What is National Geographic Expeditions?
National Geographic Expeditions is the travel division of National Geographic, offering immersive travel experiences that represent the National Geographic’s spirit of adventure, conservation and education.
Which kind of land tours do you offer and how do they differ from one another?
Tours with an Expert are our flagship high-end expeditions, based on in-depth exploration. All departures are escorted by a National Geographic Expert, and feature world-class accommodations and experiences, including special access to sites and field researchers. Trips are limited to 25 travellers and most activities and meals are included in the expedition cost.
Photography Tours are based on the same principle as Tours with an Expert, but are led by a renowned National Geographic Photographer instead of an expert.
Active Expeditions combine spectacular places, physical challenge, and cultural interaction. Each trip has a designated activity level, from easy to ultimate challenge, so that travellers can choose according to their ability. Trips are limited to 16 travellers, led by a knowledgeable adventure guide, and generally include stays at boutique hotels and small inns. Most activities and meals are included in the trip cost.
Journeys are our small group tours with G Adventures blending fun, hands-on exploration with meaningful encounters with people and cultures, interactions with knowledgeable local guides, and more free time and choices. Limited to 16 travellers in most cases, these trips are lower-priced and include stays at mid-range hotels and inns. Some activities and meals are not included in the trip cost, offering more flexibility to tailor the trip to the traveller’s needs.
Family Journeys are Journeys specifically designed for families, with fun and educational activities that engage with travellers from aged 7 and above.
Which kind of cruises do you offer and how do they differ from one another?
Our Expedition Cruises are luxury ocean cruises aboard the Ponant fleet of environmentally certified small ships (172 to 264 pax). Every departure has an unparalleled team of experts including an expedition team of naturalists as well as a National Geographic Expert and a National Geographic Photographer. These all-inclusive cruises take travellers to some of the most remote corners of the world, including the Arctic and Antarctica.
Our River Cruises aboard the 5-star Scenic fleet, with a maximum capacity of 169 pax per ship, take travellers to explore the majestic waterways of Europe and North Africa. A National Geographic Expert and a National Geographic Photographer will travel alongside our guests in every departure. Our river cruise expeditions are all-inclusive.
Will I always travel with an expert?
Yes, all our trips are led by experts that will enrich your experience, but the type of expert changes depending on the trip type.
Tours with an Expert, Photography Tours, Expedition Cruises, River Cruises and Private Jet Expeditions are all led by National Geographic Experts and Photographers.
Journeys and Family Journeys are led by knowledgeable local guides trained by National Geographic, and Active Tours are led by expert adventure guides.
Private Expeditions are not led by an expert, however you have the option to request this, but you will meet local experts in the field for each of the activities included.
Who will I be travelling with?
You will travel with an international mix of like-minded guests with a shared curiosity to better understand the world.
Can I travel on my own?
Of course you can. We offer the possibility for solo travellers to join our trips too, and you can call us for price details. Our Journeys are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are offered the chance to be paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. If you prefer to have your own room, that is an option too and you can enquire for price details.
How big are the groups?
All our trips have a maximum size of 16 to 25 people per departure. Our cruises are all in small ships under 200 passengers, with smaller groups for outings and landings.
Which is the leading language of the trips?
It depends on the trip. The official languages on board our expedition cruises are English and French, but there’s Spanish-speaking crew in every departure. Moreover, some of the National Geographic Experts and Photographers speak Spanish too (see expert profiles for more information).
Our Journeys and Family Journeys are led in English. Some local guides speak Spanish too, especially in destinations around Southern Europe and South America, but the official language of the tour will be English. This gives a good opportunity for kids to discover the world and have fun at the same time as they learn English and interact with international families.
What kind of pace can I expect on a National Geographic Expedition?
In general, our itineraries are designed to include full days with plenty of opportunities to experience each place from an insider’s perspective, whether that means encountering wildlife, learning about different cultures and environments, or sharing in local traditions. The pace and physical activity level varies each trip, but the majority are designed to accommodate all levels, offering variations and optional activities. You can find more information within the trip itinerary.
National Geographic Active Expeditions, which include activities like hiking, kayaking, or horseback riding on most days, have designated activity levels ranging from easy to ultimate challenge, and travellers always have the choice to rest a day or partake in all of the activities available.
How much flexibility is there in the itinerary?
Throughout all of our trip types, we have built-in options and free time where possible so that you can experience a place and its people in a way that’s meaningful to you. By their nature, some trip types offer more flexibility and free time. For instance, private expeditions balance guided tours and planned activities with time to explore on your own, and National Geographic Journeys have more free time and options built into most days, so you can choose what kind of restaurant you’d like or what local sites are most interesting to you. On our small ship voyages, we keep our itineraries flexible to take advantage of unexpected opportunities or to adapt to weather conditions or other circumstances. If you are interested in exploring further, many of our expeditions offer pre- or post-trip extensions. We can also assist you if you’d like to extend your stay at the beginning or end of a trip.
What do I need to bring on my expedition?
On a National Geographic Expedition, the dress code is typically casual, so we recommend that you pack comfortable clothes that are well suited to the activities and climate specific to your expedition. Prior to your trip, we will provide you with packing tips and suggestions and information regarding any baggage weight restrictions.
For expedition cruises, the dress code is a bit more specific depending on the region and the activities on board and ashore, so have a deep look at the packing tips we will send you prior to your departure.
How can I have an impact with my expedition?
Just by travelling with us, you give back. Every year, National Geographic Expeditions distributes a portion of its proceeds to the National Geographic Society, so you don’t have to do anything special. Just by travelling with us you will be contributing to the understanding and protection of our planet.
Something else you’d like to ask? Please visit our contact form to get in touch.