Best Adventure Vacations: Contiki vs Topdeck vs G Adventures vs Intrepid

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Contiki logo
intrepid logo

“There’s nothing sexier than a well-traveled American.”  That’s what one of my college professors told me freshman year when I chose to travel abroad. But, why not try adventure vacations for yourself.

Ignite your travel bug by taking an epic trip with other like-minded adventurers. Explore another culture, taste different cuisines, meet new people and dive into a new adventure. These travel companies are sure to help you find the best adventure vacations.

Article Overview

Things To Know Before Booking Your Adventure Travel

Best Travel WebsitesBefore you choose your destination, let alone one of the adventure travel companies, you’ll want to know a few things.

  • Consult your physician before booking your travel adventures to make sure you’re fit to travel. Also, ask if there are any vaccines you’ll need ahead of time so you are completely prepared. Lastly, be sure to get any prescriptions refilled so you’ll have all the medications you need while on your trip.
  • Heed the age restrictions. We know that the urge to travel starts and ends at no specific age. But please be aware that some of these companies have age restrictions (minimum and maximum ages). So, before you search for a trip on their website, make sure you fit their age requirements.
  • Book your travel to and from the destination. None of these adventure travel companies cover the cost of your airfare to and from the start/end destinations or airport transfers. So, if you’re going to Thailand, and the starting city is Bangkok, but you’re ending in Chiang Mai, you’ll first have to find and pay for your travel to get to Bangkok (to start the trip). Then you can schedule your travel arrangements home from you endpoint in Chiang Mai. Some of the companies will help you find flights but know that the cost of air travel is not included in the prices listed on the adventure trip sites. Or you can use one of these online travel sites to find a deal.
  • Learn the language. Not always necessary but doesn’t hurt to brush up on a little bit of the basics so you can easily communicate things like directions, ask questions about food or how much something costs. We recommend using online language learning software that make it easy to learn on the go (before you go).
  • Pack your passport. The Expeditioner reported that only 46% of Americans have a valid passport. It can take 4-6 weeks to get yours processed (or pay a rush fee) so make sure you allow for plenty of time in advance to have yours ready to go.
  • Don’t get your hopes up for Antarctica! If you are looking to go to Antarctica, of the companies we reviewed only G Adventures offers this icy destination.

Pricing Comparison For Adventure Travel

We created some guidelines to give you an idea of what trip prices were like for each company. The trips we compared had to meet these two criteria unless not available (if not, we picked something very similar):

  1. The trip had to take place in Thailand for a portion of it and
  2. It had to be 14 days long

Note: Excursion package prices are likely to vary since they are not locked in and often change from season to season. The examples here are from when this article was originally written. 

Best Adventure Vacations

Here are our top picks for adventure travel (along with some other unranked options). Each company caters to different people so be sure to consider them all.

G Adventures Review


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G Adventures offers nine different types of trips to choose from: Classic, National Geographic, Active, Yolo, Cruising, Family, Local Living, Rail and Private Groups (Family adventure vacations are restricted for families with children, ages 5 to 17). Trip destinations include stops in Africa, Asia, South America, Europe, Oceania, Polar and North America.

We like that G Adventures doesn’t restrict your age (for most trips) so you can still go on an adventure trip whether you are 20, 60 or even 100.



  • Group size: 15 people or less
  • Yolo tours are restricted to ages 18-39
  • Travel with like-minded people who are similar in age
  • 24/7 phone support and FAQs
  • Offers trips in all continents and Oceania, even Antarctica
  • Option to pay full price upfront or only a portion
  • While fewer age restrictions than most, there are still limits on Yolo and Family excursions

Pricing (Per Guidelines Above)

  • $1,399
  • 14 days
  • Thailand and Cambodia (start and end in Bangkok)
  • 10 breakfasts, 2 dinners included
  • 13 nights in hotels
  • Transportation throughout trip but not international airfare

Promo Code

Our link above applies discounts if available.

Read Our In-Depth G Adventures Review

Contiki Review


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Contiki offers more than 300 trips to places all over the world including Europe, Asia, Latin America, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Before booking a trip you can see the full itinerary, so you know exactly what you’ll be doing and if it’s something you think you’d enjoy. Their group sizes can be 20-50 people, and they only accept people 18 to 35 years old.

The average traveler’s age is 26 so you’ll most likely be traveling with other young adults (only 30% are college students so you can avoid feeling like you’re on Spring Break). The Contiki app event lets you get to know the people you’ll be going on your trip with, view your itinerary, stay up to date on the weather and more.

Choosing our #2 was not easy because we think Intrepid (our #3) pick is just as good. So depending on your age and the type of trip you are looking for, either Contiki or Intrepid are good options.



  • Phone, FAQs and live chat support
  • Trips available in Europe, Asia, Latin America, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand
  • App available
  • Contiki Easy Pay allows you to pay in installments
  • Offers 300+ trips
  • Limited for travelers within 18-35 years of age
  • Potential for a larger group size (20-50 people)

Pricing (Per Guidelines Above)

  • $1,985
  • 14 days
  • Thailand, Laos, Cambodia (start in Bangkok, end in Siem Reap)
  • 17 meals
  • 13 nights
  • Pricing for Contiki trips does not include transportation to and from the start/end cities

Promo Code

Our link above applies discounts if available.

Read Our In-Depth Contiki Review

Intrepid Review


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Intrepid offers three trip styles: Basix, Original and Comfort. So if you’re on a smaller budget, you may like Basix. If you want nearly everything covered, then Comfort may be a good option. Original is a happy medium of the two trip styles combined.

We like that Intrepid allows most ages on their travel adventures and there are special family adventure vacations. They do ask that once you are 70 years young that you fill out a self-assessment form.



  • Trips available to all continents and Oceania
  • No maximum age limit
  • FAQs, email and phone support
  • Do not have to pay full price upfront
    • Age restrictions vary based on trip
    • Potential for large groups (as many as 24 people)

Pricing (Per Guidelines Above)

  • $1,024
  • 14 days
  • Thailand and Laos (Bangkok to Vientiane)
  • 6 breakfasts
  • Guesthouse (9 nights), Hotel (3 nights), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)
  • Transportation throughout trip but not international airfare

Promo Code

Our link above applies discounts if available.

Get In The Mood To Travel

Need some help getting in the mood to travel? Follow a travel blog, watch YouTube videos, surf the web or talk with others about their travel experiences. This short clip gave me the itch to travel immediately!

Other Great Adventure Travel Companies

If you don’t see a good fit for you above, take a look at these other companies. Just because they didn’t make our top three doesn’t mean they don’t have a trip that may be a perfect fit for you!

The Clymb | Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) | Topdeck | Trafalgar Travel

The Clymb Review

Clymb logoVisit Website

The Clymb offers adventure trips as well as clothing and gear at discounted prices. Their trip locations vary and are not consistently offered based on destination, so be sure to check regularly to see if a trip you are interested in is offered.

They don’t state the group size limits, so we’re unsure of how many people may be in your tour group. They offer fewer trips than competitors since it is not their primary business, but if they offer a trip you are interested in, they may be a good choice.



  • Trips available vary depending on time of year and other factors
  • Phone, email and FAQs
  • No age limitations
  • Only offer about 30 trips at a time (trips are time sensitive)
  • Must pay full price at time of booking

Pricing (Per Guidelines Above)

Trips through The Clymb change quickly and there are fewer to choose from. This made it difficult to compare pricing since there was no Thailand trip offered at the time.

  • $999
  • 13 days
  • Himalayas
  • No meals
  • 12 nights
  • Transportation throughout trip but not international airfare

Overseas Adventure Travel Review

Overseas Adventure Travel logoVisit Website

Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) offers trips to all continents except Antarctica, Australia and North America. Not offering trips to Antarctica is no biggy since the majority of these adventure trip sites don’t offer excursions there.

However, the majority of them do offer trips to North America for intercontinental travel. But, if you’re looking for a trip to one of the other four continents there are some great ones available. So don’t write OAT off completely.

In fact, they pride themselves on a full cultural experience by way of small group sizes, so if you are looking for a small group to travel with, OAT may be the best choice. Plus, occasionally OAT offers discounted rates on adventure vacations for couples.



  • Phone support and FAQs
  • OAT Land Tours group size: maximum of 10-16 travelers
  • Trips to Asia, Africa, Europe and South America
  • Specializes in vacations for people 50 and older
  • No email support
  • Must be 13 years or older
  • Small Ship adventures group size: up to 24 travelers
  • No North America, Australia and Antarctica trips

Pricing (Per Guidelines Above)

  • $1,795
  • 15 days
  • Thailand (Bangkok to Chiang Mai)
  • 34 meals
  • 14 nights
  • Transportation throughout trip but not international airfare

Topdeck Review

TopDeck logoVisit Website

Topdeck offers trips to five continents: Europe, Africa, Australia, Asia and North America. This actually is a big “con” in our book because South America is a common destination for this kind of trip.

Group sizes can be a bit bigger as well but are determined by the type of trip you’re going on. There are also age limitations, but they do offer more than 300 trips. So, if you fit within the guidelines, feel free to take a look at their offerings. Maybe you’ll find a perfect fit for you.



  • Trips available to Europe, Australia, Africa, Asia and North America
  • 300+ trips
  • FAQs, phone, live chat and email support
  • Age limitations: 18-39
  • No trips to South America or Antarctica
  • Group sizes can be large (35+ people)

Pricing (Per Guidelines Above)

  • $2,335
  • 14 days
  • Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore
  • 21 meals
  • 12 nights in hotels, 1 night aboard overnight train

Trafalgar Travel Review

Trafalgar logoVisit Website

Trafalgar Travel offers trips to Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Australia. Group sizes can be rather large with 40 to 45 people, so if big groups aren’t your thing, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

People must be at least 5 years old to travel with Trafalgar Travel. The example trip we listed below is more expensive than competitors, but it may be an anomaly (check for your specific dates and destination). However, if these guidelines don’t deter you, be sure to check out the available trips to see if one might tempt you to book your next trip.



  • Trips available to Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Australia
  • FAQs, phone and email support
  • Larger groups: 40-45 people
  • Must be 5 years or older
  • No trips to Africa 

Pricing (Per Guidelines Above)

  • $3,325.50
  • 14 days
  • Thailand
  • 28 meals
  • 13 nights

Ready, Set, Jet!

While there are lots of benefits to group travel (making new friends, meeting new people, having all the details taken care of for you) we know that adventure travel isn’t for everyone. So if you’re more of a solo traveler, you might be better off booking your own trip through an online travel website and staying at a vacation rental (much more affordable than hotels usually).

Or if you don’t mind a floating hotel and want to see many places at once, a vacation cruise or river cruise might be more up your alley. Now ready to pack your bags? (Luckily for you, we’ve reviewed the best luggage brands too.)

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

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Disclaimer: the information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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Thanks for sharing information.It is useful

Has anyone done a Contiki tour? I’m thinking about doing one of their trips while I’m still young enough!

Would go for G Adventures over Contiki. G Adventures has a YOLO plan which is younger demographic and cheaper accommodations.