For those truly epic, once-in-a-lifetime destinations, you want to leave your itinerary to the experts. Whether your dream is to see the Big Five on an African Safari, trek tall mountains, explore European cities, or something even wilder, a group tour is the easiest way to do it.
However, picking the wrong group tour company is the quickest way to ruin your trip. Make sure you choose a tour company that aligns with your goals and travel styles. Do you want an intimate group tour or do you prefer to make lots of new friends in a big group? Does the price line up with what you like (luxury vs. budget)? Is the itinerary going to all the places you want to see?
We’ve done the research and found the very best group travel tour companies for 2023 for every type of traveler.
Best Overall Group Travel: Exodus Travels
With trips on every continent, Exodus Travels covers anywhere on this planet that you could possibly want to go, from popular destinations like the Amalfi Coast to well off-the-beaten path adventures like Tajikistan. This award-winning group travel company boasts thousands of repeat customers who sign up for trips year after year (97% of past participants would recommend Exodus Travels to a friend).
These small group tours operate with only around 12-16 people, and always feature experienced local leaders who can give you a unique insight into your destination. Exodus Travels caters to any type of travel style, including trips broken down by type of activity (think walking, cycling, multi-adventure, winter, or cultural) as well as type of traveler (family, age group, etc.). There are curated collections (coastal, “away from it all”, European wilderness, and trips of a lifetime) to inspire you, as well as self-guided options for when you want all the benefits of a group tour planner without the actual group. Looking for that special safari? Exodus Travels just partners with the African Wildlife Foundation to create carefully curated luxury adventures that go above and beyond the standard safari.
Exodus Travels tours work for almost any budget, with options that range from affordable to premium.
Top Trip: Explore under-the-radar Europe by foot on Exodus Travels’ Lakes & Mountains of Slovenia walking tour.
Best Adventure Group Travel: World Expeditions
World Expeditions has been taking adventurous travelers to remote locations all over the world ever since its first group trek through Nepal in 1975. Today, World Expeditions offers active itineraries on every continent. Intrepid travelers can opt for trips themed around mountaineering, rafting, cycling, hiking, and more.
World Expeditions aims to leave communities and places where they operate tours better than they found them. Trips are created using the company’s Thoughtful Travel Charter as a guideline, which emphasizes respect for the environment, sustainability, having a positive impact on local communities, protecting wildlife, and more.
World Expeditions’ trips are capped at just 16 people to provide a good experience for participants, and there are no single supplements for solo travelers willing to share a room with someone of the same gender.
Top Trip: Summit Africa’s tallest mountain on a fully-supported trek up Kilimanjaro on World Expeditions’ eight day trip up the beautiful Lemosho Route.
Best Budget Group Travel: G Adventures
For travelers on a budget, G Adventures offers cheap group tours that make dream destinations accessible to nearly anyone. (Think: sailing the Galapagos for just $1,124, criss-crossing India’s Golden Triangle for $559, or spending 8 days in Bali for less than $800.)
G Adventures is one of the best tour companies for solo travelers as well, as most trips don’t have a single-supplement. You can choose to share a room with another G Adventures solo traveler, or pay extra to have your own space.
G Adventures keeps costs down by opting for cheaper hotels and local meals, and making certain activities optional (for an additional cost). Pick your travel style—options range from “basic” to more luxe tours run in partnership with National Geographic. Family tours, local living tours (featuring homestays), and wellness-focused tours are also available.
Top Trip: G Adventures’ China Express trip is a great way to see the highlights of China if you’re short on both time and budget.
Best Educational Group Tours: EF Go Ahead Tours
When you really want to learn about a destination, consider a group trip with EF Go Ahead Tours. EF is the world’s largest private education company, and the Go Ahead Tours arm capitalizes on the company’s relationships with local educators, historians, and tour guides to create group trips that take you deep into a destination.
These small group tours generally cap at 38 travelers, and feature unique educational experiences. For a bucket list trip, EF Go Ahead Tour’s special event tours are particularly enticing, as they offer behind-the-scenes access to tough-to-plan trips like Oktoberfest in Munich or Cherry Blossom season in Japan.
Intimidated by solo travel? EF Go Ahead Tours is a great option for solo travelers, since it offers designated trips for solo travelers, where everyone is traveling alone, making it less intimidating.
Top Trip: Bring the tastes of Italy home with you on EF Go Ahead Tours’ Food & Wine: Piedmont & Tuscany tour (operated in partnership with America’s Test Kitchen), where you’ll learn how to make local dishes.
Best Responsible Group Travel: Intrepid Travel
Looking for a responsible group travel operator that focuses on bettering the communities and destinations they visit? Intrepid Travel is the world’s largest travel B Corporation, a certification for companies doing good.
Intrepid Travel’s tours focus on sustainability, diversity, inclusion, and sustaining communities. The company has its own charity, The Intrepid Foundation, which has donated over 7 million dollars to over 130 community organizations.
Intrepid Travel’s small group tours attract a wide range of travelers, but they are especially great for younger travelers, as they have a large number of trips designed for people aged 18-29. (Other trips, including family-focused trips, are geared toward any age.)
Top Trip: Experience unforgettable wildlife encounters on Intrepid Travel’s Premium Uganda & Rwanda trip which includes time with the mountain gorillas of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Best Private Group Travel: Kensington Tours
Whether your group consists of just two people or involves taking the entire extended family, Kensington Tours will take all the hassle of planning out of the equation. This private group operator creates personalized trips and itineraries tailored to your preferences, while their experts handle all the logistics and bookings.
Plans are entirely flexible, and can even be changed while on the trip on a whim. Need some inspiration? Browse Kensington Tours’ travel ideas, to get some ideas for your next adventure.
Top Trip: Sail around the stunning shores of Croatia and the Dalmation Islands on a private luxury catamaran on Kensington Tours’ fully customizable tour.
Best Polar Group Travel: Chimu Adventures
Whether you’re headed north to the Artic or south to Antarctica, Chimu Adventures has the perfect polar group trip for you. Chimu Adventures has some of the most variety for polar trips, with options to fly, cruise, or a combination of both to get to your destination.
For an ultra-unique Antarctica trip, Chimu Adventures offers cruises departing from Australia or New Zealand (most Antarctica trips depart from Argentina). Can’t stay long? Book one of Chimu Adventures’ scenic flights to Antarctica, which fly as far as the south pole in one spectacular 16-hour day.
Chimu Adventures is one of the cheapest group trips to Antarctica, with rates starting under $5,000.
Top Trip: If you’re pressed for time (or simply don’t have the stomach for the Drake Passage), Chimu Adventures’ Antarctica Fly Cruise will get you to the ends of the earth quickly and smoothly.
Best Group Tours for Solo Travelers: For the Love of Travel
Group tours can be a great way to meet new people, but they can sometimes skew on the older age range. If you’re between 25-39 and a solo traveler looking to meet new people, you’ll love For the Love of Travel. All participants on the trips are between 25-39, and according to the company, 80 percent are solo travelers—so you’ll make friends fast. Hoping to meet someone who will be more than just a friend on your next trip? Trips include a balanced number of “gal and guy spots” to ensure an even balance of genders within groups (and of course, non-binary genders are always welcome).
For the Love of Travel offers weeklong (or longer) international trips as well as shorter weekender trips to nearby destinations like Mexico or Denver—perfect for people without a lot of vacation time.
Top Trip: Sleep in a glass igloo under the Northern Lights, go sledding with huskies, and warm up in traditional saunas on For the Love of Travel’s Lapland tour, already booking dates for 2024.
Best Biking Tours Group Travel: DuVine Cycling
Biking through the rolling hills of Italy or across the mountain roads of Chile sounds like a dream, but the logistics seem daunting (especially if you don’t want to haul all your own stuff from point-to-point). Enter: DuVine Cycling, a luxury small group tour company that specializes in bike trips.
With trips across Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the United States, DuVine Cycling is a cyclist’s dream. Choose from all-biking trips or mix things up with a cycle and sail bike tour or a multi-sport adventure—no matter what, everything is included, from luxury boutique accommodations to top-quality name brand bikes.
Top Trip: DuVine’s Holland Bike Tour promises “tulips, windmills, beer, and cheese”—what more could you need?
Best Luxury Group Travel: Abercrombie & Kent
Abercrombie & Kent has been delighting discerning travelers since 1962. Today, they take travelers on unforgettable adventures across over 100 different countries and all seven continents. Although Abercrombie & Kent’s trips are pricey, they encompass once-in-a-lifetime experiences like private jet tours around the world or luxury chartered cruises.
Top Trip: Swim with whale sharks in the Philippines, feed proboscis monkeys in Malaysia, and photograph wild tigers in India on Abercrombie & Kent’s Wildlife Safari: Around the World by Private Jet trip, already booking dates into 2024.
Book Your Stay With SmarterTravel Hotels
For independent explorers who don’t want to miss out on these amazing destinations, book your hotel stay for a great rate with SmarterTravel Hotels.
You Might Also Like:• The 8 Scariest Haunted Hotels in the World
• 7 Things You Need to Know About Duty-Free Shopping
• 10 Ways to Get the Best Airplane Seat
• Passport Book vs. Passport Card: Which Do I Need?
• Planning a Trip to the Grand Canyon
We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.