We want to make sure that you choose the adventure that’s right for you from our many one-of-a-kind trips. Each trip is rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the easiest, and 5 being the most strenuous. A few of our trips have a “+” added to the number, which indicates something that falls in between. Our trip ratings may be found on every trip page on our website, and our detailed itineraries provide additional information on what to expect on the trip you are considering (detailed itineraries are available by mail, email, or on each trip webpage as a PDF download). We encourage you to call one of our travel experts at 1-800-941-8010 with any questions or concerns that you may have. We are always happy to assist you in any way that we can.
1 – EASIEST
Our easiest trips are generally non-camping cultural and nature journeys that typically offer light activity. Optional walks and hikes (approximately 2-4 hours) through gentle terrain with little elevation gain or loss. Altitude is typically not a factor on these tours. Other activities, such as snorkeling or sea kayaking, are optional. Example—our Africa safaris.
2 – EASY TO MODERATE
Hotel nights and/or deluxe, safari-style camping. Walking, hiking (approximately 3-5 hours), kayaking, or other activities on most days. Trails and paths are through rolling countryside, with occasional steep trails with up to 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Many of our hotel-based walking trips are in this category. Examples—Italy: Tuscany & Umbria Walking, Ireland: Walking the Emerald Isle, Costa Rica.
3 – MODERATE
Full day hikes (approximately 4-6 hours) most days on unpaved trails and paths through hilly terrain with typical elevation gains and losses of 1,000-2,000 feet. There may be occasional short steep sections of trail. Examples—New Zealand: Alpine & Costal Hiking, Spain: Hiking the Camino de Santiago.
4 – MODERATE TO STRENUOUS
Full day hikes (approximately 5-7 hours) through mountainous terrain with significant elevation gains and losses (2,000-3,000 feet). Terrain may be rugged with uneven footpaths. The average altitude is generally no more than 12,000 feet. Options are limited. These trips may involve simpler accommodations. Examples—The Alps: Tour du Mont Blanc Hiking and Haute Route Hiking.
5 – STRENUOUS
Full day trekking (approximately 6-8 hours) through rugged mountainous terrain with steep climbs and descents and one or more of the following present: elevation gains and losses of as much as 4,000 feet, altitude that exceeds 12,000 feet, and rugged uneven footpaths. These trips typically offer few options and include camping. Currently our highest rated trips are 4+—Bhutan: The Chomolhari Trek, Peru: Lodge-to-Lodge Salkantay Trek, and Nepal: Everest Lodge-to-Lodge Trekking.