The best folk to show you the heart of a destination are the ones that live there, which is why we work exclusively with local leaders. Our leaders are not only just travel experts, they’re your teacher, travel guru and enthusiastic purveyor of grassroots experiences. They’ll just as easily steer you through the laneways of Marrakesh as help you strike up a conversation with the locals – and all with a smile.
Why travel with a local leader?
You can really get to know the locals
A local leader is more than just a guide – they’re your key to mingling with the people. Whether it’s dropping in on the village baker in Assisi for a chat, or meeting a nomadic Berber in Morocco, our leaders are the bridge between you and the friendly locals.
Learn what it means to be a local
Our leaders are true locals – they know the urban legends behind every town square, the handy shortcuts down timeworn alleys, and the traditional dishes you won’t find on the tourist menu. With plenty of stories and tips to share, you’ll feel like an adopted local in no time.
Discover the hidden highlights
Don’t want to miss out on the key sites? Our local leaders will still show you the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Roman Forum, but after the tourists get back on the bus and leave they’ll take you down a hidden laneway and show you the 400-year old pizza restaurant that most tourists don’t get to see.
Never run out of ideas for free time
Nothing compares to that feeling of really exploring a city at your own pace; it’s even better when you’ve got a few handy pointers from a local. From tango classes in Buenos Aires to watching a sumo match in Osaka, our leaders can suggest the best ways to fill in your free time at each destination – and even help arrange it for you!
Getting from A to B couldn’t be easier
Our local leaders make your trip as seamless as possible – they’ll book train tickets and bus passes to get you from one destination to the next, make restaurant reservations, organise museum passes and sort the technical details. Most of all, they give you peace of mind so you can spend less time looking at time schedules and more time soaking up the views.
Meet your local leaders
'Every time I take my group somewhere, I get them to interact with the local people. I have a lot of friends so sometimes I arrange for them to meet my friends – or we go to my house and see my mother. I once had a girl who wanted to try homemade food so she went to my mother’s house and they made it together!'
'Many people think you put 10 people on a bus and show them some Wikipedia. In reality, we go together to local areas and not many touristy places. We take our travellers to home stays and they have home cooked meals. We give them a local insight and it is honest.' – Emir, Turkey
'Most people that travel with us expect to get the true local Vietnam experience – not only the itinerary but the local customs, local habits in each region, local food. We give them the chance to practice daily Vietnamese life. They can even learn to make rice paper rolls and candy.' – Vinh, Vietnam
Hear what our leaders have to say
While we can talk under water about the benefits of travelling with a local leader, we think its best to hear it from them in their own words. Here's what a few of our friendly leaders have to say.
Moving towards equality
At Intrepid, we know that our greatest strength lies in our diversity. This is why we strive to promote equality and inclusiveness at every level of our business – whether it’s staff treading the boards at Head Office or a guide leading a group through the back streets of Tokyo. While 21% of our current leaders are female, our goal is to double the number of female leaders globally by 2020. It’s an exciting challenge spanning many countries and cultures, but it's all part of an ongoing effort to promote gender equality and women's independnece.
When you think about it, working together with local people makes a lot of sense. Not only does it provide employment opportunities, it also ensures we respect local cultures and support local economies. Tourism is a large source of income for many countries – and we strive to help locals make the most of that.
'I love this job because I can support my family without needing to go abroad. I also love to see people from different parts of the world. Tourism is developing in Myanmar and this is good for the economy. I think Intrepid is great because of our responsible tourism. We are always reducing the risk of negative impacts and the money is always going back to the local people.' – Joseph, Myanmar
The Intrepid Foundation
While employing local leaders is a major cornerstone of our business, we believe there’s always more we can do. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation. The Foundation works with more than 70 grassroots projects from around the world, supporting initiatives in healthcare, education, gender equality, sustainability and human rights. Every donation made to The Foundation is matched dollar for dollar by Intrepid Travel.
These are just a few of the organisations The Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:
The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP)
KPAP is a local organisation in Tanzania that supports porters working on Mt Kilimanjaro. Unfortunately there are porters in the industry who work for reduced pay and in poor conditions, often without adequate clothing or equipment. With the assistance of The Intrepid Foundation, KPAP is able to support Kilimanjaro porters by providing advocacy and education. KPAP also works with the travel industry to maintain safe climbing practices for hardworking porters.
You can find out more about KPAP or make a donation by clicking here.