Customized Tours

Customize a Reality Tour for Your Group


What are Customized Tours?

The trip we did with Global Exchange was the most fantastic trip that we organized in my six years at the Council. Global Exchange did a superb job in setting up meetings ranging from high level officials to ordinary Cubans from all walks of life. We look forward to doing future trips together.

—David J. Fischer, President, World Affairs Council of San Francisco

Our Customized Reality Tours program offers an alternative and increasingly popular form of educational travel, exclusively tailored to the particular interests of your group.  In fact, over half of our annual departures now are unique customized group tours. Whether yours is a university or high school class, a membership organization, church group, a group of professionals or a group of like-minded people, Global Exchange can organize your tour. We create insightful, socially responsible, service learning and philanthropic tours for a wide range of groups and organizations. Some of our past customized group participants have included members of established foundations, various city, state and private universities, high schools, and chapters of nationwide organizations including World Affairs Councils, United Nations Associations, choirs and dance troupes, families, and other organizations like Food First, Not For Sale, and many others.

What about customized tours to Cuba?

Global Exchange is a licensed Travel Service Provider to Cuba and provides travel support to clients who qualify under the General License and whose itineraries offer educational experiences for professionals conducting research. In the summer for 2012, the Office of Foreign Assets Control issued new regulations for travel to Cuba . We are making the necessary changes to our operations to come into compliance with these new regulations. For more information, please contact us.

What can your group expect?

It was exhilarating and beyond my expectations. The warm receptions people gave us. The opportunity to learn. The impact of it all on my perceptions and emotions.

—Nancy Polin, South Africa Alumnus

It was a very rich experience as the trip covered a lot of different academic and cultural aspects. It was great to be exposed to so much culture, such as a concert, dancing, museums and even street murals. It takes a lot of professionalism to organize a trip like that.

—Begona Zubiri, Cuba Alumnus

Our Reality Tours are structured so that your group can collectively gain a first hand experience of people and organizations involved in issues important to your group. We facilitate meaningful exchanges with people who form the political, economic, social and cultural fabric of the society and region visited. Through these informal and formal educational interactions, our participants come away with an informed and enriched understanding of the hopes, accomplishments and struggles of people from diverse backgrounds. Your group will have the unique opportunity to travel to various cities, towns and small village communities to dialogue with those involved in issues important to you: from health, education, sustainable development, culture and religion, gender issues, to armed conflict and the quest for peace, human rights and the impacts of globalization. Our diverse itineraries always incorporate meetings, on-site visits and interactions with community organizations, government officials, journalists, scientists, university professors, doctors, writers, artists, musicians, dancers, environmentalists and representatives from various religious groups. Quite simply, we make it possible for your group to create fulfilling connections with the individuals and communities you meet while enjoying the natural beauty of the country and respectfully savoring the local culture in many of its manifestations.

Where would you like to go?

Global Exchange organizes customized tours to a wide-range of destinations within Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and the United States. Please contact us for a full list of destinations we offer, and feel free to suggest some of your own.

How to apply

To customize a tour, contact the regional Reality Tours director to discuss the needs of your group, where and when you would like to go, and what your group would like to accomplish. To customize a tour to Latin America, Asia, or Africa contact Cyndi Malasky at or 415.575.5526. To customize a tour to Cuba, contact Leslie Balog at or 415.575.5530. To customize a tour to the Middle East, contact Drea Hightower at or 415.575.5527. For general questions about customizing a Reality Tour to a non-specific destination, please contact Corina Nolet at or 415.575.5524.

Because our schedule fills up quickly, and in order to ensure that we have sufficient time to plan and prepare an exceptional program specifically tailored for your group, we ask that you give us as much advance notice as is possible; 3–5 months for destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America and 4-8 months for other world destinations. After your group has an idea of its trip destination, dates, length of trip and objectives, fill out the Customized Tour Application and return it. Upon receipt of your application, your group contact will be mailed a preliminary contract with your dates confirmed and program highlights, an outreach ideas sheet and division of responsibilities checklist and a letter of introduction from the Reality Tour coordinator who will be working with your group. Only after we agree on all the details will we ask you to submit a deposit.


Costs are all negotiable, they vary depending on the point of departure, the season, the duration of the trip and the special requirements of each group.

Sample Itineraries

Here are sample itineraries from some of our most popularly requested customized tours from a wide variety of our world destinations. Your group has the opportunity to not only request a general tour, such as these, but cater the tour specifically to your group's interests and needs. You will be able to work directly with your tour organizer to make sure that you get exactly what you want out of your customized tour.


We specialize in creating customized Reality Tours that are educational, fun, and positively influence international affairs. Learn more about our customized travel options.