We may be biased, but we believe that there's no better way to travel than as part of a small group. With just 12 to 24 people, our small groups offer a slew of benefits that simply can't be matched via solo traveling or joining a conventional group tour of 40 or more. It's the perfect blend of guided and free time, plus the ability to enjoy unique experiences unavailable to larger groups while venturing off the beaten path, where individual travelers may not know to go.
Looking for even more reason to join a small group tour? Read on!
Intimate experiences available only to small groups.
Many of our tours include visits with local families in their homes or villages, and excursions to schools and marketplaces. These personal encounters with citizens of our destinations bring us closer to the local culture, giving us a much more revealing look at daily life than would be possible if we simply stuck to the main sightseeing itineraries. For example, on our Insider's Japan tour, we visit the gallery of preeminent calligrapher Koshun Masunaga, where we learn about this ancient art of artistic writing and drawing, browse her collection, and take a calligraphy lesson from the master herself. It’s an art form that is highly respected in Japan, and this visit is our first glimpse into a lesser-known corner of Japanese culture.
Freedom and flexibility to explore (or relax) on your own.
We value the freedom and individuality of our guests, which is why we offer time at leisure during many of our touring days. Our tour directors will always be on hand to offer suggestions on how to spend your free time, and should you wish to sit out an included tour or two and go off on your own, you're entirely free to do so.
Meeting like-minded travelers.
One of the more underappreciated benefits of traveling in a small group is the ability to build lasting relationships with your traveling companions. We've had many stories of guests starting the trip as strangers, and by the end, they're already planning to travel together again. With a maximum group size of 24 people, guests get to know each other well within the first few days of the trip, and a great group of people can enhance the enjoyment of any adventure immeasurably.
Individual attention from local Tour Directors.
Another benefit of the smaller group dynamic is that the tour director can give each guest the attention that he/she deserves. We believe that personal attention is key to an outstanding travel experience, and our tour directors' love of travel is equaled only by their desire to share their enthusiasm, knowledge, and helpful spirit with their guests. From suggestions for local restaurants to visit, to little known museums to explore, to helping secure tickets to a musical performance or art show, our TDs offer their personal service to each guest.
Traveling nimbly, and responsibly, with minimum impact.
With 24 or fewer people, we can tour sites of ancient ruins and historical significance responsibly and with a minimum of impact on the preservation work that has been done. Also, when we immerse ourselves in the local culture, we are able to integrate without overwhelming our local hosts. Above, you can see some of our guests joining in the farming at a community-based rice farm in Laos.
Stays at unique, historic, and boutique lodgings.
We work hard to ensure that our lodgings enhance the quality of our tours. We stay in high-quality, well-located hotels; and on many tours we enjoy stays in places that larger groups couldn't due to their size. For example, on our Paradores & Pousadas, Across Spain and Portugal, and Discovering Portugal tours, we stay in the intimate historic lodgings of these Iberian nations, giving us a chance to soak up the craftsmanship and beauty of these lasting buildings.
And a bonus photo of one of our guests with several young photo enthusiasts on our Journey through Vietnam tour, because it's too cute not to share: