Topdeck vs National Geographic Expeditions - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 4.5
Value — 4.6
Guide — 4.6
Activities — 4.6
Lodging — 4.5
Transportation — 4.5
Meals — 4.5
Overall — 3.5
Value — 3.0
Guide — 3.3
Activities — 5.0
Lodging — 3.7
Transportation — 3.7
Meals — 3.7
Recent Reviews

FUNNEST GAP TOUR EVER!

5.0 July 2018
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This Topdeck was so much fun, with it being the leaders last trip the chefs first trip and everyone else on the bus being 18 on a GAP year it was one to remember!
Unfortunately we missed out on Nice as we were in Paris heading to Nice on Bastille day, the day of the drive through attack. Topdeck took a good step forward and moved us to Switzerland earlier and we had an extra day there and in Florence instead! They had the best facts and took us to the best places. Our leader Amanda would tell us the most important facts of the trip show us where to party and where to stay safe and let us do our own thing at night!
Would highly recommend!
Check out my Topdeck here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB_uiN6dOOc&lc=z221j1nhwkfwfjgeaacdp4302urkdwx33xmfi0u45j1w03c010c
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Amazing Europe Trip

5.0 February 2017
S
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
There are so many great things to say about my European trip of a lifetime. The people that made it was my fellow topdeckers and of course the Fab Tour guide Matt Stewart. This is a trip that I will never forget, so many lovely memories I will cherish forever. We was very lucky with Matt because he really took time to talk to us and make us all feel relaxed with each other and asked us what we wanted to do. He was so knowledgable about all the places we went to, I remember thinking to myself this guy is pretty cool the fact he knows so well about the history and culture of each place especially the amount of cities we travelled to. Matt made the trip fun, interesting, exciting and I hope that if I was to ever do a top deck again one day he would be the tour guide or I think I would be disappointed. Have recommended top deck to so many people, memories I will have for a lifetime.

Georgina staines
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TopDeck Tours was awesome

5.0 January 2017
IAS
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Topdeck Tours was awesome, at the time back in 2005 I was traveling for 12 months, and wanted to see a huge chunk of Europe on a budget, so I found this company and it was exactly what I was looking for, the guides were very friendly, our cook was making really great meals on the side of the road, and the driver was very funny, and the accommodation was all good and I and all the other people had such and awesome time, and lots of us still keep in touch and will always remember our Topdeck experience.
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Tour Topdeck Company Reviews

Great sites, poorly managed

2.0 November 2018
D
Does Not Recommend
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 2.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 2.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 2.0
I grew up with National Geographic so when I signed up for a NG trip I was quite excited. I spent a lot of time on a crowded bus. Some of the accommodations were two star, peeling paint, smelly rooms, poorly catered. This was an expensive trip all my girl friend and we spent 17,000 dollars for the two of us. Some of the guides were actually wrong about what they were saying about the history of Sicily, and you did not have to be an expert to realize this. There were a number of representations that tour operators made that turned out to be less than accurate. The tour group one night was having dinner in Sorento, and I asked about the wine they were serving, that is the grape and vintage, the only explanation I got was "its red". In another circumstance, the tour operator lost guests at Pompeii, and then threatened to leave them. It was a mess. I could go on, but I would cross this trip off the list.
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great sights. Great local guides. Impatient unpleasant photographer leader

3.0 November 2017
V
Recommends
  • Value 3.0
  • Guide 3.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0
The local guide went above and beyond. The sights were amazing. The accommodations and meals much better than expected. Lots of driving but in good cars with good drivers. The trip is advertised as being for all levels of photographers but you need to check carefully if this is true for each particular photographer. This trip for me was spoilt by attitude and behavior of photographer and being told by the photographer that if I did not know what I was doing he could not help me. I have reasonable photography experience and I thought these trip were to help all levels learn. Photographer spent most of his time with the most experienced photographers and was dismissive of those less experienced .
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Photographic tour of Turkey featuring Istanbul, Capadoccia and the coast

5.0 January 2016
H
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Turkey was a destination I had dreamed of visiting, and going there with a group of photographers was a dream come true. in 2014 I travelled with a National Geographic Expedition to Turkey which allowed us access to many locations and sight we would perhaps not had the opportunity to see with another group or travelling individually. The cost of the tour was a little expensive but the accommodation and tour generally was 5star.

Our tour was for only 10 days so we stayed in 3 main destinations for 2-3 nights, and we took an internal flight to keep our exploration time on the ground to a maximum. We were lead by 3 tour leaders being a cultural guide, photographic guide and general organiser. Our cultural guide was an expert on the history of the country and he passionately shared this with us on our journey. We visited many other highlights and our photographic guide was available for questions and help throughout the whole tour. Our tour was designed to take advantage of photographic opportunities wherever possible. The opportunity to do your own thing was also possible with the extended stays in each location.

We started off in Istanbul where we stayed for 3 nights, then flew to Capadoccia where we stayed a further 2 nights. My friend and I took advantage of a balloon ride over the amazing landscape there and I am so glad we did. We also experienced a whirling dervishes and were allowed to take photos of their spiritual dance which was a thrill and privilege. We then headed towards the coast where we visited the ruins at Ephesus and by bus to Bodrum which was our final destination. We visited the Museum of Underwater Archeology, and had a behind the scenes tour of the complex and watched the process of reconstruction and recovery of ancient shipwrecks in the area. There were many other sights and locations we visited throughout the trip, and each day we experienced local food and hospitality which really enhanced the experience.

My friend and I decided to book a further couple of nights in Bodrum to extend the length of the holiday as we didn't want to leave the magical coast of Turkey. The locals were very friendly throughout our tour and we were made welcome by everyone we met.

National Geographic Expeditions were a high standard of tour and I would be happy to recommend them as a tour provider for a photographic experience.
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Tour National Geographic Expeditions Company Reviews

Tours 350 Trips 59 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 149 $ 714
Operator Type Group Tour Operator Mixed Land & Cruise
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Group Tours
  • Private Guided Trips
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
Service Level Standard Standard
Regions
  • North America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
Known For
  • 18 - 35
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Photography
  • Adventure
  • Train & Rail
Headquarters Chiswick, London, UK Northwest, Washington, D.C, United States
Year Established 1973 1999
Solo Friendly Good for singles, No single supplement N/A
Tour Languages English English
Top Trips
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About Topdeck

Founded in 1973, Topdeck has been providing fun, adventurous trips around the world for 18-39 for over 40 years.

What Makes Topdeck Travel Stand Out?

Topdeck tour focuses on providing friendly and authentic guided group tours where like-minded 18-39 year old travelers can have amazing group experiences. There are several trip types to choose from, from camping, to immersive, to multi destination, to sailing.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Topdeck?

Sociable, adventurous, budget conscious 18-39 year olds are the kinds of traveler who will gravitate to Topdeck. Though they offer a few different distinct travel styles, there is definitely a sense of an ongoing party, with travel as the conduit and underlying shared interest.

If the idea of being around a group of similarly aged people - many of whom may be exploring internationally for the first or second time - being spontaneous, and meeting locals (often in the environment of bars or clubs) is unappealing, then Topdeck may not be your cup of tea.

Introverted travelers, or those for whom an extensively planned itinerary including many museums and historical sites is ideal, may want to hunt around before choosing a Topdeck tour.

That is not to dissuade the more observational traveler - who may very well find a group they gel with perfectly on a Topdeck tour. Only to caution that you will be surrounded by several extroverted personalities.

The bottom line is if you are game for anything, are traveling on a budget, and don’t mind fairly basic but comfortable accommodations and inexpensive meals - sometimes on the go - then you will enjoy the Topdeck tour experience.

Top Destinations

Topdeck has tours throughout the world, in Europe, Australia & New Zealand, North America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Topdeck Travel Style

The Topdeck travel style is tied quite specifically to their audience. These tours are great for youthful and energetic 18-39 year olds looking for a good time and to make new friends.

In the interest of keeping their tours affordable, travelers with Topdeck will need to make a few allowances. For example, hostels and hotels may be situated quite far away from the city centers. You can also expect some long travel days. The more of a good sense of humor and adventure you have, the more you’ll enjoy the experience.

Why Choose a Tour With Topdeck

Feeling the urge to connect with travelers in your age group, have fun, and make lasting friendships? Topdeck has over 40 years of experience in adventure travel, which has helped them create epic low cost trips for 18-30 somethings.

These tours are certainly not for those who prefer to take things slow. You will be running around, moving between a lot of places - which in some cases means very long bus rides - going out a lot, meeting new people, and staying active throughout your tour.

If your ideal travel experience is more methodical and planned out in nature, Topdeck may not be for you.

But if you are an adventurous and social travelers eager to absorb a new culture and make new friends, then hop on board!

About National Geographic Expeditions

In 1999, National Geographic launched their own tour company component: National Geographic Expeditions. Since then they have expanded to offer trips on all 7 continents in over 60 destinations. Recently they partnered with G Adventures to provide even more variety to their devoted customers.

What Makes National Geographic Expeditions Stand Out?

With National Geographic, you can travel by small, expedition-style ships; classic train journeys; land tours; active adventures; photo tours; family-oriented trips; or private, independent expeditions based on your desires and budget.

Wherever you go with National Geographic, which has been in the tour business for 15 years, you can expect doors to open: entry to research sites, archeological digs, private homes or special events. Many expeditions are accompanied by a National Geographic expert or expert team who share their knowledge and passion for a region and help make each experience enriching and unforgettable.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling With National Geographic Expeditions?

National Geographic is one of those special brands that has managed to successfully straddle the line between “your grandfather loves them” and “your eighteen year old sister loves them”. They cover a wide range of topics, themes, and travel styles, with the educational aspect always prevalent yet not overbearing.

Older couple looking at iceberg on National Geographic Expeditions cruise

If you love feeling like an explorer and an adventurer when you travel, and love learning about the world from experts in a variety of fields, National Geographic is the perfect place for you. This is a company for those who want to dig deeper, like getting the inside story from multiple perspectives - historical, cultural, political, economic, scientific and more.

These trips are great for families, and you can choose a private tour or a family friendly group, where hands on activities will widen your children’s worldview in innumerable special ways.

photographer in Iceland with National Geographic Expeditions

National Geographic trips are also extremely popular with photographers - novice photographers will enjoy their photography-centric tours, while many dedicated hobbyists can be found on their other trip styles as well. If you’re the kind of traveler who sacrifices the space for a pair of shoes in your suitcase for another lens or photography accessory...you’ll be right at home on a trip with National Geographic Expeditions.

In the same way that National Geographic magazine has always inspired and furthered conversation and discourse, so too do their trips. The spirit of learning about the world is intertwined in every itinerary, so if you consider yourself a lifelong student, you should definitely consider traveling with National Geographic Expeditions.

Top Destinations

Ruins in Cambodia

National Geographic Expeditions go all around the world, and cover almost every travel style imaginable. One might think they have a favoring of the more “exotic” locations but an impressive number of United States and Europe tours are offered as well as farther reaching destinations.

Regardless of where you travel, you will be sure to get off the beaten path and discover unique cultural landmarks, meet interesting people, and enjoy a sense of adventure.

National Park tour with National geographic expeditions

Small-ship expeditions, done in conjunction with Lindblad Expeditions, can take you to Antarctica, the Galapagos and points beyond. Classic train journeys include the Trans-Siberian and trains through India, Spain, and Switzerland. Active adventures might take you hiking in Bhutan or meeting Berbers in Morocco. Land tours could take you to Tanzania, Peru or the Grand Canyon.

National Geographic Expeditions Travel Style

The travel style with National Geographic Expeditions has an aura of old fashioned exploration with a modern twist.

National Geographic Expeditions is a family friendly outfit, offering a wide range of prices and trip styles. Trips vary from mid range budget to higher. Physical level is usually light to moderate.

By virtue of their longstanding presence in the world, National Geographic has a wide reaching global network to lean on for incredibly unique and authentic lodging options, knowledgeable guides, and VIP access to historical and archaeological sites.

Arabia tour with national geographic expeditions

They have several broad travel styles you can choose from:

Land Trips - National Geographic Land Trips are immersive explorations, often covering nature and wilderness points of interest such as national parks. They also dive into ancient cities and cultures, with trips exploring everything from monks in Burmese mountainside temples to the lives of nomadic Mongolian peoples. Most trips are around 11 days and physical level is between light and moderate, with some trips featuring moderately challenging hikes in various altitudes.

River Cruises - a relatively new addition, Nat Geo now offers around 7 river cruises in Europe covering the Danube, Rhine, and Douro. Currently they also have 1 river cruise in Asia, along the Irrawaddy. These trips are typically between 7 - 11 days and feature wine tasting, history tours, and very light physical activity.

Douro river cruise national geographic trips

Private Expeditions - If you and your family, significant other, or a few close friends are looking for a more intimate travel experience than a group of strangers, Private Expeditions are a great way to travel. These trips are customizable, and can be crafted to perfectly suit your interests and dates.

Photography Trips - National Geographic has consistently featured award winning travel photography. They run regular contests for those inspired by the thousands of groundbreaking and historic photographs taken by journalists and travel photographers around the world. On National Geographic photography trips you can actually learn tricks of the trade from real-world photographers and improve your skills.

Galapagos tortoise photography tour National Geographic

Train Trips - Travel was revolutionized with the implementation of the railroad, allowing people to travel in what was then a rapid pace from destination to destination. Today this ideal has been flipped on its head, and train travel is a leisurely paced excursion allowing time to relax and appreciate the slower meandering through beautiful countrysides. National Geographic train trips cover the classics, such as the Trans-Siberian railway and the Rocky Mountain railroad. Accommodations are comfortable, around a premium level, with options to upgrade.

Active Expeditions - For those who enjoy a bit more of an adrenaline pumping and active travel experience, National Geographic also has trips for you. These trips feature multiple active outings, such as kayaking, hiking, and caving. Expect to explore the outdoors covering unique natural phenomena and gaining insight into how and why the landscape has been shaped the way it has. These trips also feature cultural insights, just to a lesser extent.

Diver with underwater camera on national geographic expeditions tour

Family Expeditions - National Geographic is the perfect company to travel with when you have curious and adventurous youngsters eager to see the world. They will learn about other cultures, people, food, nature and wildlife from experts with “cool jobs” that might even inspire lifelong interests and perhaps influence a career. These trips are specifically designed to be hands on, allowing everyone to get involved and learn about how things work.

Private Jet Trips - For a luxurious and more lengthy travel experience, nothing beats a Private Jet tour. A dedicated team will be with you, and you’ll experience all the best that National Geographic has to offer from local guides to premiere accommodation. These trips are in a very high budget range, but if it’s in your wheelhouse - it’s a superb way to travel and cover a lot of ground.

Journeys - Part of a partnership with G Adventures, these trips are adventurous and immersive small group excursions imbued with the spirit of National Geographic. The best of two top travel worlds!

Why Choose a Tour  With National Geographic Expeditions?

Woman in Sri Lanka on immersive tour with National Geographic expeditions

When you travel with National Geographic you are participating in and contributing to a spectacular legacy. Over the years National Geographic has cultivated a reputation for being about cultural exploration, scientific advancement, and broadening perspectives. Their travel experiences are perfect for anyone wishing to get back to the roots of what adventurous, experiential travel really means and enjoy discovering the world from multiple angles.

Really one of the best parts about traveling on a tour with National Geographic Expeditions is the sheer breadth of knowledge, personal and professional experience their guides bring to the table. They help provide richly detailed context, historical information, and dive into the details of local life, by showing and doing as well as explaining. You the traveler will have the true experience of getting to know a place from the inside out.

If that wasn’t enough of a reason, proceeds from your trip price go towards supporting National Geographic’s ongoing nonprofit work in conservation, exploration, education, and cultural preservation.

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