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Cultural Shock Level

To help our adventures get a general idea of the culture shock level of each trip, we have assigned a Culture Shock Level rating system to each trip. The system is based on differences one might experience going from a western country to the destination country of the trip. These differences may include such things as food, accommodation, general comfort and cleanliness, social and language barriers, and other ‘normal’ comforts of home. A higher culture shock rating is NOT necessarily a negative, but rather it can significantly enhance the authentic travel experience. This rating system should help you in choosing a trip that is appropriate for you and one that you will enjoy taking part in.

Some trips can contain a combination of several Culture Shock Levels, for example our original and fully guided ‘Around the World’ tours may include stops at Level 1 through Level 4 destinations, in which case we will use what we perceive to be an overall average, such as a trip rating of Level 2.

Culture Shock Levels on GEC trips fall into the following six categories.

Level 1 - First world travel with all of the modern comforts of home and typically no language barriers.

Level 2 - Mostly first world travel with nearly all of the modern comforts of home. Good to excellent transportation and roads, good food, a wide range of comfortable accommodations, slightly different cultural and every-day traditions, and limited language barriers in tourist areas.

Level 3 - Mostly second world travel with some first world amenities in the tourist areas. The local food can be exotic and tasty, bottled water is usually recommend for drinking, transportation and the roadways are typically comfortable, and the overall culture is often different and excitingly unique.

Level 4 - Mostly second world travel, with a splash of third world in areas, especially outside of the tourist areas. Bottled water is ideal for most uses, transportation and roads can be basic to average, local foods are typically exotic and exciting, and the cultures and traditions may vary significantly from the western world.

Level 5 - Mostly third world travel where the comforts of home are in their simplest and purest forms. Typically these trips require the use of bottled water for nearly all purposes, accommodations can be minimal but comfortable, transportation can be basic and the roadways unpredictable, language can be a slight barrier in non-tourist areas, and the local food is usually simple and uncomplicated. Here the faces, places and cultures are very different from home, yet the people are always welcoming and excited to share their little piece of the world with you.

Level 6 - Third world travel with very limited comforts of home, but still clean, safe and incredibly exciting. These trips may include the use of bottled water only, limited telecommunications, simple accommodations, some language barriers especially outside of tourist areas, simple food, transportation that can be very basic and roadways that are unpredictable at best, local and/or rugged transportation to navigate remote or difficult terrain, interaction with excited, curious locals who have extremely limited exposure to mass tourism, and exotic cultures that are as different as it gets. Personally, these are some of our favorite trips.

Of course if you would like more information or specific details on these ratings for a specific trip (including a trip's food, accommodation, transportation and more), please refer to the trip detail page or contact our customer service department.