Geckos' adventures are for travellers aged 18-29 who like to have a good time with others their own age, but don't want to spend their whole trip crammed into a bus with 40 hungover backpackers. Just because you're young, doesn't mean you want to sit on a coach and churn through 30 countries in 10 days. You want to meet locals, embrace new cultures, and actually learn stuff, while hanging out with people your own age and hitting up some cool backstreet bars along the way. Ready to run wild?
After showing you the must-sees, we take things to a whole new level of awesome. With your local leader and new friends by your side, we'll introduce you to local life, plus the amazing experiences that come with it like homestays, community visits, and those super-cool bars and tucked-away restaurants that only locals know about. With your local leader and new friends by your side, we'll introduce you to local life, plus the amazing experiences that come with it, like homestays, community visits, and those super-cool bars and tucked-away restaurants that only locals know about.
Each time you travel with Geckos', you make a difference. Geckos' keep their groups small and do things the local way to reduce our footprint while ensuring an awesome grassroots adventure for you. Plus we carbon offset our trips and make a contribution to our social enterprise partner Friends International, for every trip booked!
Geckos' average group has about ten people all aged between 18 and 29, and while we know that some people like travelling in big buses, ticking off big sights and staying in big expensive hotels, it just isn't for us. Geckos' like to keep our groups smaller so we can see and do more. Like you, they want the cool stuff, like trying new food and finding local bars, but they also want to get out and about and explore the country they're visiting. Makes sense.
When people think 'solo travel on a group trip', they picture sitting alone while six couples snog around them and sing 'God Only Knows' by The Beach Boys. But it's not really like that. Most Geckos' travellers decide to roll solo. It's pretty standard, and third-wheeling with a bunch of couples isn't really what it's about. Travelling alone on a group adventure means a) you get a ready-made crew of future besties, b) a local leader to stop you getting lost and feeling all scared inside and c) the option of picking your own room. So you can snore to your heart's content.
Every single Geckos departure is guaranteed to run. Once you're booked & paid, you're going. No more worries about re-booking flights or last-minute cancellations (unless it's unsafe to travel). Terms & Conditions apply.
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 'Trip Notes' (located on each itinerary page) for ideas - but less is better! As are backpacks!
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 'Trip Notes' (located on each itinerary page), 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, nuros etc
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 Geckos fly on smaller regional planes where luggage allowances are 15kg, so be sure to read your 'Trip Notes' (located on each itinerary page) 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.
That depends on which trip you're doing. Generally no, but check the packing list in the 'Trip Notes' (located on each itinerary page) 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.
Obtaining any requisite visas for your travels is the responsibility of the traveller. Our detailed 'Trip Notes' (located on each itinerary page) 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 your Global Journeys agent 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 Geckos 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.
In response to our traveller feedback, we've reduced the age limit on our trips from 39 to 29. As the majority of our travellers are aged in their 20s, it means people on Geckos trips can explore with like-minded folk their own age. It also helps us to design our trips to cater more to things people in their 20s who are more new to travel are into, that the 30+ crowd may not be as interested in.
Nothing personal against the over 30s (we still love you guys) - we just realised that there wasn't a product that catered 100% for the youth market: something that offered both fun and cultural experiences, going beyond pub crawls and booze cruises (we're not into that). Our sister brand Intrepid Travel has been creating awesome trips in the open-aged space for over 25 years. Intrepid offer over 250 affordable adventures that are run in the same off-the-beaten-track, grassroots-style as Geckos.
Unfortunately no. But our sister company Intrepid offers over 250 affordable adventures that are run in the same awesome grassroots style as Geckos.
Yes you can - talk about a great way to spend your birthday! To book with Geckos, you just need to be between 18 and 29 years of age on the first day of your trip with us.
The Galapagos has some pretty strict guidelines around how many boats can enter the National Park; after all, it's one of the most amazing - and fragile - ecosystems on earth. It's important that they limit the amount of boat traffic into the area, and we support whatever they need to do in order to preserve this incredible part of the world. Our Galapagos small group tours are shared with our sister brand Intrepid Travel - we have always worked together on the same boat, in order to reduce any disruption to the region. If you're heading to the Galapagos with us, you'll probably be joined by some Intrepid travellers aged over 29.
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.
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 - or 22 on Africa trips), 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.
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 mid 20s as all of our trips have an age cap (18-29). The only exception to this are our Galapagos boats which are open to all ages.
The maximum group size on all trips is 16 on the majority of trips (22 in Africa), 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.
One of the main reasons many travellers choose to travel with Geckos is the fact that we exclusively use local leaders who were born and raised in the region. Highly trained, well-informed and well proficient in English, their awesome knowledge of their homeland enables them to show you things that other travellers are bound to miss out on..
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.
We use local transport and accommodation wherever we can (and throw in the occasional homestay/treehouse/houseboat for extra fun times). Sure, the places we stay aren't fancy, but they're clean, well-located - so you're never far from the action - and packed with character.
Getting down and chompy with the local cuisine is a definite highlight of our trips. Our local leaders 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..
The 'Trip Notes' (available on each trip page), will list the trip starting and finishing points hotels, plus what time you'll need to be there. We recommend you arrange a taxi on arrival (this is the most economical and efficient way of getting you to your 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.
Yes, in most places tipping is expected. At your welcome meeting, ask your leader about the local custom and advice on how much is recommended at restaurants or with local guides.
At the end of your trip, if you're happy with the service you received, providing a tip for the leader - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Geckos destinations.
Geckos tours do not include airport transfers and so we recommend you arrange a taxi on arrival (this is the most economical and efficient way of getting you to your hotel). Arrival instructions and full address details of your accommodation are supplied in the trip documentation your Global Journeys tour consultant will email to you before you leave.