You could join a crazy, big tour group ... or do this instead
Avoid the sardine run (if you’ve got the dough) and try one of these new and unique ‘curated’ tour groups
Someone invites you to join a tour group and images of tourists filing out of buses rushing from one tourist trap to another traumatise you. But what if you joined a uniquely curated tour, where the group numbers could be kept small?
A few tour companies create unique holidays for travellers who want more from their escapades than a run of the mill holiday. Of course, there is a catch. None of these four group tours come cheap, but hey, what is a little money spent on a trip of a lifetime, right?
Soul Travel Tours
Curated experiences over five days and four nights for small groups, the tours are made up of six different routes based on the colours of the South African flag.
The red route, for example, is targeted at foodies and includes a food crawl while exploring urban spaces. The white route is about touring SA’s heritage sites. Other routes cover themes such as adventure, nature and beaches.
Cost: R11,895 per person sharing; includes travel costs.
It began by creating nomadic experience for members who were interested in music festivals and the arts after being inspired by Burning Man. The company has evolved to include permanent “homes” in Mexico, Bali and even Namibia. There are also clubhouses in New York and Venice Beach for members.
By joining Habitas, you can celebrate New Year’s while luxuriously being “reminded of the essence of life” or attending the Sexes experience where femininity and masculinity are explored, all in Tulum, Mexico.
Cost: Experiences are for members only; full costs available on request. Habitas homes can be booked online from about R3,000 per night.
The Runaway Experience
The Runaway Experience is a travel brand that creates digital content and curates unique tour experiences. It focuses on wellness retreats, which in 2019 will be based in Marrakech, Morocco.
The Culinary Adventure Retreat is hosted by a chef; or the Self-care and Sisterhood Retreat includes sessions with a wellness consultant. There is even the sold-out Live Richer Retreat which promises to help you learn to “to experience everyday life for less money and more fun”.
Cost: From $2,950 per person without flights.
700,000 Heures (700,000 hours), explores a new destination and hotel every six months. It is the brainchild of French hotelier Thierry Teyssier who says: “It’s time to invent a new way to discover the world, which is more authentically connected to people and cultures, more enriching and more humane for all.”
The first hotel in this project opened in Puglia, Italy in September and will be closed by the end of October. The next destination is Cambodia from November 2018 to April 2019. Each hotel will offer a unique experience inspired by the destination.
“We spend an average of 700,000 hours on Earth. This time is too precious to let it just pass by. This is why we created 700,000 Hours, a travel experience like no other. We want nothing less than the hours you spend with us to become your most unforgettable memories,” says Teyssier.
Cost: $1,755 to $2,105 all-inclusive daily rates for two people without flights (maximum 12 people accommodated at a time at each hotel). 700,000 Heures members get first preference for bookings and membership costs a $2,340 entry fee and an annual fee of $585 for two people.