Travelling without a buddy is entirely do-able, and many find it a rewarding experience, but when your travel tastes lean towards shared experiences with a small group of like-minded people, it is wise and more satisfying to team up with others. This is where the Federated Mountain Club of New Zealand (FMC) Travel Club offers real advantages.
Before you hold up your hands at the thought of being asked to climb a mountain complete with ice-axe and crampons, be assured that the title of the travel club bears little relation to the destinations it can take you to, although it is especially suited for those who have a tramping background. What this translates to, is the chance to enjoy some strenuous and also some not-so-demanding walking, coupled with sight-seeing opportunities in some very special parts of the world. And by organising travel for like-minded individuals (both solos and couples) wanting to holiday overseas in unique settings, the Travel Club also supports FMC financially.
FMC Travel Club trips consist of small groups of 8 – 12 travellers (often seniors), which is just the sort of bespoke group size you might expect to pay a lot to join. However, the trips are usually led by an experienced Kiwi, and are kept as affordable as possible. Using authentic and reasonably-priced accommodations, and as is often the case, group-travel in a minibus, for example, all helps to reduce costs. Often, there are very few personal expenses that are not included in the trip, so your budgeting will meet with no nasty surprises half way through signing up. And if you’re thinking that this low-key approach affords greater opportunity to mix with and observe local life – you’re right! It is the small groups and close, shared nature of these trips that are often unique compilations that draw people in and keep them coming back for more, year after year.
While Travel Club trips might start and finish from an overseas city, FMC can help you organise all your travel arrangements seamlessly, so you never need feel out of your depth. Flights, visas, insurance, and additional travel arrangements are all part and parcel of the FMC service.
As for who can join these Travel Club trips, membership of FMC is usually required. However, if you are fit and keen, enjoy independent travel, and have experience in tramping or off-road walking, do enquire, as exceptions are made on a case by case basis. If you’re interested, contact the FMC Travel Club co-ordinator John Dobbs at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 06 8352222.
To whet your appetite, here are some examples of the sorts of Travel Club trips organised by FMC (places on trips are quickly filled, so it pays to plan well in advance).
Tramping in the Pyrenees through flower-filled meadows with views of snow-capped peaks
Tramping and travel through the frontier lands of Alaska and the Yukon
Walking the national parks and stunning landscapes of Japan’s main island of Honshu