Not your parents' vacation

Group travel tours have their benefits, but they're usually pretty vanilla... unless of course you're headed to Hersheypark. That Sooperdooperlooper is straight crazy. For a vacation ride so wildly authentic that even abnormally tall pre-teens won't be able to get involved, look up Off The Grid Excursions.

Launched by a posse of friends who wanted an out from their 9-to-5s, OTG plans 10-day trips to exotic locales (Belize, Morocco, Thailand, Peru, and more to come), setting up groups of 4 to 16 at boutique hotels & guesthouses, coordinating meals in the kitchens of locals, and locating a guide who's guaranteed to provide access to stuff you'd never see otherwise, none of which is hopefully in his pants.

The itinerary for each destination was developed during a month-long scouting visit, and blends can't-miss attractions (Machu Picchu, the souks of Marrakech...) with more obscure cultural experiences. You can swim with elephants in the Thai jungle, take a trip to Atlas Mountains to visit a film studio (the world's largest) littered with defunct sets, and spend the night in a Saharan oasis accessed via camel, which'll make you feel like a jolly rancher, indeed.

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