G Adventures vs Intrepid?
Updated May 2019
‘G Adventures vs Intrepid Travel?’ Which is best?! If you’re trying to decide between these two similar adventure travel companies, this Intrepid and G Adventures review article should help you come to a decision.
We will be looking at loyalty programmes, cancellation policies, prices, availability, group size and travel style to come to a final conclusion about which adventure travel company is best! G Adventures or Intrepid Travel?
One of my favourite mottos is ‘Variety is the spice of life.’ It’s no different when I travel. Sometimes I travel solo, sometimes with friends and on occasion, I take a group tour with G Adventures or Intrepid Travel. I have now taken in excess of 15 group tours. 8 of these have been with G Adventures and 2 with Intrepid Travel.
In this article, I will draw upon my extensive personal experience with these two tour companies to review G Adventures and Intrepid Travel helping you to decide if either company is suitable for you and your next adventure abroad!
Find out what other people are saying;
What you can expect from this article...
- 1 Why take a group tour anyway?!
- 2 What are the Advantages of travelling with either G adventures or Intrepid Travel?
- 3 Who should Travel with G Adventures or Intrepid?
- 4 Do not book a group tour if you…
- 5 So let’s look at G Adventures vs Intrepid
- 6 G Adventures and Intrepid Travels vs World Expeditions
- 7 Intrepid Travel and G Adventures Vs TopDeck
- 8 Intrepid Travel or G Adventures vs Dragoman
- 9 So who wins this review? G Adventures vs Intrepid?
- 10 Intrepid Travel and G Adventures Reviews…
Why take a group tour anyway?!
For me, the main advantage of group adventure travel is that I can cram a lot into a short time frame which is useful when I’m trying to make the most of limited annual leave. For that reason, group adventure travel companies are great for busy professionals.
There are other advantages of course – it’s nice to have a ready-made set of travel friends and a knowledgeable guide to make sure you get the most out of your trip.
“No road is long with good company.” – Turkish Proverb
(see more travel quotes here.)
I have travelled with various small group tours in the past but most often with G Adventures and Intrepid Travel. To be quite honest, I would travel with either company again. I’ve had brilliant experiences with both.
However, there are differences and you may choose one over the other for a number of reasons. There may be one which suits YOUR needs better than the other. Today in this G Adventures vs Intrepid Travel review, I will discuss with you what those reasons are and hopefully help you decide which tour company to travel with for your next trip.
If you want to compare these small group adventures to other styles of group travel such as overlanding tours, then read this article; the best group tour companies for single travellers.
However, if you’ve narrowed it to down to G Adventures or Intrepid Travel, then read on…
What are the Advantages of travelling with either G adventures or Intrepid Travel?
- Both are internationally renowned companies, G Adventures (formerly known as GAP adventures) operating from Canada and Intrepid from Australia.
- Safety is taken seriously by both companies.
- Both are environmentally conscious, ethical and sustainable – more on that later.
- They contribute to local communities – again we’ll discuss that in more detail in just a moment.
- Both travel with small-ish group sizes. They average about 10 people and have a maximum of 16. Having travelled once with 30 people on a Topdeck trip, I can attest to the importance of small group sizes. I travelled around Europe on a topdeck trip many years ago. Whilst I had fun, I did often feel like we were herded cattle with over 30 of us on the coach!
- Both focus on authentic local experiences and getting off the beaten track. So you’ll often find some of the trips will include a homestay or a village tour. Places and activities which may not be in the guidebook but give you a much better feel for ‘real life.’
- Both will offer a mixture of included and optional activities so you will have plenty of free time should you want it.
- Both offer different levels of comfort so you can choose a level suited to your travel style.
- Both offer a huge variety of trips from sailing in the Maldives to spotting lions in Kenya.
If you are a bargain hunter, check out the sale prices here…
Who should Travel with G Adventures or Intrepid?
I cover this more in the article Group or Solo Travel – the good, the bad and the ugly. But basically, consider a small group trip with either of these companies if;
- You are seeking an off the beaten track adventure – not just staying in the big cities seeing the obvious landmarks.
- You like the company of others.
- You can be fairly flexible and are willing to compromise. You may not always get your choice of restaurant to eat in but you do always have the option of going alone if the group are doing something you don’t want to!
- You don’t get easily irritated by the habits of others.
- You are looking to pack a lot into a short period of time.
- You prefer travelling with others
- You feel too apprehensive to travel alone.
- You don’t have time to plan your own route and you want the convenience of a local guide who can tell you what are the best places to visit or the best places to eat.
Do not book a group tour if you…
- Generally, prefer being alone.
- Want the flexibility to stay somewhere longer when it takes your fancy!
- You are on a very tight budget. Whilst these tours are fairly priced, it is sometimes cheaper to travel alone (but not always!) You are paying for the convenience, the guidance and the luxury of having ready-made travel friends without the need to go looking for them! However, there are exceptions when group tours work out cheaper as they can often secure bulk deals. It really depends on your standard of travel and how many activities you want to do. If you want hotel rooms instead of dorms, decent meals out and activities every day, tours can actually work out cheaper as I have often found out in the past!
So let’s look at G Adventures vs Intrepid
G Adventures Review (formerly known as GAP adventures)
Types of travel with G Adventures
G Adventures offers various styles of travel so you can tailor your trip to your needs or preferred type of travel. G Tours currently include;
- 18-39 travel – if you want to hang out with people your own age.
- Active travel – more of a focus on activities such as kayaking, cycling and hiking. Best for those with a good level of fitness who want to keep active on their holidays.
- Classic travel – a mixture of included and optional activities.
- Private group travel – the trip planning and expertise without the strangers.
- Rail travel – where the predominant mode of travel is train such as some of the amazing rail trips in India or how about the Trans Siberian Express?
- Marine travel – sailing trips where you can expect lots of snorkel stops as well as stops at beaches and towns to explore on land. I absolutely fell in love with this style of travel when I went sailing in The Maldives with G Adventures.
- Local Living – there is less travelling involved with these trips. You may even stay predominantly at one location and take day trips from there. Some trips move between accommodations but there is less time on the road than on classic trips which cover more ground. Great for getting to know the area well and from a more local point of view.
- Family travel – trips for families. The children will have friends to explore with and will benefit from learning about other cultures, religions and traditions at a young age.
- Jane Goodall Collection trips – These trips are focussed on wildlife and are endorsed by international primatologist Dr Jane Goodall so you know they are ethical and sustainable with the wildlife’s best interests at heart.
- National Geographic trips – these are even more hands-on with insider access and tend to include upgraded accommodation and have more included extras.
I’ve taken several types of G Adventures trips including most recently the Sri Lanka Encompassed Classic Tour and these days my personal favourite G tours are the classic trips and marine adventures.
The classic trips have upgraded accommodations and attract people of a wider age range usually between mid 20’s and 60 ish with the average age about 30-35. I’m 32 so this suits me perfectly!
If you want to make sure you’re hanging out with people your own age, choose a G Adventures 18-39’s holiday. National Geographic G tours tend to attract older and more affluent groups.
There really is a trip type suitable for everyone with G Adventures!
The marine trips (small group sailing or cruising) attract a similar range like classic trips but I love how relaxed they are and I enjoy not having to pack up every few days! Why not read my Maldives G Adventures review next?! (There are other G Adventure reviews which may interest you towards the end of this article!)
G Adventures stance on sustainability
G Adventures take responsible travel really seriously and make the social and environmental welfare of the countries they visit an absolute priority.
They have a not-for-profit partner Planeterra which helps to empower local people to develop their communities and run over 50 enterprises worldwide. They target women, at-risk youths in rural and indigenous communities. I’ve visited many of these and I’ve always felt they were making a significant positive impact on the local communities.
G-Local – G adventures commitment to working with small locally owned businesses rather than multinational companies who let’s face it, are rolling in it already and do not need your money!
G Adventures have also made a commitment to animal welfare. They have adopted guidelines in association with the British Travel Agents in Conjunction with the Born Free Foundation.
Guaranteed departures – a great plus point if you choose G adventures. The trip is guaranteed so you will be going exploring. No excuses.
The best things about G Adventures
- They have more departure dates – some trips depart every single day!
- The price, in my experience, then to be slightly less for G adventures than Intrepid.
- If you cancel, there is a lifetime guarantee. This means the deposit you paid in will be kept back so in the future you can use it towards another trip of your choosing! Good to know it’s not money down the pan!
Disadvantages with G Adventures
- There is fractionally less choice than with Intrepid Travel. This has changed recently as G Adventures used to have more programmes than Intrepid.
- There is no long term loyalty programme BUT they do offer 5% off your next trip if you fill in a feedback form! This can work out better if you think you will only take a few G Adventures trips.
Intrepid Review (also known as Intrepid Travel)
Types of trip offered by Intrepid Travel
Intrepid offers more activity themed holidays such as
- Cycling Holidays.
- Foodie breaks – where the emphasis is on street food, local delicacies and cooking workshops.
- Adventure Cruising – Smaller than your average cruise ship so you can reach smaller ports and get further off the beaten track
- Sailing trips – small sailboats with a mixture of snorkelling and island visits.
- Walking and trekking trips
- Polar expeditions – take a walk on the wild side and go searching for polar bears and stunning scenery!
- Wildlife trips – where the focus is on safari or wildlife watching.
- Festivals – where the trip centres around a big festival such as Rio Carnival.
- Overland trips – travel by truck and camp overnight. These trips tend to be quite hands on – everyone works as a team.
- Short breaks – 2-5 days. This would be perfect to start your trip until you get your confidence and are happy to travel alone.
- Urban adventures – the best way to see a city if you’re short of time. These 1-day trips ensure you see as much as possible in a short timeframe.
- Family trips – like G Adventures, Intrepid also offers family trips where your children can make friends AND experience a new culture!
- Expeditions – a new addition to Intrepid trips. These help you get completely off the beaten track in more adventurous trips – See the Burma Ice mountains or hang out with the Nenet tribe in Siberia! There are also women-only expeditions into countries which are culturally sensitive about gender and where it may be an advantage to travel as a group of women only in order to interact more fully with the community (such as in Iran for example.)
I have taken both overlanding trips in Africa and sailing trips with Intrepid Travel. You can read my Thailand sailing Intrepid Travel review here. Again, there are more Intrepid Travel reviews towards the end of the article which may interest you!
Intrepid’s stance on sustainable travel
Intrepid has invested $5 million into grassroots projects worldwide. Grassroots essentially means projects which allow the community to help themselves – similar to G Adventures Planaterra scheme.
Intrepid has been a carbon neutral business since 2010 – they have 1400 carbon offset trips!
Intrepid stand by their principles. They were the 1st tour company to ban elephant rides on their tours and have removed orphanage visits as a means to help contribute to child protection.
Intrepid also has a charity called The Intrepid Foundation. Intrepid covers ALL of the admin costs so your money goes directly to the cause. Also, they match every donation you make and fund projects worldwide.
Advantages of an Intrepid Trip
- There are generally more options and variety of tours with Intrepid.
- They have a great loyalty programme whereby if you take 9 trips with them, you will get $1800 towards your 10th trip! After 30 trips, you will get a lifetime 10% discount.
- They tend to have slightly smaller group sizes.
- In my experience, Intrepid seems to attract a more mixed age group which is good for those who are >30. I’ve been on the occasional G Adventures trip where I was 10 years older than everyone there.
Disadvantages of an Intrepid Trip
- They are slightly less flexible on departure dates but most trips will depart once a week or once a fortnight, some more frequent.
- They are slightly more expensive though this is often marginal.
G Adventures and Intrepid Travels vs World Expeditions
I haven’t travelled with world expeditions since I was 17 (a trip organised through my 6th form college to Belize.) Unlike G Adventures and Intrepid where I have taken 10 trips.
However, I have taken a good look at their website and from what I can see, the trips there are significantly more expensive. Such as their 2 week Sri Lanka tour which is twice the price of G Adventures equivalent tour. For this reason, I suspect that World expeditions may attract a slightly older audience.
Intrepid Travel and G Adventures Vs TopDeck
Unless you are bit of a party animal, I would encourage you to choose Intrepid Travel or G Adventures over Topdeck. I did a Topdeck tour through Europe but found that the emphasis was on drinking instead of sightseeing.
I remember one day when we were in Venice, the Topdeck group insisting we went back to our campsite early as half the group had raging hangovers. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a glass of vino or two, especially when I travel but when a hangover stops me from seeing somewhere I’ve been dreaming about for a while, well that’s probably not the tour for me! Since then I have stuck with G Adventures and Intrepid.
Intrepid Travel or G Adventures vs Dragoman
I think Dragoman definitely has a place in the market and I enjoyed my overlanding trip throughout South America. I do prefer G Adventures and Intrepid in general mainly because they use local guides which are more informative. They give back to the local communities more and the accommodation is more comfortable. That said for places like Africa, overlanding trips such as those with Dragoman can be a real adventure!
So who wins this review? G Adventures vs Intrepid?
In truth, I’m not sure there is a clear winner in the G Adventures vs Intrepid debate. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. I do however feel that both companies are superior compared to their other competitors like Topdeck, Contiki, World Expeditions and Dragoman mentioned above.
Where G Adventures have a better cancellation policy, Intrepid has a great loyalty programme. That said, G Adventures now offers 5% off subsequent trips which does add up! If you think you’ll be doing more than 10 trips then the Intrepid loyalty programme does offer better value for money. If you think you’ll only take a few trips then the G Adventures loyalty scheme is better.
G Adventures offers more departure dates but Intrepid offers more choice. Both are ethical and sustainable companies delivering high-quality tours and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed whichever you choose!
Still not sure which company to choose?! Maybe reading these reviews by other travellers will help…
Check out currently discounted trips by clicking below ➡️
Intrepid Travel and G Adventures Reviews…
Here are some G Adventures and Intrepid tours I can personally recommend!
Maldives Dhoni Cruise – G Adventures – 7 days
I spent a week sailing around the Maldives with G Adventures. We spent our days snorkelling reefs, chilling on sandbars and exploring deserted islands. We danced with the locals at a drumming evening and we had dinner under the stars on a beach lit up with candles. It was bliss.
I was always blown away by the attention to detail by the crew. One guy dropped his prescription sunglasses in the ocean. 2 crew went free diving for over an hour, still couldn’t find the glasses so the captain hopped in the dinghy, went to visit another nearby boat to borrow their dive equipment and returned the glasses safely! Now THAT is service!!
Sri Lanka Encompassed – G Adventures – 14 days
This particular Sri Lanka G Adventures trip was action-packed and extremely varied. We trekked through rainforest, relaxed on gorgeous beaches, took safari’s to see leopards and elephants, visited tea plantations, cities and temples. It is definitely one of my favourite countries to visit and this trip comes highly recommended. Read my full review here.
Phuket Sailing Adventure – Intrepid – 7 days
Sailing around Thailand’s islands with Intrepid is a super relaxed way to get about the best snorkel spots, beaches and islands. There are loads of great stops such as Railay Beach and Ko Phi Phi. Read my full Intrepid review here.
Kenya Wildlife Adventure – Intrepid Travel – 8 days
This Intrepid Kenya trip combines culture with wildlife. Stay overnight at a Masai village and visit the iconic Masai Mara as well as plenty of other great wildlife spots along the way! I recommend taking a walking safari at Lake Naivasha.
Galapagos on board the Monserrat – G Adventures – 10 days
The best way to see The Galapagos is by a G Adventures budget cruise and I cannot recommend it enough. From the food to the rooms to the guides – it was all brilliant. But the main highlight is the wildlife – from spotting orcas to swimming with curious sea lions! Read about it here in this G Adventures review ➡️ Galapagos G Adventure review.
Classic Peru – G Adventures – 10 days
This Peru G Adventures tour combines the main highlights Cusco, Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu. Choose between The Inca Trail or The Lares trek – I personally recommend the Lares trek. Click here ➡️ to read more about The Lares Trek in my G Adventures Lares review or read my detailed Classic Peru G Adventures review.
Indochina Discovery – G Adventures – 30 days
Visits all the main highlights in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam with G Adventures from Angkor Wat to Halong Bay. My favourite though was Luang Prabang in Laos. So much culture and scenery and it’s incredibly peaceful! Kuang Si Waterfalls are the best I have ever seen. Read about my Laos experience here. This trip is a brilliant overview of SouthEast Asia featuring beaches, mountains, coast and culture. Perfect for a mini-sabbatical!
Bangkok to Singapore on a Shoestring – G Adventures – 14 Days
A great combination of rural and city locations. The visit to Koh Samui actually takes you to a really peaceful deserted beach – an oasis of calm on the renowned party island so don’t let the name put you off! This was one of my highlights!
So what are you waiting for? Get booking your G Adventures or Intrepid Adventure! You won’t regret it! I hope you’ve found this review helpful. Click these links to see if any of their trips inspire YOUR next adventure!
- The Best Group Travel Companies for Singles
- Solo Travel vs Group Travel
- G Adventures Maldives Dhoni Cruise review
- G Adventures Classic Peru Review
- G Adventures Galapagos affordable cruise review
- Intrepid Sailing from Phuket, Thailand Review
- Cambodia and Vietnam G Adventures tour review
Have you been on a G Adventures or Intrepid Travel trip before? What did you think? Or do you have any questions that I haven’t yet answered in this Intrepid and G Adventures review? If so please comment below and I will get back to you ASAP. As always, I really appreciate if you can share this post and help me get the word out about these fabulous adventure companies!