Group travel is amazing. It offers the best value for your money – it’s also cost-effective while providing a set price for your travel vacation. It takes all the stress out of travel planning. You know exactly where you’re going and what you’ll be seeing, because group travel companies do their utmost to stick to their published itinerary. That itinerary consists of a mix of must-see sights and hidden local gems and events that are difficult, if not impossible, for individual travelers to access. If it’s small group travel, that’s ideal – it’s almost like having your own private driver and guide.
There are many different reasons for choosing group travel. The best motivation? The tour goes somewhere, or views something, that is otherwise difficult for individuals to reach or see. This is the case with TravelQuest tours, as our specialties are eclipse trips (by land, sea, and/or air) and astronomy-themed excursions to see the wonders of the night sky or the dancing northern lights. So when it comes to group travel with TravelQuest, all you need do is book a tour, get yourself to our Day One rendezvous point, and then leave the rest of your journey to us. We take care of all the details.
Finding the best places to view a total eclipse of the Sun invariably takes us to the extremities of our planet – from polar latitudes to tropical islands to remote, seldom-visited places. TravelQuest’s clients have watched totality from the deck of an icebreaker near the North Pole, the Gobi Desert in China, and Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Chasing the aurora borealis also takes our clients to unusual viewing sites such as a ship off the Norwegian coast or uninhabited dark-sky regions in Iceland. This is our craft: designing astronomy-themed travel packages that provide the opportunity to experience the wonders of the heavens from our Blue Planet. Ours are not the usual group expedition travels.
For solar eclipses, we must go where the path of totality takes us. This means our expedition trips are unusual, because we often journey to extraordinary destinations—ones well off the beaten path. Some of these locales are in regions of the world you might never have considered visiting—were it not for the lure of totality. Yes, you can make the same journey by yourself, but group travel differs from normal vacation travel in a number of important ways. One example: our expert local guides and contacts open doors to sights and events that are often inaccessible to independent travelers. The best travel groups have influence.
When traveling with us, you don’t need a guidebook, though you’re welcome to bring one. Our local guides provide the background, history, and inside knowledge of the country we’re visiting, and can answer all your questions. They take you inside their country by sharing their lives, experiences, and even their own personal stories. Our trip astronomer is always with us, so you also have your own personal guide to the heavens.
Group travel usually begins and ends in a major metropolis. If it’s a city you’ve always wanted to explore, TravelQuest offers the option of extending your stay on either side of the trip. The price of an extra night or two is minimal compared to the cost of getting to that particular destination, so why not stay a little longer.
Pre- and post-tour extensions are another feature of travel groups packages. This small group travel, includes local drivers and guides, and is pretty much all inclusive. Some examples of pre/post-tour excursions that have been offered by TravelQuest include cruising the Amazon River prior to an eclipse trip, stargazing in Chile’s Atacama Desert after seeing totality, and taking in the Golden Circle in Iceland after viewing the northern lights.
Group tours can’t be all things to all participants, so a free half-day or day is often included as part of the trip. During this free time, participants can relax, explore the area on their own, or take advantage of any optional excursions. Two excellent instances of optional mid-tour outings on previous TravelQuest trips are visiting the South Pole during an Antarctic expedition, and a post-eclipse sunrise balloon flight over the “fairy-tale chimneys” of Cappadocia, Turkey.
For 25 years, TravelQuest has taken totality-seeking adventurers to some of the most remote corners of the world. But totality is brief, and viewing a solar eclipse is particularly weather-dependent. This is why TravelQuest takes such care in designing exceptional tours built around a solar eclipse. In the unfortunate event that totality is clouded out, the trip remains an amazing experience. This philosophy also applies to our stargazing and northern lights tours.
To reach the path of totality, TravelQuest has, when necessary, gone to extremes. We chartered an icebreaker that took us to the North Pole, and from its decks we witnessed a solar eclipse. We hired commercial aircraft to fly us above the clouds and catch totality—once over Antarctica and later over the North Atlantic. Numerous luxurious eclipse cruises have occurred in the South Pacific aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin. During various solar eclipse tours, our clients have explored the Moai on Easter Island, Roman ruins in Libya and Turkey, the Terra Cotta Warriors in China, and Machu Picchu in Peru. In search of the northern lights, we traveled to Iceland long before it became ‘the’ destination for tourists, and in northern Norway, our clients have tried their hand at reindeer herding.
Our philosophy of creating amazing and imaginative travel groups will remain unchanged. TravelQuest’s upcoming eclipse tours will take us to Australia in 2023, the United States and Mexico in 2024, Iceland and Spain in 2026, and elsewhere in the years ahead. Iceland and Norway remain staples of our aurora watching expeditions. Our unique travel adventures connect us to the world, and to each other, in unexpected ways. Join us, and like-minded fellow travelers, as we journey to the ends of the Earth to witness total solar eclipses, the aurora borealis, or the gems of the night sky.
Explore our past eclipse tours with experiences from our travelers.