineraries
  • Independent / Self-Guided Packages
  • Group Tours
  • Private Guided Trips
Service Level Budget Standard
Regions
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
Known For
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Budget
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Eco Travel
  • Volunteering
Headquarters Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, USA San Diego, California
Year Established 1981 2004
Solo Friendly N/A No single supplement
Tour Languages English
Top Trips
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Countries
About Friendly Planet

Founded over 30 years ago, Friendly Planet is a small, family owned tour operator based in the United States. While they might be a small operation, they offer a wide range of affordable journeys to six continents. Their trips span across three categories: small group tours, value vacations, and independent packages.  

What Makes Them Stand Out?

Friendly Planet was one of the first tour operators to offer online bookings. While their trips will immerse you in local culture, they don't do so at the expense of comfort. 

They also have 24/7 customer service support, which gives peace of mind while traveling to far-flung destinations.  

Who Travels With Them?

Friendly Planet is ideal for active travelers, interested in culture, history, food, and nature. Their small group trips attract a wide age range, while their value vacations tends to draw a younger, perhaps more budget-minded crowd. 

Where Do They Operate?

Asia and Europe tend to be the most popular destinations. Friendly Planet was among the first US-based tour company's to offer licensed trips to Cuba, which remains a very popular destination. 

Why Travel With Them?

Friendly Planet has been in business for many years and has vast experience in developing immersive, authentic itineraries. They deliver lots of value and even include round trip airfare on many of their trips, saving you time and hassle in booking flights. 

About Discover Corps

San Diego based tour company Discover Corps is a leader in the rapidly growing field of volunteer vacations. Operating since 2004, Discovery Corps trips average one to two weeks and focus on volunteering either with children and schools or with animals and wildlife conservation.

What Makes Discover Corps Stand Out?

They are focused on providing travel experiences with a wider humanitarian purpose - and help you put your tourism dollars to good use on the ground. The world of “voluntourism” is a sticky area, and has been met with some criticism over the years, so traveling with a reputable and transparent company has become super important.

With Discover Corps, volunteering, responsible tourism, and giving back to local communities is their entire brand - not just a buzzword on the “about us” page. So for those travelers who truly want to make their vacation about volunteering first and tourism second, Discover Corps is a great choice.

Discover Corps trips are all inclusive, and while volunteering is the primary focus, sightseeing and cultural activities are also included. Their trips are very popular among families, friend groups, and solo travelers.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Discover Corps?

These tours are best suited to travelers who want to have a humanitarian focus on their next trip. And if this idea is new to you, but you are interested in getting involved, Discover Corp is a great way to start.

The average age on a Discover Corps trip is 45-65 except in summer, when families with children as young as 10 are welcome on “family friendly” trips.

Wildlife lovers as well will love the opportunities available on Discover Corps Nature & Wildlife conservation tours. You’ll have a chance to get up close to some amazing species, learn about their habitats, and get to participate in various initiatives designed to protect these habitats.

Top Destinations

Discover Corp travels around the world, in rural villages, beach locations, and rainforests. Popular destinations are primarily in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Discover Corps Travel Style

Their all-inclusive trips combine light volunteer projects with sightseeing and cultural immersion. They also offer support while you’re on site – from building classrooms to improving water systems to creating eco-friendly homes. The ideas come from the local communities themselves, and local staff plan everything in advance.

Why Choose a Tour With Discover Corps?

If you’re the kind of person who likes being actionable and getting involved with protecting threatened cultures, wildlife, and contributing to growing communities in need of schools and homes, then Discover Corps would be a great choice.

Volunteer vacations are one of the best ways to get to know the local people on a different level than many tour companies provide. Rather than simply enjoying a meal at a local restaurant, you’re out in the neighborhoods meeting everyday people.

“Traveling with a purpose” might seem like a thrown around phrase these days, but it is the entire philosophy around every Discovery Corps trips. So when you join one of their tours, you’ll be surrounded by guides and other travelers for whom this isn’t a buzzword - it’s an important and meaningful mission.

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