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After traveling solo for so many years, I find myself getting annoyed when I take group trips. I often feel like I’m being herded around like sheep, that I’m not getting an authentic taste of the culture, or that the value of the tour isn’t there.
But after taking a recent trip to Jordan with Traverse Journeys, my opinion has completely shifted. It turns out that I just wasn’t traveling with the right tour companies.
Here’s my Traverse Journeys review and eight reasons you should consider choosing them for your next group trip.
Traverse Journeys Review
Traverse Journeys is a responsible travel company.
Now more than ever, we need to be choosing responsible travel tour operators. Every time you spend money on a tour, you vote with your dollar.
And in the current state of the world, the only way forward is to be traveling in a responsible and sustainable way that respects the environment and local culture. And Traverse definitely does that.
Their motto is “people, planet, and purpose” – three elements that make every group trip ethical and meaningful.
These three points are further explained throughout this article and on their website, but it means that you can be sure that you’re money spent on the trip is going back to the local community, it’s eco-friendly, and it will help you grow as a traveler.
You’ll travel with like-minded people and make amazing friends.
Going on a group trip is always a bit of a gamble because on the one hand, you instantly have people to travel with, but on the other side, you have no idea what those people will be like.
In my past experiences, I have been stuck with some truly unpleasant people that I would never choose to travel with.
But as soon as I met my group in Jordan, I felt like I was traveling with my best friends. We bonded immensely over the next week, and everyone in the group agreed that we had a magic synergy.
I asked Jen, another girl on the trip who had been on several Traverse tours before if it was normal, and she said that yes, it is usually like this (but also agreed our group was the best – love you Jen)!
I believe the values of Traverse attract a particular type of person, so if their values align with yours, I wouldn’t worry for one second about who will be on your trip. Our group ranged in age, with most people between 30 and 40.
Also, groups are kept to a minimum of 12 people, so you don’t have to worry about being stuffed in a giant bus with 50 other people (because we all know those are the worst kind of tours). Our group was seven, which was an ideal number to travel with.
The quality of tour guides is fantastic.
Unfortunately, the tourism industry is full of guides who aren’t that engaging, can’t speak English well, or lack fundamental knowledge of the destination.
I’ve had so many lousy tour experiences because of the guide, which leads to me zoning out and not getting much out of the tour.
This isn’t a problem you’ll have with Traverse Journeys. They work with local guides and vet them thoroughly to ensure they are truly experts.
Our guide, Nadar, was the best guide I’ve ever had (and I’ve gone on many tours)! His English was perfect, and he delivered information in an entertaining way.
Jordan has one of the most complex histories in the world, and he was able to share that with us in a way that kept everyone engaged throughout the tour.
Not only that, but by the end of the trip, I felt Nadar was truly my friend. Our whole group bonded with him, and we had many inside jokes between us.
Part of your money will give back to a local community project.
One of the aspects I love about Traverse is that they give back to the local communities that they travel in.
They partner with local organizations and non-profits worldwide who are dedicated to improving their communities and the environment.
A percentage of each trip’s sales is donated to these change-makers, and you’ll get to visit the local community partner during your trip.
In Jordan, our local community partner was Beit Khayrat Souf, a local women’s cooperative. As part of our trip, we got to take a cooking class with the women working there. It was so much fun, and the food was one of the best meals we had during our trip.
After lunch, Ashley (the founder of traverse) presented the community partner with the donation, which was such a touching moment to witness.
You’ll be immersed in the culture and support locally-owned companies.
One aspect of being a responsible traveler is engaging in cultural exchanges with locals, but this isn’t always an easy thing to do. There is a right and wrong way to learn about a local culture, and far too often, cultures get appropriated for tourism.
As a responsible traveler, it’s also important to be sure that I support locally-owned companies and have authentic cultural exchanges. This can often take a lot of time to plan out and research.
When you travel with Traverse, you don’t even need to think twice about these aspects because it’s already incorporated into all their itineraries.
From the accommodations to activities and restaurants, all are carefully picked out.
On our trip to Jordan, we got to stay in locally owned boutique hotels in Amman, an eco-lodge, and two Bedouin camps in Wadi Rum that helped us understand that culture. You can read more about Bedouin culture on this article I wrote for Traverse Journeys.
This was even thought out for all the meals we ate. We enjoyed a fantastic lunch at a local family home, took part in a cooking class at a local woman’s co-op, and ate at several locally-owned restaurants in Amman that made us feel like family.
The itinerary will be epic, and you won’t have to worry about planning it.
Even as a full-time traveler, I find it time-consuming to plan out an itinerary that hits everything I want to do.
And truthfully, I don’t think I could have planned out a better itinerary than the one Ashley curated for our trip to Jordan. It is evident that she had put a ton of work into our trip to ensure we got a great taste of the country.
Everything flowed perfectly together, and we got to experience so many different parts of Jordan.
The itinerary included visiting the capital city of Amman, swimming in the Dead sea, spending time in the desert of Wadi rum, exploring the historic sites of Petra and Jerash, and staying in the Ajloun forest reserve.
Although it’s hard to see EVERYTHING in a country, I left Jordan feeling very content with the amount that we had.
On a trip with Traverse, You can simply enjoy the country without worrying about your day-to-day logistics. Even when things don’t go as planned.
During our trip to Jordan, we experienced some unfortunate bad weather which caused some parts of the trip to be rearranged.
However, Ashley was constantly working behind the scenes with our tour guide Nadar to solve any problems quickly so that they didn’t feel like problems at all to us. They already had a solution before we were even aware (that was often even better than the original plan).
The reality of travel is that thing’s go wrong on trips all the time. Not having to worry about fixing problems is a huge stress relief you can’t even put a value on.
They will help you with all the logistics.
One of the best parts about traveling with Traverse that makes it so stress-free is that they help you organize all the logistics of the trip, including visas, pickups/drop-offs, and any pre-departure questions.
If you have any questions leading up to the trip, they are there to help answer them. And in my experience, respond extremely quickly to ensure you feel accommodated.
It can be nerve-wracking traveling to a new country, so this helps relieve any anxiety so you can just be excited about the adventure. They even provide you with a pre-departure checklist.
When we arrived in Jordan, someone met us immediately at the airport and walked us through the entire visa process before dropping us off at the hotel.
Getting visas into foreign countries can be really overwhelming, especially when coming off an international flight with jet lag, so this was a huge relief.
I unfortunately missed my flight home from Jordan (my fault), but Ashley went above and beyond to help me sort it out. She even helped arrange a hotel that night despite it not being part of the original trip. I am beyond grateful for her support during that day.
You don’t have to worry about hidden costs.
One issue I’ve had with group tours in the past is hidden costs that you aren’t entirely aware of before taking the tour.
Often, the tour company will list everything you’re going to do, but then it turns out many of the activities are “optional,” and you have to pay an additional fee to actually go on them.
This is not the case with Traverse. Most things listed in the itinerary are included in the tour, and they are very clear before the trip about what isn’t (which in the case of Jordan, was just a couple of meals). I really appreciated not having any surprise costs thrown at me.
Plus, our tour guide arranged everything from picking up tickets to paying restaurant bills, which saved us a lot of time. Paying bills is annoying (especially with a big group), and it’s not something I had to do a lot of on this trip.
Are you convinced to book your next trip with Traverse Journeys yet? I can’t say enough good things about the Jordan trip that’s running again on September 18th (with the optional add-on of two days in Saudi Arabia). You can get $100 off Jordan of ANY of their trips using code EWL100.
It was truly a trip of a lifetime and one I’ll cherish forever. If you don’t believe me, check out some of their other excellent traveler testimonials.
And if Jordan’s not your jam, they also run epic itineraries in 25+ more countries all over the world for every type of traveler.