Supporting Revolutionary Independent Travel
Whether traveling solo or in a small group, booking everything in advance or staying as flexible as possible, traveling for a month or a year, making your adventure successful for you and the communities you visit is what ETC is all about!
Whatever your goals, however much time...
We are here to help you make the most of the travel opportunities that you're creating for yourself - whether it's a gap year, a few weeks before a study abroad program begins, or just winter break - we take the time to understand the academic and personal goals of your adventure and to design something unique that truly meets your needs.
Gap Year Travel
Discover the world you're inheriting - and a bit about yourself in the process
We are passionate about gap years, semesters off, and just about any other effort that can be made to give young people a chance to engage with the world around them before the time limitations of career building fully take over. Whether before, during, or after undergraduate studies - or even between positions - gap year travel gives explorers the chance to make deeper connections with the communities they are engaging with, to know more of the world around them, and to maximize their travel budget by spacing out long haul international flights. We are experts in many of the world's under explored places, as well as in setting, and stretching, a budget. We'd love to work with you to custom design your experience!
Define your academic career, reimagine your place in the world, or both!
Study breaks are a great time to dip into international travel. Most members of the collaborative launched our travel careers during university holidays, whether on long overland travels through east and central Africa, residencies with indigenous communities in the eastern fringes of Europe, or making our way through the beaches and jungles of Central America. In the process, we gained perspective, skills, and experience that set us up for maximum success in our personal and professional lives.
Whether you want to explore France or do field research in Somalia, we've done it ourselves and would love to help make your aspirations a reality.
Independent Study Support
Independent Travel Meets Academic Accreditation
As certified educators as well as veteran travelers, we are uniquely positioned to help you build a research proposal and an itinerary in tandem to support secondary or post secondary independent study opportunities. There is a good chance your institution has a program in place for vetting your academic work and granting credit, but we can coordinate with you on the development of an independent research plan and an itinerary that will serve as the foundation of your research. We can also put you in touch with our academic partners if your research interests align! We've worked on some extraordinary projects, from sustainable tourism development, to the prevention of genocide, to inquiry into new metrics of economic resiliency in the face of global recession. Whatever your academic interest, we look forward to collaborating and tailoring an itinerary support your needs.
Other Immersive Travel Experiences!
The possibilities are endless
From home-stays to academic symposia, trips to conflict zones to spiritual retreats, the world is full of opportunities. We've travelled more than 140 nations and territories personally, and have developed partnerships on the ground that can meet virtually any need. We'd love to hear what you're interested in planning. Reach out and contact us or submit a proposal! We'll get to work on doing the ground research for your consultation and creating a travel experience nobody else can.
Independent Travel and Gap Year Support
Letting you focus on hitting the road the way you want, with safety, viability, and sustainability handled on our end.
Planning a successful trip is a complicated endeavor, and we are experts at it. We are passionate about custom designing itineraries with your interests and passions in mind. While this in and of itself is no small feat, we also navigate the logistics needed to make your voyage a success. Having run expeditions all over the world, both for ourselves and others, we have a strong sense of what kind of gear, transportation planning, communications technology, local support, and risk management needs to go into your trip. The answer isn't the same for everyone - a remote worker who will need to be in and out of zoom calls on the road has very different needs to someone who can check their email once a week. Luckily, we have worked with people in both situations - we've been in both ourselves - and can work through the minutia of this planning with you. You'll benefit from our experience, and get on a plane knowing that everything has been handled by veteran explorers. Every client we work with benefits from the following services at no additional charge.
Day to Day Itinerary Planning
This may sound like the most basic piece of what we do, but in reality it is the most time consuming and variable based on the needs of our client. "How long do I really need in Madrid" might sound like a simple question - but it comes down to your reasons for being there, what you intend to do on the ground, and how you want to balance your days. Want 10 hours a day of the biggest sites? We can help you do that. Prefer to have time to get lost in street art and local culture and cuisine? That sort of travel is our specialty - and we'd love to help you plan out the itinerary that is right for you.
One on One Planning Consultations
Unlike our competition, there is no "Book this Trip Now!" option with the Collaborative. That's because the single most important thing for us is to understand who our clients are as travelers and individuals, what they prioritize in their excursion, and to talk through the options to help support informed planning decisions. The first step in all of our gap year and independent travel curation work is a one on one conversation. Book your initial consultation here, or learn more about our design process!
On the Ground Experience and Connections
As veteran travelers ourselves, and have worked to plan travel for numerous individuals and institutions all over the world. Traditional travel agents make a profit by funneling as much of their billing as possible to as few corporate travel providers as possible - the more they spend with one brand, the higher their commission. We work to use our expertise to connect you with locals who can deeply engage you in the community that you are visiting, and who will directly benefit from your presence there - it's a win-win situation. Our history of engaging personally with local communities around the world allows us to offer you a distinctly different experience.
Gear and Kit Purchase Advice
Authentic travel isn't about the latest rolling luggage and designer labels - it's about having what you need to navigate the situations you're likely to encounter on the ground, tailored to the specifics of climate, adventure activities, or the religious dress requirements of the places you're visiting. Nobody wants to spend travel days trying to replace broken gear or finding something that they wished they had packed and is much harder to find in their size or to their specifications in the country they are visiting. We also hate to see travelers literally weighed down by extraneous material they don't need. We'll help to support you in figuring out what kit makes the most sense for you - based on your travel style, intended itinerary, and what you already have. This is a service we provide to help our clients enjoy their travels to the fullest - you can take our advice or leave it - no questions asked.
Packing Support and Lists
This might sound mundane, but depending on your itinerary and experience - this is one of our more critical services. If you've never packed in a way that allowed you to hop on and off of riverboats, navigate tropical downpours, and climb glaciers - all while carrying everything you needed on your back - then exploring South America could be daunting in this respect. Even traveling around the south of France, we can help you decide what you need, what you don't, and help you avoid forgetting those little - but sometimes critical - extras.
If you need help figuring out how to meet your communication needs while you're on the road, we've got you covered. We've done long-haul trips with everything from a used Nokia purchased in a Kampala market to a 2 way satellite communicator. We can help you set realistic goals around communications and infrastructure based on our knowledge of your destination, and then support you in thinking about what, if any, additional technologies might makes sense for you to carry. We'll even double check that your phone works with the published signal frequencies in your destination countries.
Support Procuring Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is far from the most stimulating part of the travel experience - especially since it's the kind of thing you hope you'll never need! But - it does come in handy - among us, it's covered emergency root canals in Argentina, rabies shots in Uganda, and stolen goods across a few continents. In the worst-case scenario- emergency medical evacuation can cost hundreds of thousands of US Dollars - so we advise everyone to protect their travel investments, and themselves, with suitable insurance. We can help you compare some plans and figure out what is right for you.
Cultural, Legal, Safety, and Security Briefing
As advocates of the transformative power of travel, we try to push people beyond the negative headlines they may see about intercultural engagement - but we've all seen them - "Couple in the Gulf arrested for kissing on the beach," "British tourists fall trying to take a selfie on a closed trail." We will brief you on cultural norms, particular legal abnormalities, as well as safety and security guidance from major embassies for your destinations. This keeps you safe, the communities you are visiting comfortable, and allows you to get back to the important business of traveling, learning, and growing.
Destination Specific Travel Medicine Guidance
Travel medicine is complicated. Take malaria as an example - half of the world's population lives in malaria transmission zones - but preventing it is not as straightforward as you might think - there are five (in some countries more) drugs licensed for its prevention, as well as other personal protective measures travelers should take. We will brief you on the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization advice and guidelines for each of the countries you intend to visit - we've had all of the vaccines and taken most of the drugs that are likely to come up - and give you our advice on feedback on a plan for getting ready for departure.
Environmental Sustainability Assessment
Sustainability is at the heart of the Collaborative. We will support you in ensuring that your trip positively benefits local communities and environmental initiatives to the greatest extent possible, and help you to minimize your contributions to greenhouse gas emissions. We are committed to carbon neutrality as an organization and hope to help you offset your flights with the world's leading offset provider.
We do all of the above for each and every one of our clients - but we offer some additional services for those who need more support.
Flight Routing and Booking
Ground Transportation Coordination
Accommodation Coordination and Booking
From Expert Fliers
Get from point B, to C, to D, to E...
For the pre-planners of the world
Should you want help booking your flights, either to and from your destination or for transitions within your itinerary, we maintain accreditation with a travel agency to allow us to assist you. We've flown the world's top airlines to many of its most remote destinations, and can help you choose the most reliable, comfortable, and efficient route for your itinerary.
Depending on your destination, we are likely able to assist you with your day-to-day ground transportation from one destination to the next. Whether booking trains in India or navigating bus schedules in Myanmar, we've done it before and would be happy to help you hammer out the details. European rail travel is a specialty of ours as well.
We are happy to book accommodation on your behalf! We encourage you to stay flexible, though - part of the joy of travel is meeting people and modifying your plans to explore together! Still, depending on your itinerary, this could be the best option for you - and we are prepared to support you if that is the case.
So What's Next?
We encourage you to explore our destination pages. These include additional information, sample destinations, and approximate pricing for the regions in which we operate.