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Gap Year Tours

Find your perfect backpacking holiday

Let’s count the reasons backpacking tours are awesome: there are literally thousands of options to take you anywhere in the world, covering pretty much every experience imaginable, from road-tripping Australia to trekking the Himalayas in Nepal. They offer expert introductions to places and people, both locals and like-minded travellers to share the experience with. They include all the highlights of your chosen destination, so you can rest safe in the knowledge you won’t miss anything.

Planning gap year tours is really as simple as choosing one. The best thing about a tour is that all the planning is done for you by experts, so all the essentials have been taken care of. You just need to turn up. Backpacking holidays don’t get much better than that.

Below are ten frequently asked questions about backpacking adventure tours, covering everything from types of tour to how they can be used to create your perfect adventure.

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What is an adventure tour?

Adventure tours are packages with set itineraries that take you around a country (or multiple countries) for a certain length of time. Tours can last for anything from three days to a year, and might all take place in a single destination or let you explore a whole continent. They are complete packages, providing everything you need to enjoy your chosen experience. You will travel as part of a small group, usually somewhere between 10-20 people.

What kinds of gap year tours are available?

Loads! There are tours available to cover almost anything you can think of. The most common types of tour take you on an incredible journey through a destination, seeing all of its famous sights (and often a few hidden wonders) while getting to grips with its culture by meeting local people, eating delicious local food, and experiencing the local nightlife. Multi country tours offer something similar across multiple destinations in a region, for example a tour of South East Asia might include the highlights of Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

There are also more specific or specialist tour options available around the world, for example hiking across New Zealand, overland tours through Africa, or cycling through South East Asia. Tours offer everything you need to have a safe, unforgettable adventure. If you can dream it, you can do it.

What do adventure tours include?

Tour inclusions will vary depending on which tour you choose, so we always recommend checking carefully before booking. As a general rule, backpacking packages will include an English-speaking tour guide, transport, accommodation, and a set number of meals. Most will also include the admission fees for any tourist sites visited. This is why backpacking tours usually represent incredibly good value.

Many tours will also provide optional activities that will cost a little extra on top of your initial fee. These can often be viewed before departure.

Do adventure tour prices include airfare?

The majority of backpacking tours will not include flights to the destination where the tour begins. You will be responsible for arranging your travel to the tour’s departure city, where you can usually be picked up from your accommodation. Internal flights or flights necessary for multi country trips will be included in the tour price.

Can tours be part of a bigger trip?

Although tours have fixed itineraries and duration, they can work incredibly well as part of larger backpacking holidays. Many travellers spend much of their gap years linking together different tours in different parts of the world, using them to move from destination to destination. So you might spend a couple of weeks getting wild in Bangkok, Thailand, before taking a tour across South East Asia – Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam – as part of a tour before ending up in Hanoi. After settling there for a few weeks, you might fly on for a tour through Malaysia and Indonesia, or head up into China. Think of tours as the links in a flexible trip, and you’ll soon realise the possibilities are endless.

Do tours include some free time to explore?

Many tour itineraries include some free time to explore destinations along the way, though the nature of some tours means it isn’t always possible. It’s more common on backpacking trips that take you through cities, such as tours in Europe, some turning you loose for the night and others incorporating whole days to do with as you will. If free time is important to you, check the tour itinerary carefully before booking.

How many people can join a tour?

Tour group sizes are deliberately kept small so that you can experience a destination without always having to do so as part of a crowd. Group sizes vary depending on the tour you choose, but you can usually expect a maximum of 20 travellers, though the average is closer to 10. We think intimate group sizes are ideal for meeting people and making new travel mates, one of the best things about travelling as part of a tour.

Are backpacking tours always rowdy?

While you can never quite guarantee what type of person will be joining you on your tour, different tour providers offer different types of experience. If you’re interested in partying as well as visiting tourist sites, there are tour providers that foster that kind of atmosphere. If you would rather keep it a little quieter, there are also plenty that focus on providing a cultural experience. We recommend speaking to your consultant about what kind of experience you’re after.

Can I find out who will be joining me on a tour?

Due to privacy reasons we can’t tell you exactly who you will be travelling with on any individual tour. Gap year tours appeal to a wide range of travellers, so you can expect to meet plenty of people with the same outlook and ideas as you. Most tours are conducted in English, so the majority of travellers hail from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, North America, or Europe. Specialist departures in other languages are often available too.

Can I join a tour late or leave it early?

It is usually extremely difficult to join a tour after it has begun, while it will usually be possible to leave a tour early if you wish. However you will be responsible for your own travel arrangements after leaving, and any associated costs. If you think you may need to leave a tour early, make this clear as early as possible in the booking process.

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