home page Enlightened Fun

The Outdoor Vacationer’s Guide to Credit Card Vacations

Copyright 2005 by Michael Brochstein

As the saying goes “Anything is available for a price”. This includes a fully researched and reserved vacation with all the detailed logistics and guides necessary to help you have a worry free active vacation of the kind you would plan for yourself if you had the time, inclination and resources.

Think about not having to find a place to stay, rent a car and navigate on unfamiliar roads, decide which hikes or bicycle rides are the best in an area you’ve never been to before, find campsites, obtain permits, rent bicycles or go rafting with vendors you’ve never heard of before. For those traveling alone, you can now have an instant set of traveling companions and a fulltime expert guide. In emergencies, you have the guides and people traveling with you to look after you as well as a professional organization to back them up.

There are many vendors one can find on the Internet or through advertisements in magazines which will take your credit card number and take care of the rest for you. All you have to do is decide which trip to sign up for and show up with your outdoor wardrobe and gear (some of which these same vendors may loan or rent you so you don’t have to bring your own).

Some vendors (i.e. Sherpa) offer a variety of trips geared towards people who wish to travel on their own or with just the companions they pick. Many times these are the same trips that are offered as guided group. By going on your own or with a friend, you can usually vary the schedule as you like (i.e. picking any day to start or spending an extra day in a particular place) if you discuss this ahead of time with the vendor. The vendor will arrange for your bags to be moved when necessary so that you are as free during the day as if you were on a group trip and a vendor’s van was moving your luggage on transfer days. With some vendors these trips cost less than guided group trips.

Below I have listed (in alphabetical order) just a few of the many vendors that offer “credit card” active outdoor vacations. I have compiled the list from personal research, friend’s recommendations, and various articles and books. I have not necessarily gone on any trips offered by these vendors and I have no financial interest in any of them. Call them my personal short list of recommended vendors. Please let me know if your experiences suggest other vendors that should be listed here and if you’ve had any troubling experiences with those that I have listed.

Most of these vendors have very impressive free printed catalogues (i.e. Backroads and Wilderness Travel) which I highly recommend as well as very informative websites. Lastly, please feel free to invite me along on your next “credit card vacation”.


Abercrombie & Kent


Butterfield & Robinson

Intrepid Travel (based in Australia)

Mountain Travel Sobek

New England Hiking Holidays

Sherpa (based in the U.K.)

Sierra Club Outings

The World Outdoors

Vermont Bicycle Touring

Wilderness Travel


Comments: Michael_Brochstein@MABsystems.com

WARNING/DISCLAIMER: Outdoor activities can be dangerous and the information furnished on this website may contain errors!

Last revision: April 28, 2005