Say yes to exploration and adventure in 2020 with this pick of adventure tour operators.

If the Kids Club isn’t cutting it with your tots any more, or you fancy connecting with like-minded solo travellers while you bond over learning a new adrenaline-fuelled sport, we’ve created an edit of our favourite holiday companies for every kind of adventure. Whether you’re itching to head off the beaten track to experience new cultures with local experts in-tow, or you prefer your explorations on the more sedate side or closer to home, we have just the trip inspiration for you.

Stubborn Mule Travel

Do your family holidays consist of dragging reluctant teens around landmarks, or trying to extract them from their devices so you can hit the beach, en famille? Stubborn Mule Travel is family-run and the team are parents themselves, as well as travel planning experts (Liddy, its MD, has 20 years under her belt in the industry), making them perfectly placed to help you create your dream family adventure holiday. Every itinerary is tailor-made, so if you’ve got animal-mad little ones aching to tick off the Big Five in Tanzania, or sports-crazy kids who want to take a kung-fu class at the Shaolin Temple, these are the fixers you need.

Travel the Unknown

Its very name speaks of tantalising adventure and, in line with that, this award-winning tour operator prides itself on ‘pioneering off-the-beaten track travel’. Take your pick of destinations, from Uzbekistan to Papua New Guinea, Nepal and even Antarctica. Seek out the far fringes of the world and travel a path less trodden with expert guides ready to take you hiking through the Himalayas; journeying through the Sahara Desert on camel-back; paragliding or waterfall rappelling in Colombia; or climbing Mount Damavand in Iran, the Middle East's highest peak. The world is out there, and it’s ready for the taking.

Flash Pack

Flash Pack is the grown-up Club 18-30 of the 21st-century. Aimed at the 30-to-40-something Insta-ready crowd looking for a solo travel adventure, its tagline is ‘Friends too busy? Do it anyway’. Expect ‘boutique group adventures’ – think less pub-crawls around Spanish resorts, and more volcano trekking in Bali, or Northern Light chasing in Iceland. The site is beautifully curated, showcasing trips from Europe to the Galapagos and everywhere in between.

Rainbow Tours

Rainbow Tours specialises in tailor-made holidays to Africa, Madagascar and Latin America – from honeymoons to family adventures. Born out of a passion for Africa, its safari experts are second-to-none. Visit Big Five country, then camp among the lakes, reefs and beaches of the Indian Ocean on its South African tour. Expect plenty of family-orientated activities; your budding Attenboroughs can take a course in animal-tracking and bush skills, experience a hands-on visit to cheetah and elephant conservation centres, and try their hands at kayaking, snorkelling and mountain biking. If you’re keen to fuel a passion for conservation and environmental awareness in the next generation, we can’t think of a better way to spark their imaginations.


Looking for more than just a two-week break? Linger specialises in sabbatical travel, planning tailor-made trips with an ethical focus. If you’re looking for a trip with authenticity and altruistic experiences, Linger can help facilitate the sharing of professional skills with micro business entrepreneurs in India; IT knowledge with local schools in Cuba; researching plant species in the Amazon; or teaching in a village school in Nicaragua. With a philosophy to engage in meaningful, active and transformational travel, you’re guaranteed to get more out of your trip than a sun tan.

Grand American Adventures

If you want to immerse yourself in nature at a slower pace, a hiking holiday with Grand American Adventures could be right up your street – or should that be canyon? Take in virgin forests, ancient glaciers, rushing rivers and the aforementioned canyons, where wildlife and silence abound. Paradise for photographers, outdoor enthusiasts and walkers alike, the extensive network of trails and planned routes take you through Canada’s best national parks. There’s wild camping, white water rafting, mountain biking and some much-needed time in the natural hot springs to soothe tired muscles. If the wild is calling, this is your answer.

Cycling For Softies

If you like your adventure a little more laidback and with good food and wine thrown in, Cycling For Softies may appeal. As the name suggests, it’s perfect for those up for a spot of fun, without the saddle sores to show for it. It organises cycling tours (you can even opt for an electric bike if you’re really adrenaline-averse) through France and Italy’s most renowned wine regions. You can take the planned routes at your own pace and they’ll point you in the direction of the best stop-off points to graze and quaff your way around the vineyards and foodie destinations en route. Super civilised and a lot of fun: the perfect recipe for a memorable holiday.

The Adventure People

Over half of The Adventure People’s customers are travelling solo, offering a range of epic adventures for those tout seul, including kayaking through Croatia and trekking the Inca Trail. Taking the hassle out of planning a big trip alone, it curates the itinerary, accommodation and travel so you can relax and explore. The focus is on authentic and affordable trips for small groups of like-minded wanderlust travellers; using local providers and expert on-the-ground guides to give you a real flavour of a country, with a splash of added adventure.


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By Lydia Mansi
February 2020