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Since 2010, I’ve 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 tour company.
I know G Adventures about as well as anyone could who isn’t an employee.
Rather than review G Adventures like you might review a movie—with criticism, praise, or comparison—I’ll share an overall idea of what you can expect on a G Adventures trip, so you can decide if the tour company is a good fit for your travel style and your goals for your next trip. Each G tour is a difference experience, so it is impossible to provide a review covering every possible trip. And 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 Your G Adventures Trip
Figuring out where to go is probably the most challenging part of your trip! G Adventures runs tours in over 100 countries and going through the tour company’s booklet of trips is a lot like a child with a Christmas catalog. If you’d like a print brochure, you can easily order one on their website and review all the different destinations and options—all of brochure information is also available online.
About half of all travelers on G Adventures trips book their tour directly through G, either online or over the phone. The other half usually book through a travel agent. This ratio varies 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 being offered and your desired destination. (Note, these promotions are usually for specific trips to specific places, not a blanket discount on everything.)
In addition to picking a destination, you will also want to determine what type of tour you want to go on. G Adventures currently offers many different styles of tours for different travelers, so review what takes place on each tour so you can choose one that best matches your travel goals:
- National Geographic Journeys. This is one of G Adventures’ higher end products. The accommodations are usually a bit nicer than classic tours, and each tour will feature a signature National Geographic experience.
- Classic Tours. As the name suggests, this is the company’s most famous and typical tour, and every classic tour features small groups, local transportation, local experiences, and aspects of responsible travel woven right into the tour experience.
- Active Tours. These tours all have some sort of physical activity component, such hiking, cycling, or kayaking. Check the tour page listing’s “Physical Rating,” which will indicate the level of exertion you can expect. All active tours tend to have a higher physical rating, usually 4 or 5, which corresponds to a “demanding” or “challenging” tour—you can also find a few 3 ratings, which are active but not difficult.
- 18-to-Thirtysomethings Tours. These tours are designed for—but not exclusive to—a younger audience. Previously known as YOLO tours, they often move quickly, visiting more places in a similar amount of time compared to the G Adventures classic tours.
- Wellness Tours. These trips all have a health and wellness component which could include yoga, meditation, or activities surrounding food.
- Marine Tours. This style of tour includes all ship-based trips, including polar expeditions, the Galapagos, sailing in the Mediterranean, and river cruises.
- Family Tours. As the name suggests, these tours are focused on families and have activities available for children.
- Rail Tours. Similar to marine tours, these rail journeys use trains as the primary mode of transportation.
- National Geographic Family Journeys. This is a rather new tour style for the company—it offers a higher-end version of the classic family tour.
- Local Living Tours. These tours flip the idea of a tour on its head. Instead of traveling around from place to place, you stay in one community and live like a local for the duration of the trip.
Once you’ve reviewed your many tour options, selected the style of trip that best suits your travel goals, and have signed up, you will receive a confirmation from G Adventures about your booking.
It’s at this time you’ll want to download the G Adventures app for your smartphone—the app is available for both iPhone and Android. The G app is important because it provides detailed information about your tour, including the names and addresses of your hotels. You should provide this information to your emergency contact back home.
Life is unexpected and 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.
Do G Adventures Trips Include Flights?
If you book your tour with a travel agent, they can, of course, take care of your flights. But not everyone realizes that if you book your trip directly with G Adventures, the company can also book flights for you.
What is a G Adventures CEO? (And Should You Tip?)
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’s the person who runs the company.
At G, CEO stands for Chief Experience Office, and it refers to all of the company’s tour guides. Everyone out in the field running tours is known as a CEO. The CEOs are the face of the company—these are the people most travelers will most remember and essential represent the face of G Adventures to travelers.
Your CEO is the person responsible for your transportation, accommodation, communicating on the ground, and everything else on your trip. If your tour has a group meal scheduled, your CEO will arrange it and get you there.
Being a G Adventures CEO is actually an extremely difficult job, and I have a ton of respect for the people who do it.
Your CEO usually speaks the local language, or a language known by locals. They usually—but not always—hail from one of the countries you’re visiting on your tour. (It should be noted that all G Adventures tours are run in English.)
Should you tip your G Adventures CEO?
Yes. That’s the short answer. If you’re wondering how much to tip your CEO, at the end of the tour, it’s customary to tip about $10 to $20 per day for each day of the tour.
The first day of your G Adventures tour is always a bit confusing because what’s listed as day one is usually just the day everyone shows up. Review your itinerary, but note that you’ll almost always be scheduled to meet with your CEO in the lobby of your hotel. Check for a sign in the lobby of the hotel that has the G Adventures logo—this will tell you the names of everyone else on the tour and what time you should be prepared to meet in the evening.
After the initial meeting and introductions, you’ll usually have dinner somewhere nearby with everyone else on the tour. This initial meeting is where the CEO will ask for proof of everyone’s travel insurance (I highly recommend World Nomads), and any documents—such as visas—that 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 experience any flight cancellations, delays, or lost luggage. In the event that something should happen, you will still have time to start the tour on time.
If everything goes according to plan, then 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, that are not on the tour schedule.
The first morning of your G Adventures tour (day two) is usually a tour of the starting city. This isn’t always the case, so make sure to review 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.
During Your G Adventures Trip
Every tour is different depending on the location and the tour style. There are, however, some elements that you’ll 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 that support their local communities. G Adventures has helped establish dozens of these social enterprises all around the world. Which one you visit depends on where you travel, and your style of G tour. Some social enterprises include Women’s Weaving Cooperative in Peru, Women on Wheels in India, Thailand Community Trek in Northern Thailand, Aboriginal Training Café in Australia, and many others. Many of these are run through G’s non-profit arm, Planeterra.
Travel Days. Unless you’re on a local living tour, you’re probably going to have one or more travel days in your trip itinerary. If you’re moving 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 downloaded and ready—I find these travel days are a good time to plough through my podcasts. How much time is spent en route totally depends on your the individual tour.
When Your G Tour Finishes
The last day of of your G Adventures tour is usually just the day everyone checks out of the hotel in the ending city, and everyone will then go their own way. As with the starting city, it’s often worth staying an extra day just so you have more time to explore.
G Adventures is a very data-driven company and the company will email you a survey after your trip. 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 filling out the survey.
Your CEO might also ask for email addresses from everyone who would like to stay in touch with everyone else on the tour. This is totally voluntary, but it’s a great way to share photos with the friends you met on your trip, and also keep in touch with everyone 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.
Tours I’ve Taken with G
- Budapest to Istanbul
- Sydney to Cairns
- Alice Springs to Melbourne (2 trips)
- Central America (El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala)
- National Parks and Bright Lights
- Highlights of Haiti
- Antarctica (Spirit of Shackleton)
- Baltic Adventure
- West Africa Cruise
- Central Asia
- South India (Kerala)
- South Africa
- Galapagos Islands 2x