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Adventure Blog

Fusing Independent Travel With Tours

Buzz Poole
05/31/2011 - 00:00

Adventure Center has always prided itself on providing authentic travel experiences built around itineraries that really let you get a sense of place with plenty of free time allotted to explore independently of the group. With the recent partnering of Adventure Center with Intrepid Travel, the range of over 100 Urban Adventures offers a hybrid adventure that fuses the best parts of group tours with the best parts of traveling solo.

Seeing a new place from a local’s perspective is always the best, but for independent travelers, especially those traveling in a country where there is a language barrier, meeting locals requires some effort. And while the group tours that Adventure Center runs are led by locals, you might not always want to deal with wandering around with a bunch of other travelers or sticking to a group’s schedule.

Enter Urban Adventures, which boasts: “In just a few hours we get under the skin of the city you’re visiting - so you know it like a local!” The copy also claims that a great number of the people who sign up for these day trips are locals eager to get a fresh perspective on the city they call home.

Now, I haven’t done one of these yet, but since New York is home, I’ve had a look at what’s available, and I must say the four tours are all very different from one another and reveal parts of the city slightly off the beaten path – nowhere do I see mention of the Empire State Building, the Met or Macy’s. One tour takes you out on the Staten Island Ferry; another one explores Greenwich Village in a way that would make Dylan Thomas proud; or you can head up to Harlem and see the northern reaches of Central Park, which are very different from the more popular southern sections.

The reasonable pricing, both for trips in the US and abroad, includes travel, admission to sites and beverages and snacks. I’m not sure how long the program has been up and running, as there are still a limited number of cities where these tours are available, but if you were in San Francisco, Berlin, Kyoto or Barcelona and wanted to get a feel for the city, I bet this would be a good way to go. If you are in Boston, Miami, Madrid, Osaka or Munich I guess you are on your own, which really isn’t that bad a place to be if you’ve already made the trip!

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