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The best tour operators in the world: 2023 Readers' Choice Awards

By Condé Nast Traveller

Scott Dunn

It’s been a challenging few years for tour operators but the names below are in it for the long haul (as well as the short and medium), honing itineraries and managing expectations. So who prepared your travel documents this year? Red Savannah and Black Tomato scored highest for first-hand knowledge, and Exodus Adventure Travels and Abercrombie & Kent for on-the-ground support. But when it came to all-round endeavour, Scott Dunn and The Turquoise Holiday Company were leaders of the pack. Both report a surge of interest in Asia, as well as multi-generational travel, solo adventures to Namibia, Bhutan and Mexico, and authentic experiences such as outback stations in Australia and bear lodges in Canada.

These are the best tour operators in the world, according to the 2023 Readers' Choice Awards . The scores below are percentages representing overall average levels of satisfaction.

The Turquoise Holiday Company

The best general tour operators in the world 2023

15. Cox & Kings. Score 88.00

14. Hayes & Jarvis. Score 89.44

13. Carrier. Score 90.73

12. Simpson Travel. Score 91.48

11. Kuoni. Score 92.82

10. Mr & Mrs Smith. Score 93.29

9. Kensington Tours. Score 94.14

8. Audley Travel. Score 94.77

7. Original Travel. Score 95.44

6. Cazenove + Loyd. Score 95.92

5. The Ultimate Travel Company. Score 96.75

4. Abercrombie & Kent. Score 97.12

3. Elegant Resorts. Score 97.39

2. Red Savannah. Score 97.96

  • The Turquoise Holiday Company. Score 98.42

Scott Dunn

The best travel specialists in the world 2023

15. Wild Frontiers. Score 94.81

14. Martin Randall Travel. Score 95.17

13. Intrepid Travel. Score 95.40

12. Wilderness. Score 96.54.

11. Inntravel. Score 96.88

10. Oxford Ski Company. Score 97.15

9. Kirker Holidays. Score 97.47

8. andBeyond. Score 97.61

7. Ampersand Travel. Score 97.65.

6. InsideJapan Tours. Score 97.79

5. Steppes Travel. Score 97.88

4. Black Tomato. Score 98.03

3. Exodus Adventure Travels. Score 98.15

2. Healing Holidays. Score 98.35

  • Scott Dunn. Score 98.70

15 Best Tour Companies of 2024

Tour companies like Intrepid Travel and G Adventures can help you create the experience of a lifetime. Choosing the right company depends on your destination and travel preferences.

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Guided tours can be a great way to experience a new destination, but you want to make sure you get the best experience possible. How can you find the best tour companies to guide your adventure?

Whether you’re looking for group trips, self-guided tours, river cruises, tours for solo travelers, or overseas adventure travel, you want to find a tour operator that can deliver a seamless, enjoyable, and authentic experience, all without zeroing out your bank account.

Here are the top 15 tour companies out there today. I’ll walk you through what each excels at and how to pick the best one for you.

  • Best Tour Company Overall: Intrepid Travel
  • Best Small Group Tour Company: G Adventures
  • Best for Day Tours: Get Your Guide
  • Best Tour Company for Solo Travelers: Go Ahead Tours
  • Best Tour Company for Families: Adventures by Disney
  • Best Tour Company for Seniors: Trafalgar
  • Best Tour Company for Europe: Tauck
  • Best Tour Company for Italy: Insight Vacations
  • Best Tour Company for Ireland and Scotland: CIE Tours
  • Best Iceland Tour Company: Nicetravel Iceland
  • Best Tour Company for Spain and Portugal: Cosmos
  • Best Egypt Tour Company: Exodus
  • Best Asia Tour Company: Klook
  • Best Tour Company for Israel: Click Tours
  • Best Tour Company for Greece: Epos Travel Tours

Intrepid Travel : Best Tour Company Overall

Interpid Travel

When you imagine travel tours, you may picture massive group tours and a bus packed with 50 noisy, gawking tourists.

That’s not what you get with Intrepid Travel . This company specializes in adventurous and immersive small group tours with an average of 10 people.

Operating on all seven continents, Intrepid offers a huge range of trip types to fit any traveler. You can choose biking tours across New Zealand, river cruises in Europe, trekking in the Himalayas, or wildlife safaris in the Serengeti. There are options for all-female adventures, family expeditions, active trips for adventure travelers, or trips catering specifically to 18-29 year olds.

If you don’t want to spend the trip of a lifetime sitting on your butt looking out a bus window, Intrepid Travel is for you. Their group trips are designed to fully immerse you in the culture and beauty of a new place. Here are two examples of what you’ll get from Intrepid Travel:

With the Alaska: Hike, Bike, & Kayak tour, you are led by an expert guide on a range of active adventures through some of Alaska’s best scenery and national parks. You’ll go sea kayaking, cycle along the rugged Alaskan coast, and hike through Denali National Park.

If you’re looking for more of a cultural experience, the Premium Sri Lanka tour is an incredible journey through the culture, history, food, and wildlife of this island. You’ll explore ancient temples, eat incredible food with locals, and search for leopards in the country’s wildlife preserves.

One last perk: Intrepid Travel is a Certified B-Corp, meaning they are dedicated to doing good in the world. They donate to worldwide relief causes and offset the carbon footprint of every trip they operate.

G Adventures : Best Small Group Tour Company

G Adventures Logo

If you’re looking for small group tours, G Adventures is one of the best in the category. Just like with Intrepid, their tour groups average 10 people, so, with G Adventures, you won’t have to deal with being part of a massive hoard of tourists.

So what sets G Adventures apart? Unlike many tour operators, they focus on helping you get exactly the experience you’re looking for instead of packing every day with a rigid schedule. Every trip offers a wide range of optional activities that you can pick and choose from to personalize your experience. Plus, you can opt for more free time to explore or hang out on your own.

I also love that G Adventures hires all local guides. They put a lot of emphasis on their guides, even calling them CEOs (chief experience officers). That means you get local, insider expertise on your trip. Your tour director will speak the local language, know the best spots to eat, and fully understand the culture.

If you’re looking for big luxurious hotels and resorts, G Adventures probably isn’t for you. Instead of going to the big chain hotels, G Adventures uses locally owned and operated lodgings.

This has two benefits. First, you get a much more authentic local experience. Big hotel chains don’t have the same charm and character as a true local hotel. Second, your money will go toward benefiting the local economy rather than some giant corporation. That’s a big win for G Adventures in my book.

Get Your Guide : Best for Day Tours

Get Your Guide

You may not need or want a fully guided multi-day group tour, But sometimes it’s nice to have the guidance of a local expert for a truly unique experience that you couldn’t get otherwise. Choosing day tours is a great way to get the benefits of guided group tours without being stuck with a tour group for your entire trip.

Get Your Guide is my favorite resource for finding amazing day tours, entry tickets, and other travel experiences. It’s perfect for more independent travelers who can manage the details of their own trip, but are looking for shorter guided tours.

How does it work? Get Your Guide is essentially an online marketplace where you can search for and reserve tours, museum passes, adventure activities, and more.

For example, let’s say you’re planning a trip to Sweden. On Get Your Guide, you could book a dog sled adventure to see the northern lights, a day cruise on an icebreaker ship, a “ghost-walk” historical tour of Old Stockholm, and a guided ice climbing excursion.

I’m already getting excited about that trip.

Go Ahead Tours : Best Tour Company for Solo Travelers

Go Ahead Tours

Solo travel can be a bit intimidating, especially if you don’t have a lot of travel experience. I’ve found that group tours can be a great way to ease some of the stress and make it easier to enjoy your trip as a solo traveler.

Go Ahead Tours is one of the best tour companies that specializes in trips for solo travelers. With their solo trips, you always get a private room at no extra cost, and the other travelers in your tour group will also be solo—so you don’t end up as the awkward 17th wheel in someone else’s family vacation. As a solo traveler with Go Ahead Tours, you get all the benefits and security of a group trip, and you’ll meet other amazing people traveling the world on their own.

Go Ahead Tours focuses on small group itineraries in tour destinations around the globe, from popular destinations to locations off the beaten path. Want a food-centric trip across Italy? Check. Want to visit South America and hike to Machu Picchu? Check. How about a wildlife safari in Kenya? Yep, they’ve got that. Go Ahead Tours offers the best group tours for solo travelers, and you may even make some new friends on the way.

Adventures by Disney : Best Tour Company for Families

Adventures By Disney

Family travel can seem complicated, especially if you have younger kids. Group tours can help simplify planning the dream trip, but tour operators often plan trips focused on adults, so younger travelers may get bored quickly.

Adventures by Disney is one of the few group travel companies that specialize in family-oriented trips and tours, from South America to Scandinavia. Disney Vacations designs their group trips to have something for everyone: wine tastings for the adults, adventure scavenger hunts for the kids, and sights and experiences that will engage your entire family.

Disney Adventures trips are a bit pricier than many other group travel companies, so not all families will be able to afford them. However, if you can make it work with your budget, your family will get an amazing experience that you just won’t find from more mainstream travel.

Trafalgar : Best Tour Company for Seniors

Trafalgar is one of the biggest (and best) group travel companies in the world. They offer hundreds of international trips to popular destinations around the globe.

Trafalgar’s guided tours are great for travelers of all age groups, but they cater particularly to senior travelers. The majority of Trafalgar guests are over 50. It’s also great for family tours to get grandparents and grandkids spending quality time together.

If you’re looking for highly active itineraries with adventure activities packed in, Trafalgar may not be the best for you. They focus more on cultural immersion, history, architecture, and local cuisine. Trafalgar is a great choice if you want to take a deep dive into the essence of your destination.

You can count on having a tour leader who is an expert in the local culture and history, and you will come home with tons of new knowledge.

Trafalgar focuses primarily on land-based tours, but they also offer a range of cruise vacations if you want to travel by sea.

Hotel stays, meals, transportation to/from the airport, and all the logistics are all arranged for you. You can even add on flights, extra hotel nights, and travel insurance so you don’t have to worry about any additional complications for your trip.

Tauck : Best Tour Company for Europe

Tauck

Tauck is another big name in group tours that operates on all seven continents. While they have guided tours all around the globe, Tauck is an especially good choice if you’re looking for a group tour in Europe.

It’s easy to go to European cities, see the major tourist sites, and head home without really diving deep into the culture and spirit of the place. My favorite thing about Tauck is that their European tours are designed to give you more than just the standard tourist experience. Their Yellow Roads of Europe tours take you off the beaten path for a truly unique European experience.

Every Tauck tour pairs you with handpicked expert local guides who will help fully immerse you in the experience.

Tauck offers both river cruises and land-based group tours. If you want a unique European experience, imagine cruising through Western Europe along the Seine.

Insight Vacations : Best Tour Company for Italy

Insight Vacations

Almost every traveler dreams of a bucket list trip to Italy. What’s not to love? Amazing food, amazing sights, amazing culture, Italy has it all.

If you’re looking for the best guided tours in Italy, I highly recommend Insight Vacations . Insight offers tours all over the world, but their Italy tours are especially good. Whether you want to see the major sights, learn to live like a local, or sample the best food from around the country (or all of the above!) they’ve got tours for you.

As an example, you could choose their Best of Italy Tour for your next trip. This 11-day tour includes stays in Rome, Florence, Venice, and more. You’ll learn from local artisans, eat farm-to-table meals on the foothills of Mount Vesuvius, and get a VIP tour of the Vatican (including areas normally off-limits to visitors).

Insight’s tours are all led by local tour guides who speak the language and have in-depth knowledge of the culture and history of each site you visit.

If you’re traveling with a group of 10 or more people, Insight Vacations can also put together custom itineraries specifically for your group.

CIE Tours : Best Tour Company for Ireland and Scotland

CIE Tours

If you’re into history, stunning scenery, charming towns, or good times at the pub, you would probably love touring Ireland and Scotland. CIE Tours is technically based in the US, but it’s partially owned and operated by the Irish government. It specializes in travel to Ireland, Scotland, and a few other European countries.

This dialed-in focus means that there are no better guided tours for Ireland and Scotland. I highly recommend their Taste of Scotland and Ireland Tour . In 11 days, you’ll experience sightseeing in Glasgow and Dublin, a day cruise on Loch Ness, carriage rides through the Irish countryside, and a feast in a historic castle.

Their tours have a great balance of exciting sightseeing and activities with enough downtime to relax or do plenty of exploring on your own. It’s a great way to get all the benefits of group travel without feeling like you have no control over your schedule.

If you want more freedom, CIE also offers independent adventures. They will build an itinerary for you and book your lodgings, admission tickets to attractions, and rental car (or you can opt for a private driver). You can choose from their pre-packaged itineraries, or build your own custom trip.

I also appreciate that CIE Tours has fairly affordable rates that include all admission tickets and most of your meals. Plus, they often offer discounts on airfare!

Nicetravel Iceland : Best Iceland Tour Company

NiceTravel

Maybe you’ve always been intrigued by Iceland’s wild, untamed beauty (I know I have). If you want to experience this first hand, Nicetravel Iceland is one of the best group travel companies in this amazing country.

Nicetravel Iceland by three local Icelandic families, so they have a lot of local expertise. They offer trips ranging from 8 hours to over a week and have itineraries to suit any type of traveler, whether you want to relax in natural hot spring pools or hike along the glaciers and coastlines.

They focus on small group tours, and you’ll never have more than 19 people in your group. Most of their tours start from the capital, Reykjavik, and will drive you to various destinations in Mercedes Sprinter Vans. Way better than the huge tour buses many other companies use.

In addition to standard tours for sightseeing, they also have a range of tour options for more adventurous travelers. You’re in the right place if you want to explore caves, hike on glaciers, or raft down raging rivers.

Cosmos : Best Tour Company for Spain and Portugal

Cosmos

For a tour operator on the Iberian Peninsula, Cosmos is one of the best choices, especially if you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg. Cosmos has been guiding group travel for nearly a century, and they employ expert local guides to help you get the most from your trip.

The Cosmos Best of Spain and Portugal Tour is an incredible 13-day group travel itinerary. You will stay in 7 amazing cities across the two countries and visit a wide range of historical sites.

Cosmos is also a good choice for responsible travel, as they have several initiatives to support local communities and planet-focused nonprofits like the African Wildlife Foundation, The Ocean Cleanup, and Trees4Travel. I appreciate companies that are taking steps toward sustainable travel.

Exodus : Best Egypt Tour Company

Exodus Adventure Travels

It’s hard to visit any travel website without seeing a picture of the Great Pyramids. Egypt has captivated the minds of explorers and travelers for centuries, and it is worth having on your bucket list.

If you want a guided tour of Egypt, I highly recommend Exodus Travels . With destinations on all seven continents, Exodus Travels is one of the most popular group travel companies for adventurous travelers, and their Egyptian tours are particularly good.

With 9 different guided tours in Egypt, you can find the perfect itinerary for your trip. Exodus Travels is a true expert in the industry and hires incredible guides for their group travel excursions.

Plus, Exodus Travels also offers trips that are perfect for family travel.

Klook : Best Asia Tour Company

Klook Logo

Whether you want to experience the hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo or an adventurous trek to Everest Base Camp, Klook is one of the best group travel companies for Asia.

Klook is more than just a tour operator. It is a marketplace for everything travel, from airline tickets to hotels to tickets to museums, theme parks, and more. Klook offers trips for small groups or individual travelers all around the globe, but they are based in Asia, and that’s where they focus.

Klooks South Korea Tour will take you to Nami Island, through beautiful gardens, and into a centuries-old palace in Seoul.

Click Tours : Best Tour Company for Israel

Click Tours

Click Tours specializes in group travel in Europe and the Middle East, and Israel is by far their most popular tour destination. In Israel, Click Tours will offer trips ranging from 3-day highlight tours to 18-day deep-dive cultural experiences.

They focus on small group travel, and your tour group will have 15-24 guests. That means you get more personal attention and a more authentic experience of the country.

A tour of Israel with Click Tours will focus on historical and archeological sites. You’ll visit temples and ruins that are thousands of years old as well as dive into the amazing food and rich culture of Israel.

Epos Travel Tours : Best Tour Company for Greece

Epos Travel

If you’re looking for a group travel trip to Greece, Epos Travel Tours is a local company based in Tripolis that offers tours across the country.

Since Epos Travel Tours specializes only in Greece, you can expect catered trips and insider knowledge. They are truly the experts in travel to Greece, and their trip itineraries are designed to help you get the most from your trip, whether you want to visit historical sites or delve into amazing food and culture.

If you’re into history and architecture, their tour of Ancient Corinth is hard to beat!

Best Tour Companies FAQ

Which is the best tour company in the world.

In my experience, Intrepid Travel is the best tour operator. They have amazing small-group tours.

What are the top travel companies?

The top travel companies for tours include Intrepid Travel , G Adventures , and Trafalgar .

Is Globus or Trafalgar better?

Trafalgar is usually the better choice. They offer amazing all-inclusive tours around the world.

Are tour companies worth it?

Group travel can be worth it if you want the stress and planning taken out of your trip.

Who is the biggest tour company?

Disney is the biggest tour company by revenue.

How do you know if a tour company is legit?

It is a good idea to look for reviews of a tour company on TripAdvisor.

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Jakob Thygerson

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Tour Scoop

15 Best Group Travel Companies for Guided Tours in 2024

The best tour companies for guided tours in 2024 deliver special insider experiences you simply can't book independently..

Josh Roberts

The Scoop: What to Know About Trafalgar Tours

Guided tours are an easy and stress-free way to discover new places. When you travel with the best tour operators, you can often dig much deeper into the history, culture, and daily life of your destination than if you’d gone it alone. In fact, the world’s top tour companies employ local guides, handle all of the details, and often deliver special insider travel experiences you simply can’t book independently. And travel tour groups are a good value, too.

To learn more about this year’s best tour companies and their guided tours, click on any company name in the list below to go straight to their website and start your search. Or, scroll down to read more about my picks for the best tour operators in 2024.

2024’s Best Tour Operators for Guided Tours 

  • G Adventures  
  • Adventures by Disney
  • Grand Circle Travel
  • Road Scholar
  • Collette  
  • Tauck  
  • National Geographic Expeditions  
  • Overseas Adventure Travel
  • Intrepid Travel  
  • AdventureWomen  
  • Abercrombie & Kent
  • Exodus Travels

1. Trafalgar Tours

view of lavender and sunflower fields near Valensole, France as seen on a Trafalgar tour of France

One of the largest and most established tour operators in the world, Trafalgar offers everything from standard coach tours and small group active tours to private tours, hiking and biking tours, and special interest tours built around nature, history, food, and other interests. All told, Trafalgar hosts more than 350 guided tours in 72 countries and all seven continents. England, Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, Egypt, Ireland, Argentina, and Thailand are some of its most popular destinations. ( Read our full Trafalgar review here .)

Seniors and travelers 50 and older are Trafalagar’s core audience, though children as young as five years old are welcome on its family tours. Trafalgar’s solo travel options include free or reduced single supplement prices for many of its most popular trips. Each of its tour directors has at least three to five years of road experience, and many have been with the company for decades. 

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Trafalgar’s guided tours cover all accommodations (typically four-star hotels where available) and most transportation during your trip, including airport transfers on the majority of its overseas tours. Most meals and activities are included. Trafalgar also offers special one-of-a-kind experiences such as dining with locals, sleeping in a castle or historic hotel, and early entry to popular tourist attractions. Anyone who books a tour with Trafalgar’ is automatically enrolled in its Very Important Traveler (VIT) program that offers discounts and priority access on future trips. 

Quick Facts about Guided Tour Operator Trafalgar

  • Average guided tour group size: 40 guests (standard coach tours); no more than 17 guests on small group active tours.
  • Price range: Upscale.
  • What’s included: Accommodations, transportation within the trip, admission prices, and most meals.
  • What’s not included: Pre- and post-trip transportation, some meals, and tips.
  • Primary audience: Seniors and travelers over the age of 50.
  • Destinations: Europe, Africa, North America, Central America, South America, Middle East, Oceania, and the Polar regions.
  • How to book:  Directly through  Trafalgar or through a travel agent
  • More tours: 10 Best Trafalgar Tours to Take in 2024

2. G Adventures

female tour traveler buying fruit from a floating market boat in Bangkok, Thailand

Small group tour operator G Adventures has guided trips suitable for a wide range of travel preferences. The company’s driving philosophy is all about improving the world through travel, and it supports this mission by utilizing local businesses and community resources on its tours. Many of G Adventures’s guests share this philosophy as a core value. 

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The company’s guided tours cater to a variety of fitness levels and cultural interests. Its classic tours hit a sweet spot between backpacking and traditional group tours; active tours focus heavily on hiking, trekking, biking, and other physically intense activities; family tours lean into age-appropriate activities and kid-friendly accommodations; local living tours let you participate in the rituals of daily life in unique destinations around the world; and 18-to-thirtysomething tours let young adults explore the world with similarly aged companions. 

G Adventures also partners with National Geographic for both general tours and family journeys designed to provide guests with an even deeper understanding of the cultures and traditions of each destination. And the company’s one-of-a-kind Jane Goodall Collection of guided tours offers a responsible way to experience wildlife up close. G Adventures offers a unique perk on all of its trips. The company’s Lifetime Deposits program allows you to retain your initial deposit for use at a later date at no extra charge if you need to postpone a trip due to a change in plans or circumstances.

Quick Facts about Guided Tour Company G Adventures

  • Average guided tour group size: 12 people.
  • Price category: Moderate.
  • What’s included: Accommodations, activities, and some meals.
  • What’s not included: Airfare.
  • Primary audience: Adults ages 30 to 55, but also families and younger travelers.
  • How to book: Directly through G Adventures or through a travel agent.
  • More tours: 10 Best G Adventures Tours to Take in 2024

3. Adventures by Disney

Junior adventurer on an Adventures by Disney tour holding the paddle of power in Peru

Founded in 2005, Adventures by Disney offers upscale small group tours to about 40 destinations on all seven continents. While you may associate Disney with princesses and talking animals, a vacation with Adventures by Disney is more about the Disney way of doing things than it is about The Walt Disney Company’s entertainment brand. 

When you travel with Adventures by Disney, what you’re getting is top-notch service, people-pleasing trip leaders (called Adventure Guides), and special experiences created just for Disney’s guided tours (think skip-the-line access to tourist attractions like the Louvre in Paris, special backstage tours on Broadway, or traditional bread-baking demonstrations in Iceland). Each trip also includes at least one Adventure Guide from the host destination, who brings local knowledge and a deep connection to the destination. 

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On guided tours with Adventures by Disney, things run smoothly and right on time . That makes it a great choice for stress-free family travel adventures . Most of Adventures by Disney’s guided tours feature built-in family time as well as built-in alone time for the adults. On some evenings, the Adventure Guides may host a “Junior Adventure” movie night. Other times there may be a kids-only dining table for the evening meal. 

Guided tours with Adventures by Disney include upscale accommodations, transportation within the trip (such as airport transfers, internal flights or trains, and motor coaches), admission prices and VIP experiences, luggage and concierge services, taxes, most gratuities, and many meals. There are typically some “on your own” meals, and pre-trip transportation is not included in the price. Adventures by Disney vacations tend toward the luxury side of the price range: an eight-day Peru vacation starts at $6,199 in 2024; an Adriatic expedition cruise starts at $8,999. In addition to its family-oriented trips, Adventures by Disney also offers private tours and adults-exclusive tours.

Adventures by Disney travelers can enroll in the company’s Adventure Insiders program to receive special offers, including advance notice of new tour destinations.

Quick Facts about Guided Tour Operator Adventures by Disney

  • Average guided tour group size: 35 to 44 guests.
  • Price range: Upscale/premium.
  • What’s included: Accommodations, transportation within the trip, admission prices, VIP experiences, luggage and concierge services, taxes, most gratuities, and most meals.
  • What’s not included: Pre- and post-trip transportation, some meals, and tips for your Adventure Guides.
  • Primary audience: Families and adult Disney fans.
  • How to Book: Directly through Adventures by Disney or through a travel agent.

Bryce Canyon National Park view from a Globus tour

The flagship brand of the Globus family of companies (which also includes Cosmos and Avalon Waterways ), tour operator Globus offers coach tours on six continents spanning more than 70 countries. Tour styles include small group tours , offered on Europe and North America itineraries; choice tours, which allow you to choose from three or four possible excursions rather than a one-size-fits-all schedule; undiscovered tours that take a deep dive away from the tourist areas; self-guided independent tours; Escapes by Globus , which operate during the slower tourism season between November and March; and faith-based trips to destinations such as the Holy Land.

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Globus caters to older adults, generally from about 50 to 70 years old, with most guests traveling as part of a couple or family. For solo travelers, which comprise about 20% of the tour company’s guests, Globus offers single supplement waiver promotions on select tours. Globus also has a Welcome Back Credit loyalty program. Each trip earns up to a $250 credit toward a future trip with Globus, Cosmos, or Avalon Waterways.

Quick Facts about Guided Tours with Globus

  • Average guided tour group size: 38 guests (classic coach tours); 20 to 24 guests (small group discovery tours).
  • Price category: Budget to moderate.
  • What’s included: Hotels, all breakfasts, some additional meals, all transportation, VIP “skip the line” access, and local guides.
  • What’s not included:  Gratuities and airfare; however, Globus offers the option to purchase airfare when you book, which comes with free airport transfers.
  • Primary audience: Adults between 50 and 70 years old.
  • Destinations: Europe, Africa, North America, Central America, South America, the Middle East, and Oceania.
  • How to book: Directly through Globus or through a travel agent.

5. Grand Circle Travel

The Acropolis illuminated at night, Athens, Attiki, Greece, Europe

Operating since 1958, Grand Circle Travel is another highly regarded tour operator for adults over 50. The flagship brand within the Grand Circle family of companies (which also includes Overseas Adventure Travel ) offers a wide selection of land-based tours and river cruises for groups ranging in size from 24 to 47 people. 

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Grand Circle Travel’s trips are specifically designed for older travelers. Leisurely pacing and a focus on value are hallmarks of the Grand Circle experience. Like its sister company Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.), which is a top choice for active solo travelers over age 50, Grand Circle stands out as a great fit for solo travelers interested in finding camaraderie and community on vacation. The company offers free or low-cost single supplement fees on all of its itineraries. Grand Circle has guided tour experiences on all seven continents. Land-based group tours average about 30 travelers, while river cruises can range from about 38 to 45 guests. Grand Circle’s loyalty program, called the Inner Circle Club , offers discounts for frequent guests and multiple trips booked within the same calendar year. 

Quick Facts about Guided Tour Operator Grand Circle Travel

  • Average guided tour group size: 24 to 30 guests (land tours); 38 to 45 guests (river cruises).
  • Price category: Moderate to upscale.
  • What’s included: Airfare, meals, activities, accommodations, transportation, special events, gratuities for local guides and motor coach drivers (land tours); airfare, accommodations, most meals, onboard drinks and house beer and wine, port charges, and gratuities for local guides and motor coach drivers (cruises).
  • What’s not included: Airfare can also be purchased separately.
  • Primary audience: Adults, including solo travelers, over the age of 50.
  • How to book: Directly through Grand Circle Travel or through a travel agent.

6. Road Scholar

Guests on a Road Scholar Independent City tour in Venice on a gondola

What started as the tour company Elderhostel in 1975 has since evolved into Road Scholar , a non-profit tour company with an educational focus that offers guided tours around the world. Its primary audience is senior travelers, but it also has the special and unique Grandparent Adventures , which support grandparents and grandchildren traveling together. Road Scholar is also very solo-traveler friendly—about 25 percent of Road Scholar tour guests are solo travelers. And the tour company has a number of itineraries for women-only tours as well.  

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Road Scholar’s educational tours include all accommodations plus most meals, expert-led lectures, field trips, and hands-on experiences, as well as transportation and gratuities. Road Scholar is able to book airfare for international tours, which allows you to have your travel monitored and supported by the company from start to finish. 

Quick Facts about Guided Tour Company Road Scholar

  • Average Tour Size: 22 people.
  • Price Range: Budget to luxury (from about $699 to $21,999 per person).
  • What’s Included: Accommodations, most meals, expert-led experiences, transportation, gratuities, and the Road Scholar Assurance Plan coverage.
  • What’s Not Included: Pre- and post-trip transportation.
  • Primary Audience: Older travelers, grandparents traveling with grandkids, women, and solo travelers.
  • Destinations: Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Australia and South Pacific, and Antarctica.
  • How to book: Directly through Road Scholar or through a travel agent.

7. Collette

Northern lights display in Alaska

A family-run business with hundreds of guided tour options across all seven continents, Collette offers a mix of small group trips (14 to 24 people per tour) and classic guided tours (up to 44 people). Its group tours start around $1,500, and most guests are over the age of 55. Collette is worldwide travel brand and tour operator with offices in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K.

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From land tours and river cruises to rail journeys, small group tours, and city stays, Collette offers a variety of ways to travel, including optional excursions and pre- and post-tour nights at your destination. And while the company tends to attract an older and budget-focused audience with an eye toward value, many of its hotels are four-star quality, and meals favor well-reviewed local restaurants with generous menus. 

Collette employs local guides for all of its trips and puts an emphasis on utilizing local businesses and restaurants. It also offers community sustainability programs for its guests in destinations across the world and invests a percentage of its proceeds back into local community or sustainability projects. Tour guests are automatically enrolled in The Collette Passport Club and receive credit toward future trips. 

Quick Facts about Guided Tours with Collette

  • Average guided tour group size: 44 guests (classic tours); 14 to 24 guests (small group tours).
  • What’s included: Hotels, activities, museum and attraction admissions, local guides, transportation, and airport transfers.
  • What’s not included: Airfare, meals, and gratuities.
  • Primary audience: Adults, primarily couples, between the ages of 50 and 70.
  • How to book: Directly through Collette or through a travel agent.

8. T auck Tours

Zip lining in Costa Rica (Phoo: Tauck)

Family-owned Tauck has a simple philosophy: Deliver more than what’s expected. The award-winning guided tour operator has been doing just that for nearly 100 years by offering authentic experiences and behind-the-scenes access to destinations all over the world. Tauck’s century of experience is evident in nearly every detail of its guided trips, which cover more than 100 destinations in 70+ countries across all seven continents.

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The company’s tours are well-regarded for their expertise in local customs, traditions, flora, and fauna. Meals and accommodations are upscale. Its tour guides, called Tauck Directors, come from 40 countries and average a decade of experience each. You can choose from five unique trip styles: land tours, small group journeys, river cruises, small ship cruises, and multigenerational family journeys called Tauck Bridges. The tour operator also boasts an exclusive partnership with the award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, offering deep-dive trips that explore the themes of his films, including the American Civil War, U.S. national parks, baseball, and jazz. 

Quick Facts about Guided Tour Operator Tauck

  • Average guided tour group size: 35 people (standard tours); 24 people (small group tours).
  • Price category: Upscale.
  • What’s included: Gratuities, sightseeing and admissions, most meals, airport and luggage transfer, and taxes.
  • What’s not included: Airfare and alcohol.
  • Primary audience: Adults over age 50 and multigenerational family groups.
  • How to book: Directly through Tauck or through a travel agent.

9. National Geographic Expeditions

National Geographic Expeditions put a focus on science, education, and storytelling (Photo: National Geographic/G Adventures)

Launched in 1999, National Geographic Expeditions leans into its parent company’s core values of exploration, science, education, and storytelling to offer exceptional guided tours on all seven continents. From exploring the Swiss and Italian Alps by train to photographing Machu Picchu at sunrise, National Geographic Expeditions takes you to some of the most celebrated natural wonders, archaeological sites, and wildlife-rich destinations in the world. 

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A guided trip with National Geographic Expeditions is all about meaningful exploration of the world and its many cultures. Whether by land, small ship, train, river cruise, or even private jet, you can expect a guided tour that goes way beyond the ordinary. And with itineraries geared specifically for photographers, families ( in partnership with G Adventures ), or independent travelers, you’ll be exploring alongside both like-minded travelers and subject matter experts. 

The company offers two unique ways to travel: National Geographic Signature Land tours, led by NatGeo experts, are its flagship trips and feature high-end accommodations, special access to field researchers and sites of interest, and even photography workshops; National Geographic Journeys, led by local guides, utilize mid-range hotels and blend hands-on exploration with more free time to explore on your own. Many National Geographic Expeditions trips also offer pre- and post-trip extensions.

The National Geographic Lifelong Explorers program offers loyalty discounts for return guests. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from each trip helps fund the National Geographic Society’s research and conservation programs around the world.

Quick Facts about Guided Travel Tours with National Geographic Expeditions

  • Average guided tour group size: 16 to 25 people per departure; cruises are all in small ships under 200 passengers.
  • Price category: Premium (National Geographic Signature Expeditions); budget to moderate (National Geographic Journeys).
  • What’s included: Meals, accommodations, excursions, services of a National Geographic Expert, ground transportation, most transfers, baggage handling, most gratuities (for National Geographic Signature Land); some meals, accommodations, excursions, local guides, ground transportation, and some transfers (for National Geographic Journeys).
  • What’s not included: Airfare, some meals, and some gratuities.
  • Primary audience: Photographers and families with a passion for learning.
  • How to book: Directly through National Geographic Expeditions or through a travel agent.

Siem Reap tuk tuk ride on a Cosmos tour

The budget-friendly member of the Globus family of travel brands (alongside Globus and Avalon Waterways ), Cosmos offers a range of tours around the world but has a particularly strong focus on European tours. Cosmos offers similar itineraries to its sister brand Globus but brings costs down by opting for good-but-more-budget-minded accommodations. While Cosmos is best known for its coach tours, the company also offers small group trips, off-the-beaten-path itineraries in popular destinations, event-focused tours, and Christian faith-based trips that highlight religious history in the Holy Land, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.

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Cosmos runs tours on five continents spanning more than 60 countries. Among its most popular destinations are Great Britain and Ireland, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the United States. Many of the company’s tour directors hail from the country in which they lead tours, and a number of them have spent decades with Cosmos. The company also employs local guides to help with additional on-the-ground aspects of its tours. Cosmos offers a Welcome Back Credit loyalty program. Each trip earns up to a $250 credit toward a future trip with Globus, Cosmos, or Avalon Waterways.

Quick Facts about Group Tours with Cosmos 

  • Average guided tour group size: 36 guests (standard coach tours); 20 to 24 guests (small group tours).
  • Price category: Budget.
  • What’s included: Hotels, guided city sightseeing excursions, ground transportation, and some meals.
  • What’s not included: Airfare, optional excursions, gratuities; flights and airport transfers can be purchased at additional cost from Cosmos.
  • Primary audience: Adults in their early to mid 50s.
  • Destinations: Europe, South America, Central America, North America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania.
  • How to Book: Directly through Cosmos or through a travel agent.

11. Overseas Adventure Tours (O.A.T.)

tour guests gathered on a sand dune on an Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.) tour

Part of the Grand Circle family of companies that also includes Grand Circle Travel and Grand Circle Cruise Line, Overseas Adventure Travel (also called O.A.T.) is a small group adventure travel tour specialist offering guided tours on all seven continents. O.A.T.’s tour group guests are over the age of 50 and many are solo travelers looking to join like-minded travelers on active itineraries around the world.

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Why is O.A.T. is so popular with older solo travelers? One reason is that the company rarely charges a single supplement on its trips. A fair number of the company’s guided tour itineraries also have women-exclusive departures. Overseas Adventure Travel rates all of its tours by activity level ranging from one (easy) to five (strenuous). The company operates more than 60 unique trips on all seven continents. Both multi-country and single-country tours are offered; some itineraries focus on culture while others have an ecological focus.

Unlike many other guided tour companies, O.A.T.’s prices typically include airfare, though guests also have the option to book their own flights. Overseas Adventure Travel’s loyalty program is the Sir Edmund Hillary Club , which offers benefits beginning with your third trip.

Quick Facts about Guided Tours with Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.)

  • Average guided tour group size: 13 people.
  • What’s included: Airfare, most meals, all transportation, accommodations, activities, and gratuities for local guides.
  • What’s not included: Gratuities for trip leaders, some meals; airfare can also be booked separately.
  • Primary audience: Active adults over 50, particularly solo travelers.
  • Destinations: Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Middle East, Oceania, and the Polar regions.
  • How to Book: Directly through OAT or through a travel agent.

12. Intrepid Travel

Intrepid's Morocco Berbers Expedition (Photo: Intrepid Travel)

Sustainable and experience-rich travel is the heart and soul of everything Intrepid Travel does. The not-for-profit group travel tour operator runs trips geared toward young adults, women, solo travelers, active travelers, and families, and it generally attracts like-minded guests who value responsible travel, conservation, and respect for indigenous cultures. In fact, many of Intrepid’s most compelling guided tours make personal connections with local communities a centerpiece of the experience.

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Intrepid offers a wide range of trip styles and themes to suit a variety of audiences: Basix caters to independent travelers who prefer free time to explore on their own; Original tours include a mix of activities and free time; Comfort goes at a relaxed pace; and Premium tours offer the best accommodations, most comfortable transportation, and exclusive experiences. Different themes include Active, Food, Expeditions, Family, Solo, 18 to 29s, and Trekking, among others. Travelers are automatically enrolled in the Intrepid Insiders program with their first trip. The loyalty program offers advance notice of sales and new trips.

Quick Facts about Guided Tour Operator Intrepid Travel

  • Average guided tour group size : 12 people.
  • What’s included: Accommodations, local transport, and some meals.
  • What’s not included: Airfare, travel insurance, and tips.
  • Primary audience : Adults ages 25 to 40.
  • Destinations : Europe, Africa, North America, Central America, South America, Middle East, Oceania, and the Polar regions.
  • How to Book: Directly through Intrepid or through a travel agent.

13. AdventureWomen

Adventure Women guest in Nepal (Photo: Adventure Women)

The women’s-only travel group AdventureWomen makes it easy for female travelers to explore the world in a safe and meaningful way alongside other women. Founded in 1982, AdventureWomen now offers nearly 50 tours across more than 65 counties. AdventureWomen’s guided travel tours for women welcome solo female travelers, women traveling together, mother-daughter pairs, sisters, and more. Each tour description clearly outlines the required fitness level for the journey. 

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The company’s most popular guided tours include a wintertime tour of Iceland to view the Northern Lights, a Galapagos Islands wildlife cruise by private yacht, and a journey along Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. These guided women’s only adventure tours include lodging, ground transportation, most meals and activities, guides, and some gratuities. AdventureWomen’s average tour group size is on the small side, with tours generally welcoming 12 to 15 women per departure. Guests often credit the small group size for fostering camaraderie with other travelers on these guided tours. 

Quick Facts about Guided Tour Company AdventureWomen

  • Average guided tour group size: 12 to 15 people.
  • What’s included: Accommodations, most meals and activities, ground transportation, tour guides (called Managers), and some gratuities.
  • What’s not included: Pre- and post-trip transportation, alcohol, some gratuities, and certain meals.
  • Primary audience: Women seeking to travel with other women.
  • Destinations : Europe, Africa, North America, Central America, South America, and the Middle East.
  • How to Book: Directly through AdventureWomen or through a travel agent.

14. Abercrombie & Kent

Amboseli National Park in Kenya (Photo: Abercrombie & Kent)

A pioneer in the world of luxury small group trips, Abercrombie & Kent has been operating guided tours for more than 60 years. These days, the tour company runs trips on all seven continents spanning more than 100 countries. Each of Abercrombie & Kent’s small group tours is run by a Resident Tour Director who remains with the group throughout the trip, while additional specialized local guides help travelers enjoy one-of-a-kind insider experiences.

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Because Abercrombie & Kent is a luxury tour operator, accommodations tend toward high-end hotels wherever possible. Participants are often Gen X and Boomers. Guests are automatically enrolled in the company’s Marco Polo Club loyalty program on their third journey with Abercrombie & Kent. 

Quick Facts about Guided Tours with Abercrombie & Kent

  • Average guided tour group size: 14 people.
  • Price category: Upscale/premium.
  • What’s included: Inter-trip flights, upscale accommodations, luggage transfers, meals, mid-journey laundry services, all activities, and expert guides.
  • What’s not included: Airfare to and from your trip destination.
  • Primary audience: Adults aged 40 and older.
  • How to Book: Directly through Abercrombie & Kent or through a travel agent.

15. Exodus Travels

View of the cliffs and town of Positano and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Amalfi Coast, Italy

A worldwide adventure travel tour operator, Exodus Travels offers small group and independent cycling, walking, hiking, wildlife, and cultural tours in nearly 90 countries across all seven continents. Exodus has operated small group guided tours, self-guided tours, and private tours around the world since 1974, and today offers more than 500 unique tours ranging from popular locales like the Amalfi Coast in Italy to remote destinations like Tajikistan. 

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The company’s small group tours average between eight to 16 guests and utilize local trip leaders and experienced local guides. Solo travelers comprise nearly half of Exodus’s guests, who are given the option to pay a single room supplement or share a room with another guest at no additional charge. For those who want the convenience of a curated trip (pre-planned accommodations, activities, and transportation) without the constraints of traveling with a group, Exodus’s self-guided options give you freedom and flexibility to explore on your own. 

While Exodus is popular with budget-minded travelers, the company also offers premium guided tours to some popular destinations. A partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation allows Exodus to offer luxury safaris, for example. Guests are automatically enrolled in the tour operator’s loyalty program, called Exodus Collective , after two trips. Exodus Collective offers special discounts and members-only sales. After your seventh trip, you’ll be upgraded to the company’s Pioneer level, which comes with even greater discounts and perks. 

Quick Facts about Guided Tour Operator Exodus Travels

  • Average guided tour group size: 8 to 16 people.
  • Price category: Budget to upscale.
  • What’s included: Accommodations, some meals, activities, and local guides.
  • What’s not included: Airfare, airport transfers, and gratuities.
  • Primary audience: Adventure travelers, solo travelers, and active independent travelers.
  • How to Book: Directly through Exodus or through a travel agent.

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Market cap of leading tour operators worldwide 2023

As of September 2023, German-based multinational group TUI AG was the tour operator company with the highest market cap worldwide. As of that month, TUI's market cap exceeded three billion U.S. dollars. UK-based tour operator Jet2 plc and Australian company Flight Centre Travel Group Limited followed in the ranking, with a market cap of 2.96 billion and 2.8 billion U.S. dollars, respectively. Meanwhile, Booking Holdings recorded the highest market cap of leading online travel companies worldwide as of September 2023.

Market cap of leading travel agency and tour operator companies worldwide as of September 2023 (in million U.S. dollars)

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as of September 18, 2023

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Statistics on " Travel agencies in the United Kingdom (UK) "

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Top 10 Tour Operators in the World in 2021 by Revenue

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China Tourism Group Duty Free Corp Ltd, Expedia Group Inc, The Walt Disney Co, TUI AG, and REWE Group are the top 5 tour operators in the world in 2021 by revenue. Cumulatively, the top 10 tour operators in the world employed a total of 598,239 people in 2021. In terms of the geographical split, 5 out of the top 10 tour operators in the world are based in Asia, while 3 are based in Europe, and 2 are based in North America. China Tourism Group Duty Free Corp Ltd (China Tourism Group), formerly China Tourism Group China International Travel Service Corp Ltd (CITS), is one of the leading tour operators in the world by revenue. China Tourism Group operates group and individual tours, business travel, sports activities, leisure tours, sightseeing tours, study tours, conventions, and special-interest tours. It also provides individual booking services and online tourism and travel agency services. It also invests in real estate properties for tourism business development. The company operates in China, Macao, Cambodia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. China Tourism Group is headquartered in Beijing, China. The United States of America-based The Walt Disney Co is another leading tour operator in the world by revenue. The company reported revenues of $6,410 million with average revenue growth of 3.10% in the fiscal year ending 2021 (FY2021). It produces and acquires television programs, live-action films, and animated motion pictures. The company owns and operates theme parks and resorts, and television networks and channels; develops and publishes books, comic books, and magazines; sells products related to Disney themes, and delivers an English language learning curriculum for Chinese children. It owns and operates stores in North America, Europe, and Asia, and employs 190,000 people.

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8 Travel Companies That Make Seeing The World a Breeze

T here’s something fun about pulling out that luggage to pack the night before a trip, or dusting off that passport to check off another country on a bucket list. Traveling is a great way to unwind and see the world through a new perspective. Sometimes, however, the logistics of getting from here to there is overwhelming. From navigating visas for international destinations to simply managing hotel reservations, flights and ground transfers, it can be a bit much for some people to handle. 

If this sounds familiar, then a tour or travel company is a great solution. These organizations manage all of the booking and logistical details on behalf of their customers. Essentially, travelers only need to show up and bring the necessary documents — often with must-haves like visas or paperwork already managed by the company. 

Whether traveling domestically or abroad, here are 8 popular travel companies to consider. 

Best Travel Companies for International Trips

When traveling abroad, one of the best ways to check off multiple “must-see” spots in one trip is with a tour package. Whether within one country or with pit stops through multiple countries, this can be a great way to see a multitude of places within one itinerary and price. 

Most international tour operators manage tours across several continents and may even offer packages for the US. The biggest concern will be finding a tour operator that offers accommodations to fit the traveler’s style as well as determining group size and if a local guide is provided. 

Perillo Tours

Perillo Tours is probably best known for its advertisements boasting about immersive trips through Italy. However, the company offers a range of options that include Spain, Greece, and Hawaii. Along with pre-set itineraries across Italy, travelers can also request a custom itinerary that’s designed to specifically cater to the needs of the group. 

The company started operating tours in 1945, making them one of the oldest options in Europe. Meanwhile, larger group functions like companies, churches or even clubs can also request custom bookings with Perillo Tours . 

G Adventures

G Adventures is a Toronto-based travel company that offers a variety of trips for both international and US domestic excursions. The organization launched in 1990, making it a fairly established operator. For travelers that don’t want to get stuck in massive group trips, G Adventures is a solid choice . 

The service promises to keep the groups small, with no more than 12 individuals. Key guarantees include local guides, flexibility for solo time , the option to be a single add-on to a tour, and the promise of immersive lodgings that allow participants to “live like a local.” With a wide array of itineraries that are as varied as Antarctica, Japan, and across the US, this is a great go-to for anyone that doesn’t want the hassle of creating their own itinerary. 

Kensington Tours

If money is no object, opting for a private tour will always be preferable to group travel. Kensington Tours boasts access to tours in over 100 countries across the world, and private guided tours if budgets allow. Along with international destinations, the organization also breaks US itineraries further into categories such as the lower 48, the US National Parks with the West, and Alaska. 

Likewise, Kensington Tours also has premium options like a villa experience and voyages which includes river cruises. Key features of a tour with this operator include personalized journeys, local guides, and 24/7 support. 

National Geographic Expeditions

It only makes sense that an organization that’s made a name for itself on immersive historically and geographically accurate media would also be a solid choice for a tour operator. National Geographic Expeditions is the travel arm of the same company that has a magazine and channel with documentaries dedicated to everything from wildlife to history. 

While this is probably a better pick for couples, solo travelers or non familial groups, there are specific upsides to traveling with National Geographic. Not only will guests have access to global tours, but they’ll be joined by scientists, photographers, and historians. Plus, participants can see experts working on NatGeo projects and research. Note that National Geographic’s tours are very popular and the site is currently booking for 2025. 

Best Travel Companies for Domestic Trips

Prefer to stay local for the next trip? Here are 4 travel companies that make domestic travel easier. However, note that in the US, tour operators are often regional given the size of the country. This means that many may only provide tour services for specific parts of the country or even a single city. 

So, when looking for a tour operator, it’s always a good idea to start a search with a visit to the local tourism board’s website for the intended destination(s) to see if there are any approved local operators serving that location. 

Southwest Adventure Tours

Active travelers that want to explore the national parks through the American Southwest will love Southwest Adventure Tours . The organization exclusively focuses on tours throughout the Golden Circle region which is the four corners where Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico meet. This includes Mighty 5 national parks like Zion, and Bryce Canyon. 

Choose from 12 available tour packages with lengths ranging from five to 12 days. Everything from accommodations to national park entrance fees are included in the tour packages. 

Adventures by Disney

Who doesn’t love the mouse and his house? Beyond the parks and cruise ships, Disney actually operates a tour company called Adventures by Disney . Yes, people can absolutely book domestic trips which can include park admission or cruise ship itineraries. But this tour operator also manages international tours. 

What sets Adventures by Disney apart from other operators? How about having Mickey himself driving the tour bus and other costumed characters from shows and movies popping up along the way? Additionally, a tour managed by this company can even include private access to coveted places like the Sistine Chapel. And of course, the white glove service that is renowned by Disney’s hotels, cruises, and parks is also available on its tours. 

Insight Vacations

The US is a big place and that means there’s a lot to explore. It’s unlikely anyone can truly see the country in just one trip, but Insight Vacations offers a wide range of tour options covering popular cities as well as national parks. Likewise, there are even seasonal options such as fall foliage tours for the New England region. 

Note that the operator also offers tours to international destinations. Key features that make Insight Vacations a nice option is that the operator offers “business class” tours. These packages prioritize small groups, only book four and five-star hotels, include top-rated dining, and offer an expert travel director along with insider access. 

Get Your Guide

This final entry is better suited for independent travelers who might need just a bit of help to build out a day or two of their entire itinerary. Get Your Guide is ideal for booking a day trip while already in town. Along with getting great deals, the process is easy and a traveler can book tickets for excursions or local tours with their mobile phone while on the go, or a laptop in their hotel. 

Get Your Guide covers activities around the world, but is great for the US since travelers can filter by city and find activities for same-day entry that are affordable and available. If hanging with a multi-day group tour is unappealing, then this is a smart alternative. 

Which Travel Company is Right for You?

Some people prefer to be hands-off with travel planning and let someone else manage all of the logistics. If this sounds familiar, then most of the tour groups listed above are going to be incredibly appealing. Meanwhile, more independent travelers that simply need to round out an existing itinerary will appreciate the flexibility of a service like Get Your Guide. 

Whichever one a person chooses, always be sure to understand what’s included in the tour fees, that the operator is authorized and accredited to work in the jurisdiction, and what refund or cancellation policies are in place for the “what ifs” of travel. 

8 Travel Companies That Make Seeing The World a Breeze

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We’re a St Petersburg travel operator all around Russia!

Our tour company specialize in organizing all kinds of excursions and tours in St Petersburg and other cities of Russia. You’ll get a personalized service and professional guides.

We’re your best fellow guide for private or group tours around Saint Petersburg!

Whether a solo-traveller or a corporate group, a slow walker or a bustler, whether willing to absorb the Russian culture and traditions or hunting for a secret cafe with authentic cuisine — we’ll bring you the best tour experience possible!

Russian tour operator «Grand Petersburg» go above and beyond to make your visit to St Petersburg an unforgettable experience.

We carefully tailor each itinerary and every programme to attune them to your expectations and make you wow. And all that with value for your travel budget.

There is a great team behind your magic tour round the Venice of the North!

Employees of our tour company are experts with deep destination knowledge versed on both globally recognized must-sees and off-the-beaten-track places and hideouts in St Petersburg.

At travel operator  Grand Petersburg, we combine tailored service and insider’s approach!

We’ll help you discover the St Petersburg through the eyes of a local and introduce you to the Russian culture firsthand. And there is always some extra — spectacular views and stories and so much more — up our sleeves!

Choose from a variety of tours — our tour operator have got programmes for any type of traveller:

  • for first-timers and experienced tourists;
  • for culture buffs and history lovers;
  • for hunters for unusual itineraries and off-the-beaten-path experiences;
  • for shop addicts and foodies;
  • for travellers with children and multigenerational families;
  • for physically challenged people;
  • for value conscious tourists.

Why travel operator   Grand Petersburg?

  • Tailored programmes and amazing routes

We work hard behind the scenes to show you the city’s best sights. We map out easy-to-follow routes for your trip but are ready to come up with some challenges if you want to. Not only do our tour programmes embrace the iconic landmarks and sights in St Petersburg. We also reveal destination with an authenticity beyond the reach of any other tour company. We will also go the extra mile to ensure unforgettable stays for kids and parents alike.

  • Comfortable transfer and stress-free agenda

St Petersburg tour operators tend to overschedule your stay in the city cram-packing your tour programme. By contrast, we thoughtfully plan your itinerary and agenda to provide time for individual exploration and quiet reflection. We ensure a balanced combination of comfortable rides in modern vehicles and nice walks in eye-pleasing surroundings. Don’t worry — you will have time to enjoy your book or a cup of coffee at a sidewalk cafe.

  • Best passionate guides

Our tourist guides are of exceptional breed — welcoming hosts and masterful storytellers. With firsthand and in-depth knowledge of the city and its neighborhoods, this tour company will transform your journey to St Petersburg into an experience of a lifetime. Our travel guides speak several foreign languages and they know the history. Armed with specialized background and unique experiences, they can make your heart pump and your jaw drop. Meet our tourist guides in person!

Go on tour with Grand Petersburg — get ready for a breathtaking experience!

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Our goal is to provide the highest quality services to make your clients fall in love with Russia.

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Whether you are looking to get the most out of a tight budget or prefer premium luxury when discovering Russia, Olta Travel will be your perfect partner.

Let us make your tour to Russia a memorable experience, so you can enjoy a worry-free journey!

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  • FROM BIG GROUPS TO INDIVIDUALS: we craft a tailored offer for almost any budget, thanks to our distributed network of trusted partners, direct connections with service providers and our own profound knowledge of destinations in Russia. 
  • TOP SERVICE GUARANTEE:  We take care of everything to secure travelers’ satisfaction and are prepared to deal with unexpected issues should they arise.
  • COMFORTABLE PRICING:  Olta Travel keeps the cost of discovering Russia at a fair, reasonable level because we love our country and seek to share this love with you.
  • NATION-SPECIFIC PROGRAMS : based on our experience working with tourists from all parts of the world, we know how to surprise and amaze your compatriots with Russia.

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1. Processing and use of personal data.

1.1. In this Policy, personal information means any information left by users on the Website of Olta Travel, including Name, Surname, company, email address and other contact information, left in the message.

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5. Olta Travel is not responsible for information posted by a visitor on the third party websites, links to which can be posted on the Website of Olta Travel.

6. More information about the collection, storage and processing of personal data by Olta Travel, the user may get by sending an email to [email protected] .

Best St. Petersburg Tour Companies

Search 36 St. Petersburg tour operators and travel companies, with 229 reviews.

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Baltic capital cities.

The guide was great! The accommodation was nice, but was a little warm as we had no control over the air conditioning/ heating. I would highly recommend this trip. I...

Excellent leader, showed us very many sites. Adding a rest break to the 2 hour tours would be good.

Overall, a great trip. Hotels not as good as in the past with Explore.

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Jennifer Lopez Cancels Summer Tour

The singer and actress said she was “heartsick and devastated” about the decision, which comes on the heels of a hit Netflix movie and persistent rumors about her marriage.

Jennifer Lopez stands in a white, sleeveless dress and looks to her right.

By Maya Salam

Jennifer Lopez announced on Friday that she has canceled her “This Is Me … Live” summer tour. In a message on her website she said she was “heartsick and devastated” about the decision.

“Please know that I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t feel that it was absolutely necessary,” she continued, promising her fans that they’d be “together again.”

An accompanying statement from Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster, said that “Jennifer is taking time off to be with her children, family and close friends,” and that tickets bought through Ticketmaster would be refunded automatically.

The tour, scheduled for arenas across the country, appeared to be struggling with ticket sales; earlier this year, a handful of dates had been canceled and several shows appeared to have a number of unsold seats, Variety reported in March.

The cancellation comes during a time when Lopez, 54, has been in the spotlight for both her work and her personal life. She currently stars in the sci-fi action thriller “Atlas,” which has been the No. 1 film on Netflix in the United States since its debut last week.

And in February, she released an expansive, ambitious project, which she had poured $20 million of her own money into. It included a studio album, “ This Is Me … Now ”; an accompanying musical film, “ This Is Me … Now: A Love Story ”; and a making-of documentary, “The Greatest Love Story Never Told,” which stars her husband, the actor and director Ben Affleck, 51. The pair also appeared together in an ad for Dunkin’ Donuts that debuted during this year’s Super Bowl.

Despite the recent collaborations, rumors have been swirling for weeks that their marriage is in trouble , with tabloids offering reports almost daily on the state of their union. Lopez and Affleck were famously minted as “Bennifer” when they dated from about 2002 to 2004, a period that included a brief engagement. They reunited in 2021 and married in July 2022.

A representative for Lopez did not immediately respond on Friday to questions about the tour cancellation or the reports about her marriage to Affleck.

Maya Salam is an editor and reporter, focusing primarily on pop culture across genres. More about Maya Salam

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The Top 10 Tour Operators in 2020

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Last year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on March 2, 2020, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of COVID-19. The results reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that the honorees will inspire your trips to come — whenever they may be.

Discerning travelers know that the best tour operators in the world are like magicians. They can arrange meals at secret restaurants, private viewings in wildlife reserves, and after-hours visits to top museums. One day they might surprise you with a sundowner on a secluded beach, a helicopter ride to lunch, or a walking safari.

These are the kinds of trips and flourishes that would be difficult, if not impossible, to put together on your own, even with a meticulous personality and an abundance of free time. The best tour operators have the connections, experience, and know-how that are essential to planning a seamless journey. They know the most keen-eyed safari guides and how to get you expedited through the airport. Booking the best trattoria in Rome — as well as the most coveted table and a personal meeting with the chef — is all in a day’s work.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey , T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated tour operators and safari outfitters based on their staff and guides, itineraries and destinations, activities, accommodations, food, and overall value.

The companies that made this year’s list are largely boutique operations. Some run just a handful of trips each year — like No. 3 Terra Incognita Ecotours, whose clients are passionate about wildlife and willing to go off the beaten path to destinations such as Borneo and Patagonia . Others focus on certain hobbies or interests. For instance, No. 6 DuVine organizes cycling trips for travelers who relish the yin-yang of exertion and indulgence. Still others have geographic concentrations, such as No. 2 Greaves India, which is known for its custom itineraries in India, Nepal, Tibet, and neighboring countries. No. 8 Classic Journeys earns raves for its walking trips.

Then there are companies that span the globe and almost any style of travel. Their clients may long to see Boston or Botswana, seek hard-charging adventure or a serious wellness retreat. Artisans of Leisure, Black Tomato , and its peers are able to tailor trips to almost any interest. They’re also skilled at planning celebratory and multigenerational trips, where the expectations are often sky-high.

If you want to guarantee a once-in-a-lifetime experience, these are the best tour operators to call, according to T+L readers. Find the full list below, and details on what makes each company so special.

1. Ker & Downey

Score: 99.10

More information: kerdowney.com

“Completely personalized, stellar guides, fabulous recommendations, unforgettable trips,” is how one T+L reader summed up the Ker & Downey experience. The company has been serving travelers for more than 50 years, and though it’s especially known for safaris, the advisors are adept at planning custom trips with a “wow” factor anywhere in the world. Little wonder that many of the readers who rated it so highly are repeat customers, especially for landmark celebrations.

2. Greaves Tours

Score: 98.96

More information: greavesindia.com

For more than 40 years, the Cambata family has been planning impeccable custom trips to destinations that require extensive planning — not only India, but Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka. “Excellent itineraries,” one T+L reader said. Past travelers also complimented Greaves’s enthusiastic guides and unflappable, knowledgeable drivers.

3. Terra Incognita Ecotours

Score: 98.92

More information: ecotours.com

Founder Gerard “Ged” Caddick has serious ecotourism cred, having led trips for the World Wildlife Fund, National Geographic Society, American Museum of Natural History, and National Audubon Society. His company only runs about half a dozen wildlife-focused tours each year, visiting a wide array of destinations, including Peru, Namibia, and Arctic Norway. Each trip is limited to 16 guests, and as one reader pointed out, Caddick often joins, too: “One of the perks of traveling with this company is the owner and his wife go on many of the tours themselves. You know absolutely everything will be taken care of.”

4. Jacada Travel

Score: 98.30

More information: jacadatravel.com

“They can handle the most complicated itinerary and find the most intriguing and delightful places to visit,” one T+L reader raved about this London-based group. The company started out planning trips to Brazil in 2008 and has since expanded to orchestrate private, once-in-a-lifetime journeys around the globe. Jacada staffers have experience living and working in the destinations they specialize in, so their knowledge is deep and personal.

5. Artisans of Leisure

Score: 98.26

More information: artisansofleisure.com

This company plans customized private journeys packed with five-star-hotel stays and insider experiences in dozens of countries. Trips are tailored to suit travelers’ interests, including food, photography, genealogy, gardens, adventure, and more. “The itineraries are always the perfect balance of famous highlights, off-the-beaten-track spots, and special behind-the-scenes experiences,” one World’s Best voter wrote. “They’re also exceptionally good with organizing family travel, and everyone from the grandparents to the grandchildren always has such a great time.”

6. DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co.

Score: 98.02

More information: duvine.com

DuVine is all about travel on two wheels — though it does have some trips that combine its signature cycling with sailing on a private yacht. The local guides are pro cyclists, chefs, and winemakers, and though there are plenty of itineraries for advanced riders, they’re far from spartan training missions. “Absolutely amazing, over-the-top tours!” one T+L reader enthused.

7. Boundless Journeys

Score: 97.92

More information: boundlessjourneys.com

For more than 20 years, Boundless Journeys has been leading locally guided tours — capped at 16 travelers but often clocking in at eight or 10 — with a focus on the outdoors. It covers destinations from Vermont to Vietnam, and is especially known for walking, hiking, and trekking trips.

8. Classic Journeys

Score: 97.86

More information: classicjourneys.com

When the company began in 1995, it offered walking tours in three countries. Twenty-five years later, it has more than 100 cultural, walking, culinary, family, multisport, and river-cruising itineraries — both small-group and custom — on six continents. Classic Journeys specializes in taking new approaches to familiar destinations and was an early entrant into American travel to Cuba. “Classic Journeys made sure we didn’t miss some of the must-see sights,” one pleased voter wrote, “but they also gave us opportunities for some unique visits.”

9. Quasar Expeditions

Score: 97.54

More information: quasarex.com

Founded by an Ecuadoran couple in 1986, Quasar pioneered luxury cruising in the Galápagos Islands and expanded to land travel that includes the rest of Ecuador, Patagonia, and Peru. It’s still run by the same family, who ensure that no detail of their small-group trips goes overlooked. “The two naturalist guides for our Galápagos cruise were incredibly knowledgeable,” one reader reported. “Their love for their islands shined through every single activity.”

10. Black Tomato

Score: 97.44

More information: blacktomato.com

Launched in 2005 by a trio of travel-loving friends, Black Tomato caters to deep-pocketed clients looking for bespoke experiences that are edgy and luxurious. Think pairing dancing salsa in Santiago, Chile, with an Antarctic expedition, or being purposely “lost” in a remote destination in order to plot your way home — with an indulgent reward along the way, of course.

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Radio operator Marie Scott provided a link to D-Day beaches at age 17

Marie Scott who was a serving Wren and switchboard operator at the time of D-Day, holds up a photograph of herself in 1944, at her home in London, Thursday, April 25, 2024. D-Day, took place on June 6, 1944, the invasion of the beaches at Normandy in France by Alied forces during World War II. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

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LONDON (AP) — On D-Day , Marie Scott experienced British forces landing on the Normandy coast through her earphones.

Stationed in an underground tunnel 100 feet (30 meters) below the south coast of England, Scott was safe from the carnage. But she heard it all.

As a 17-year-old radio operator in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, she relayed messages to the Normandy beaches and waited for the recipient to open his channel and reply.

“And when he did, in my earphones, in my head, I was in the war because what I heard was machine gun fire going continuously. The heavier ones, like cannons. Men shouting. Men shouting orders. Men screaming,’’ she told The Associated Press. “It must have been horrifying on those beaches. The Germans had machine gun nests that were very well concealed and they just mowed them down as they went on the beaches, and I could hear all that.”

Marie Scott who was a serving Wren and switchboard operator at the time of D-Day, holds up her medals, at her home in London, Thursday, April 25, 2024. D-Day, took place on June 6, 1944, the invasion of the beaches at Normandy in France by Alied forces during World War II. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Marie Scott who was a serving Wren and switchboard operator at the time of D-Day, holds up her medals, in London, April 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Scott was one of some 700 people who worked at Fort Southwick, the communications center for D-Day, where military personnel gathered information about the landings and kept senior officers informed about what was happening on the beaches and in the English Channel.

Operating a radio set on the most important day of the war was a big job for a teenager who had joined the Wrens less than three months earlier.

Scott’s formal education ended when Nazi bombers began pounding London. She soon went to work for the General Post Office, which ran Britain’s telephone system, and was trained as a switchboard operator.

Eisenhower radio broadcast

Eisenhower broadcasts a D-Day message to the Allied troops, 1944. (AP Audio)

That gave her skills the military needed as Britain prepared for D-Day, and the Wrens snapped her up even though she wasn’t yet 18, the normal age of enlistment.

The military trained her in the then-revolutionary technology of VHF radio, in which only one party could transmit at a time. After delivering their message, operators had to stop and listen to the response. Think of old movies where speakers end transmissions by saying “over” as a signal for the other party to speak.

Deep underground at her duty station, Scott worked 48-hour shifts with 24 hours off in between.

Then came June 6, and the sound of war filled her ears.

WWII WREN Marie Scott describes her experience during the war. (AP Video/Kwiyeon Ha)

“The signaler who was sending messages back from the beaches, he must have been so courageous. Just to sit there sending messages when all around him fireworks were going off. I mean, cannon, everything. Guns of every description. So, yes, I take my hat off to that signaler that day. Incredible,” Scott said.

“I mean, I was deep underground, very safe, but he wasn’t.”

She never knew his name or whether he survived.

“He was a voice, just a voice. As was mine.”

After the war, Scott got married and raised a family. She put her well-tuned ears to use indulging her love of opera.

On her wall is a picture of La Scala opera house in Milan. Maybe one day she’ll go.

Scott, now 97, isn’t bitter that the contributions women made to the war effort have received little attention. The way she sees it, men made the bigger sacrifices.

But there is also pride in having been awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest order of merit, for her role on D-Day — even if the letter informing her of the prize was addressed, “Dear Sir.”

“Some wars just have to be fought,” she said. “And I think, quite honestly, World War II was just such a war.”

READ THE STORY: Codebreakers, cartographers and coxswains: Barred from combat, women helped ensure D-Day success

Women of WWII

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