Gap Year 100: the best travel companies for adventure

Want a gap year you won't forget? You'll do well to check out the firms listed below

<< Part three: Working Abroad | Part five: Advice >>

Our annual directory of the best gap year travel companies and websites.

ADVENTURE

82. The Adventure People (0208 004 8886; theadventurepeople.com)

An online supermarket for adventure trips. Browse and compare trips from big-name providers like Exodus and G Adventures, as well as smaller companies. Sometimes they have seasonal sales and their staff are always at the end of the phone, ready to dispense advice to nervy travellers. 

83. Dragoman (01728 861133; dragoman.com)

Overlanding and adventure travel company specialising in Asia, South America and the Middle East. Trips - which are carried out in specially adapted overland trucks - range in length from a few days to multiple months. A 38-day journey from Cartageno in Colombia to Lima in Peru costs almost £1,850 and includes travel, accommodation, food and all tickets/entrance fees. A kitty of $1,130 is recommended. 

84. Exodus (0203 553 9597, www.exodus.co.uk)
Adventure company specialising in walking, cycling, winter activities, photographic and wildlife holidays. A 16-day cultural and sight-seeing tour of Sri Lanka costs £1,999, including flights. 

85. G Adventures (0207 313 6953; www.gadventures.co.uk)
Small group adventure holidays in more than 100 countries on all continents. Provides affordable cultural travel experiences and has a range of trip styles and durations.

86. Intrepid Travel (0808 274 5111; www.intrepidtravel.com)

1,000 trips across 100 countries which are organised and led by in-country leaders. Journey through the Amazon, trek Machu Picchu and explore Peru's colonial past on their 15-day 'Sacred Land of the Incas' tour, from £1,988.

87. Trek America (0333 060 8042; www.trekamerica.co.uk)

Road trips across the American countryside, stopping off at iconic landmarks, cities and national parks en route. Their 20-day 'Southern BLT Tour' - costs from £3,139 including transport, accommodation and tour leader - starts in New York and ends in Los Angeles, stopping off at Las Vegas, Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon and more. 

88. Space Ships (0208 573 2300; www.spaceshipsrentals.co.uk)

Hire a variety of high-tech campervans with in-built beds, fridge/freezers, cooking gear and more, from as little as £35 per day excluding add-ons. Ideal for those who want to explore central Europe on their own time. An unusual option, but good value. 

89. Oasis Overland (01963 363400; www.oasisoverland.co.uk)
Offers trips all over the world, including Egypt and Jordan, Peru and Bolivia, or its monster 40-week circuit of Africa (from £7,690, excluding flights, with an additional local payment of $3,100 to cover food and accommodation). On their monster 40-week circuit of Africa - sets off from Gibraltar and ends in Cairo, travelling via Cape Town - expect wild-camping, bungee-jumpng and white-water rafting. 

90. Real Gap Experience (01892 277040; www.realgap.co.uk) Real Gap Experience offer over 160 trips ranging from adventure travel, volunteering and paid work. Assist on an elephant reserve and immerse yourself in local culture on their 'Elephants and Islands' trip - from £759 for 15 days.  

91. STA Travel (0333 321 0099; www.statravel.co.uk
Covers all you need to know about gap year travel, including details of round-the-world flights, visas and accommodation. The site provides opportunities to work and learn abroad, from diving lessons to paid teaching work.

92. Tour Dust (0203 291 2907; www.tourdust.com
A handpicked collection of adventure holidays, nature and wildlife tours and cultural trips in a variety of exotic locations. A sixteen day trek through the Simien Mountains followed by a hike up Mount Kilimanjaro, costs from £4,246 including flights. 

93. KE Adventure
 (01768 615291, keadventure.com)
A long-established adventure travel company, with small group tours all over the world. Active trips are this company's speciality: think mountain climbing, trekking and winter sports. 





94. World Challenge (01494 427600; www.weareworldchallenge.com)
Organises expeditions from 14-28 days across sixty five destinations including a one month trip to Tanzania, including Kilimanjaro climb. Prices on request.

<< Part three: Working Abroad | Part five: Advice >>