Explore the world–a day at a time
National Geographic Day Tours expand
The Walt Disney Company casts a wide net. In addition to its theme parks and movie studios, its vast umbrella covers ESPN, ABC, and Hulu–to name a few other entities. Did you know that National Geographic falls under the purview of The Mouse as well? The joint venture makes sense. The iconic magazine and the shows, documentaries, and specials it has inspired are rooted in the common currency of storytelling.
The brand extends to National Geographic Expeditions, which offers guided tours across the globe that are curated and led by experts. In 2022, it launched National Geographic Day Tours, which takes cruise passengers on shore excursions. Recently, National Geographic Expeditions expanded the program by adding additional half- and full-day land itineraries and made it more accessible by allowing all travelers to directly book the tours online.
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By taking the guesswork and legwork out of what to do in a city, the tours could appeal to folks traveling for leisure or business who have an extra day on their itineraries. Locals who might want to get to know their hometowns better might also be interested.
There are over 30 tours available in countries such as Greece, Mexico, and the U.S. One in Crete explores the history of olive oil, while another in Cancun sets sail so that participants can snorkel and learn firsthand about the importance of reef restoration. In my fair city of Boston, there is a Nat Geo Day Tour that takes guests to Mass General Hospital, MIT, and other locales to see where innovations such as anesthesia, Technicolor, and breakthrough computer technology were born.
So what is the National Geographic connection? The tours certainly draw on the magazine’s longstanding tradition of exploration and education. But they also capitalize on the brand’s access.
“National Geographic opens doors,” notes Eira Mogas-Diez, the organization’s senior manager of global partnerships. “We have existing relationships with scientists, research centers, and museums. We go behind the scenes and get exclusive access and hands-on experiences.”
A tour in Barcelona, which takes guests to a museum that was designed by a noted architect and features the artwork of Miró, is led by an art specialist and an architect, for example. It also offers early admission to the exhibit halls so that participants can appreciate the space in relative quiet and solitude.
Anybody could visit Hudson Yards in New York City. But as part of a Nat Geo Day Tour that focuses on sustainability and urban design, guests get to meet members of the team, including the chief engineer, that designed the impressive project. They also get access to a private rooftop observation deck that offers spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline.
“It’s really a deep dive,” Mogas-Diez says.
Curious travelers can discover more about the culture of the places to which they journey and learn how the attractions they visit and the things they get to experience there are connected to the locale.
Getting lost in a theme park fantasy world is wonderful, of course. But it’s also great to experience the real world. Wherever your theme park vacations or other trips may take you, perhaps you could consider carving out a day to indulge the curious explorer in you.
Might you be interested in the kinds of day tours National Geographic is offering? What kinds of things do you like to see or do when you visit a new place?