9 Cool Travel Operators To Know

Organising a holiday can be stressful – so why not let someone else take the strain? Whether you’re planning a family trip or dreaming of a bucket-list adventure, these are the travel operators that will go the extra mile.
By Tobias Gourlay /
Black Tomato

BEST FOR INSPIRATION:

Black Tomato

Not sure where to go, just know you need to go somewhere? Black Tomato is full of ideas. For anyone in search of expert inspo, the ‘By Month’ tool on its website is a work of minor genius. Use it to discover the best places to go at all times of the year – we’re wondering how to stretch our holiday allowance to fit in Indonesia next month (it’ll still be beautifully warm and dry), Argentina in November (just as the Patagonian summer arrives) and Christmas in Cambodia. Once you’ve locked onto your target destination, Black Tomato won’t flog you an off-the-peg package holiday. It’ll tailor a trip to perfectly suit you, your family, your group or your other half.

Visit BlackTomato.com

BEST FOR ECO HOLIDAYS:

Joro Experiences

Right now, Joro is the only B Corp-certified luxury adventure travel operator out there. That means it’s social and environmental impact is being measured – and it’s scoring well. Joro will even measure the carbon footprint of your trip, minimising and offsetting wherever possible. Be it polar bear spotting in Alaska, treasure hunting around the Greek islands, exploring the great rock churches of Ethiopia, the options are genuinely endless, because Joro designs each one to suit your needs – whether it’s a family holiday or just you, looking to go solo on a deeper journey.

Visit JoroExperiences.com

Joro Experiences

BEST FOR SLOW TRAVEL:

Byway

If holidays for you are all about escaping the frenzy of everyday life and taking things down a notch, you need to know about Byway. This London-based operator has one rule: no flights. Which also means no check-in queues, no understaffed passport controls and no lengthy waits at overfull gates. Instead, you’ve got a choice of train, bike, bus or ferry – and the journey is part of the fun. Whether you’re after a city break, a skiing holiday or a full-on tour of Europe by sleeper train, Byway can organise the lot. All you have to do is slow down.

Visit Byway.travel

ByWay
IGNACIO BROSA/ UNSPLASH

BEST FOR LUXE TRAVEL:

Scott Dunn

Scott Dunn has spent three decades perfecting the art of holidaymaking. From Anguilla to Zimbabwe, it organises trips in more than 100 countries across the globe – it can even get smoothly to Antarctica and back. Wherever you’re feeling called to, Scott Dunn will sweat the small stuff to lay on a unique and memorable break. Really don’t want to leave anything to chance? Its Scott Dunn Private arm allocates personal travel advisors to ensure everything is as smooth and luxurious as can be. Its new ‘Perfect Pairings’ breaks are a fine way to see what it can do on a five or six-night trip. You just have to choose a theme (culinary, active or artistic) and a destination – we like the sound of Lecce and the Apulian coast for some autumn sun down in the heel of Italy.

Visit ScottDunn.com

Scott Dunn

BEST FOR EASY ITINERARIES:

Nemo

No one wants a return to the era of dreary high-street travel agents touting one-size-fits-all trips to the Spanish Costas. That’s why Nemo exists. This fleet-footed digital-first operator makes it easy to find or build packages that work for you. Stick a destination in its search bar and it’ll hit you with fun, thought-through ideas for itineraries, hotels and places to see. We’ve been thinking about Portugal recently and Nemo came straight back with options for a Lisbon-Porto road trip, an off-the-beaten-track adventure into the wild Alentejo region, or a city break in the capital. Take your pick, then you can customise the pre-set itinerary to encompass the timings, activities and even extra destinations of your choice. Meanwhile, there’s a running total to keep your wildest impulses in check.

Visit Nemo-Travel.com

BEST FOR GIVING BACK:

Responsible Travel

Want your holiday to be a win for the planet? Responsible Travel can help. Every trip it organises does something to enhance a community or preserve nature. For every trip, it also pays for a day out for a child in need. And it’s been doing this for more than 20 years – not just since everyone jumped aboard the sustainability bandwagon. The rewards for you can be rich too: instead of just going on safari in Kenya, you’ll go on safari in Kenya with a local Maasai warrior as your guide; you won’t just stay in soulless modern hotels on your way round Japan, you’ll be getting to know people in locally owned accommodation.

Visit ResponsibleTravel.com

Responsible Travel
ByWay
LIUBOV ILCHUK

BEST FOR ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME TRIPS:

And Beyond

And Beyond started 30 years ago when it opened the first private game reserve in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, aiming to deliver sustainable conservation through responsible tourism. It worked and today, And Beyond has expanded its focus to 13 countries across three continents: Africa, Asia and South America. Believing this is where the greatest adventures are to be found, it owns and operates 29 lodges and camps – from island destinations in the Indian Ocean to wine estates in Argentina. It tailor-makes all of its trips and, as well as offering some ultimate honeymoon options, it’s a specialist in whole-family adventures.

Visit AndBeyond.com

And Beyond

BEST FOR SKIING: Fish & Pips

Fish & Pips

Fish & Pips is run by Philippa Hartley and Holly Chandler – friends since either of them can remember. For the last 15 years, they’ve been building a travel business that’s grown from a few chalets in Méribel village to organising all kinds of adventures around the world. If you spend your winters chasing the best powder snow around Europe, they can help you find it – and make the most of it. Close to the vast slopes of Courchevel, they operate 13 chalets for families, groups and couples. Choose between catered, self-catered, serviced and shared – or they can also get you into some of the resort’s best hotels. 

Visit FishAndPips.co.uk

BEST FOR SOLO TRAVEL:

Flash Pack

Flash Pack fills a longstanding gap in the travel market. Until it launched in 2019, if you wanted to join a group tour as a solo traveller, you either had to be a 20-something on a shoestring budget or a 50-something looking for companionship. Flash Pack arranges immersive, high-end tours for anyone in their 30s or 40s. Fancy glamping in Range Rovers on the Serengeti? Exploring Sri Lanka by train? Or just some spiritual bathing in Bali? Flash Pack can help. The really adventurous can sign up as an Insider, grab a discount and jump aboard first-time tours that will set the template for future Flash Pack trips.

Visit FlashPack.com

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