Frequently Asked Questions


Small group travel

I'm not sure organized group trips are for me. Are yours different?

Yes! Atlas Obscura is all about exploration and discovery. We create the kinds of travel experiences we'd want for ourselves, based on our database of the world's most unique places and foods. We'll provide you unparalleled access, in-depth storytelling, and of course, some freedom and flexibility to explore on your own. No big tour buses or boring tour guides here. As a result, our trips attract what we think are the most open-minded, curious, and easy-going travelers in the world. And that's the real secret! The company you keep when traveling makes all the difference.

Do you get many solo travelers on your trips?

We do—in fact, solo travelers make up about half of our small groups. With curiosity at the center of our experiences, there's a natural camaraderie that develops over the course of a trip. If you're looking for an opportunity to travel with people who share your sense of curiosity, you'll come away from these adventures with new travel partners and lasting connections.

How old are the people who take your trips?

Our trips are currently designed for travelers 18 years of age or older. There are some departures where an exception can be made for older teens. 

Do you run family trips?

Please stay tuned. Presently we don't offer any family trips, however we're working on launching our first dedicated family trips in the fall of 2024. Guests 18 years of age or older are welcome to join any Atlas Obscura trip. Occasionally an exception can be made for older teens to join a trip if accompanied by a parent or guardian, depending on the trip. 

Who can join an Atlas Obscura trip?

We believe travel has the capacity to make us better global citizens, and we recognize that diverse groups of travelers enrich our trips for everyone. We encourage our travelers to be intrepid, curious, respectful and engaging with locals and other travelers alike. We often find that much of the adventure happens in the conversations that our experiences ignite.

In what language(s) do you conduct your trips? 

Currently, all of our trips are conducted in English only.

Where are most of your travelers based?

While most of our travelers are based in the U.S., people join our trips from all over the world. You do not need to be a citizen of a particular country, or come from a particular place, to take one of our trips, though visa requirements for the countries visited can vary depending on citizenship. 

Are your trips accessible?

We encourage all travelers to review the itinerary and pace of any trips that interest them prior to booking to ensure they can fully participate in all activities. We are happy to look into ways in which we can accommodate traveler needs or offer alternate activities where possible. If you have questions about whether an Atlas Obscura trip is right for you, please email us at [email protected] or call (646) 961-4857.

Can my dietary restrictions be accommodated?

We will accommodate dietary restrictions whenever possible, but there may be some destinations and trips where certain restrictions or allergies are harder to accommodate. Many of our trips indicate dietary notes at the bottom of the itinerary under “Trip FAQ”. If you have a severe allergy or have questions about a specific trip, please contact us to find out if a particular trip is right for you.

What are the activity levels of your trips?

All of our trips are rated as Easy, Moderate, or Challenging, based on the level of activity you can expect. This is noted on every trip itinerary page, right next to the trip name. In general, most trips typically include one or several miles of walking per day and require the ability to remain on your feet for extended periods of time. You can see the specific activity level details for each trip at the bottom of the itinerary under "Additional Info". 

Booking your trip

How do I join a trip?

On any trip itinerary page, click the “See Dates” button, just below the Trip name, or scroll down to the Upcoming Departures section and click the “Book” button. Then, simply fill out and complete the on-site booking form. 

The trip I want to take is sold out. What should I do?

You can join any sold-out trip's waitlist by clicking the “Join Waitlist” button. If space on a particular departure opens up, it is offered to travelers in order of when they joined the waitlist. If a trip is sold out, there's a very good chance we'll offer it again in the future. Keep an eye out for new trip announcements via our trips newsletter.



Cancellations and insurance

What if I need to cancel my trip after I sign up?

Initial trip deposits become nonrefundable once they're paid. If you have questions about a trip before making your deposit, please don't hesitate to reach out. Please consult the Booking Conditions for full details on the cancellation policy. 

Should I purchase travel insurance?

We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. This is even more important as travel conditions continue to change. Different policies can cover items including trip cancellation, medical expenses and emergencies, or loss of luggage and personal effects. Our friends at Yonder Travel Insurance can help walk you through and explain the components of different travel insurance policies and what kind of coverage would work best for your needs. They are also a company with a social mission! With every policy sold on Yonder, they donate a week's worth of meals to children in need. Please click here for Yonder's contact info or to request a quote. 

Is there a minimum group size for a trip to run? 

Every trip is guaranteed once we have a group size of at least 4. If the group size is smaller than that, we'll work with our partners and do our best to run it below-minimum, but may need to cancel. In the event we have to cancel a trip you've booked due to under-enrollment, we'll issue a full refund or, if you prefer, can help you transfer to another date. 

The places we travel

There's someplace I want to go, but you're not offering a trip there. What should I do?

We are continually updating and enhancing our offering of unique and immersive small group trips. To stay connected and be among the first to hear about new trips or departures, please sign up to receive our trips newsletter.

Does the trip cost include airfare?

No, our trips do not include the cost of airfare or transportation to or from the arrival and departure points. Each trip page has an 'arrival and departure' section that will identify where the group trip starts and ends. Travelers are responsible for arranging their own flights or transportation to and from the arrival and departure points. We can refer you to a third-party air specialist if you'd like assistance booking your flights.

I have a political or ethical objection to one of the places you're running a trip. Why would you send people there?

While this is a very difficult question and tends to come down to the particulars of the destination and trip, we generally believe that sending travelers to countries with complicated political situations is the right thing to do—provided we can do it safely and without contributing to the problems at hand. Simply put, if we felt we were doing harm by running a trip, we wouldn't do it. We believe greater understanding and engagement, especially the kind we get by visiting someplace first-hand, generally does more good than staying home or only visiting countries whose governments share our values.

Contact us

I have a question that you haven't answered. How can I get help?

If you can't find what you're looking for here or in the trip-specific FAQ, please get in touch via email at [email protected] or call us at (646) 961-4857. We are available to assist Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m (EST). We'd love to hear from you!

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