Intrepid Travel vs VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations - 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 — 5
Value — 5.0
Guide — 5.0
Activities — 5.0
Lodging — 5.0
Transportation — 5.0
Meals — 5.0
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

Wonderful tour!

5.0 January 2017
J
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
What a wonderful experience! We were sad to finish our Montargis to Paris bike and barge trip. Anxious to go on another one

Tour VBT Walking and Bicycling Vacations Company Reviews

Very pleased!

5.0 January 2017
M
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Brian and I are in the middle of a pedal bike trip covering Charleston and Beaufort, SC and Savannah, GA with VBT - we couldn't be more pleased with the experience! Our guides Van and Sarah are just the best. We feel as if we are discovering the USA - I have never been in this part of our world and we are both looking forward to coming back some day - great scenery, food and people!
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Tour VBT Walking and Bicycling Vacations Company Reviews

Organized, Worry-Free, and Fun for All

5.0 August 2016
Q
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I would recommend a VBT tour to anyone who wants to explore without the worry and tedium of planning. You just wake up, eat the delicious breakfast your B&B provided, and head out for your ride in the countryside followed by dinner and often a surprise.

Biking with them was wonderful. One person would ride out in front and mark the trails and the other would follow the group in a van so if your chain broke, you were covered!

Many evenings involved a surprise musical or cultural activity: beloved singers who haven't made a CD yet, award winning dancers that lived locally, drinks crafted as if by a leprechaun. They also have a policy of hiring locals as tour guides, so you can copy them and feel cool at the pub.

It's worth noting how accommodating and supportive they were. Vegetarian? They got you covered. Can only ride about 5 miles before you're exhausted? Well then they'll pick you up in the van, and next thing you know you get a private tour of the Burren and are learning all about hurling.

All in all, it was a great experience.
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Tour VBT Walking and Bicycling Vacations Company Reviews

Tours 1,071 Trips 4 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 187 $ 350
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
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
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Africa
  • Europe
Known For
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • Sailing
  • Cycling
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia Bristol, Vermont, USA
Year Established 1989 1971
Solo Friendly No single supplement N/A
Tour Languages English
Top Trips
Similar Companies
Countries
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 VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations

VBT Bicycling and Walking offers cycling and walking vacations around the world. The company was established over 40 years ago, so has lots of experience serving active travelers. It is based in Vermont, USA. It also promises lower prices than other cycling tour companies without sacrificing quality. Most everything is included in the price, except for a few meals -- and that includes use of a customized bike on cycling tours or walking poles on walking tours, and special packages including international airfare.

What Makes Them Stand Out?

VBT is all about value. They offer many standard inclusions that some other tour operators do not, such as meals, airport transfers, and a special 5% ‘credit’ to use on a future VBT tour. They are also cycling and walking specialists, with tons of experience leading groups all over the world.

Who Travels With Them?

VBT attracts active travelers of all ages, but tend to focus on the adult 50+ market. As they are located in the US, groups are frequently comprised of American travelers. Focusing on value means you will likely travel with a group of like-minded companions who are more concerned with seeing the sights and breaking a bit of a sweat, than dining at the fanciest restaurants.

Where Do They Operate?

VBT sells tours that explore six continents. Some of their most well-known and sought after destinations include Italy, New Zealand, and France. More exotic cycling and walking tours can be found in Peru and Vietnam.

Why Travel with Them?

Both cyclists and walkers travel at their own pace during the day, but local trip leaders and support vans are always available, and some guided sightseeing is included. Trips are rated easy to moderate -- nothing too strenuous -- and walking or biking is usually limited to two to six hours a day. Routes and custom maps are all planned out. Another great feature on some trips is the use of e-bikes - bikes with an electronic assist to help you power up any hills you might encounter on the route. Overall, VBT has been doing these types of tours for more than 40 years, and they seem to have it down to a science.

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