Intrepid Travel vs Friendly Planet - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 4.6
Guide — 4.6
Activities — 4.6
Lodging — 4.6
Transportation — 4.6
Meals — 4.6
Overall — 4
Value — 4.0
Guide — 4.0
Activities — 4.0
Lodging — 4.0
Transportation — 3.9
Meals — 3.8
Recent Reviews

Loved camping with Intrepid

5.0 June 2018
LR
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Loved this trip. Camping in very nice places - usually had hot water and nice showers. Great itinerary - LOVED Namibia and the variety of the tour from the desert to the delta to the parks.

Intrepid did an incredible job

5.0 December 2017
ATFT
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Thailand Cambodia Trip. Nov 2017. For my 60th birthday I decided I wanted to take my family of 6 to Thailand and Cambodia. After my initial conversation with the Intrepid office, they pulled together a perfect 24 day custom itinerary for us. My Intrepid coordinator really listened. We set up a incredibly diverse trip, ranging from ocean front resorts to a primitive hillside village trek. From the minute we landed in Bangkok, to the day we flew home, all transfers went off with out a hitch. What really made our trip memorable was our local guides. Every single one of them were warm, professional, humorous but most importantly, had a deep knowledge of the geography, the plant life, dining, the history and government. We felt by the end of the trip, these guides had become a part of our family. The entire trip was amazing and we will definitely use Intrepid for our next adventure travel. Thanks so much.
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great tour

5.0 October 2017
k
Recommends
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 3.0
the guide was very knowledgeable - friendly - great sense of humour - looking out for the safety of the tour members - organised - thoroughly nice guy

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

Tours 1,071 Trips 2 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 187 $ 376
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Group Tours
  • Private Guided Trips
  • Custom Itineraries
  • Independent / Self-Guided Packages
Service Level Standard Budget
Regions
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
Known For
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • Sailing
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Budget
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, USA
Year Established 1989 1981
Solo Friendly No single supplement N/A
Tour Languages English
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 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. 

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