Trip FAQ - Atlas Obscura
An update on COVID-19 from Atlas Obscura Trips »

Frequently Asked Questions

Current Travel Updates

How is COVID-19 impacting your trips?

Note: We will continue to update this section with new information as we have it.

The wellbeing of our travelers, staff, and the communities we visit is our top priority. To keep travelers safe and avoid contributing to the spread of the coronavirus, and due to travel restrictions in place around the world, we’ve suspended all our trips through the end of May. A small number of trips in June and beyond have also been postponed. Trips taking place later in the year are set to proceed as planned, and we’re continuing to monitor the situation closely.

We know that many of our travelers have been looking forward to their trips for months and even years. Further, our trips are designed to have a positive impact on the individuals, communities, and places they visit. As long as travel can happen safely and responsibly, we’re committed to helping make these special experiences and positive impacts possible for our travelers and collaborators around the world.

To determine whether we can safely and responsibly run a trip, we receive regular updates from our trip leaders on the ground and defer to trusted third-party advisors, such as Global Rescue, the U.S. State Department, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Based on the information we have, we will proceed with scheduled departures to destinations where we’re confident we can operate safe, successful trips. You can find more information on our approach and decision-making process here.

What happens if you cancel my trip due to COVID-19? Will I get a refund?

If we cancel your trip due to COVID-19, or for any other reason, you’ll receive a full refund of all payments made to Atlas Obscura. You’ll also have the option of applying your payment as a credit towards a future trip with us.

Keep in mind that flights, hotel bookings, or other travel arrangements made through third parties are subject to the cancellation terms and conditions of those providers. We always recommend purchasing travel insurance for any trip to ensure you’re protected.

We’re available to answer questions about travel during this time. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Please get in touch via email or call us at (646) 961-4857.


Small Group Travel

I’m not sure organized, group trips are for me. Are yours different?

Yes! Atlas Obscura is all about exploration and discovery. We create the kinds of travel experiences we'd want for ourselves, based on our database of the world's most unique places and foods. We'll provide you unparalleled access, in-depth storytelling, and of course, some freedom and flexibility to explore on your own. No big tour buses or boring tour guides to be found. As a result, our trips attract what we think are the most open-minded, intellectually curious, and easy-going travelers in the world. And that's the real secret! The company you keep when traveling makes all the difference.

Do you get many solo travelers on your trips?

We do—in fact, solo travelers make up about half of our small groups. With curiosity at the center of our experiences, there's a natural camaraderie that develops over the course of a trip. You won't have to worry about finding like-minded companions.

How old are the people who take your trips?

The average age of our travelers depends on the particular trip. Our owl-tracking trip in Utah, for example, tends to draw younger travelers (average age 35). Our trips to the Balkans and Chernobyl, on the other hand, have had participants ranging from 18 to 78, with an average of about 45. We love the age diversity of our groups, and the different perspective everyone brings to the experience. If there's a particular trip you're curious about, email us at and we'll give you a better sense of what to expect.

Who can join an Atlas Obscura trip?

We believe travel has the capacity to make us better global citizens, and we recognize that diverse groups of travelers enrich our trips for everyone. With this in mind, we strive to support inclusive group travel experiences across race, ethnicity, national origins, gender and gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, class, and experience.

Are your trips accessible?

We encourage all travelers to review the itinerary and pace of any trips that interest them prior to booking to ensure they can fully participate in all activities. We are happy to look into ways in which we can accommodate traveler needs or offer alternate activities where possible. If you have questions about whether an Atlas Obscura trip is right for you, please email us at or call (646) 961-4857.


Booking Your Trip

I’m a local in the place where you’re running a trip. Can I join the trip or get involved somehow?

Yes! We provide amazing access to incredible places that we hope surprise even the most knowledgeable insiders. If you live in the area and want to come along for part of a trip, drop us a line and we'll work to make it happen.

How do I join a trip?

On any trip itinerary page, scroll down to the Upcoming Departures section and click the “Book” button. You’ll then be directed to Airbnb to complete your reservation and payment. You can also reach out to us via email at or call us at (646) 961-4857, and we’ll help you through the process.

Why am I taken to Airbnb’s website when I want to reserve a spot on the trip?

We use Airbnb as our reservation and payment platform. This means that in order to sign up for your Atlas Obscura trip, you’ll be redirected to an Airbnb page to complete your reservation. You’ll also receive a confirmation message from Airbnb when you sign up, and will have the ability to review the trip on Airbnb.

Will I be staying in Airbnbs during the trip?

We always choose the most convenient and characterful accommodations for the trip. Occasionally that means we’ll reserve an entire home listed on Airbnb for our group, though in most cases we use local independent hotels.

The trip I want to take is sold out. What should I do?

You can join any sold-out trip's waitlist by clicking the purple “Join the Waitlist” button at the top right of the itinerary page. If any spots open up, we offer them to travelers according to when they joined the waitlist. If a trip is sold out, there’s a very good chance we’ll offer it again in the future. Keep an eye out for new trip announcements via our trips newsletter.

Do you offer private trips?

Not yet, but we're happy to recommend places and foods from Atlas Obscura to help you plan your travels.


Cancellations & Insurance

What if I need to cancel my trip after I sign up?

We know that plans can change unexpectedly, which is why we encourage you to purchase trip cancellation insurance (see below) after making your reservation. All reservations can be canceled free of charge within three days of booking. After the three-day grace period, cancellation fees may apply depending on the trip and your booking method. If you have any questions about the details of our cancellation policies, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Do you offer trip insurance?

We work with the fantastic folks at Yonder (seriously, they're great!). They compare different policies from a wide range of insurance companies, so that you can find the one that's both the best fit and the best deal.


The Places We Travel

There’s someplace I want to go, but you’re not offering a trip there. What should I do?

Send us an email or give us a call! We're always working on new trips, and some of the best ideas come from the Atlas Obscura community. And who knows, you might get lucky. If we're working on a new trip that might fit your interests, we'll let you know. We'd also recommend signing up for our newsletter, where we'll announce new trips frequently.

Do your trips include the cost of international flights?

Alas, no. Our travelers live in many different parts of the world, which means the flights they take to join our trips vary. We do, however, include any regional flights that are part of the itinerary itself. We can also refer you to a third-party air specialist if you'd like assistance with your international flights.

I have a political or ethical objection to one of the places you’re running a trip. Why would you send people there?

While it's a very difficult question, we ultimately believe that sending travelers to countries with complicated political situations is the right thing to do—provided we can do it safely and without contributing to the problems at hand. Simply put, if we felt we were doing harm by running a trip, we wouldn't do it. We believe greater understanding and engagement, especially the kind we get by visiting someplace first-hand, generally does more good than staying home or only visiting countries whose governments share our values.


Contact Us

I have a question that you haven’t answered. How can I get help?

If you can't find what you're looking for here or in our general FAQ, please get in touch via email or call us at (646) 961-4857. We'd love to hear from you.