Today’s Top-Ten list is simple and short; it’s a review of my China trip with G Adventures. If you don’t know, G Adventures is a travel company that provides local guides on trips throughout the world.
Here are 10 reasons to travel with G Adventures…
10. Insider Guides
Having a guide who spoke the native language, could explain the currency, and give detailed directions was extremely valuable. I actually got to enjoy the sites instead of searching for hours and then being too exhausted for more than a photo-op.
9. Use of Local Transportation
I actually prefer using public transportation. It easier, much cheaper, and you get to interact with the locals in an authentic setting. On the tour, we used a plane and charted buses to bridge the long distances between cities. Once we were there, it was all subways,buses,and overnight trains. Chinese public transportation is an experience all of its own so it was a worthwhile experience.
8. Solo Traveler Friendly
Even the solo traveler craves a companion sometimes. It’s also helpful to belong to a group if you’re heading to a notoriously difficult or dangerous location. A major plus for G Adventures is that solo travelers aren’t charged extra automatically. They share accommodation with others traveling alone or could choose to pay for their own room. (In most cases-some Thailand trips seem to charge a single-supplement)
7. A One-Stop Place
It was very easy for me to book and confirm my trip, email them the required documents,and buy the necessary travel insurance in one afternoon. After booking, I simply called their office and brought their travel insurance. If you need to, you can also arrange for airport transfers and extra nights while booking.
6.They Know the Hot-Spots
Because G Adventures guides are also natives, they know where to go for the best food,cheapest shopping, and cleanest bathrooms. (Trust me-this information is worth its weight in gold.) Our guide knew where to go for the best late-night dumplings and escorted us to the cheap yet safe shopping areas. China has a strict policy when it comes to antique and souvenirs so without his guidance, I could have loaded up on gifts and trinkets that wouldn’t have made it past customs.
5. See the Best of the Best
The itinerary is made to fit in all of the major to-dos. In my 8 day trip I saw four different cities. It felt rushed at times, but there was always moment where I could stop ,reflect, and realize I was in either a very special or a very beautiful place.
4. Meet a Diverse Group of Travelers
On my trip, our small group consisted of 6 people: 2 Mexicans, 4 Americans from all over the US, and , of course, our Chinese guide. While traveling, I got to learn about all these different cultures and practice my Spanish as well. I like traveling with people from all over; you get to learn a bit and get ideas for future traveling.
G Adventures offers trips to both the most common and most exotic of places. That makes it easy to get to uncommon places or places where the language barrier can be unforgiving.
2. “If you’re confirmed, you’re going”
Group sizes are limited to 12-16 people. However, you’re not punished if no one else signs up for your departure date. As long as you pay, turn in the required documents ( copy of passport and flight information) and get a conformation email, you’re going.
1. Pick a Budget, Any Budget
The best thing is that there are trips to fit every budget. There are trips for the student’s budget,for the adventurer who wants to spend a bit more to party hard, comfort style for those who want Western comforts overseas, and family trips for those with small ones to accommodate.
I obviously loved G Adventures and plan on using them again in the future.However,for the sake of a well-rounded review, I’ll have to include some things I didn’t love.
Some Things I Didn’t Like…
No Heads Up About Tipping for Services
Before leaving, you get a suggested budget that covers things like food,transportation, and emergency spending. I had planned for each of those categories plus a bit of souvenir shopping. Knowing that tipping wasn’t common in Asia, I didn’t think we would have to tip for drivers or extra tour guides during outings. I thought it was included in the fees. It was normally 20 yuan which isn’t big deal-especially when converted to US dollars- but it did force me to make a few unexpected ( and fee-ridden) trips to the ATM.
Most days, there are optional outings that you pay for separately. Most of these are cultural events and I did enjoy the majority. Some of them, however, fell a bit flat and were expensive. However, that’s probably more of an interest and personality thing.
Have you had an experience with G Adventures or another tour company? Leave a comment below ! I would love to know what other tour companies are like.