Top 5 Tips for Your Expedition Adventure

Luxury travel often evokes images of five-star accommodations and meticulously planned itineraries. But for the truly adventurous soul, there’s a unique style of travel. One that offers a deeper, more immersive experience: Expedition Travel. If you’re considering an expedition vacation or already have one in the works – follow these 5 essential tips to ensure you have the most incredible experience:

What is an Expedition Adventure?

a snokeler and a seal look at each other underwater in the Galapagos

 First – a quick review of what kinds of trips we’re talking about. Expedition cruises and tours take you off the beaten path, exploring the remote corners of the globe alongside a team of experts. Think wildlife encounters in the Arctic tundra, a gorilla trek in Uganda, or a cultural immersion in the Amazon rainforest. Whether you’re heading to the Australian Outback or the Galapagos – expedition itineraries are all about exploration and discovery. They have a strong focus on learning about the unique destinations you visit.

[Photo Credit: Ann via Shared Adventures – read about her Galapagos Adventure Here!]

1. Stay Flexible: Your Itinerary is a Guideline

Expedition itineraries are crafted to explore dynamic environments, and Mother Nature has a mind of her own. Unforeseen weather conditions, wildlife sightings, or even research opportunities may adjust the daily schedule. Be prepared to go with the flow. Don’t expect to stick too closely to your itinerary.

Your planned Zodiac cruise through a glacier-filled fjord might be rerouted due to unexpectedly strong winds. Or someone may spot a pod of whales in the distance encouraging the captain to navigate closer. The expert expedition leaders will always look for better-suited alternatives to maximize your trip in ways you never imagined. Instead of viewing these changes as disruptions, embrace them as unique adventures that can elevate your trip.

[Photo Credit: Long May via Unsplash]

a small dingy in front of an ice arch on an arctic expedition

2. Attend the Lectures: Listen and Learn from the Experts

two travelers in red survey the icy landscape of an arctic adventure

Expedition teams are comprised of seasoned experts – naturalists, historians, geologists. They will bring the destinations you visit to life. The informative lectures they offer aren’t just filler — they’re crucial for your understanding. Whether it’s the cultural significance of a remote village, the delicate balance of a polar ecosystem, or the geological forces that shaped a volcanic landscape, these insights will elevate your experience and allow you to truly appreciate the wonders that surround you.

[Photo Credit: Cassie Matias via Unsplash]

3. Remember These Aren’t Your Typical Vacations

Expedition vacations prioritize exploration over opulence. You’ll trade those sprawling buffets for regionally-inspired meals and spacious cabins for more compact, functional accommodations. You won’t need to pack your fancy dinner dress for this type of vacation and don’t expect to spend your days relaxing by the pool with a margarita.

Instead, you’ll spend your days experiencing incredible wildlife encounters and unparalleled scenery which few in the world get to experience. 

Photo Credit: Ann via Shared Adventures Travel]

a seal and a woman sit side by side on the beach in the Galapagos
a circle of tents with glowing orange fires set against a vast midnight blue sky on a desert expedition adventure

Your accommodations might range from comfortable yet basic tented camps to refurbished research vessels. You might be setting sail on a small expedition ship instead of a giant cruise liner. While the ship will have amenities, it will prioritize expedition capabilities over entertainment options, offering a more intimate and focused experience. Think of it as a trade-off: slightly less space, for memories that will fill a lifetime.

[Photo Credit: Parker Hilton via Unsplash]

4. Be Prepared to Be Active and Know Your Limits

Expedition itineraries often involve hiking, kayaking, or wildlife viewing excursions. While the pace can be adjusted to accommodate varying fitness levels, a baseline level of physical fitness is essential. So don’t put off going on these adventures until retirement! Be prepared to walk over uneven terrain, swim in open water, and climb in and out of boats or up steep mountains.

[Photo Credit: Ann via Shared Adventures Travel]

The Galapagos group on a hike through volcanic rock and low desert bush

Most importantly: be honest with yourself about your capabilities. Choose adventures that suit your limitations. There’s no shame in opting for a shorter hike or sitting out a particularly strenuous kayaking excursion. You’ll enjoy your adventure most when you’re pushing your boundaries while staying safe and within your limits. Listen to your body and select the activity that aligns with your fitness level.

Rainbow Mountain in Peru

Take time to understand the physical requirements and environmental conditions you’ll face on this adventure. Do you need to prepare for altitude sickness? Extreme cold or heat? Understanding the conditions and your fitness level before you go on the trip will be key to enjoying your adventure.

[Photo Credit: Alvaro Palacios via Unsplash]

5. Pack Light, But Pack for All Weather

Expedition destinations often have unpredictable weather patterns. One day you might be basking in sunshine, the next braving icy winds. Pack layers that can be easily combined to adapt to changing conditions. Quick-drying fabrics and waterproof gear are essential. Remember: layers, layers, and more layers.

Your exploration of the Amazon rainforest might involve navigating through sudden downpours. Packing a lightweight rain jacket and quick-dry hiking pants will ensure you stay comfortable and focused on enjoying the adventure. The key to packing is versatility and clothes specifically adapted to the environment you’re exploring.

[Photo Credit: Kiyoshi via Unsplash]

a canoe crossing the wide amazon river on an Amazon Expedition

Are you inspired to embark on an expedition of your own? Let us know and we can help plan every detail. Pack your sense of adventure, and a dash of flexibility, and get ready to experience the world in a whole new way.

The Best Honeymoon Destinations (by Month)

Honeymoons by Month Pin
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The majority of couples still take their honeymoons shortly after the wedding. Which means that honeymooners have to consider seasonality and find a destination that works well for their specific travel dates. But how do you know which places are the best at different times of year? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered, with our handy guide to the best honeymoon destinations by month!

The Weather

Before we get to the months, there are a few criteria to keep in mind. First is, of course, the weather.

Sunset beach Costa Rica Honeymoons

Beachy and tropical islands often have just two seasons: Dry and Rainy. These seasons tend to be the opposite on different sides of the world. So no matter what month you travel in, you can find a beautiful beachy location somewhere.

[Photo Credit: Katey & Oliver via Shared Adventures – read about their Costa Rica Honeymoon here!]

The Crowds

a piazza in Rome full of tourists, ideal for Honeymoons

The other important factor to consider is crowds. Certain months see high crowds for a reason. Everyone is excited to experience the best weather the destination has to offer! Think about whether it’s more important to you to have the best weather possible (despite the crowds). Or would you prefer to risk some less-than-ideal days in exchange for having a sense of seclusion?

[Photo credit: Ann via Shared Adventures]

With these answers in mind, have a look at our monthly guide! We’ve split the destinations into two categories: “High-season” is the best weather with potentially the biggest crowds. “Best balance” has decent weather balanced with smaller crowds.


St. Lucia– high-season
Costa Rica- high-season
Aruba – high-season

Norway high-season
Swiss Alps- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: For the best weather, look to the equator. Destinations in the Central America region ( including the Caribbean) will be beautiful. They will also be in peak season. January offers clear blue skies, warm seas, and a perfectly idyllic beach vacation. It’s just a bonus that you can escape from the cold!

Snowy Honeymoons: Consider just how cold you truly want it to be. The further north you go, the darker and colder it gets, which gives you the brilliant opportunity to see the Northern Lights. January also tends to be less busy than February in top ski destinations due to the shorter days.


Mexico– high-season
New Zealand- high-season
Hawai’i – best balance

Swiss Alps- high-season
Norway- best balance
California- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: February is a peak month for tropical travel. The Caribbean, and Mexico are popular with everyone trying to escape the winter cold, including families on school vacation breaks. Hawaii can be a good option, because the weather is temperate year round and spreads the crowds out. And French Polynesia might work, as long as you’re okay with some passing rain showers.

Snowy Honeymoons: How important is skiing? How cold is too cold? If you want to hit the slopes every day of your honeymoon, then February is prime ski season in many winter destinations! If you’re looking for other winter activities, you’ll find the extra cold temps mean a lot of opportunities to snuggle up, fewer crowds, and more daylight hours for adventuring!


The Maldives– best balance
New Zealand- best balance

Iceland- best balance (for snow)
Japan- high-season (mid-March)

Beachy Honeymoons: March is a great honeymoon month to avoid crowds if you don’t mind a little unpredictability. It’s the last month of the dry season in many places. So look more closely at the weather reports and consider spots where a few small showers and cooler nights will enhance your trip.

Snowy Honeymoons: This is the last opportunity of the year to enjoy a snowy destination! Consider what winter activities you’re most excited to experience. Because you start to get longer hours of daylight in March, find a destination that has a lot of outdoor adventures. 

a view of the siene, the eiffle tower and the paris skyline in Paris for Honeymoons
[Photo Credit: Ann via Shared Adventures – read about her April in Paris trip here!]


The Caribbean– best balance
Seychelles- best balance
South Africa- best for combining different regions

Australia- best balance
France- high-season
Napa, California- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: April is the bridge between the dry and wet seasons. For the best weather, look into heading a bit further towards the southern hemisphere. If you’d rather stay closer to home, the Caribbean will have some unpredictability, but overall beautiful days and lower crowds. 

City Breaks: April is the beginning of perfectly romantic city breaks. Consider locations that you dream of strolling around, admiring the architecture and the flowers in bloom. Look to Europe and Japan for the most beautiful displays of spring blooms. 


Portugal– best balance
Malta- best balance
Costa Rica- best balance
Hawai’i- best balance

Fiji- best balance
Scotland- best balance
Ireland- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: A perfect shoulder month. If you’re looking to stay closer to home, the Caribbean and Central America will have lower crowds without (yet) the summer rains. Otherwise, you can beat the summer crowds but enjoy the rising temperature on the other side of the globe. Southern Europe and the South Pacific are entering their dry season. Warm weather, low humidity, and the islands practically to yourselves — It makes the long plane trip worth it! 

Sightseeing and Exploring: If you’re not a sunseeker, look into northern Europe. A perfect combination of warm days, cool nights, green countryside, lower crowds, and maybe still a little snow on the utmost mountain peaks. 

lush green mountains of Hawaii an a blue bay on the road to hana. perfect for hawaii honeymoons
[Photo credit: Ann via Shared Adventures Travel]


Hawai’i– high-season
Antigua- best balance
St. Lucia- best balance

Fiji- high-season
Greece- best balance
Alaska- best balance

Beachy Honeymoons: June is the beginning of hurricane season in the Caribbean, but it’s still too early for major risk. This is a good month for sun-seekers. Look for spots where you can sneak in before the storm risk increases in late summer.

City Breaks: June is an excellent month for city breaks. Everything is open and waiting, but the true heat of summer hasn’t settled into the cobblestones yet. Look for cities that allow you to get out into nature a bit for a cool breeze.


French Polynesia– high-season
Malta- high-season
Italy- high-season

Ireland- high-season
Canada- high-season

Beachy Honeymoons: French Polynesia and southern Europe swell to their peak popularity. Honeymooners in July will almost certainly have to share the beaches with plenty of other travelers.

Outdoorsy Honeymoons: July is the peak month for many cooler-weather destinations that are just coming into their own at this time of year. Look to the north to find green fields, hiking trails, cool mountain lakes, fresh breezes, and unending hours of daylight.


Kenya & Tanzania– high-season
Mozambique- high-season
Bali- high-season
Vietnam- high-season

Croatia- high-season

The sweltering temps are reaching their peak and everyone is looking for a beach. August is difficult to avoid crowds, especially in Europe where many countries have their summer vacations. Look to the islands in Southeast Asia and Southern Africa for the peak of the dry season. Beautiful beaches and beautiful clear skies await you there.

driving nin maine
[Photo credit: Liz via Shared Adventures Travel – read about a New England Roatrip here!]


Hawai’i – best balance
French Polynesia- best balance
Bali- best balance
Greece- best balance

Croatia- best balance
Italy- best balance
Japan-best balance
The UKbest balance

Beachy Honeymoons: This is the perfect moment to swoop in and enjoy the last warm days without all the crowds. Look to the most popular summer beach destinations. You’ll find amazing weather, still-warm seas, and fewer people.

City Breaks: Like April, September is a perfect month for city breaks. The sweltering heat dissipates and the nights start to cool. Everything is still open and buzzing from summer, but the temperatures and crowd levels are much more pleasant. This is the time to visit Italy, Greece and Croatia!


Vietnam- best balance
Dubai- best balance
Zambia- high-season

France- best balance
Amsterdam- best balance
Canada-best balance
New England- high-season

Beachy Honeymoons: This is the best time to visit those destinations that are almost unbearably hot in summer. While October brings unpredictability, it also brings good opportunities to explore beyond the beach. 

Cool Honeymoons: Stunning fall foliage is the main focus of an October honeymoon in North America and Europe. While you may have a mixture of sun and rain, October’s quiet crispness in the cities will only add to the romantic atmosphere.


Thailand-best balance
The Maldives- high-season
Jamaica- best balance

Australia- high-season
Argentina- best balance
Chile- best balance

November is all about the Southern Hemisphere. While the north experiences rain and cloudy skies, the south is right at the beginning of summer. The weather isn’t too hot yet and the crowds aren’t too big, so overall you want to consider the bottom half of the world. It’s also a good time for the Caribbean, as the hurricane risk is nearly past, and crowds ten to be lower.


The Caribbean-high-season
Mexico– high-season
Thailand– high-season
Bali- high-season

Copenhagen- best holiday markets
Austria- best holiday markets
Prague- best holiday markets

Beachy Honeymoons: The holiday season sees everyone in the north escaping the cold for beautiful beaches. Consider places near to the equator on both sides of the world- South East Asia, The Caribbean, and Mexico are all in their stride. 

Snowy Honeymoons: The beginning of snow, cold temperatures, and beautiful holiday markets! While snow is a little unpredictable, consider those cold-weather cities with booming holiday markets as the perfect cozy romantic destinations. 

Koala Cuddling and Penguin Parades

I am truly fortunate to have an amazing job, where I get to plan vacations all day long (and get paid for it). But when you’re holding someone’s “trip of a lifetime” in your hands, there can be more than a little bit of stress involved. I am always SO pleased when clients take the time to let me know that everything worked out exactly as planned. And in this case, with Susan and John’s “bucket list” trip to Australia, it certainly sounds like we hit a home run!

Hi Ann,

Sorry this has taken so long but I really wanted to give you some highlights and comments.  By the way, if you’d like to send me back to do more research, just let me know.  I am ready and able whenever you say. (if only!)

The flights on Qantas were really great.  The trip over and back was incredibly long but it really didn’t seem it.  The flight attendants were also extremely good and pleasant. (something I find lacking in most US carriers, especially American!).  They fed us very well and even in Coach, all the Australian wine you want!

Generally all the on-ground pick-ups and drop-offs were really good and efficient except that one time in Melbourne when John e-mailed you.  That was definitely the exception.

Hirsch Sydney Harbor


Please let me move there!! The harbor is amazing!! No matter what you imagine, it’s more spectacular and beautiful than that! Of course, as we are sailors, we did so appreciate all the activity in and around, especially the 10 meters.  We got the lay of the land on our first day by hopping on a train from Erskinville (our friends’ neighborhood) to the harbor and then utilizing the ferry system. The second day, we took a car into the Blue Mountains (blue hue from all of the Eucalyptus)! I am going to include pics of it with the Three Sisters Rock formations.  Truly amazing. (I think I’m using that word too much). We also were able to explore the botanical gardens and again will include some pics.

Hirsch Three SistersHirsch Kangaroo refuge


I wish we’d had more time as it is a really lovely city with lots to do.  We had a chance to walk around quite a bit but since we arrived there on New Year’s day, many of the restaurants were closed for holiday. The highlight for me, though, was the day we traveled to Phillip Island, and the Penguin Parade. It’s difficult to describe this scene at sunset when a few little penguins emerge form the sea after a day of fishing. The few quickly become hundreds all trekking their way back to their burrows to find and feed their babies. We were not allowed to take pictures of them as the flash would have been a hindrance but it really didn’t matter.

Hirsch Melbourne Town Hall


An extraordinary island and since we didn’t really have enough time to get to New Zealand, this was certainly a great way to spend that time.  We had a wonderful hotel room with a perfect view of the waterfront.  (thank you very much!).  It was much colder in Tasmania than further north as it is much closer to the Arctic. The number of birds and animals is mind-boggling, very different from our varieties! Our first full day there, we took a car to the top of Mt. Wellington where the rain became sleet.  The views from up there were spectacular. Also the Salamanca Market which takes place on the Square in Hobart every Saturday was really special.  We purchased many of our gifts there as much of it was made in and came from Tasmanian products- scarves, wood, jewelry. We also visited a reserve which featured Tasmanian Devils, a baby Wombat whose mom had been hit by a car and now thinks of the zoo keeper as his “mom”. Lots of kangaroos, koalas…I was in heaven but I think that John had had enough animals at that point.

Hirsch Tasmanian DevilHirsch Trevor with a friend in Tasmania


Palm Cove was very nice and only about 20 minutes from Cairns proper. The apartments were clean and lovely and it was really great to be able to have coffee, breakfast, wine and snacks in our own space and not have to go out for everything. We could have even done our laundry but opted out.  Unfortunately a jelly fish problem kept us from swimming on any of the beaches in that area. However, the pool was fabulous and we managed to get a couple of swims in there.

Hirsch Great Barrier Reef

The Outer Reef experience was amazing and certainly one of the highlights for John.  He even got to take advantage of a short scuba lesson and was able to go 8 meters down.  Both of us snorkeled and all I can say is “speechless”. It was overwhelming and I found myself humming “Octopus’ Garden” as I swam to different spots to view as much as possible during that time out there. Only regret is that we did not take an underwater camera and really wish we had. (They also equipped us with head to toe wet suits as a precaution to jelly fish stings). Weird at first but worth the peace of mind.

Hirsch John with bird in CairnsHirsch Me with Kangaroo

The last day in Cairns we went to the zoo in the morning and had a nice breakfast there while a keeper walked around with a koala who he introduced to everyone. Cuter than cute, of course! I also gave in and had myself photographed holding a koala named Buster (pic included) and I really did not want to give him back.

Hirsch Cairns breakfast with CuddlesHirsch Buster the Koala

Back to Sydney for last two days

Took a tour of the Opera House (I mean we had to!) but it was fantastic and the tour was excellent.  We also got a chance to experience Darling Harbor (which had so much going on for children with water, playgrounds, etc) and loads of outdoor places to have lunch! Our friends surprised us with a late afternoon cruise on one of the Tall Ships.  They also purchased tickets for John and me to climb up to the crow’s nest which in Sydney Harbor is quite a view from that high up! The last night we were taken to 360 Bar & Dining in Sydney Tower with revolving views of the skyline.  We arrived at sunset so the view really was very special.

Hir‏sch Tall ship on last day with friendsHirsch prepare for crows nest

Now we are home and trying to comprehend it all.  At this point, it is the best trip we’ve ever taken and I cannot thank you enough for all your hard work for it. Sorry if this became a bit wordy but please do use what you’d like and e-mail or call me if you have any queries. It was the trip of a lifetime and the ONLY complaint I have is that it should have been longer! (maybe next time).

Can’t wait to start planning the next trip but we need to re-coop from this one.

Thanks again for everything,

Susan and John




From Waikiki to Wallabees

I’m sure many of us have taken advantage of a work commitment (conference, training, out of town meeting, etc.) to tack on some extra vacation time for ourselves…but my client Selina really did it right! Since she was going to be in Hawaii for a conference, she brought along the family and headed to Australia afterwards for some exploration and adventure!

Hi Ann,

We had a great time! Here are the highlights of the trip, along with some tips:

In Honolulu / Waikiki, we hiked to the Manoa Falls. It was about a 2-3 mile hike, the last half mile of which was muddy (but we were advised beforehand to wear old sneakers). We made arrangements with Oahu Tours. They were good (although I don’t have any way of comparison with the other companies).  Zipline Oahu not worth it, though. It was a dinky line over the minigolf overlooking the ocean.

If you’re in Honolulu, don’t forget to go to Diamond Head. It’s a hike and there are some steep areas but with rails. It’s worth it though, as the scenery on top is breathtaking. I would imagine parts of the trail would be slippery when wet.

As an American, visiting Pearl Harbor and being at the USS Arizona Memorial was really moving, as you imagine the soldiers and civilians scrambling for action and safety during the attack.

If you want to take surfing lessons in Honolulu, don’t do it in Waikiki as it can be crowded and somebody can be in front of you and cut short your smooth glide on the wave! We went with Discover Hawaii Tours. They brought us to a nearby town and we took a boat to the surf site offshore. Of course, I stayed on the boat and watched the girls from afar while they surfed. Our group was pretty much alone, so the girls could ride their wave without interruption.

Food (and everything else in Hawaii) is expensive. But we went to a hole in the wall place called Ono Hawaiian Foods and it was delicious. It’s a small place, maybe about 10 tables and they serve authentic Hawaiian dishes like laulau (roast meat covered in taro leaves) and haupia (I think this is the dessert containing coconut cream, almost gelatin like).

On to Sydney...the Bridge Climb was an experience! It’s expensive, but it’s a good way of raising funds for the upkeep of the bridge. It’s one of those things that you do once and could say ‘been there done that.’ It’s not for somebody who is afraid of heights, though. The view of the opera house from above is impressive. Holiday Inn at Darling Harbor was a nice location and the rooms are clean and a good size. We had adjoining rooms and the staff was very accommodating and opened the door between the two rooms. We took the Harbor Cruise from Darling Harbor. It’s a hop-on-hop-off ferry to different sites on the Harbor including Taronga Zoo, with onboard commentary about the different locations. That was a nice trip, except the weather was not very cooperative. It was drizzly and damp the day we did it. Still worth it, though.

The Blue Mountain tour was wonderful, especially since we were the only group present. So we basically had a private tour. Our guide was knowledgeable too, and accommodating, especially when we spotted two kangaroos with joeys in the bushes. We took our time taking pictures and watching the joeys eat! Then on to King’s Table where it got foggy and looked like we were on top of the world.

Surfers Paradise and Q1 Resort and Spa was almost perfect. There was just a lot of construction on the main drag (updating the cityrail tracks) of Surfers Paradise, so walking along it was cumbersome and the machinery was noisy. We got upgraded at Q1 from a two bedroom suite to a three bedroom. It was huge! The girls each had their own room. We also had an ocean view which was so nice, we could watch the sunrise.

We drove to Burleigh Heads, which was about half an hour south of Surfers Paradise. We hiked on parts of the small National Park. It was a good hike with trails and lookouts along the rocky cliffs and forest. We enjoyed that too. The girls also enjoyed watching the surfers from the park shores. You could tell that it’s a surfing mecca as even the park benches were in the shape of surfboards. It was a quaint beach town.

The highlight of Australia Zoo was the enclosure of the kangaroos and wallabees where you can feed them from food you get at a vending device. One can also pet the koalas.

Driving in Australia had its moments! Ray had to get used to driving on the ‘wrong side’ of the road. He said that was not as bad as trying to get used to the car where the buttons and levers are on the ‘wrong side.’ The street signs are also not that visible. Sydney / Gold Coast has a high standard of living, higher than here, so it is more expensive. It even seemed more expensive than Hawaii. Sydney is a beautiful city and is pedestrian friendly with plenty of sidewalks and separate walking lanes for pedestrians. I would not mind going there again!


You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)