To me luxury adventure travel almost seems like an oxymoron… almost. What I find most appealing about adventure travel is the experiential factor; meeting with the locals and experiencing their cultures and customs as well as discovering those “off-the-beaten-path” hidden gem locations.
I’m a camper at heart so I find it hard to understand how you can get a truly authentic cultural experience if at the end of the day you opt to stay at a 5 start hotel that caters to your every need. Although, my wife would beg to differ.
Don’t get me wrong, if I could afford to take one of these luxury adventure travel tours I most certainly would. Envy tends to bring out the condescending side of me. In all seriousness though, luxury adventure travel really does have a lot to offer adventure enthusiasts.
Luxury adventure cruises are a popular way of experiencing adventure travel. They give you a first class yachting experience on the seas while providing you everything you’d expect from adventure travel while on land. European adventure cruises are almost always on smaller luxury yachts while some of the more remote destinations such as Antarctica, Alaska or Scandinavia tend to be on more robust midsize cruise ships.
Luxury Adventure Travel Companies
Companies specializing in this area of travel really know how to take care of you. They have the best tour guides in the business, they will cater the activities to your fitness level plus, they tend to be all-inclusive. I say “tend to” because most luxury tour operators do not cover the cost of alcoholic beverages and have at least one meal free day where you can choose to dine wherever you please.
There are a number of companies that specialize in this kind of travel however, my research shows that the following are generally at the top of the list:
Originally founded as Conservation Corporation Africa (CC Africa), & Beyond has been providing luxury adventure tourists with the most amazing wildlife and wilderness encounters for the past 20 years. They have designed journeys to more than 1200 handpicked destinations and have recently expanded into India. They have made the principles of conservation development and rural community empowerment a cornerstone of their business model.
Butterfield & Robinson
With “Slow down to see the world” as their motto you’d think that Butterfield & Robinson might cater to those travellers who prefer the less active side of adventure travel. However, nothing could be further from the truth. They believe the best way to travel is by bike, foot or boat, but always at your own pace. For more than 40 years they’ve been creating and customizing some of the most culturally rich active luxury tours in the industry.
Founded in 1974 Austin-Lehman is a small adventure travel company whose founders/owners believe that personal customer attention and interaction is the best and only way to run a business. In fact, you’re bound to walk away from one of their trips feeling spoiled beyond belief. Their tour sizes are fairly small, no more than 12 participants for the adult tours and 18 for their family adventures. Their aim is to provide you with the best vacation you’ve ever had!
Priding itself as being “a pioneer of travel to remote and challenging destinations since 1982”, Geographic Expeditions has one of the largest most varied catalogues of destinations and activities. Their quality and attention to detail as well as traveller safety are some of the standout features of this company.
By far one of the most affordable luxury travel vacation operators. Kensington Tours also has one of the lowest guest to guide ratios in the industry; as low as 2:1 for some trips. They specialize in private customized flexible tours with prices that are on average 30-40% less than other luxury travel companies!
If you book with one of these companies you will no doubt have one of the best experiences of your life! They specialize in amazing experiences and carefree travel. You can expect to be staying at the best hotels, travelling in the best vehicles and eating the best food.
Yes, luxury adventure travel most certainly does have a lot to offer the discerning adventure tourist. If you ever have the chance to travel with one of the companies don’t think twice about it, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have the adventure of a lifetime.