These tour operators and companies offer a wide range of adventure travel tours but limit the size of the group. Some cap the number of travelers to 16, others to 20 or more.
The styles of travel vary from bare bones to luxury, but among these tour operators you'll find adventurous and active trips to all parts of the globe.
© 2011 Lois Friedland
G Adventures, formerly called Gap Adventures, offers a variety of imaginative trips, and several have been named to National Geographic Traveler magazine's "Tours of a Lifetime" lists.
The company offers different styles of trips. The "Basic" trips are for travelers who want their lodging set and guide advice but like lots of freedom to explore each day. The "comfort" trips offer a higher standard of lodging and transportation, and more guiding as a group. The "standard" level of service offers an even more upgraded level of service, lodging and transportation.
Intrepid Travel offers off-the-beaten path experiences in more than 90 countries. Trip styles include active adventures; challenges, where travelers combine cycling, trekking and some volunteer activities; independent travel; family travel; and Basix travel, which is definitely grassroots-style. Most are small-group trips where you use local transportation and stay in inexpensive lodging.
Classic Journeys is a boutique company that offers small-group, soft-adventure travel to more than 30 countries on five continents. There are three types of trips: cultural walking adventures, family journeys and culinary tours.
Wandrian Adventures mixes adventures, education, and culture into one-of-a-kind adventure travel packages. The company offers customized trips that are both eco-sensitive and sensitive to the cultures the group is visiting. Wandrian Adventures partners with 1% for the Planet.
Myths and Mountains
Myths and Mountains trips include homestays and unique festivals all over the world, treks with the nomadic people of rural Bhutan, and camping with the shamans of rain forest villages. There's a focus on helping local communities, so there may be an opportunity to volunteer during a trip. Group sizes vary with Myths and Mountains, so ask before booking.
Steve Turner/International Expeditions
International Expeditions offers small-group eco-tours and nature travel trips to exotic locations. Itineraries are designed to explore the soul of a region, through behind-the-scenes access to places and experiences. The group leaders are either naturalists or historians, sometimes both.
Courtesy of Grand Circle Corporation
Overseas Adventure Travel runs more than 75 escorted vacations, river cruises, and small group adventures by land and sea worldwide. More than 70 percent of the company's travelers are women, who want to travel in a small group environment.
Christine Ferrieu/Bredeson Outdoor Adventures
Bredeson Outdoor Adventures specializes in culturally oriented, guided and self-guided hiking and snowshoeing trips. The company offers snowshoe day trips in Vermont, Maine and Connecticut, and overnight trips in Europe. Summer hiking trips go to Europe. Bredeson runs some trips on set dates, offers privately guided trips year-round, and will set up self-guided trips for travelers.