Why G Adventures is the Best
For one reason or another – you’ve started researching group tours and have likely found yourself overwhelmed by all the options. These days, tour groups are a dime a dozen, so I really don’t blame you.
In my humble(ish) opinion, G Adventures is the best one to travel with. Why, you ask? For starters, they organize tours on literally every continent (brb..saving up my life savings for the Antartica trips) which isn’t something most tour groups do, let alone do well.
I also wholeheartedly believe in their mission.
I recently finished reading their founder’s book, so maybe that’s why I’m on an extra strong G kick lately. If you’ve ever thought about entrepreneurship or have a passion for sustainability or branding, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Looptail as well.
Bruce Poon Tip (the founder) did things differently from day one. He epitomizes the word “innovation” and all his tours make a sincere effort to give back to local communities. The company stands for a few key values, like most brands out there, but these guys actually strive to live their values each and every day. They even gave me a t-shirt (and that Looptail book) at a conference when I mentioned one of their values offhand. (“We love changing people’s lives.” I do too!)
Why I Know So Much About G Adventures
Scroll down if you want more deets on the tours I did. Honestly, even if I don’t know you, feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Or you can comment below – I always reply 🤗
This is just a short list of reasons why I think G Adventures is the best tour group out there:
Solo Travel is Encouraged
Some group tour operators actually charge you extra if you travel solo.
- Usually it’s a hotel room “surcharge.” But not G Adventures (and a few others). It’s nice to know that a) you won’t be the only one and b) you will save money by going by yourself. As it should be.
They Keep Things Local
You won’t find yourself staying in a Hilton on a G tour.
- They source hotels and restaurants from locally-owned businesses, and do everything they can to keep tourism in the hands of the locals.
They live by the mantra: “Travel is an exchange, not a commodity.”
- To me, that means they embody my favorite part of traveling; sharing cultures, values and ideas.
- On their tours, you won’t find a bunch of rich white Americans in red tour busses who may try one piece of raw fish and decide they really “got” what it was like to be in Asia. Instead, you’ll meet amazing people from all over the world and have meaningful conversations about politics and religion, plus experience genuine hospitality and local cuisine.
Planeterra Gives Back
G Adventures funds an independent non-profit called Planeterra that helps local philanthropies operate in their respective cities/countries.
- In India, we worked with Women on Wheels to guarantee an airport transfer for me (win) and job for her admist a still heavily sexist culture (bigger win).
- Another included activity in India was a City Walk around New Delhi with a local boy who grew up homeless and defeated the odds to go to college. Vishal, along with many other street kids, faced a particularly hard childhood, but he works hard to make sure other young Indian kids won’t have to.
You use lots of local transportation.
- Rickshaws, tuk tuks, wooden boats..you name it, you’ll try it
G Adventures cares about animals.
- The company would never encourage elephant rides or animal abuse of any kind.
They brand their tours with lots of different names.
- I’ve done the Yolo Tours geared to ages 18-35. They usually offer the cheapest accommodation.
- I also did a Classic Tour; it’s a bit of an upgrade, though this also means you could be paired with a 65-year-old couple on the tour. (Which happened to us & they were the absolute best)
- Active Tours & Marine Tours seem cool too. Local Living tours are brand new but also dope.
- At the end of the day, choose what’s right for you. But you definitely won’t be disappointed.
All the tour guides are called CEOs.
- The founder renounced his title as CEO because he feels the people who talk to customers each and every day are actually the most important part of his business.
- And in my experience, all our tour guides have gone above and beyond with exceptional service to prove this.
The Guides Live Up To Their Name
- On my first day in Bali the airport transfer I pre-paid for never came to pick me up. When my CEO (whom we affectionately called “Mom”), found out, she called the G Adventures HQ every single day until finally, on my last day of the tour, I got a free shuttle bus that took me to my friend’s villa on the other side of the island. I wasn’t even going to the airport yet, but they made it up to me because of her persistence.
- My guides in Africa both lived in Cape Town and after our tour finished they hung out with and even hosted a few people in our group. Sadly I had to go home before they made it to Cape Town. Which leads me to my next point…
The Size of the Group Will Often Change.
- Be prepared for some (if not most) in your group to venture onward without you, as they’re likely on a 20+ day trip together and you’ve only opted into the short one.
- Or sometimes, they’ve been traveling together for a few weeks before your leg of the trip starts.
- It’s honestly my least favorite part about doing group tours but there’s not much you can do about it. Unless you can teach the U.S Government why we need 3-4 weeks of paid holidays like the rest of the world…
Your deposit has a “lifetime guarantee.”
- This is something they trademarked. If you can’t go at the last min for whatever reason, just apply that deposit towards another trip for anytime in the future.
All the tour guides are from the country/region you will be traveling to.
- This is NOT something that most other tour companies do. It’s definitely one of my favorite parts of G Adventures.
- I always cozy up to them and ask them the kinds of questions my curious mind wants answers to, without offending them/their culture because they’ve gotten to know me, as opposed to asking a stranger on the street.
So what are you waiting for? BOOK IT!
More deets on the tours I’ve done are below…
G Adventures Tours I’ve Done
TL/DR: You don’t need to go on a group tour to Bali.
My Opinion: It’s literally a haven for digital nomads slurping acai bowls and probably one of the safest places in the world. I did one anyway because sometimes, the convenience of having everything planned for you outweighs the “necessity” of a tour.
We did some pretty amazing things on our tour that you wouldn’t get to do on your own, like most notably, our lunch at Yayasan Bhakti, a school for disabled children led by these two amazing ladies below.
Also, this is a Classic Tour, which means it’s a bit more expensive than a Yolo. For the price, we stayed in some of the nicest hotels on the island. I got pampered to a few full body massages for about $40 for an hour. I could’ve probably spent less than $400 on a week in Bali if I went the frugal route, but this felt like downright luxury for less than $1,000.
TL/DR: This is a great introduction to India for those who don’t have a lot of time (aka any American with a desk job) and who want to tackle some main highlights.
My Opinion: I wish this tour included a famous train ride but there just wasn’t enough time. Similar to Bali, it came with some “extras” that I would’ve never gotten to experience on my own. We spent a night in a rural village to break up one of our longer drives and it was truthfully rural. There were no other tour busses, no cameras, no souvenir shops. We stayed in tents that G Adventures helped a local farm family build up.
TL/DR: If you’re not into camping, this is not the tour for you. If you want a real African bush experience where you can listen to elephants bathing in a river (and hey, maybe approach your tent) then it is.
My Opinion: This is the kind of adventure tour groups like this are made for. We were protected from the wildlife in our giant overland vehicle where we spent hours gazing upon the scenery and playing international card games. I personally knew nothing about camping, but it enhanced my experience to find monkeys rummaging around our campsite in the morning or to sleep so close to the wildlife. Our guides were amazing, too. Our driver Julian was like a walking encyclopedia about all the animals.