Our travel philosophy

“The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.” (G.K. Chesterton)

For the last 14 years, Undiscovered Destinations has been dedicated to providing unique tours and holidays which explore countries and areas not on the map of mass tourism.

Below we explain how and why we operate our tours and the philosophy behind our small group adventure holidays.


Our itineraries – Each of our tours is different but we will always include the highlights of the destinations that we’re visiting, combined with some of the lesser known but equally fascinating sites. Our itineraries have all been carefully selected and researched as we understand that often it’s the little and unexpected elements that can turn a good trip into an amazing trip. Where possible we allow flexibility to modify itineraries to fit in with local circumstances, for instance a visit to a nearby festival or a local school. All of our itineraries have been given careful attention to in order to ensure that the niggles that are often associated with travel in out of the way places are ironed out as much as possible before you arrive.

Our tours are not luxury tours they are small group adventure tours. The trips are not designed to shield you from the realities of life in the countries visited, in fact we aim to show you as much as possible of the realities of life in the destination. In many of the countries that we operate in, tourism is in its infancy and although we strive to maintain as high standards as possible there may be occasions where you encounter discomfort, inconvenience or frustration. It is important that you are prepared to accept these countries as they are.

We understand that although you want value for money this should not translate into a loss of quality. We aim to provide you with a realistic experience of your destination rather than offer you the cheapest trip around. Undiscovered Destinations use locally owned accommodation and locally based guides wherever possible, so your tourist spend stays local, benefiting the communities and people that you visit.


Group size – On Undiscovered Destinations scheduled group tours, we keep our footprint small, and most of our groups operate with a maximum size of just twelve people. Not only does this ensure that when we visit remote areas, we don’t overwhelm them with a sudden influx of tourists, it also allows us to give each of you more attention and help in getting the absolute most out of your trip. Please note that West African tours and Undiscovered Destinations tours in the Congo can operate with up to sixteen people.


Departures – We limit the amount of departures for each of our itineraries. Unlike other operators who will try and sell as many groups as they can and then pull out from operating after 12 months, at Undiscovered Destinations we feel a commitment to the places we visit. We understand the investment put in to facilities by the local business people and that the promotion of a destination can take years of hard work to come to fruition. Our aim is to work in a sustainable way with local people. We understand our groups visit areas where local culture can be quite fragile and easily influenced by outside factors. We hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.


Transport – We use mainly private transport on our trips so that we can stop for photos of that fantastic sunset, or to take a few minutes to visit a lively village market. Depending on the size of the group, this may be a minibus, sports utility vehicle or car. Travelling by public transport is often fun, and where appropriate we may make use of this, including trains, local buses, ferries and domestic flights.


Accommodation – The accommodation we use on our tours is carefully selected to add to your overall experience, and where possible is very comfortable. However we believe that often the best option may not be a four star hotel in town but a small comfortable guesthouse, a traditional longhouse or a tented camp set amongst exquisite desert surroundings where the shadows of the campfire dance on the rocks behind. There may be occasions where the accommodation is very basic, perhaps without electricity or running water – this is often the reality of travelling in remote locations, but we believe it is a small price to pay for the rewards that such travel entails. We also, where practical, use hotels with a sense of history and connection with the destination and you may find yourself in a maharajah’s palace in central India or a colonial era hotel in Colombia. Unlike many small group tour operators, Undiscovered Destinations always list our preferred accommodation for each night as part of the itinerary. If this listed accommodation is not available, we always try for a similar or better property to stay in for that night.


Our guides – We use locally based guides on all of our tours rather than send a guide from the UK to accompany you on the tour. Our guides are a key strength, chosen for their knowledge and passion of the areas that they work in. Undiscovered Destinations guides are not just passing through these countries but are usually locally born with a deep and long term involvement with the destination; this gives them amazing insights into local culture, history and customs, enabling us to create truly unique itineraries and you to come away with memories to be treasured forever.

In addition to guides our trips are often accompanied by our local drivers, who know the best places to stop for a roadside cup of chai or for a spectacular photo. We encourage our local staff to interact as much as possible with our travellers; experience of our own travels has taught us that you don’t need to understand each other’s language to gain priceless cultural insights or share a joke and a laugh.


Single travellers – we understand that many people travel alone. Although we do charge a single supplement, if you are willing to share with another traveller then please contact us and we will do our best to match you up.


Local Payments - Unlike many other travel companies, we do not require you to make any local payments for travel arrangements or to have a travel 'kitty'. Please note: on certain tours, your tour guide may arrange a ‘tip kitty’ to make tipping local guides and service providers easier. This is discretionary.