8 Incredible Grand Tours You Can Actually Afford
Sometimes a one-week vacation just isn't enough. From a safari journey around Africa to an extensive cross-country tour of the U.S., we've rounded up eight grand tours that give you the largest amount of adventure for the smallest amount of money per day.
New Zealand: affordable island-hopping for nature lovers and adrenaline junkies
Highlights: Tour New Zealand's North and South Islands for less.
Get to know this intriguing kiwi nation with a three-week trip through both islands. The tour starts and ends in Auckland, and includes some truly "only in New Zealand" experiences like Maori cultural encounters, sea kayaking in the Doubtful Sound, surfing lessons in Raglan, and a trip to Franz Josef National Park. Other adrenaline-pumping activities include a mountain biking excursion and the chance to take on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of the most popular one-day treks in the country. Hiking, biking and opportunities to skydive and bungee jump are also available if you're feeling extra gutsy.
The breakdown: You'll spend $138 a day including all intra-country transportation, 20 nights' worth of accommodations, guided tours, and most meals. G Adventures, from $2,899 per person for a 21-day trip. Average tour size: 12 people.
Peru: for those willing to splurge for a more unique touring experience
Highlights: Choose your own adventures, visit local favorites, and become totally immersed in Peruvian culture.
Flexibility is your friend on this 16-day tour of Peru. You'll get to choose between several activities—surfing in the Pacific Ocean or biking the scenic streets of Lima, a walking tour or a Peruvian cooking class, an invigorating hike or a visit to a traditional weaving village among other options. You'll visit hidden local favorites like La Lucha, an upscale deli in the city of Lima, and tour the Amazon by boat before spending four nights in a jungle lodge. Stop by under-the-radar spots like Villa El Salvador, which was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, and spend time watching the sea-lions and penguins play from a boat in Islas Ballestas, often referred to as the "Poor Man's Galapagos." The best part: the tour includes exciting once-in-a-lifetime activities like nighttime jungle treks in the Amazon and sandboarding on the dunes in Paracas, as well as plenty of time at iconic sites like Machu Picchu.
The breakdown: While the $4,750 price-tag might sting, keep in mind that it does cover three internal flights, all airport transfers, 15 nights' accommodations, several meals, the services of an English-speaking tour guide, and all expenses for group activities. PerspecTrips, from $4,750 per person for a 16-day trip; for the next two weeks, prices drop to from $4,400 per person. Average tour size: 8-12 people.
Special note: With the exception of the SmarTours Grand Tour of Ireland, none of the packages listed include international airfare. All prices are based on double occupancy—please contact the individual travel companies for more information on single supplements and to see if you can be paired up with a roommate.