Intrepid Travel vs Encounters Travel - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
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
Recent Reviews

Memorable experience

5.0 February 2019
CQ
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I just finished a 10 days tour from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. This is my first ever Intrepid Tour and I have to say that I am very satisfied, especially with our guide Sonny. He is very knowledgeable about his country and kept the tour fun by including many jokes & sarcasm (now I can’t get it out of my head lol). Our group had a total of 16 people with a variety of ages from 16-72. I will definitely use Intrepid again for future travels. Thank you Sonny for making my Vietnam experience so memorable!!!
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Tour Intrepid Company Reviews

Mohammed was one of the best travel…

5.0 February 2019
JRSC
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Mohammed was one of the best travel guides I had in my lifetime.
He was extraordinarily knowledgeable, kind, thoughtful & considerate. One of the Best Tours ever for me, I know it was truly because of Mohammed. I was on his Feb. 6 , 2019 Tour to Morocco.
If Mohammed did other tours around the world I would commit to all of his tours. He was Amazing!!!!!!
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Tour Intrepid Company Reviews

Our South American Adventure

5.0 February 2019
cc
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We have just returned from 2 Intrepid tours, No.1 to Rio Iguazu Falls and Buenos Aires. The tour leader Luciano was great, he looked after us all of very well, making sure that everyone was well aware of any pitfalls there may be. Both guides used on this tour Lola & Eduardo were fantastic, we all agreed that they were extremely knowledgeable.
No 2 tour. Lima Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Our Tour leader Desiree was fantastic and worked very hard to look after us all, nothing was too much trouble, she most definitely went the extra mile to make sure that we were all comfortable and happy. The tour was great and again much advice was given on any pitfalls etc. we may experience
The tours were well organised, information was given every day as to what we should expect the next. Our age group was in the 57 - 79 range, so the guides had to factor some mobility into their guidance. All entrance tickets were included, as were hotels and breakfast, and the odd evening dinner.
Out of the 4 hotels used, I would say only one of them was under par, the breakfast was poor, rooms noisy, and air conditioning not working well.
We would like to thank Intrepid for a lovely well organised holiday.
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Tour Intrepid Company Reviews

Tours 1,125 Trips 142 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 203 $ 196
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
Service Level Standard Standard
Regions
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
  • South America
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
Known For
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • Sailing
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Safari
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Year Established 1989 2011
Solo Friendly No single supplement N/A
Tour Languages English N/A
Top Trips
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    About Intrepid Travel

    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

    Commonly compared with G Adventures »

    Morocco homestay with Intrepid Travel

    What Makes Intrepid Travel Stand Out?

    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?

    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.

    Top Destinations

    Monk mediating in Myanmar on tour with Intrepid Travel

    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?

    Sample of many spices in Middle Eastern market

    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.

    About Encounters Travel

    Encounters Travel is a UK based travel company specializing in adventurous cultural tours. With over 50 years of experience, they have unbeatable knowledge and guarantee the best customer service. They offer a wide selection of tours that’ll take you around the world, catering to people of all ages, interests, and budgets.

    What Makes Encounters Travel Stand Out?

    They offer small group tours around the world, with an adventure twist. Their tours are about having an active and adventurous time, balanced with cultural activities. Encounters Travel creates innovative small group itineraries, as well as offering custom private tours. They focus on providing amazing experiences within a reasonable budget range.

    Who Will Enjoy Travelling with Encounters Travel?

    Travelers seeking adventure tours tied in with nature, wildlife, history, and culture will most enjoy their tours. Since they cater to people of all nationalities, it’s great chance to meet travelers from all over the globe.

    sunset over mountains

    Their tours offer great value for money, as they are focused on activities and authentic experiences. So whether you’re a budget traveller that’s trying to stretch their dollar, willing to pay premium for luxury, or something in between - there’s an adventure made for you.

    Their tours are primarily enjoyed by active travelers, in the 20-40 range. However, they do have tours made for families with children to enjoy as well.

    a book with an elephant and animations popping out

    Top Destinations

    They operate tours around the world, with a majority of tours in Europe and Africa. From a hike up the physically challenging trails in South America to discovering Egypt’s Pyramids of Gyza, they cover all your bucket list destinations.

    Tours with set itineraries will take you along the classic routes, where you will experience the highlights of the area. However their escorted and tailor-made tours are there for those seeking a more specialised trip.

    Encounters Travel Style

    Those who travel with Encounters will expect an adventure of their lifetime without cutting corners to save money or time. It’s all about getting to interact with travelers and locals, being immersed, and learning about cultures in an authentic and responsible way.

    friends with their arms around each other

    Accommodations are simple, but comfortable. Expect hotels in the 3-4 star range (for local standards), homestays, and camping. The places are always safe, clean, and comfortable, but will not be luxurious by any means. Transportation varies depending on what tour style you choose. For shoestring budget tours, you’ll be using more public transportation. Standard level tours will make use of private transportation. Majority of their tours are moderately physically challenging and will require you to walk, bike, or trek.

    Groups are small - the max is 20 but more typically you’ll travel with between 12-15 people. Custom designed itineraries are also an option for more independent minded travelers.

    They have six different ways of traveling...

    1. Small Group Adventure Tours: These tours are made for those traveling solo, with some friends or a couple, and enjoy being in a group setting. Small Group Adventure Tours are great for those that don’t mind meeting new faces and socializing throughout the journey. Build friendships with people of all different nationalities while going on an adventure of your lifetime. They’ll take you to exotic and exciting destinations - some you may have never even considered visiting!

    2. Shoestring Budget Adventure Tours: Maybe you’re trying to watch your spendings without sacrificing adventure. Or you’re a long-term traveler who would rather see more and can deal with discomfort. Encounters Travel is transparent and honest about how their budget tours will call for larger groups, use of public transit, and staying at 3-star hotels.

    3. Overland Tours & Safari Adventures: Made for young adults and seniors alike, Overland Tours and Safari Adventures are made for those looking for a cultural, scenic, and wildlife experience. See the key attractions in Africa, while exploring places off the beaten path too. Mid-ranged hotels and lodges are arranged for you. Or if you want to ramp up the adventure level, you can choose their camping option. Also you can decide if you want to do the whole trip, or only partake in one particular section.

    4. Family Adventure Tours: If you want some family vacation ideas that also cater to the adults, look no further! These itineraries are created to be enjoyed by everyone and make for a memorable family holiday. Trips can be tailored to suit your family’s particular requirements. Want child-friendly guides? To meet other families traveling with kids? More flexibility to move on when your kids are bored? They’ve got you covered.

    5. Escorted Group Adventure Tours: Reputable and specially selected experts will guide you throughout your entire journey, giving you in depth explanations and an educational tour experience. Depending on your destination, they’ll either lead the entire tour by themselves, or work with a local guide. This is the best way to go if you want a specialised itinerary, more talks, and workshops in your trip. Go home feeling like an expert yourself.

    6. Tailor-Made and Adventure Tours: These are made for people who want to have private tours and fully customized itineraries. Want to know the best part? These can made for both budget and luxury travelers! Focused on allowing you explore, learn, and appreciate the cultural heritage of your chosen country, itineraries are made for you to make the most out of your limited time. Have more free time to chat with locals, choose how much public transportation you want to use, and modify the suggested itineraries.

    Why Choose a Tour with Encounters?

    They strive to strike a balance and keep their tours focused on a good combination of fun and culture, regardless of the country. So if visiting important cultural icons and attractions is important to you, but you grow weary of non-stop sightseeing, Encounters Travel would be the perfect tour company for you.

    Reviewers have mentioned in the past that accommodations aren’t what you’d expect from a 4-star hotel in western countries. Be aware that local standards are different and may not be what you expect, but they use the best hotels at the level stated. Hotel breakfasts are also a hit-or-miss, and customers say they’ve had repeat meals. If an authentic culinary experience is important to you, you might want to take that into consideration.

    Overall, Encounters Travel is a great option for those looking for adventure around the world. A trip to Egypt, Morocco, or Greece is just around the corner. Just choose your destination and budget range, and let them take care of the rest.

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