Let’s get one thing straight right from the start – I am NOT a tour person. Nor am I a cruise person, for that matter. I love planning everything way too much for a start, and I despise the idea of being led around the over-priced and under-delivering ‘tourist spots’ of a destination like a pack of ducklings. No, tours just aren’t for me. Give me google maps and trip advisor any day and take the packed-out over air-conned tour bus for yourself.
But, Wait a minute.. Creative travel tours aren’t like the rest..
That all being said, I have come to realise that not all travel tours are created equal. I had a massive perspective shift when Intrepid Travel so generously sent me on an intrepid food tour of Mexico (see my post:that time I won a real food tour).
There were no tour busses, and no heaving groups of clicker-happy camera-wielding tourists. Nope. Just four of us, and a local who know where to find the good food.
This opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me – what if I could get shown the good bits, without all the typical tour-group nonsense? Well as it turns out, there’s a whole industry devoted to providing just that. Tours for people who hate tours. Intrepid adventures into some of the world’s most bizarre, fascinating and remote places. So, without any further ado, let me introduce to you 7 of my favourite creative travel tours that might just blow your mind.
Not much tugs at my sense of adventure more than exotic wild animals – and after seeing trekkers across Nepal re-reading their worn copy of ‘Snow Leopard’ for the 6th time, I have become all the more fascinated.
It’s no secret that I adore Intrepid Adventures, but I have only recently discovered their specialist range of ‘Expedition’ tours. These guys really push tours to an entirely new (and epic) level.
Specialised local guides will take you through the mountain ranges of Ladakh, in spectacular far-northern India in search of the elusive Snow Leopard. This adventure takes you well off the beaten tourist-trail and manages to combine it with some pretty other fascinating stopovers along the way. Check out the full itinerary for more info on this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and make sure to let me know if you book on – I will be eternally envious and would love to hear more about it! Learn more about ‘In search of the Snow Leopard here>>>
Another one from the Intrepid Adventure ‘Expedition’ files – this tour is just so crazy it almost sounds unreal. Check out the far-reaches of Kazakhstan, visit the space program at Baikonur to watch a rocket launch, traverse the Silk Road and even check out Chernobyl – yeah, wait, what?!? Pretty incredible, once-in-a-lifetime one-off expedition if you ask me.
One of my favourite things about Intrepid is how they are constantly pushing the limits of what you can do. Rather than wearing new grooves into the well worn tourist tracks, they are looking at how to provide people access to places and experiences that they could never plan for themselves. To me that is super cool, and I am totally in awe. Learn more about the Baikonur & Kazakhstan expedition here >>>
I hope you know me well enough by now to know that I work online. My laptop is my office, and that office is extremely portable. I take pride in working from all sorts of extreme and interesting places.
Well, turns out there’s tons of people like me out there – a crowd of traversing travelling types who fit under the umbrella of a ‘digital nomad’. Digital workers from all across the globe, who all want to find newer and better places to call their office.
In steps Coboat – a self professed ‘voyage of discovery’. These guys combing co-living, co-working, travel and retreats into once pretty fantastic journey at sea. Think work-hard, play-hard on board a gorgeous catamaran. Networking, activities and excellent WiFi all on board. Not quite a tour as such, but definitely a creative and fascinating way to get a group of likeminded people together for an adventure! Learn more about CoBoat here >>>
In search of Vikings? Ummm, yup! Got my attention. Another World Adventures have put together a pretty cool twist on the usual sailing tour, taking participants across the old route of the Vikings from Scotland to Iceland.
And it’s not just a sit-back-relax cruise deal either, this is a 22-day hands-on sailing trip through the Orkneys, Shetlands, Faroes and Outer Hebrides on the way to Iceland. Puffins, Villages, Iceland, and even a Viking excavation site. It’s pretty incredible really, and a bit of a history lesson in there as well. Awesome. Learn more about searching for Vikings here >>>
Have you ever stepped into an entirely new country, but walked away feeling like you never really got it? Usually the case when you spend too much time pent up within the restrictive walls of traditional tourist activities.
The solution? Meet the locals!!
Urban Adventures will take you into the house of a local Turkish family in Istanbul where they will take you for a stroll around the neighborhood, teach you their games, hobbies and traditions and give you a unique insider’s perspective into what life in Turkey is really like over a shared Turkish meal. How’s that for creative travel? Exploring a new destination doesn’t get much more authentic than this.
Pretty cool, am I right? Learn more about home cooked Istanbul here >>>
Do you know what a felucca is? I sure didn’t.. But it certainly got me curious for more! Turns out a felucca is: ‘a traditional wooden sailing boat used in protected waters of the Red Sea and eastern Mediterranean including Malta, and particularly along the Nile in Egypt, Sudan, and also in Iraq. Its rig consists of one or two lateen sails.’
And Traveltalk tours offer a pretty stunning 15 day felucca cruise down the Nile. World wonders abound and an exploration of one of the oldest cultures in history. Both Egypt and Jordan provide some stunning landscape, architecture and interesting culture. Something a little different than your average cruise! Learn more about Egypt & Jordan by felucca here >>>
Patagonia is so high up my to-do list right now, it looks breath-taking and has that element of the undiscovered that I like so much. Tucked away in the far reaches of South America, this sparsely populated region is shared by Argentina and Chile. Mountainous, coastal, grassy, deserts and steppes all feature here but right now it’s the horses we’ve come to see..
Technically the horse tracking is an add-on, and not a tour in its own right. But Cascada’s Patagonia eco tours look like an incredible way to experience some creative travel adventures, and wild horse spotting is just the icing on the cake here.
“Walk freely through pristine landscapes, where you’ll feel like an ancient tracker in search of these majestic animals” say Cascada, who will take you through these inspiring landscapes armed with a guide who is not only bilingual, but is also specialised in animal tracking and behaviour observation. Learn more about wild horse tracking here >>>
So, it turns out that tours aren’t all matching jumpers and megaphones after all. I feel like my whole perspective has been shifted! I am currently a bit obsessed with what fantastical tours I can find around the place, and would love to hear if you know of any!