Inverted Atlas Trip Styles
Our trips fall into five different styles. We have designed this page to make sure you end up on the trip that’s right for you and to help you make that decision.
Why do we have different styles?
Our different styles make sure that we provide as many options as we can to better suit the needs of our travelers. Depending on the style, the trip may include shared accommodation vs four-star luxury or include a coach in place of public transport. Some trips will have more inclusions, others will have more free time.
What’s a “Journey Rating?”
Journey ratings provide you with an idea of how challenging the trip will be. Other companies provide this with many different ratings such as fitness, challenge level, culture rating – we just thought we’d simplify it.
Journey ratings are influenced by a number of factors which include:
- * Length of trip
- * Amount of walking per day
- * How frequently travelers are required to get on/off public transport
- * Destination temperature or altitude
- * Frequency of uneven surfaces or stairs
- * Number of early starts and distance traveled per day
- * Availability and condition of amenities, e.g. toilets, pharmacies, hospitals, ATM’s etc.
- * Cultural differences or if locals in the destination are not used to foreigners.
Below is a basic description of each of our five journey ratings. The basic descriptions below will hopefully give you an idea of what a trip with that particular rating might involve, these descriptions are a guide only and describe influencing factors, a trip might contain all or just a few of the factors described. A more detailed, trip specific description of why the trip has been given a particular road rating can be found in the “details” section of each trip page.
Trips with an ‘expedition’ rating require a high level of physical fitness. The trip may include some shared accommodation or even camping and sometimes wild camping – who doesn’t love a night under the stars? We may have rated this trip as an expedition because it travels to emerging destinations, destinations where the culture shock value will be high or destinations where things will very often not go to plan. You may encounter some extreme weather such as snow or temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius and the destination may have a dress code which is not optional. You can count on jumping on a good amount of unconventional public transport like tuk tuks, camels, bicycles or perhaps even a container ship. On trips with this rating access to hospitals, pharmacies, ATM’s and upright toilets may be limited for some amenities and non-existent for others. This is possibly a trip with an extended duration (usually more than 6 weeks), so the number one thing to pack on this trip is your sense of adventure!
‘Adventure’ trips are similar to trips with the ‘Expedition’ rating although they are slightly less demanding. Some activities may require a high level of physical fitness; however those activities could be few and far between or could be optional. There may be some shared accommodation or camping, but this will almost always be with facilities as opposed to wild camping. There might be some light culture shock involved and some of the trip may require a dress code be adhered to. There could be some extreme weather in parts or maybe even some high altitude, but it is unlikely this will prevail for the entire trip. There may be some locations on the trip in which amenities are not available or are of a lower standard. This trip will no doubt travel through some remote or maybe even emerging destinations but won’t spend the entire duration in these places. It’s likely that you’ll be using a fair amount of public transport and traveling through places where things occasionally don’t go to plan, so a sense of humor is key.
Trips with a ‘quest’ rating require an average level of physical fitness, you may need to be able to stand for long periods of time or walk up to 3km during scheduled sightseeing. Quest trips usually use good hotels, however there may be instances when they visit remote or rural locations where a hotel or similar accommodation isn’t available. In this instance they may use good motels, shared accommodation, rustic cabins or even camping – but only when more comfortable accommodation isn’t available. These trips may use public transport where practical and it may be transport that could be a bit of an experience – if you get what we’re saying. You might travel through some remote areas and amenities like hospitals, pharmacies, ATM’s and upright toilets might only be available in major towns. While we make no guarantees on the weather, in our experience you might be in for either a few really hot days, some rain or pass through some cold areas – check your packing list and be sure to pack sunscreen, an umbrella or a jacket accordingly.
‘Journey’ rated trips require a moderate level of physical fitness, there could be some walking around during sightseeing, a few steps here and there, as well as uneven surfaces. The accommodation on these trips will be of a good standard and generally speaking there won’t be any shared accommodation or camping. You might be up for some public transport however, this will be of a good standard or possibly used as an experience rather than to get us from A to B (think long distance trains or a rickshaw experience through a bazaar). Amenities should be accessible with hospitals and pharmacies of a good standard, but you might however run into the occasional dodgy ATM or eastern squat toilet. The weather could be a little chilly in places or you might get a suntan from walking around in warmer climates. This trip will still be a good adventure but will probably be well with in the comfort zone of most travelers.
Trips rated ‘wander’ will likely require a minimum of physical activity and most of the sightseeing will either be within walking distance to the hotel or easily reached by a quick trip on the local metro or by your coach. It is unlikely that we will use public transport to travel long distances, although we might use it over short distances where travel by coach isn’t practical or if it has been deemed a unique experience. These trips are generally shorter, usually no more than two weeks and don’t typically travel through remote areas, meaning access to amenities will always be good. There is no expectation of bad weather and you will always come back to unique, swanky accommodation at the end of the day and most likely an included dinner so you don’t have to go out and forage for food. Get ready for all of the adventure, zero inconvenience and absolutely no roughing it.
But how do I choose?
Simple. Ask yourself what you want out of your trip. Do you want time to do your own thing? Do you want most of your meals taken care of, or would you prefer to eat street food in local markets? Would you like to come back to luxurious accommodation at the end of the day or is clean and comfortable, but unique more your style?
More inclusions vs less inclusions.
It’s all a matter or choice. Some travelers may prefer to have everything taken care of prior to leaving home – right down to most of their meals. While others may want to leave some things to chance and have some room in their trip to have their own adventure or at the very least, get their own dinner.
Why have free time?
It’s a tour, right? Shouldn’t everything be included? Free time gives you the option to explore on your own and to leave some things to chance. Free time isn’t always used to explore and go off on an adventure. You might want to use it for something simple, like taking time out to have a coffee and watch people in the destination or even to have a rest – this is especially the case on our longer trips. If you get to the destination and feel at a loss during your free time, we have a range of optional experiences and activities which can been booked on the ground or prior to travel (certain activities are prior to travel only) or your expert trip leader can recommend something locally. The amount of free time on some trips enables us to be a tour company for people who ‘don’t do tours.’
Generally, on all our trips, you can expect the following to be included:
- All accommodation – please refer to your itinerary and trip notes, depending on the style of trip this may be shared
- All transport to and from included services
- Services of your trip leader and local guides
Is fitness a factor?
In short, yes. While all our trips have their own journey rating, all our trips require travelers to have a moderate level of fitness and to be in good health.
In general, and for all our trips you should be able to:
- * Walk up to 2km and ascend three flights of stairs without assistance
- * Carry your own luggage. (Please see the “What to bring” section of your trip notes for our recommendations on luggage size and appropriate luggage weight for your trip).
- * Travelers on medication such as anti-depressants and prescription pain killers should be advised that some of these drugs may be illegal in countries like Uzbekistan
- * Be prepared to heed the advice of your trip leader and local guides regarding good local health practices on arrival
- * Come with a good sense of humor – although you are on an organised trip and our expert trip leaders have likely done the trip many times, there will always be unexpected surprises especially in places like North Africa and Central Asia.
* While our trips do not have an upper age limit, all travelers 65 and over will be required fill out, sign and have their GP fill out and sign a health declaration form to ensure their safety, as well as the safety and enjoyment of other travelers on the trip. (Please see our booking conditions for more information)