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.

Have a look at some of our top tours around the world

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Oktoberfest Opening Week

from £254

4 days

Germany

The largest beer festival in the world, held since 1810, Oktoberfest is an experience of a lifetime.The opening week is...

South Island Lick Tour

from £695

7 days

New Zealand

Be awed by stunning mountains, fantastic views, and the amazing Queenstown on this South Island trip where you'll experience unbeatable...

Stoke Passport

from £490

12 - 720 days

The Stoke Travel Passport gives full flexibility to the open-minded traveller, so you can experience Europe’s biggest cultural festivals, surf...

South Ireland Adventure

from £630

10 days

Ireland

Wild Atlantic Way, Galway, Croagh Patrick, Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Peninsula, Kilkenny, Inis Oirr, Glendalough

Cairo to Cape Town Overland

from £3695

119 days

Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nami...

A trip for those who are happy to rough it and willing to muck in with a group of like-minded...

Panoramic Peru

from £1335

11 days

Experience everything Peru has to offer, from ancient Inca ruins to delicious Pisco Sours. For an intro to Peru, this...

Far East Explorer

from £1325

32 days

China, Laos, Vietnam

Uncover the mysteries of the Far East! A group adventure tour through China, Laos and Vietnam, including some of the...

South Island Snow Safari

from £925

7 days

New Zealand

Welcome to NZ's ultimate guided ski and snowboard tour. We hit 6 different mountains over 7 days and our expert...

Yamabushi 16-day tour of Japan

from £2500

16 days

Japan

Not your average tourist experience, this tour is specifically designed for the nature lovers out there. See a completely different...

Toki 14-day tour of Japan

from £1990

14 days

Japan

From Tokyo's futuristic neon lights and the rice fields of Izumo, to Kyoto's ancient temples and pristine beaches of the...

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Cape Town to Zanzibar

from £3035

Travel from the southern tip of South Africa to Tanzania’s famous Spice Island on this epic Overland journey through Africa....

Madrid to Venice

from £4295

Elaborate architecture and exceptional cuisine, legendary landscapes and live history on the streets – western and central Europe is a...

Southern Highlights

If time’s a little tight and you want to sample the region’s natural wonders without sacrificing some of South America’s...

Circle Sri Lanka

from £1313

A jewel in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is jam-packed with ancient sites, fascinating culture, beautiful wilderness and idyllic beaches....

Classic Myanmar

from £1530

Travel to Myanmar and discover a country of mythical landscapes, ancient treasures and some of the friendliest folk you’ll ever...

North India Revealed

from £760

Visit northern India and join an adventure to one of the planet's most enticing destinations. See towering fortresses above city...

Coast to Coast Road Trip Eastbound

from £1469

Get out on the road and follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac to discover the real America. This ultimate...

Arctic Circle & Fjords by Rail

The Arctic Circle may sound like a chilly destination, but when you go in the summer, there’s plenty to see...

Highlights of India

North India or South? Do both! This 2-week tour combines the riot of Rajasthan’s colours with the calming greens of...

Ultimate Aussie Adventure

from £4139

With practically a whole month to play with, you’ll have no dramas getting your fill of heart-pulsing action, stunning scenery...

Inspirational articles about epic tours

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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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