Been searching from Amsterdam to Ushuaia for an answer to that burning question? Never fear!
Take a look below and if you can't see what you're after, give one of our Geckos experts a call/email/Facebook poke (if you're old-school).
Before you go
Our detailed trip notes (located down the bottom of each trip overview) are a pretty good place to start. As well as outlining the itinerary, they include heaps of wanna-know info like included meals, prices for optional activities and some tips on what to pack.
Well that depends. Where are you going? What are you like? What’ve you got? The best thing to do is to check out the region-specific packing list in the essential trip information for ideas – but less is better! As are backpacks!
It depends on where you’ve been before, which jabs you’ve had previously, how long ago you had them etc. Etc. Your doctor or travel doctor is the boss on this one, and it’s best to get their advice sooner rather than later as some medicines like that used for Malaria, often need to be started several weeks prior to departure. When you do go, make sure to obtain any certificates of vaccinations you get, as some countries will want to see these before letting you in.
Always a good idea. You’ll find a few medical kit suggestions in the essential trip information, but we’d also recommend asking your doctor. Don’t count on necessarily being able to track down whatever meds you need when overseas – even if they’re around, you might have to invest hours in tracking them down and the dosage instructions could be in Swahili. The basics can't hurt either, like bandaids for blisters or
There’s no hard and fast rule on this, but as a general rule the less the better. You’ll generally need to carry your luggage between transport and accommodation, so lightness is your friend. More room in your pack also means more room for souvenirs, and leaving your sexiest jeans at home gives you a great excuse to buy some news ones. Some of our trips do also include flights, making baggage allowances a consideration – check directly with the airline or ask your travel consultant to confirm weight restrictions for you. For example in Borneo we fly on smaller regional planes where luggage allowances are 15kg, so be sure to read your essential trip information for more information.
Some of the places we stay at have laundry facilities, and those that don’t are bound to have some nearby (unless you’re camped out in the Gobi desert. Or trekking the Himalayas etc.) A little bottle of ‘travel wash’ and a portable clothes line can also be handy when it’s just a fresh pair of socks you’re craving.
Depends on which trip you’re doing. Generally no, but check the packing list in the essential trip information for the low-down. Even if you don't need a sleeping bag, some travellers like to pack a lightweight sleeping sheet for extra comfort and hygiene, especially when travelling on overnight sleeper trains.
It really depends on the trip you want to do. If it’s trekking Kokoda, a solid level of fitness (and tenacity) is invaluable. If it’s taking the train through Spain, you’ll really just need to be able to heft your backpack a bit and eat your weight in tapas. Most trips include a fair amount of walking – though the choice is yours whether you join in or not. this being said, some of our trips head into fairly remote areas where medical facilities are limited or non-existent – so you do need to be in good health (or at least know how to manage any conditions you may have). It also sorta goes without saying that some aspects of travel can be testing regardless of fitness: long drives, rough roads, dust, dirt, delays, snow…a hearty, can-do attitude will go miles in combatting these.
Obtaining any requisite visas for your travels is the responsibility of the traveller. Our detailed essential trip information outlines visa and immigration conditions for several nationalities, though it is ultimately your responsibility to check that this information is still current leading up to your trip. Please contact us if you require any supporting documentation or information in obtaining your visa. And don’t leave it to the last minute! Some visas can takes weeks to procure.
Yes! No ifs, no buts. If you want to travel with us you must have taken out a comprehensive travel insurance policy. As much as we may strive to exude a cool, devil-may-care attitude much of the time, this is something we are 100% serious about. At a minimum, your policy must cover medical costs in case of hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation. And if you are going on one of our more active trips, you must make sure your policy covers you for this activity ie. cycling. We would also highly recommend taking cancellation cover at the time of booking your trip, because if you suddenly need to cancel your trip once you have paid your deposit or full payment, certain fees will apply. We’re so serious about all this that you’ll need to provide your trip leader with a copy of your policy – showing the policy and emergency hotline phone numbers – at the first group meeting. If you rock up without one, we’ll be leaving without you.
Yeah, the old internet’s a pretty big deal these days. So unless you’re out on safari or in the desert the entire time, you’ll be able to get connected at some point along the way. If there isn’t wireless or computers at the hotel, your trip leader will be able to point you in the direction of an internet cafe. Be aware, however, that in some countries connectivity can be slow, unreliable and/or expensive.
Chances are yes, articularly when you’re doing your hanging in major cities. Before jetting off, check with your service provider to see if they have a reciprocal agreement with the countries you’ll be travelling to and the costs of using your phone overseas. Remember to switch international roaming on… and you’ll be within earshot of home at any hour of the night. Careful of that data usage!
All of this information is available in the Essential Trip information at the base of each trip page.
18 to 30-something age cap
Because the majority of our travellers are aged in their 20s and 30s, we’ve launched exclusive trips for 18 to 30-somethings so they can explore with like-minded folk their age.
If you're young at heart, but not as young in years, our sister company Intrepid Travel offers a number of affordable small-group options in their Basix and Original range that don’t have any age limits.
If you have a group of friends or partner over 39, we encourage you to get in touch with our Private Groups team, who can send you a quote for your very own private departure. Our small group trips are only for those in their 20s and 30s.
We introduced exclusive departures capped to 18 to 30-something from 1st January 2015. From the 1st of January 2016, all our trips are exclusively for young travellers aged 18 to 30 somethings. We’ve loved having you on our past trips and rest-assured, any future trips with our sister company Intrepid Travel also count towards our shared loyalty program!
Making a booking
Nope. It was in the interests of making things as easy as possible that we created a website with trip booking functionality, but we’re more than happy to do the whole thing over the phone.
Unlike some tour companies, Geckos trips don’t require minimum numbers to go ahead. If you book a Geckos adventure, then that adventure is running. (If perchance it turns out you’re the only traveller booked on a trip, we’ll get in touch with the option of changing dates). Our website indicates whether spots are still available or if a trip’s booked out. Alternatively, give our reservations team a call and they’ll be able to advise how many people are already booked on that trip.
Technically, no. In reality, yes. That is, you can book on a trip with the intention of only doing part of it – but you’ll need to cough up the full price. There’s nothing to prevent you signing off a trip early, or joining one late, but if joining late it’ll be up to you to get to a certain meeting point by a certain time.
Also note that some of the longer trips are made up of smaller tours lined-up back-to-back, so you might be able to book these separately.
No. Our awesome team of flight specialists do have access to some pretty mean fares though, so just ask if you’d like a quote.
There’s no hard and fast answer to this one. Theoretically, there’s nothing to stop a group of twelve ringing up and booking out the last twelve spots remaining on the trip you’ve been eyeing off for the past five months. For this reason, as soon as you know the trip and date you like the look of, we’d advise locking it in with a small deposit.
On the flipside, we’ll typically still take bookings right up until the departure date, if there are spaces left. So if you’re feeling impulsive, head to our last minute deals page and see if anyting takes your fancy.
Final payment for a Geckos’ trip is due 56 days before departure. If you’re booking inside of 56 days, we’ll need full payment upfront.
Absolutely! We love those guys!
Why yes, as a matter of fact you can. Because as much as making new travel buds can be great, we understand that sometimes one just wants to holiday with one’s homies. Or Hockey team. Or My Little Pony Club. Or whatever.
The process is all pretty straightforward. Consider the trip you wanna do (it can be an itinerary we already run, some mutant of it or a beast entirely of your own making) , bang a group together and get in touch with our Private Groups department to talk it through. They’ll be able to provide specialist advice on your chosen destination – best time to go, cultural expectations, minimum numbers needed for it to run etc. – and work up a quote for you. Then it’s over to you to sell it to your homies.
You and your travelling companions
Geckos appeals to people who want the fun, freedom and flexibility of independent travel, but want to make the most of their time and prefer that someone else takes care of the hassles and organisation – queuing for tickets and looking for a hotel at night can be a real drag! Geckos is also for people who are seeking a deeper understanding of, and immersion in, the region they visit - our innovative itineraries and exceptional team leaders are what make this happen. Alternatively, you might be a single traveller looking for the safety and companionship of travelling with a few others, sharing the experiences and adventures together. Essential on your list of things to pack are an open mind, sense of adventure and an easygoing attitude. On a Geckos trip you won't find yourself paying for unnecessary extras – that’s why the prices are so good. We include many of the must see sights, but keep plenty of free time aside so you can go on your own way and make your own discoveries. Your lodging will be basic, but clean and comfortable, locally run, and usually reflecting the character of the region. Aside from being a more interesting place to stay than a bland internationally-run hotel, this also helps to keep the cost down. You might spend a night or two in a ‘home stay’, lodge or hacienda - these could be fairly basic, but certainly a real highlight; offering a chance to immerse yourself in the local culture. Many of the tours have several long travelling days, often on local transport, and sometimes on rough roads. The trips are packed with highlights and the pace is fast, so we can see as much as possible - although there’s always time to chill out, enjoy a cold drink and watch the world go by if that’s what you feel like doing. Geckos is not for everyone. If you think Geckos might not be your style, have a chat with one of our travel consultants and perhaps consider travelling with either of our sister brands: Intrepid Travel – www.intrepidtravel.com, or Peregrine - www.peregrineadventures.com
Most Geckos travellers consider themselves independent travellers, rather than typical group travellers. This is just as well because Geckos is a long way from your typical group tour - freedom and flexibility are fundamental! There are usually around 10 people on a Geckos trip (the maximum is 16), and you’ll find that the excellent tour prices offer a real alternative to backpacking. Geckos travellers want to explore places at a grassroots level – and have a great time while doing this.
Most of our travellers are ‘flying solo’ and like the thought of travelling with like-minded souls. Unlike some of our competitors, Geckos does not believe in charging a single supplement. Most likely you'll probably be sharing a room with a travelling companion of the same sex, but even if you do score your own room we're not gonna charge you for the privilege. Because many of our travellers are travelling alone, your tour will have a strong social element and you'll almost certainly return a few friends richer.
Yesiree bob. We’re now offering exclusive departures designed for adventurers aged 18 to 30-something. If you’re young at heart but not as young in years (i.e. over 40), have a look at our sister company Intrepid Travel's Basix & Original offering. See the above FAQs on why we've introduced an age limit.
Every group is different, however you'll generally travel with a mix of nationalities including Australian, British, New Zealander and North American, amongst others. The vast majority of Geckos travellers are in their 20s or 30s as all of our trips have an age cap. The only exception to this are our Galapagos boats which are open to all ages.
The maximum group size on all trips is 16, though groups usually consist of about 10 travellers on average.
Several of our holidays include travel by boat, ship or canoe. It is assumed by us that you can swim, unless you advise us otherwise. If you cannot swim, you must let us know, so we can let your tour leader know. However, swimming is by no means compulsory at any stage in our trips.
On the tour
One of the main reasons many travellers choose to travel with Geckos is the fact that we exclusively use tour guides who were born and raised in the region. Highly trained, well-informed and well proficient in English, their intimate knowledge of their homeland enables them to show you things that other travellers are bound to miss out on. Simply put, travelling with a local tour guide translates to you experiencing things from a uniquely local perspective: eating at restaurants the locals frequent; seeing things you wouldn't usually find in any guidebook... you might even meet some of your guides’ friends along the way! Aside from the benefit a local leader holds for you, a practice of local employment equates to providing income and training to the local community.
Throughout the regions we visit, our operators possess a wealth of knowledge and experience, meaning you can be confident you’re in safe hands. They are out in the field 24/7 because they live in it; continually monitoring and refining our adventures to ensure we offer the most innovative trips at the best value possible. We work to ensure our staff and local partners are the best in the business.
Plenty of free time added in for independent exploration is an integral element of any Geckos itinerary. Different people have different interests, so when you branch out and do your own thing could well end up being the highlight of your trip. (And we promise we won't be offended if it does). Of course, some components of the itinerary aren't negotiable – if you insist on getting a massage when we have a train to catch, your trip will suddenly turn very independent indeed. But much of the time what you want to see and do is ultimately up to you. If temples aren't doing it for you any more while another group member just can’t get enough of them, ask your trip leader what else there is to check out. It’s your holiday after all.
In crafting our itineraries, we've tried to factor in enough time at the start and finish locations for you to see the highlights and landmark attractions. Then again, how much time is ever really enough in Barcelona? Or Berlin? Or Buenos Aires? If the city sounds to you like a pretty remarkable place, chances are that it is. Let us know if you’d like to add in a few extra days and we’ll be happy to help line-up some additional accommodation.
Expect your lodgings to be cheap but cheerful. Cleanliness and centrality of location is always first priority, but forsaking a few luxuries is how we keep the prices low. We always try to select locally run accommodation options that reflect the character of the region rather than some totally unmemorable internationally run hotel, as this is another way of supporting local industries. On occasion you might also find yourself spending a night in a homestay, tent, yurt, teahouse, hacienda, ryokan or other type of local lodging. This offers an unparalleled chance for local immersion – and regularly ends up being a trip highlight. All in tha game yo, all in tha game…
Getting down and chompy with the local cuisine is a definite highlight of our trips. Our local guides make sure you have the opportunity to visit local eateries and try some regional delicacies. Butter them up some and they might even point you in the direction of India’s best butter chicken.
Nup. In fact, this is one situation where having a local leader on hand is particularly advantageous. They'll be able to translate local menus for you, suggest dishes free of your vice and make sure that the pork left out of your pizza isn't replaced with chicken. Just let us know your culinary quibbles in advance, so that we can pass on this info to our local tour guides. It is important to realise that in some places your diet might end up slightly limited, as meat can form an integral part to many local cuisines, but at least you'll be in the best position to eat alternatively. If in doubt, ask our team for their first-hand knowledge of an individual destination.
The Essential Trip Information (available on the bottom of each trip page), will list the trip starting and finishing points hotels, plus what time you'll need to be there. We can often organise airport transfers, if you wish, as well as extra nights accommodation.
As a general rule, we travel on a variety of local transport; this being a great way to mix it with the locals and get involved. In some places, the best way to explore is by foot, in others we’ll hop aboard boats, bemos, canoes, camels, tuk-tuks, songthaews… you get the picture. The style of transport will be as varied as it is fun: sealing you up in some stuffy 50-seater coach isn't out thing. Sometimes, however, local transport is not practical – you just can’t jump on a No. 96 bus in northern Thailand – so in these instances, we hire our own vehicles.
Many of the trips do feature some long travel days; often on local transport and sometimes on rough roads. The trips are packed with highlights and we keep the pace fast in the interests of seeing as much as possible, although there is always time to chill out, nestle back with a cold beverage and watch the world go by if that’s what you feel like doing. The itinerary run-down in the Essential Trip Information gives a pretty good indication of the travelling times for each day (see the bottom of each trip page for the Essential Trip Information).