Intrepid Travel vs Grand Circle 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

Great knowledgeable tour guides, wonderful food, & good accommodations!

5.0 May 2018
H
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We have been on 6 Grand Circle tours from Costa Rica to Egypt to Europe to the great national parks in America. We we're delighted with every trip.

Tour Grand Circle Travel Company Reviews

We had an amazing time!

5.0 January 2017
J
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
My entire family just wrapped up a 12 day trip, "Christmas Markets on the Rhine", and we had an amazing time! My grandparents are Inner Circle members, but this was the first time for the other 7 of us. The ship - MS River Rhapsody - was clean and very comfortable to stay on, the crew was absolutely phenomenal, and the program directors were very friendly and knowledgeable about the places we were visiting. The morning walking tours were something I really enjoyed, since they gave us a personal introduction to each city. I have zero complaints and will look into taking another trip with Grand Circle in the future :)
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Tour Grand Circle Travel Company Reviews

River cruises are fantastic

5.0 November 2016
C
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We have taken 23 tours with OAT and GCT and would not travel with anyone else. Several singles travel with us and a lot of them have not had to pay the supplement. River cruises are fantastic, there are no bad rooms and the meals are fantastic. Our air travel is booked by the company as soon as possible; if there are problems, GCT gives you the airline number and it is up to you to change to your liking. All guides speak English and we're all family by the end of the tours. I don't understand the bad reviews unless these people are expecting 6 Star trips for 3 Star prices.
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Tour Grand Circle Travel Company Reviews

Tours 1,125 Trips 13 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 203 $ 220
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Mixed Land & Cruise
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • River Cruises
Service Level Standard Luxury
Regions
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Europe
Known For
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • Sailing
  • 50+
  • Adventure
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Year Established 1989 1958
Solo Friendly No single supplement N/A
Tour Languages English 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 Grand Circle Travel

    The "older sibling" of Grand Circle Cruise Line, Grand Circle Travel specializes in land tours for Americans of baby boomer age and above (fifty-plus, but leaning toward the plus).

    What Makes Grand Circle Travel Stand Out?

    Grand Circle Travel was started by the founder of AARP, and as such know their demographic extremely well. Over the years they have established a solid reputation for tours and river cruises that offer good value to destinations around the world. They also foster a community of dedicated travelers, encouraging you to share your memories, images, and stories with them and the friends you meet along the way.

    Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Grand Circle Travel?

    If you like the idea of joining a tight knit travel community, with frequent cost cutting options, then Grand Circle could be for you.

    This is definitely a travel experience well suited to older travelers in the 60+ range, seeking a degree of comfort, in their travel experience, within a mid to high budget range. Younger couples or families may feel out of place among the crowd on a Grand Circle tour, as the activities, lectures, and pace are all designed for older travelers. If relaxing on the cruise with a book in hand for hours on end, gliding by quiet European shores is your idea of a grand old time then Grand Circle is for you!

    If you’d rather have a bit more action during your trip, this style of travel is probably not going to hit the right note.

    Trips are mostly all-inclusive, focusing on comfortable accommodations, informative and easy paced guided walking tours, cultural encounters, learning experiences, and special events that they call their Discovery Series.

    Solo travelers make up nearly a third of Grand Circle's customers, and they're made to feel more than welcome on group tours, including some price breaks on single supplements.

    Itineraries are designed for American travelers, with an aim towards immersive experiences such as visiting local homes, interesting walking tours, in-depth cultural interactions and culinary experiences.

    Top Destinations

    Grand Circle travels all over the world, with a strong focus in Europe, Aisa and Southeast Asia. They also have limited departures in Africa, South America, the Middle East, South Pacific, North America, Central America, and even Antarctica.

    Grand Circle Travel Style

    The Grand Circle Travel Style is comfortable, standard river cruises and motorcoaches. On motorcoach tours with Grand Circle you will make frequent stops to stretch your legs, and some longer stops for sightseeing. Groups are between 24-47 people, so expect some company! Because Grand Circle attracts a similar age range, you’re sure to meet new friends with like interests in no time.

    Hotels are comfortable and centrally located. Don’t expect extreme luxury or especially unique accommodations.

    You will probably do a fair amount of walking throughout the tour - Grand Circle suggests that travelers be relatively physically fit. Most trips with Grand Circle are, unfortunately, not wheelchair accessible.

    Why Choose a Tour with Grand Circle Travel?

    For the flexibility and comfort aspects, combined with unique experiences at every turn. You might find yourself sharing dinner at the home of a local family or visiting local schools. Plenty of free time is included in the itineraries, and there is a lot of choice among optional tours.

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