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  • Writer's pictureQuinlan Pozner

The 5 Most Unique Travel Companies

What makes a trip unique? Some might say the destination itself, traveling to a place that not many have been to, somewhere that feels under the radar so to speak. Others would insist it is not the location itself but what you do there that sets the trip apart.

For some a perfect getaway means luxury hotels, white sand beaches and five star restaurants. Others want a mountain range, a quaint town or village to get a cup of coffee or go antiquing. Some pack their days full of sightseeing, culture and history, leaving no museum uncovered and ranking up mileage on their fitbits.

We are starting to see a new type of travel emerging, travel designed to surprise and delight those that want more than the average vacation. They want to feel inspired and excited. They want to experience their trip in a fully immersive and interactive realm, not a passive one. Perhaps the trip is a surprise or a call to action, a challenge, a narrative they take part in. After all, isn’t vacation designed to tear down the restrictions of everyday life and help you to live in a fantasy, if only for a short time.

The companies listed below go above and beyond. You won’t find what they do on trip advisor or yelp or even in most travel magazines. These companies create experiential travel that’s more than a vacation, it’s an adventure.

Based in London

This expedition led adventure company from the luxury travel experts at Black Tomato sends travelers on unique intrepid adventures.

Their adventures have a huge range in scope but all aim to take you to places less traveled to do things that are both challenging and activating. You can go for as long as you like, trips range from weekends to 18 days.

Weekend getaways they offer include such experiences as; learning to eagle hunt in Western Mongolia, tracking gorilla families through the dense jungle of the Virunga Mountains or hot air ballooning across the Valley of Wadi Rum.

Prices for weekend getaways range from 2,400 to 25,000 per couple, airfare not included.

Based in NYC

This experiential agency creates custom and bespoke parties, events and adventures. They can customize any event with a unique story or theme and bring characters and activations to your workplace, home or vacation to make it memorable. All experiences are completely unique and tailored to the customer.

They offer a mysterious overnight getaway from NYC where a story unfolds and a couple or group of friends must solve puzzles and clues to uncover a secret. Travelers are not told where they are going and what the 24 hours immersive experience might entail, but the fun is in the surprises. The mission begins at Grand Central where travelers meet with their bags packed and they encounter their first actor before boarding a train. Reality merges with fantasy as the travelers never know who is “in” on it and might approach them as they enjoy an evening stroll or breakfast at their inn. Although the city may be nearby you have never felt so far away...

Price for the 24 experience is $4,000 for 2-4 people All transportation, lodging, food and alcohol included.

If you don’t already subscribe to their emails, you should. Atlas Obscura is an expert on all things off the beaten path. They are the definitive guide to hidden wonders and should always be consulted prior to visiting a city. In fact, if you haven’t already, look up what they have written about your own town, you may be surprised to discover something new and strange is just outside your home.

If their articles peak your interest we’d wager their trips will too. Possible weekend trips include a couple nights in Santa Fe with a focus on art and ancient traditions or tracking wild bumblebees in Sequoia, California. If you have more time to spare many of their trips are up to 9 nights long.

Price; Experiences range. Weekends go for around 1,300 per person (airfare not included) while more involved trips (think a week long expedition in the Galapagos with a Volcano Trek) are just under $6,000 per person (airfare, alcohol not included)

Based in California

The Headlands Gamble is a weekend trip with a story woven through it. Taking place in Marin County, couples drive themselves in a convertible through the adventure, meeting actors along the way that further the story. A mysterious story featuring a racehorse will meet its conclusion at the end of your trip. Upgrades are available to further customize this immersive getaway.

Prices start at 3,750 for two and $5,050 for four. All transportation, lodging, food and alcohol included.

This “surprise travel agency” books a vacation for you. Travelers answer a few questions pertaining to budget and interests and dates and they book the trip. A week prior to departure the details of the trip are finally revealed. If you are someone that loves surprises and hates planning this is a fun adventurous way to approach a trip.

The offer trips by road, plane or train.

Prices vary, plane and train getaways for 2+ people start at $650 per person.

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