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Since 2010 I have been on 14 different trips with G Adventures. The fact that I’ve been on so many trips should give you an indication of what I think of the company. Not only have I been on 14 different trips with G, but I’ve traveled with them to all seven continents and to 40 countries and territories around the world. I’ve had dinner with the founder, attended their annual corporate meeting, and have served as an ambassador for the company.
I guess I know the company about as well as anyone who isn’t an employee can.
This article isn’t a review in the same way that a movie review is. This isn’t intended to criticize, praise, or compare so much as it is intended to give you an overall idea of what you can expect when you are on a G Adventures trip. Each tour is a difference experience, so it is impossible to provide a review which covers every possible trip. Also, even though I’ve been on 14 different tours with G, they run hundreds of tours around the world, so your mileage may vary.
Booking the Trip
Figuring out where to go is probably the most challenging thing you will face. G runs tours in over 100 countries and going through the G Adventures book is a lot like a child with a Christmas catalog. If you would like a print brochure, you can order one on their website. If not, all of the brochure information is available online as well.
About half of all travelers on G trips will book their tour directly through G, either online or over the phone. The other half will usually book through a travel agent. This ratio will vary depending on the country, but these are the primary two methods.
Occasionally G runs promotions for certain tours where they will offer a discount. You can usually find these deals by subscribing to their email newsletter or following them on social media. Discounts from 5% to 30% off are possible depending on the deal which is being offered. (Note, these promotions are usually for specific trips to specific places, not a blanket discount on everything.)
In addition to the destination, you will also want to determine what type of tour you want to go on. G currently offers several different styles of tours for different travelers.
- National Geographic Journeys. This is a higher end product which is offered by G. The accommodations are usually a little bit nicer than the classic tours, and they will have a signature National Geographic experience on each tour.
- Classic Tours. As the name suggests, this is the typical tour for which G is famous for. Small groups, local tranpsortation, local experiences, and responsible travel.
- Active Tours. These tours will have some sort of physical activity component like hiking, cycling, or kayaking.
- 18-to-Thirtysomethings Tours. These tours are designed for (but not exclusively) a younger audience. They will often visit more places in a similar amount of time compared to a classic tour.
- Wellness Tours. These tours have a health and wellness component which could include yoga, , medidataion, or activities surrounding food.
- Marine Tours. This includes all the tours which are ship based, including polar expeditions, the Galapagos, sailing in the Mediterrean, and river cruises.
- Family Tours. As the name suggests, these tours are focused on families and will have activieis available for children.
- Rail Tours. Simiar to marine touris, except that the primary mode of transportation will be by train.
- National Geographic Family Journeys. This is a new tour style which is a higher end version of the classic family tours.
- Local Living Tours. These tours flip the idea of a tour on its head. Instead of traveling around from place to place, you can stay in one community and live like a local for the duration of the trip.
Once you are signed up for your trip, you will get a confirmation from G about your booking.
It is at this time you will want to download the G Adventures app for your smartphone. The app is available on iPhone and Android. The app is important as it provides detailed information about your tour, including the names and addresses of your hotels. This is information you will want to provide to your emergency contact back home.
If you book your tour with a travel agent, they can, of course, take care of your flights. If you book directly with G, they can also book flights for you if you wish.
If for some reason you have to cancel your tour, G allows your deposit to be used on any other G Adventures tour, at any time in the future.
The term CEO has a very different meaning at G Adventures than it does at other companies. In most companies, it stands for Chief Executive Officer. It is the person who runs the company and is in charge.
At G CEO stands for Chief Experience Office, and it refers to all of the tour guides in the company. Everyone who is out in the field running tours is known as a CEO. The CEO’s are the face of the company which most people see.
Your CEO is the person responsible for your transportation, accommodation, and everything else on your trip. If your tour has a group meal scheduled, your CEO will arrange it and get you there.
It is actually an extremely difficult job and I have a ton of respect for the people who do it.
Your CEO will usually speak the local language or a language which is known by locals. They will usually, but not always, hail from one of the countries you are visiting on your tour. (It should be noted that all G tours are run in English.)
Please make sure to tip your CEO at the end of the tour. A normal amount is $10-$20 per day for each day of the tour.
Day One of your tour is always a bit confusing because what is listed as day one is usually just the day everyone shows up. You will probably be scheduled to meet with your CEO in the lobby of the hotel you are staying at. Check for a sign in the lobby of the hotel with the G Adventures logo which will tell you the names of everyone else on the tour and what time you will be meeting in the evening.
After the initial meeting and introductions, you will usually go to have dinner somewhere nearby with everyone else on the tour.
The initial meeting is where the CEO will ask for proof of everyone’s https://worldnomads.com/” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>travel insurance and any documents such as visas which might be required for the rest of the tour.
If possible, you might want to consider arriving in the starting city a day early. This gives you a full day leeway if you have flight cancelations, delays, or lost luggage. In the event that something should happen, you will still have time to make the start of the tour.
If everything goes according to plan, you will have an extra day to explore the starting city on your own. I have often arrived early so I can explore sights, or even neighboring countries, which are on the tour schedule.
The first morning of the tour (Day 2) will usually be a tour of the starting city. This isn’t always the case, so make sure to check your schedule. Because you have more leeway for private exploration, the starting and ending cities usually don’t have as many activities planned as the destinations in the middle of the tour do.
During the Trip
Every tour will be different depending on the location and the tour style. There are, however, some elements which you will find on most G Adventures tours.
Social Enterprise Visits. G prides themselves on sustainable and responsible travel. As such, they have sponsored many social enterprises around the world. These are not charities so much as they are economically sustainable local enterprises which support the communities which they visit. There are dozens of these social enterprises which they have helped establish around the world. Which one you visit will depend on where you travel. Some of these include the Women’s Weaving Cooperative in Peru, the Women on Wheels which was started in India, the Thailand Community Trek in Northern Thailand, the Aboriginal Training Café in Australia, and many others. Many of these are run through their non-profit arm, Planeterra.
Travel Days Unless you are doing a local living tour, you are probably going to have one or more travel days. If you go from one place to another, this is unavoidable. You will have some days where most of your time will be spent on a bus, boat, train, or van. Make sure to bring a book or have some music to listen to. I find it is a good time to get through my podcasts. How much time is spent in-route will totally depend upon the individual tour you are on.
After the Tour
The last day of the tour is usually just the day everyone checks out of the hotel in the ending city, and they go their own way. As with the starting city, it is often worth staying an extra day just so you have more time to explore.
You will also be emailed a survey after the trip. G Adventures is a very data-driven company. They will use your feedback to improve their tours. If you submit your survey, you will get an automatic 5% off on your next tour, so it is definitely worth doing.
Your CEO might also take email addresses of everyone who would like to stay in touch with everyone else who was on the tour. This is totally voluntary. It is a great way to share photos from the friends you met on your trip and also keep in touch with them on social media. I have several dozen friends on Facebook that I’ve met on G Adventures trips.
After visiting 40 countries and territories with G Adventures, I have yet to have a bad trip or a bad CEO. There is a reason why G gets so many repeat travelers and wins so many industry awards. They do a fantastic job of taking regular people to not so regular places, all around the world.