Advertorial from Intrepid Travel

Seeking an inspiring adventure that’s better for the planet? Go Intrepid!

From flight-free itineraries to investing in communities, Intrepid Travel leads the way in genuinely sustainable travel that makes the world better for everyone

Positive impacts on communities and the environment are built in to every Intrepid holiday. This group discovers the beauty of nature at Tegallalang rice terraces in Bali. Photo Credit: Intrepid Travel

Advertorial from Intrepid Travel

However long we spend agonising over the fine details of our longed-for holidays, we’ll never have the know-how that an experienced travel company can offer – especially one that specialises in unique, sustainable adventures.

That is exactly what Intrepid Travel offer. Founded in 1989 by Darrell Wade and Geoff Manchester – two backpacker friends keen to create an alternative to traditional group holidays – it has quietly grown to become the world’s largest purpose- led adventure travel company.

Today, Intrepid runs more than 900 itineraries across the globe, offering a range of innovative and inspiring experiences. And all are the result of years of research.

There are all-action adventure getaways for thrill seekers, journeys through some of the world’s most unusual culinary cultures for foodies, and retreats designed to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul. 

Each of their holidays puts an immersive experience and inclusivity at its heart: you won’t just pose for a selfie or quickly grab a souvenir. Intrepid holidaymakers spend time getting to really know local people, be that through sitting down to share a meal at someone’s home or discovering local hidden gems together.

Travelling in a small group with Intrepid bypasses glitches like language barriers, transport woes or negotiating cultural differences. So you simply enjoy every minute.

And, says Intrepid’s managing director for EMEA, Zina Bencheikh, it can be an especially positive experience for women. “A majority of people who come to us for the first time are women,” she explains.

“Solo travellers feel safer with us, because of the safety of being with an organised group, a tour leader that looks after you, everything booked in advance. For the first-time traveller, especially for women, it’s more convenient and the experience is richer.”

And even when visiting popular destinations, Intrepid takes its customers off the beaten track. “We take travellers to places that they wouldn’t find by themselves,” adds Zina. “You might spend a night in Venice, but we’ll also take you to Lucca, a beautiful city close to Florence that you might not have heard about. We give you a very nice taste of this beautiful area of Italy without being in the crowd. And we do that wherever we go.”

Intrepid travellers spend time getting to know local people and discover hidden gems together

Reasoning that the best way to truly experience a place is through the eyes of its locals, Intrepid has committed to hiring local people as tour leaders. This not only makes for an authentic experience of a destination, but it gives travellers access to invaluable local knowledge that would otherwise be lacking. And it ensures that the travel company are respecting local cultures and supporting local economies.

Staying local is key to the Intrepid experience. Zina says: “We hear a lot about the negative impact of travel, especially at the moment. But we really believe in the positive impact that travel can have on the people and the destination.

An authentic and immersive experience with Intrepid Travel makes for truly memorable holidays. A group in Goreme Cappadocia experience local food alfresco. Photo Credit: Intrepid Travel

“We stay in locally owned accommodation, sourced by our team on the ground. Those places would be difficult for someone to find by themselves. We eat in local areas, shop in local markets, visit projects that support communities in destinations.”

Intrepid has, since 2018, held prestigious B CorpTM certification, demonstrating its real-world commitment to maintaining the highest standards of sustainability, environmental responsibility and an inclusive, equitable, ethical supply chain, which supports positive change in communities alongside assuring staff wellbeing. 

In 2002 The Intrepid Foundation was established, and in the last 20 years 130 community partners have benefited to the tune of over £7 million. 

The not-for-profit uses local knowledge of Intrepid team members to identify locations, and charitable organisations are then carefully chosen to benefit from the support of the Foundation. “We’ve got criteria, most of them around local impact, female empowerment, what they do for the development and social economic development of that country,” Zina says.

Intrepid’s approach is reflected in their pioneering work ensuring that impact on the environment is minimised. 

For Zina, this underpins everything they do. “No matter what trip you are on, whether it’s a family trip or cycling holiday, you will have an experience that is sustainable – we build that into every trip.

“We’ve been carbon neutral since 2010, but now that everybody’s talking about it we’ve realised it’s not enough. The pandemic gave us time to reflect and look at how we want to rebuild.”

So Intrepid has committed to a science-based emission reduction target, designed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions at the pace and scale necessary to limit global warming to 1.5°C, and verified by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Unusually for a travel company, Intrepid has an in-house environmental impact specialist. With the spotlight firmly fixed on the environmental impact of travel, Intrepid are leading the way.

Zina explains some of the practical steps Intrepid are taking to lessen the environmental impact of their trips. “One of the projects that we pursued during the pandemic was a shift towards more domestic trips. So now 20 per cent of our global portfolio is made up of UK trips for UK travellers, US trips for US travellers, etc.

“Another initiative we’re working on is removing flights from our trips. We’re looking at replacing internal flights with low-carbon domestic alternatives – boats, trains, public transport. In Europe, we have partnered with Byway to offer a series of ‘slow travel’ trips, flight-free itineraries that offer long, scenic journeys.”

Unforgettable small group holidays from a company dedicated to positive change. It’s an ethos we can all get on board with.

Find out more at intrepidtravel.com

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