When I traveled through Southeast Asia in July 2016, I took the easy way out and booked a travel agency to handle all of my logistical needs. On the surface, it seemed sensible to pay extra money and not have to worry about scheduling flights and hotels while being able to cover multiple countries. Prior to the trip, I had been stalking the website of G Adventures, an Australian based travel company which sponsors everything from 2-day excursions in Sydney to 50-day treks through the entirety of South America. In what was a combination of inexperience and being impressed by their website, I booked a 32-day journey through the Indo China region of Southeast Asia. When you include the roundtrip plane ticket and required travel insurance, the total cost of the trip came out to be about $3600. Below is my review of G Adventures and insight on how traveling through a travel agency is different from traditional backpacking.
As a season backpacker, I decided to do a G Adventures "YOLO" trip through Southeast Asia that would allow me to see multiple sights without the worry of booking lodging and transportation......My thorough review is below.
PRICE-I paid about $3500 (incl. flights) for a 32 day trip. After experiencing the trip, I could have planned the same trip for $2000 cheaper by using a Lonely Planet guidebook. In addition, you will pay AT LEAST $600 more to eat and do optional activities that are not included. (1/5 stars)
LODGING- For the amount of money I paid and the cost of hotels in SE Asia, I felt cheated based on the quality of the places that we stayed. Out of 15 hotels, I would say 3 were "adequate". It was so bad that during the trip we went to some third-world village down the Mekong River and slept in some children's bed while they slept outside LOL. It was even weirder because the grandmother was sleeping in the closet who spent half the night moaning. Many of the places were dirty and cost under $12 a night. (1/5)
CEO-The guide was more worried about eating free food than actually guiding us. He was pretty shady as he kept pressuring people to eat his buddies restaurants every time we stopped in a city for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Given that we paid out of pocket, I thought it was pretty appalling and towards the end of the trip I myself broke away from the group to actually go sightseeing. I also thought the was unnecessary pressure to tip those who actually did guide and drive us around which makes me wonder if G Adventures was actually paying them. (2/5)
ITENIARY-The one good thing about this trip was that it covered ALOT of ground in that it went through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. I felt satisfied in that I saw and did a lot of fun things (mostly due to my own initiative). (3/5)
In conclusion, while G Adventures does an excellent job marketing, you can assume that you would save more than half the cost if you did the trip yourself. In addition, while I met SOME cool people, most of the people I traveled with were spoiled rich kids with a propensity for getting wasted (drunk). I can't understand for the life of me why you would pay so much money to go to a cool place like Hanoi Vietnam only to waste away in a bar. Whether it was the price, my fellow travelers, or the quality of service, G Adventures is not for me.