For those truly epic, once-in-a-lifetime destinations, you want to leave your itinerary to the experts. Whether your dream is to see the Big Five on an African Safari, trek tall mountains, explore European cities, or something even wilder, a group tour is the easiest way to do it.
However, picking the wrong group tour companies is the quickest way to ruin your trip. Make sure you choose a tour company that aligns with your goals and travel styles. Do you want a small group tour or do you like making friends in a big group? Does the price line up with what you like (luxury vs. budget)? Is the itinerary going to all the places you want to see?
We’ve done the research and found the very best group travel tour companies for 2021 for every type of traveler.
Best Overall Group Travel: Exodus Travels
With trips on every continent, Exodus Travels covers anywhere on this planet that you could possibly want to go, from popular destinations like the Amalfi Coast to well off-the-beaten path adventures like Tajikistan. This award-winning group travel company boasts thousands of repeat customers who sign up for trips year after year (97% of past participants would recommend Exodus Travels to a friend).
These small group tours operate with only around 12-16 people, and always feature experienced local leaders who can give you a unique insight into your destination. Exodus Travels caters to any type of travel style, including trips broken down by type of activity (think walking, cycling, multi-adventure, winter, or cultural) as well as type of traveler (family, age group, etc.). There are curated collections (coastal, “away from it all”, European wilderness, and trips of a lifetime) to inspire you, as well as self-guided options for when you want all the benefits of a group tour planner without the actual group. Looking for that special safari? Exodus Travels just recently partnered with the African Wildlife Foundation to create carefully curated luxury adventures that go above and beyond the standard safari.
Exodus Travels tours work for almost any budget, with options that range from affordable to premium.
Best Budget Group Travel: G Adventures
One Life Adventures
For travelers on a budget, G Adventures offers cheap group tours that make dream destinations accessible to nearly anyone. (Think: sailing the Galapagos for only $1,099, tour the famous landmarks of India for $1199, or spending 9 days in Bali for less than $900.)
G Adventures is one of the best tour companies for solo travelers as well, as most trips don’t have a single-supplement. You can choose to share a room with another G Adventures solo traveler, or pay extra to have your own space.
G Adventures keeps costs down by opting for cheaper hotels and local meals, and making certain activities optional (for an additional cost). Pick your travel style, which range from “basic” to a more luxe tours run in partnership with National Geographic, to find the best tour for you. Family tours, local living tours (featuring homestays), and wellness-focused tours are also available.
For the Love of Travel
Want to be on a tour with travelers in your own age group? If you’re in your 20s or 30s, For the Love of Travel (FTLO) is the group tour company for you. Founder Tara Cappel launched FTLO as a way to help younger travelers get out and see the world while making new friends. “Our trips are hassle-free (like a vacation) but have the adventure and cultural enrichment of solo travel,” says Cappel. “Each itinerary is designed to include unique activities and authentic cultural experiences while still giving travelers plenty of time to explore on their own. Plus, we run each trip as if we were traveling with our own friends—because by the end of it, we are.”
FTLO offers longer trips to dreamy destinations like the Amalfi Coast or Jordan, as well as weekender trips to nearby hotspots like Mexico or Denver, for travelers who are pressed for time.
Best Educational Group Tours: EF Go Ahead Tours
Go Ahead Tours
When you really want to learn about a destination, consider a group trip with EF Go Ahead Tours. EF is the world’s largest private education company, and the Go Ahead Tours arm capitalizes on the company’s relationships with local educators, historians, and tour guides to create group trips that take you deep into a destination.
These small group tours generally cap at 38 travelers, and feature unique educational experiences. For a bucket list trip, EF Go Ahead Tour’s special event tours are particularly enticing, as they offer behind-the-scenes access to tough-to-plan trips like Oktoberfest in Munich or Cherry Blossom season in Japan.
Intimidated by solo travel? EF Go Ahead Tours is a great option for solo travelers, since it offers designated trips for solo travelers, where everyone is traveling alone, making it less intimidating.