2012′s best ‘alternative’ travel tour holidays

Revel in a hobby abroad or just shake up your travel routine and try something different with these niche tours.

Organised tours often get a bad name among travellers. But they aren’t just about following the leader to the next photo opportunity.

With many tour operators putting together creative travel itineraries to cater for people with special interests, we’re seeing some new and exciting niche tours on offer for 2012.

Here are five great ways to combine your hobbies and interests with your travels.

An-imazing adventure

InsideJapan Tours has begun offering an Anime & Manga 10-night adventure, exploring Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka – popular destinations and settings for manga.

The self-guided itinerary – which is put together for you – includes a full day in Tokyo exploring Akihabara or ‘electric town’, visiting a maid cafe and browsing Nakano Broadway, an indoor shopping complex full of anime and manga – with your own expert otaku to help you along the way.

You’ll also be guided to the best manga and anime museums and to Toei Movie Park in Kyoto where you can dress up as a Geisha or Samurai and explore the working film sets of Japanese films.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even try an anime and manga drawing class.

The tour costs £1275 (on a twin basis) and includes accommodation, breakfast, local transport (including a 7 day Rail Pass), private guide service in Kyoto and lunch at a Maid Café. International flights are not included.

Game on!

nine-day Tokyo Game Show tour

If you’re a keen gamer then this tour in the Land of the Rising Sun could be perfect for you – and includes enough downtime to hit the arcades.

London-based Japan Journeys has custom made a holiday itinerary based on this year’s Tokyo Game Show.

Its nine-day Tokyo Game Show tour, which runs from September 16th to 24th, encompasses the best places to see, shop and play video games in the Japanese capital.

It costs £1735 (on a twin basis) and includes flights from the UK, accommodation, breakfast and local transport.

If you are planning for 2013, the same company is offering a 10-night bonsai tour (dates to be confirmed) that includes entry to Japan’s biggest bonsai event and bonsai villages.

Become a ‘local’ in Tuscany

Living in tuscany

Have you ever wanted to discover what living abroad is really like?

In Italy, you can immerse yourself in Tuscany’s culture and experience life like a local with G Adventure’s new Local Living Tour.

The Southern Tuscany Local Living tour offers seven days of eating, sleeping and shopping, in one place – just like a local.

Local wine tasting, cycling and cooking demonstrations are some of the tour’s highlights.

The trip costs £799 (on a twin basis) and includes most dinners and breakfast, accommodation at a small locally owned farmhouse, cooking class and local transport.

Other destinations in G Adventure’s Local Living series include Northern Tuscany and Amalfi Coast.

On the political trail

North Korea. Source: politicaltours.com (Copyright: Eric Lafforgue).

Political Tours runs organised tours around the world for people passionate about politics and current affairs.

The firm’s independent, group and tailor-made itineraries are educational – focusing on current affairs in countries with few tourists, such as North Korea, Bosnia, Serbia, and Kosovo.

Its eight-day Libya tour explores the impact of the recent revolution – highlighting the fact these aren’t your average organised tours.

Contact Political Tours on 0843 289 2349 (www.politicaltours.com) for more information.

Yo-gotta try this

While travelling can often be stressful, tiring and testing, it doesn’t have to be.

Universal Yoga Tours runs a guided tour that combines the study of yoga in Northern India’s Rishikesh with a seven-day yoga retreat.

Trips are geared towards travellers with an avid interest in yoga and last between nine and 20 days.

An eight night Yoga & Northern India Tour Package costs from US$1650 (£1030), including accommodation and yoga training.

What others have said

  1. Oh. These are really alternative routes to a “normal” holiday. What I want to experience is Japan. I want to know the future of Naruto and his friends. :)

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