The shift towards travelling more responsibility has been gaining steady traction over the past few years, but never has it felt more pervasive. It’s now common knowledge that socially conscious travel trends resonate with a wider number of people, especially younger generations who have come into a world ravaged by overtourism and careless daily practices.
It’s then perfect timing for stalwart guidebook publisher Lonely Planet to take a momentous step forward, curating meaningful, responsible small group tours as part of a landmark partnership with adventure operator Intrepid. Announced this week, this new and ambitious collaboration seeks to bring Lonely Planet guide books to life, turning the words into action through 200 day tours and more than 130 multi-day tours around the world.
All have been carefully designed, considered and curated towards maintaining a low environmental footprint, promoting immersive local experiences and leaving a positive impact. Collectively, the tours will be available as Lonely Travel Experiences, focused on authenticity and immersion, with carbon-offsetting contributions included in the price.
The day-tours will be operated by Urban Adventures, long established as Intrepid Travel’s day tour company covering local experiences like street food, street art, beer, marine adventures, festivals, history, and more. A vintage Las Vegas arts tour is on the cards, alongside other highlights like a pork and bacon tour of Toronto, a look at the communist history of Bucharest, a journey into Japan’s most famous fish market, and an evening stroll through Sydney’s energetic small bar scene.
Overall, the tours will take place across 65 countries and range from 2 hours up to month-long trips. Multi-day highlights include a week-long Galapagos Experience, a six-day Northern Lights trek in Iceland starting, and an 11-day tour of Northern India utilising sleeper trains, rickshaws and buses.
Importantly, all tours will use local transportation and support locally-owned businesses. This will complement the rising trend of “slow travel”, which values genuinely immersive and interactive travel to get to the very heart of a destination. Each tour will be small – no more than 16 people- and be led by a local leader.
“These experiences combine our expertise to create a new tour range that will support local communities, protect our natural environment and ensure travellers see the world in a responsible and sustainable way”, offered James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid Travel. “Lonely Planet helped pioneer access to more authentic and grassroots experiences for independent travellers. That’s why we’re thrilled to be part of the next phase of their growth and helping to make sustainable experience-rich travel a mainstay for travellers everywhere”.
Our top picks include the 8-day Cuba on a Shoestring (from AU$1,042); 8-day Highlights of Italy (from AU$1,865); 5-day Turkey Backroads (from AU$605); and the month-long Explore Bolivia to Brazil (from AU$6,685),
Each tour includes six months’ free access to Lonely Planet’s Guides App. You can browse the full list of available tours HERE.
Lead image credited to Nathan & Tegan.