Backpacking often means doing things independently and on a budget. Generally when we think of tours, we think of a guide that’s holding our hands and telling us of every move to make. Not all tours are like this though. There are several tour companies that understand the needs of a backpacker to be independent. They have the option to take out all the bells and whistles to strip down to the experience of what backpackers may be seeking. Why would a backpacker need a tour? Because you can’t do everything on your own. It’s almost impossible or difficult to stay over night at Halong Bay in Vietnam without booking some sort of arrangement. A tour would then need to be booked. As independent as we strive to be, we simply cannot do some things without the help of others and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s especially great when you still want to be a backpacker but you’re limited on time.
Note: I was not paid to mention any of these. I did however try to contact each company to get more information of what they were offering for backpackers. I had tried contacting many tour companies. Gap Adventures was the only company that replied back to my email.
They have over 1,000 adventure tours to over 100 countries and have been in business since 1990. That’s impressive. Gap Adventures has a list of trip styles and the style that interests me most is the independent style. It gets further broken down by service style which includes Basic, Standard, Comfort, and Superior. Perfect for looking for a trip more your style.
Founded in 1989, it’s a company with long standing history with a good reputation as a small group adventure travel company. They have various styles and themes of tours in which all of them seem to match what a backpacker may want. Intrepid’s website is one of my favorite parts about them. It’s simple and has loads of information about the company, what they support, and what you get out of every package. They support responsible travel like being carbon neutral company and even has travel guidelines for travellers.
I’ve taken one of their tours before but it was free. I won a free voucher from quiz night at a Sydney hostel to their Blue Mountains tour. They are based in Australia and only offer packages nationwide. They specially target backpackers styles are broken down by activity. There isn’t much information about the individual tours but if you visit one of their branches that are spread out throughout Australia, they have much more information.
Popular throughout Europe, Contiki targets 18 to 35 year olds. Most of their information could be found in their Contikipedia which is helpful. They offer three different styles of touring – Time Out/Superior/Hotel Tours, Concept/Budget Tours, and Camping Tours. The Concept/Budget and Camping Tours are only available during the summer. Contiki may be a good option for first time travelers that want a bit more hand-holding in their trip.