Although we're only a third of the way into 2018, we're already focused on getting our 2019 trips on the calendar. We think you’ll love our new trip offerings, and that you’ll be happy to see many returning favorites! We are definitely seeing the effect of market trends as we plan for the future and we are making a few adjustments in our ongoing efforts to offer you great trips at reasonable prices. In this blog post we wanted to point out a few of our changes for 2019.
- Earlier posting of our trips on our website: You’ve been asking to see our trip calendars sooner than ever, and we hear you! We will start posting our 2019 international trips by April 1 and our domestic trips by June 1. Some of the international trips (in particular our new ones, including trips to Norway, Japan, Kayaking Croatia, and Kayaking in Panama) will take a bit longer, but we’re very close.
For the most part we work with small companies: our itineraries are not off the shelf and our partners often don't have information about pricing a year in advance. In some cases, we may have to make adjustments to the itinerary or costs after the trip has been advertised online. If we make any significant changes in the itinerary after you sign up for a trip, we'll notify you and give you the option of cancelling without penalties if you are no longer interested. And if we need to increase the price, you are guaranteed the price that was listed at the time you signed up.
- Discounts: We are making 2 important changes to our discount policies.
- Discount for paying by check: We are delighted to say that we now can accept eChecks online. eChecks work the same way that credit cards do by allowing you put your bank routing and account information into a secure form. For your security and to avoid mail delays, both the deposit and the balance will need to be paid by eCheck to receive the 3% check discount. If you have already paid a trip deposit by credit card for 2018 but want to pay the balance by check, we ask you pay by eCheck rather than mailing a paper check. Simply give Cindy (our bookkeeper) a call at 1-877-439-4042, ext. 1.
- Discount for referring a friend: Our previous policy stated that you would receive a 5% discount when you brought a friend on a trip with you after your first trip. For 2019 trips we are changing that. We will now offer a $100 credit for you to use on any deposit or trip balance over the following 2 years anytime a new participant mentions your name when they book their first AGC trip.
- Adventures in Good Company Guides: With one exception, we have always sent an AGC guide on every international trip. Her role has been to make sure that everyone knew what was going on, to unsnarl any problems that came up, to make sure that every trip met all our standards, and sometimes to assure that our participant-to- guide ratio stayed at a 7:1 on hiking trips. Sending an AGC guide, with the attendant costs of airfare, trip expenses, and pay, is the biggest fixed cost of any trip (meaning that the cost is the same regardless of how many people are on the trip).
For 2019 we examined every trip specifically in relation to whether those additional benefits to you were worth the additional costs. We decided it was worth it for the majority of trips, as long as we had more than 7 (sometimes 6) participants. In particular we feel it is essential for hiking trips, where the international standard is 1 guide for every 10 participants.
On some trips, however, we have been working with the local company long enough to know that their guides share our philosophy and will provide an excellent experience with the appropriate guide to participant ratio. Whether there will be an AGC guide on an international trip will be noted in the Trip Price section of our website where you will see:
- A local guide and an AGC guide (If there are fewer than 7 on the trip, there will not be an AGC guide)
- 1 - 2 local guides (There will not be an AGC guide on this trip)
While this is a change for us, it has become standard practice for many US adventure travel companies. It will never be standard practice for us; we will be constantly evaluating this decision for every trip every year. We will always send an AGC guide for the first year or two of any trip and for all hiking trips where an AGC guide assures we stay at a 7 to 1 guide ratio.
- Prices: As we post our 2019 trips, you'll notice that the price for many of them is higher, sometimes substantially higher, particularly for international trips. This is the result of many different factors, both external and internal:
- The formerly strong dollar has recently weakened against other currencies, especially the euro and British pound, with some signs that it will continue to decline.
- Demand for travel has increased worldwide, and consequently everyone has been raising rates: hotels, restaurants, guides etc.
- Our prices have stayed fairly flat for the last 3 years. That should have changed in 2018 and had to change in 2019.
We have always aimed to offer great trips at good value. We do not generally offer budget travel, where we pinch every penny; and we do not offer luxury travel, where cost is no object. For us, value means that we look at every aspect that goes into the cost of a trip and determine whether it adds value to the trip. That philosophy remains true as we continue to develop an exciting variety of trips that we think offer great value for your travel dollar.
These are the major changes for 2019 and we make these changes because we are committed to offering you outstanding adventure travel opportunities for years to come. We have always valued input from you, our favorite people! As always, we welcome your feedback.