Tour Types

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VENT offers four tour types designed to meet a variety of interests.

BIRDING & WILDLIFE TOURS
Our Birding & Wildlife tours (the “original VENT tour”) are designed for those who seek knowledge of a region through a comprehensive survey of its birdlife and other outstanding natural wonders. Our trips are well-suited for people who prefer small group size and full days in the field.

Our experienced guides are the best in the business. They know how to find the birds that you want to see, while enhancing your appreciation of all forms of nature. Whether your next VENT adventure sees you birding on the Alaskan tundra or the Texas coast, enjoying the great mammal herds of the Serengeti, or marveling at the richness of a South American rainforest, our meticulous attention to detail ensures worry-free travel, thrilling wildlife sightings, camaraderie, and fun.
 
RELAXED & EASY TOURS
Relaxed & Easy (R&E) tours are similar to traditional VENT Birding & Wildlife tours, but set to a slower pace, with somewhat fewer hours in the field and lighter physical activity. They are ideal for participants who prefer a somewhat later start in the morning, a little lengthier afternoon break, and a shorter afternoon outing. Walking is limited to short walks of not more than a mile, avoiding difficult terrain. R&E refers only to the slower pace of a tour, not to a participant’s birding skills or ability. All birders are welcome, regardless of skill level, as they are on regular VENT tours.
 
R&E tours are open to anyone. However, they are better suited for those who:
  • want to avoid lengthy days in the field
  • prefer more personal time in the afternoon following morning birding and again before dinner
  • prefer a slightly later morning start
  • have trouble walking at a moderate to brisk pace
  • have trouble walking more than a mile
  • experience difficulty negotiating uneven or rough terrain 
R&E tours are not appropriate for:
  • participants who seek long days in the field
  • those who do not prefer lengthy afternoon breaks
  • participants with severe physical handicaps or those who require the use of a walker or wheelchair
  • those who are unable to walk distances of up to a mile
  • participants expecting a field list as comprehensive as one from a traditional VENT tour
On an R&E tour, you can expect the same high quality customer service you receive on traditional VENT tours. Our tour leaders are known for their expertise in the field and their dedication to individual attention. We provide the same tour leaders, use the same lodges and hotels, and see most of the same birds as on our traditional tours. We have carefully identified some of our existing tour routes and modified them for a slower pace.

A typical day will begin with breakfast around 6:30 or 7:00 a.m., followed by birding until about noon. We will attempt to have lunch every day between 12:00 and 1:00 p.m., followed by an afternoon break (when possible). We will resume birding for a couple of hours in mid-afternoon. On most days we will attempt to provide 45 minutes to an hour for personal time before dinner. We will have dinner between 6:00 and 6:30 p.m. Strenuous physical activity will be avoided, and all walking will be limited to well-marked roads and trails, excluding uneven or rough terrain. The field list from an R&E tour will be very similar to that from a regular tour, but participants should expect to see fewer species overall. Less time will be spent in pursuit of birds occupying less accessible terrain.
 
BIRDS, NATURE & CULTURE TOURS
Our Birds, Nature & Culture tours are designed for people who are interested in birds and other aspects of nature, as well as culture and history. A typical tour will spend all or part of a day birding and all or part of another day visiting cultural sites including museums, castles, battlefields, and other sites. Sometimes the three aspects of the tour may be combined because certain cultural sites are also good birding areas. For many people such a combination trip is perfect, especially if they have a non-birding spouse. These tours yield a rich mixture of experiences and are lots of fun. Not even the most driven birder is absolutely single-minded, and many find that birding is even more enjoyable when you can combine it with your other interests.

Europe and the Middle East are host to our Birds, Nature & Culture tours. Visiting a dozen countries, we offer tours that focus on Birds & Art, Birds & History, Birds & Music, and Birds, History & Culture.
 
BIRDING & NATURAL HISTORY CRUISES
For over two decades VENT has operated cruises to some of the most fascinating regions on earth. Some of our cruises visit areas that are accessible only by ship, such as Antarctica. We carefully select the best destinations and, where possible, we customize the itineraries to enhance the birding and natural history opportunities. Sometimes we operate pre- or post-cruise trips that offer participants additional birding, natural history, or cultural opportunities.

Our cruises are conducted aboard small-ship expedition vessels, some accommodating as few as 20 participants, others up to 150. Zodiac landing craft ensure close and exciting access to wildlife. For some destinations, we may charter an entire ship and fill it with people who are interested in birds and natural history. In other cases we may reserve an allotment on a ship and put together a group to fill that allotment. On a VENT cruise you will benefit from the expertise of the VENT leader, as well as the services of the ship’s naturalist staff. The VENT leader is there to help provide you with a superior birding and natural history experience.

VENT cruises are appropriate for both birders and non-birders. They are, in fact, ideal for non-birding spouses; lectures are offered on an almost daily basis that may include topics such as the historical aspects of the areas visited, botany, geology, and marine mammals.
 
WORKSHOPS & YOUTH CAMPS
In addition to the above tour types, VENT also offers a workshop in Montana for birders of all skill levels, which focuses on groups of birds that present identification challenges. VENT also conducts two Youth Birding Camps annually for young birders between the ages of 14 and 18. These camps are co-sponsored by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, the American Birding Association, and Leica Sport Optics.