The Top 10 Tour Operators in 2017
Ask anyone who has used a tour operator, and they will tell you it’s the only way to travel. Whether embarking on a truffle tasting excursion in Tuscany, sailing through the Cyclades in your own schooner, or cycling in style through Napa Valley, a tour operator takes the hassle out of planning a luxurious getaway. The world’s best focus on the finest details to create unparalleled experiences — and memories that last a lifetime.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated tour operators on their staff and guides, itineraries and destinations, activities, accommodations, food, and overall value.
Many of the winners focus on active cycling or walking vacations. Debuting for the first-time ever is DuVine Cycling & Adventure Company, which arranges bicycle trips in Europe, North and South America, Africa, and the Middle East. Readers raved about the No. 2 company’s attention to detail and the flexibility of their guides to allow extra time to explore local areas. “We love biking with DuVine,” says T+L reader Grant Aldonas. “What a way to see the wine regions of the world, with expert guides that felt like family by the end of the journey, top-notch accommodations, and fabulous food.”
Mountain Lodges of Peru, the No. 5 winner, offers a seven-day Salkantay trek along the Inca Trail, with stops at small lodges in remote villages. The end point: Machu Picchu. “Standing at the top of a pass with nothing around us but llamas and the beauty of the land was an experience I will never forget,” said one reader.
Heritage Tours debuts this year at No. 3. According to a T+L reader: “Heritage has booked three trips for us. Everything we did, every place we stayed, every experience we had (tours, cooking experiences, chef dinners, etc.) was of the highest quality. We highly recommend this team for travels to South Africa, Spain, and Portugal.”
Instead of planning your next vacation entirely by yourself, check out the tour operators below — including the No. 1 winner, one of the most exclusive in the business.
9. Journeys Within
8. VBT Bicycling & Walking Vacations
7. Asia Transpacific Journeys
6. Classic Journeys
5. Mountain Lodges of Peru
4. Gray & Co.
3. Heritage Tours
2. DuVine Cycling & Adventure Co.
1. TCS World Travel
Voted the No. 1 tour operator this year, TCS is a luxury outfitter that has created personalized private-jet expeditions for more than 20 years. Clients love its unique itineraries, from exploring the cultures of Asia or visiting the North Pole to 24-day global excursions. “These trips are very expensive, but they’re a wonderful way to experience a vast array of environments in a relatively short time,” says T+L reader Brooke Koehler. Guests then stay in 5-star hotels or lodges, and TCS even brings experts, historians, and naturalists on board (as well as a doctor) to make sure every need is met.