Intrepid Travel vs Brendan Vacations - Tour Companies Compared
Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.
Overall — 5
Value — 4.7
Guide — 4.7
Activities — 4.7
Lodging — 4.7
Transportation — 4.7
Meals — 4.7
Overall — 5
Value — 5.0
Guide — 5.0
Activities — 5.0
Lodging — 5.0
Transportation — 5.0
Meals — 5.0
Good experience - highly overpriced.4.0 April 2019
I just came back from a 12 day tour toRead more
1) extremly very well organized
2) excellent customer service
3) lots of information on the site
4) very knowledgable and personable guide with excellent English
5) people on the trip were great
1) HIGHLY OVERPRICED - one accomodation was ok, the other ones were very cheap, shabby ans dirty.
2) Our guide was no different to guides in less reputable companies. Before I travel, I asked and was told by Intrepid this trip had no "kitty". However, the guide asked on day one for it (a total of $576.09 USD which is a fortune in Egypt), took the group to "Intrepid pre-approved venders", etc.
3) Options of things to do outside the itinerary could have been better explained.
The trip is a good choice if you like to take it easy during your vacation: visit the main sites but also have time at the pool, have drinks with friends and have lots of free time to chill out. And very important: you must like to shop. Keep in mind in Alexandria you spend 3 hours at the shopping mall instead of visiting a Museum, the only activity on day 11 was a visit to the Bazaar and, as I said, you will stop at shops endorsed by Intrepid (according to the guide).
If you, like me, prefer to be on the go when you are on a trip so far from home, this might not be the trip for you. Unless, like I did, you are comfortable with doing your own thing and leaving the group to explore on your own since you will have plenty of time to do so.
Personally, I won't travel with them again. The bad points override the good ones. But again, depends on what you are looking for... and how much you are willing to pay for it.
Tour Intrepid Company Reviews
It was so much fun!5.0 April 2019
I have just finished The Real Cambodia tour, the 18-29 youth tour. It was so much fun! Our guide Channy was fantastic - he always had good places to take us, advice on everything, lots of local knowledge. The accommodation was generally good, the travel was good, and we did a lot of fun activities. This is my first time travelling with intrepid and I definitely recommend it. I’m already thinking of where I’d like to travel with them again!Read more
Tour Intrepid Company Reviews
Conditions was absolutely amazing5.0 April 2019
During our Kruger National Park experience with Intrepid we had a guide called Ann. We were lucky enough to have her as our guide for 3 trips during our stay!Read more
She’s a fantastic guide. Ann knows the animals behaviour very well and she quick to act on different potential sightings. We were on our way back to the lodge when a storm was approaching us. Ann was very calm, made sure the vehicle was safe and provided us with rain jackets! The storm was intense (thundering, lighting and hale stone) Ann made us feel very safe and secure, she warned us what to do if the storm got worse. How she managed to get us out of the storm and drive in such bad conditions was absolutely amazing and can’t thank her enough for getting us back safety! After a such a journey back I gave Ann a massive hug to say thank you but I feel that wasn’t enough, so I wanted to let Intrepid know how wonderful your lovely staff member Ann is! So Thank you, Abbey
Tour Intrepid Company Reviews
had a wonderful time5.0 July 2018
Does Not Recommend
We just went on Iconic Ireland and Ashford Castle and had a wonderful time. This was our first bus tour and we didn't know quite what to expect, however, we couldn't have had a more perfect time. Ireland is a beautiful country and we were stunned and thrilled with all the beauty we were able to see. The hotels were great - some definitely better than others but all were comfortable. My only complaint was that our last hotel had no ac and Ireland was experiencing a heat wave so the fan didn't help very much. That wasn't anyone's fault and I just went with the flow. Barbara (our guide) and Marina (our driver) were great and genuinely seemed to be concerned with everyone's comfort. The grande finale of Ashford Castle was incredible. Such a beautiful place and to be able to stay a night there was incredible. I ended up doing the Hawk Walk and horseback riding and I would recommend both - especially the hawk walk to anyone - I think people who are good riders would probably get to do more than we did but it was still great. I would recommend Brendan and this trip to anyone. Perfect amount of down time and activity. Loved it!Read more
Tour Brendan Vacations Company Reviews
it was fabulous!5.0 July 2018
My husband and I recently went to Ireland on a Brendan Vacations tour...first tour we've even been on...and it was fabulous! From start to finish everything about the trip was perfect. Frances O'Doherty our Tour Director and Hugo our driver made this trip exceptional and unforgettable. Hugo's driving skills are phenomenal!! Frances is the sweetest, warmest, friendliest and most organized individual you'll ever meet. She is so knowledgeable about all things Irish and has a way of imparting that knowledge in a memorable and special way. I was a little nervous about staying in a different hotel every night and being on the go every minute but it was glorious. Our luggage was always handled for us, hotel check-ins were done in advance so we never had to go through check-in ourselves, meal vouchers and exhibit tickets were all prepared in advance, etc. It was totally seamless for everyone on the tour. It was a large group but we all became the best of friends by the end of the trip. We will definitely use Brendan Vacations in the future and highly recommend them to anyone interested in tour travel!!!Read more
Tour Brendan Vacations Company Reviews
my cruise planners was wonderful5.0 October 2017
Just wanted to say that the trip me my 23 year old son my mom and my nephew and niece who booked our trip through Valerie and Debbie from my cruise planners was wonderful. Valerie and Debbie took care of everything from beginning to the end. The bed and breakfast that we stayed at Lough Kiern hosts Ellie and Kevin were wonderful. They took care of everything and were very informative and helpful. I would definitely recommend staying there to anyoneRead more
Tour Brendan Vacations Company Reviews
|Tours||1,133 Trips||78 Trips|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 198||$ 248|
|Operator Type||Mixed Land & Cruise||Group Tour Operator|
|Size||Global Operator||Regional Expert|
|Headquarters||Melbourne, Australia||Anaheim, California, United States|
|Solo Friendly||No single supplement||N/A|
Intrepid Travel is all about ‘real life experiences.’ Founded back in 1989 following an “intrepid” African adventure trip, Intrepid lives up to its name by offering up some pretty big adventures -- such as an 11-day hike through Papua New Guinea -- but is broad-based enough to also lead group trips to Hawaii, complete with sipping sunset Mai Tais on Waikiki Beach.
Intrepid Travel - Quick Facts
Founded in 1989
No Single Supplement (rare exceptions)
Small Groups - max 16 on most trips
Typical Age Range - 18 - 45
Travel Style - Cultural immersion, adventure, overland
Accommodation Style - Camping, Hostels, 3 /4 star hotels
Average Tour Price - $2,377
Top Regions - Asia, Africa, Europe, South America
Other Brands: Peregrine, Geckos
What Makes Intrepid Travel Stand Out?
- Small group sizes
- Travelers from all walks of life
- Well-balanced itineraries (group and free time allotted)
- Guides are travel experts or friendly locals
Above all else, Intrepid strives to get its travelers off the beaten path and under the surface of the local culture. To accomplish this, group sizes average just 10 travelers each, with a maximum of 16 on most trips. This allows for more use of local transportation and lodging, along with fostering cultural immersion.
Intrepid also employs local English-speaking leaders who act more as a resource for local exploration than do typical ‘guides,’ shepherding groups from one place to another.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Intrepid Travel?
- All ages (seniors included)
- Adventure seekers and culture enthusiasts
Intrepid is one of the early pioneers of the “adventure”-style guided trip. Despite its informal beginnings and emphasis on younger, highly adventurous travelers, Intrepid has expanded to a global company with a broad range of trips to fit all ages.
Intrepid divides its small-group trips into three separate styles of travel, all priced accordingly. “Basix,” for budget travelers, keep inclusions to a minimum and offer plenty of free time, “Original” journeys which offer more included activities and more hotels, while “Comfort” trips offer the highest level of included activities and standards of accommodation, as well as roomier vehicles.
The kind of traveler who gravitates to Intrepid Travel is one who has a real sense of adventure - whether this means hard adventure, or simply going deeper off the beaten path. Interacting with locals is an important factor when you travel, as is gaining a unique cultural perspective. A sense of fun is also essential, whether it means going out at night with your tour mates or daring, ahem, encouraging each other to try strange new foods.
- South America
Originally focused on small group adventure tours to Asia, Intrepid has expanded rapidly over the years, while maintaining its classic, adventurous, and immersive style. Today Intrepid Travel offers more than 1,000 different experiences in over 100 countries, on all seven continents. Regions with the most trips include Asia, South America, Africa, and Europe.
Intrepid Travel Style
Intrepid enjoys using local, unique forms of transportation. You might find yourself traveling by felucca in Egypt, on a camel in Morocco, or in a tuk-tuk on the best Thailand tour of your life. Accommodations, which could range from guesthouses to home stays, are also locally owned, allowing a more authentic taste of the region while contributing to the local economy.
There are a few broad travel styles to choose from when deciding on an Intrepid tour:
1. Basix - Budget travelers who don’t mind, and in fact prefer, simple accommodations - camping and homestays with basic amenities, and crave a lot of free time for exploring independently will love these tours. Public transportation is used exclusively so pack light! These trips often attract a younger crowd who love the idea of throwing a backpack on, keep plenty of room for the unexpected in their schedule, and allocate their travel funds towards spontaneous bus tickets and street food instead of museum tours and 5 star restaurants.
2. Original - These trips take the backpacker spirit of local immersion, incorporating all the benefits that come with going with a planned itinerary. This style is called “Original” because it’s the type of travel that put Intrepid on the map...pun intended. Accommodations are still simple and budget minded - often homestays are used to give you a true sense of place, personality, and culture. Mostly public transportation is used.
3. Comfort - Intrepid is known for the active adventure style of travel and these trips keep that mentality, with a few more creature comforts thrown into the mix. You can expect higher end, more discerning, accommodations that include a wider variety of included amenities, transportation is mostly private, though you can still expect to use some public transport, as is the Intrepid way. More meals are included in the trip price, and more group activities - which means a bit less free time to explore on your own.
Why Choose a Tour With Intrepid Travel?
Intrepid is a good choice if you don’t mind foregoing some creature comforts for a truly authentic, local experience. If you enjoy meeting locals when traveling, sampling new and exciting foods, and traveling in mixed-aged groups of 10-16 people, Intrepid could be a good fit for you.
It’s important to note, sometimes “ample free time” can be a blessing and a curse. It sounds great on paper, but if you’re looking to maximize your dollar and your vacation time, be sure you understand the implications of having a lot of free time during your itinerary.
For some travelers this is an absolute requirement, but for others it can be tough to branch off and explore independently - you also need to make sure you allocate enough travel money for independent meals. The tour leaders are great resources of information for how to spend your free time, but if you like having a full day scheduled from breakfast to dinner, Intrepid may not be the best company for you.
Lastly, if sustainable and responsible travel is important to you, Intrepid has poured millions of dollars into local economies, and has a very strong emphasis on responsible travel. So you can feel good knowing that your money helps support some of the innkeepers, vendors, and communities that you’ll meet along the way.
Part of the TTC group, they offer traditional travel throughout Scotland and Ireland, and have a long legacy of excellence in the travel industry.
What Makes Brendan Vacations Stand Out?
With over 30 years in the guided tour industry, they know exactly what their travelers want and they deliver. Itineraries are designed to have a personal touch, making sure that you get the experience that you most want on your trip. Their focus in on Scotland and Ireland - and with such a focus, they are able to dedicate all their resources on crafting and designing unique luxury travel in these two countries year after year.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Brendan Vacations?
Brendan Vacations are great for anyone who loves traveling in the UK, are eager to explore the area in comfort, and expect a certain degree of comfort and personalized service. These tours are easy, slow paced, and mildly active.
Older travelers in the 50+ range, who have cultural curiosity and seek it in the realm of in depth guided history tours and chatting with locals in the village pub. Maybe catching a spontaneous evening of live music. If you are the kind of person who loves meeting new people, their group tours have an average of 40 people, so you’ll be sure to meet plenty of new friends who love traveling in the UK.
Because of their niche focus, you can easily customize your days to what you want to see, do, and experience, so travelers who enjoy having input and planning travel excursions will enjoy the openness of their Brendan guided experience.
The private chauffeured options are especially popular for older travelers and families. Younger travelers may also find experiences they enjoy, especially in their self guided options. Golf enthusiasts especially will love tours with Brendan Vacations, where they will have many opportunities to visit famous courses.
They focus exclusively on Scotland and Ireland. Trips visit castles, coastlines, stay with local families, and travel by rail.
Brendan Vacations Travel Style
The Brendan Vacations travel style is all about comfort and ease, whether you choose a guided group tour experience, or a fully chauffeured private tour.
Transportation is via large comfortable coaches, with high seats and big windows, offering wonderful wide vantage points of the countryside. Coaches are fully equipped with wifi and restrooms.
In addition to ample free time available during the trip to explore on your own, Brendan Vacations also offers numerous optional excursions throughout the itinerary. These do cost extra on top of the overall tour price.
Itineraries with Brendan Vacations use a few different words to describe the kinds of stops to be made - this can help you determine if the trips pace and activities will be well suited to you:
“Visit” - This means you’ll have a lot of time at the stop, learning from local experts and taking guided walks.
“View” - A quick stop for photos and to stretch your legs
“See” - No stops. Passing through via coach or rail
“Sightseeing Trip” - Experience the destination through the eyes of local city guides
“Orientation Trip” - Enjoy a self guided wander, stopping at points of interest for as long or as little as you wish
Why Choose a Tour With Brendan Vacations?
If you’re planning to visit Scotland and / or Ireland and are looking for a well designed, comfortable, and expertly guided tour experience, this is a good place to start. Their tours are great for older travelers who want the benefit of their experience and country knowledge.