Travel

My Trip Abroad, Part I: Choosing a Tour Company

Welcome to adulthood, where you can use your money as you wish, and go wherever you please! There is something incredibly freeing about taking your first international trip with your own time, money, and terms.

In high school I did one of those whirlwhind trips with EF Tours that visited several cities and countries–Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, and probably another city or two that I’m forgetting. It was great for catching the travel bug, but as an adult I knew that I wanted my future trips to be structured for quality over quantity.

Not wanting to set off to a new country entirely on my own, I researched several tour companies geared towards those in their 20s and 30s. What I found with a few of them is that they they have upwards of 20, 30, and even 40 people in a group for any given itinerary. I felt like being in a tour group of that size would limit the quality of experiences that we/I would be able to have, not to mention many of their itineraries included a new-city-a-day and hostel arrangements. I’m sure plenty of college kids on summer break would appreciate such a trip, but I wanted something a bit more mature without crossing into elderly rivercruise territory.

Cue G Adventures.

G Adventures has been around since 1990 and focuses on small-group tours with authentic experiences. They have several different “styles” of tours from: Classic, Active, Marine, Rail, Family, National Geographic Journeys, and more. Their pricing is more expensive than a Topdeck or Contiki tour, but having been on two of their tours now I can say the cost is absolutely worth it.

Their website is very robust with detailed itineraries, photos, and blog posts so it is easy to get a good feel for the trip. I also checked out a few other travel blogs off-site and was in awe over their experience recaps. This aligned with the glowing reviews a friend of mine gave a year or two ago after taking a G Adventure tour herself.

That same friend was itching to go on a G Adventure’s sailing trip in Greece around the same time that I wanted to take my solo trip to Italy. So when I was reviewing options, I found that with the way the tour calendars lined up I could do a week in Italy and then also do the sailing trip with her.

And that, my friends, is how I ended up signing up for not just one, but two tours with G Adventures right out the gate. #YOLO

Local Living Italy–Sorrento was the first tour I’d be heading out on. It’s a 7 day itinerary that starts and ends in Naples, and touted the opportunity to stay at a local lemon farm for almost the entire duration of the trip.

Get a taste for Italian life on this one-week trip to Sorrento, located just around the corner from the Amalfi Coast. Replete with gorgeous scenery and all the fantastic food and drink you’d expect, you’ll unwind on an organic lemon farm where a local family will be your hosts, giving you an in-depth look at what life at an Italian agriturismo is like. Learn how the famous limoncello liquor is made. Walk along the stunning coastline, a visit to the elite island of Capri and a stop at Pompeii. Don’t be a tourist in Italy—live the dream.

(I can attest that this is a 100% accurate representation of the experience and I can’t wait to detail more about it in future posts.)

Then, with a 24 hour gap in between, the second tour I signed up for was Sailing Greece–Santorini to Mykonos.

A yacht adventure is the ideal way to experience what many consider the world’s most beautiful islands: the Greek Islands. Sail for eight days aboard our 15m (52 ft) yachts, with time for hiking, snorkelling and relaxing. Explore ancient archaeological sites and taverna-lined harbours, and dine on fresh seafood.

Talk about a bucket list item. Part of my motivation for “going-for-two” was the fact that if I didn’t spring for this sailing trip I probably would never pursue a tour like it on my own. Why? Well, there was a significant possibility that I would become motion sick, and it just wasn’t appealing to risk that unless it was for an opportunity to do something *so cool* with one of my best friends.

The process of securing my spot on the tours was a breeze. G Adventures fosters great customer experience when it comes to navigating an interested traveler through making their deposit, as well as making sure they have everything they need to be good-to-go when the day of the trip finally arrives. I always felt informed every step of the way, which is important when you are trusting this company to have everything set up for you in exchange for your hard-earned $$$.

I booked the trip in January, with a departure date in July. For my next post I’ll talk about what I did during those six months in between to get ready for my 2-week adventure.

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