Frequently Asked Questions
What is Crooked Compass?
Crooked Compass is a boutique tour operator uncovering the world’s best kept secrets through small group touring and customised itineraries. Created to inspire, educate and encourage travellers to understand responsible tourism by providing culturally immersive experiences, supporting local communities and projects. Our travellers see their destination through the eyes of a local, uncovering the side of a destination they didn’t know existed.
We specialise in showcasing the hidden, lesser known side of a destination, whether it be an exciting itinerary in one of the planets far reaches, or exploring the more common travel routes, with a twist.
Our mission is to empower our travellers to change the world, locally and globally, achieving transformative outcomes for themselves and the local communities and initiatives they take part in on our journeys.
How do I know which tour I am capable of participating in?
Our tours are graded on scale of easy through to tough. Learn more about each category.
Why should I download your travel app?
The Crooked Compass App is the perfect travellers companion. If you are always on the hunt for new ways to explore old haunts, or simply just want to venture off the beaten track, then this is the app for you. Loaded with over 2000 unique experiences and insider tips, it creates another dimension to the way you travel by bringing authentic and quirky experiences to your hand held device, allowing you to steer clear of the tourist traps.
Our app is an informative platform showcasing some of the world's best kept secrets, grouped into 11 categories including Adrenaline, Animal Encounters, Eat Like a Local, Unique Accommodation, Festivals and Weird, just to name a few.
Bursting with experiences, providing supportive imagery as well as thorough information on what the experience is, the best time of year to experience it, where it is located and how much it costs, how to get there, and how to book. It is a brilliant tool for travellers who are already on the go, as well as those who are still in the planning or day dreaming stage.
Where do your tours go?
Crooked Compass offers a unique range of exclusive small group tours personally created by Lisa Pagotto in conjunction with some of the world’s best operators. We offer small group escorted tours covering Asia, Middle East, Europe, Africa, Oceania and Latin America. Tours By Design, our customised touring department, can co-ordinate your worldwide travel requests.
What is Tours By Design?
Tours By Design is our customised touring department where the Crooked Compass team can design a unique itinerary, especially for you. Simply advise us where and when you would like to travel, your budget range and what you are wanting to experience, and leave the rest to us. The itinerary can be tweaked and modified until it is exactly what you are looking for.
What can I expect from a Crooked Compass tour that I wouldn't get from travelling with an alternative company?
Crooked Compass provides a sensory way to understand the world - we help you live like a local, eat like a local, do what the locals do and seek the faces behind the places whilst discovering untouched lands and natural beauty.
Crooked Compass tours delve deep into the heart and soul of a destination ensuring you get out of your journey all you intended and much, much more. Our intriguing itineraries have been created by travellers for travellers.
Steering travellers to follow a different path, Crooked Compass’ itineraries allow you to experience the world’s most fascinating destinations in ways you never dreamed possible. It brings to life those ‘bucket list’ experiences you have yearned to do and separates the travellers from the tourists.
Crooked Compass tours are culturally rich, reward travellers with unexpected encounters and uncommon rendezvous, creating truly unique, authentic travel experiences.
Who runs your tours and are they experts in their fields?
Crooked Compass works with the worlds best operators who are specialists in their country, region and cities providing you with in depth local knowledge. We use local guides who live and breathe the areas they work in, making sure you experience their region, their way. We believe it is far better to have a local guide who knows a lot about a little than a text book trained Western tour guide who knows a little about a lot. Using local guides also ensures that money stays within local communities and supports the regions we visit.
Who do your tours cater for?
Crooked Compass escorted small group tours cater for the young at heart, curious minded soft adventurer who want to uncover something more than the mainstream tourist. Crooked Compass tours draw a crowd of travellers with an interest in sustainable tourism and conservation for the areas they visit. A Crooked Compass traveller is someone who is seeking something fresh and unique, who has a yearning for authenticity and discovery, with an appreciation for cultures, tradition and the natural world.
What sort of accommodation can I expect on a Crooked Compass tour?
Focusing on providing authentic experiences where ever you are in the world, Crooked Compass has access to a vast array of accommodation styles. From boutique properties in larger cities to local guest houses and home stays within small villages.
Crooked Compass ensures that local authenticity flows through your accommodation throughout your tour without compromising standard. For Tours by Design travellers, the choice is yours. You choose the standard of accommodation best suited to your budget as well as the style you are looking for - we will provide you with the best possible options to meet your requirements.
What sort of transportation is used for your tours?
Transportation utilised on a Crooked Compass escorted small group tour is a combination of a private air conditioned vehicle and local transport where appropriate. This may include a local bus ride, use of the cities metro system, a domestic flight to another city or overnight train ride.
How do I book?
If you are interested in any of our escorted small group tours, simply call or email us or complete the inquiry form one each tour page and a member of the Crooked Compass team will be in touch shortly to confirm your arrangements. If you are interested in customising your journey, simply click on the 'Tours by Design' link on the touring page and complete the form. A tour designer will be in touch with you shortly.
If I like one of your tours but the dates don't work for me, can you run it for me on alternative dates?
Yes, for sure. The beauty of having a customised touring department is that even if you find your dream itinerary but perhaps it is slightly too long, the dates aren't quite right, you want to request a specific hotel or spend more time in a certain place, Crooked Compass can work with you to remodel the itinerary to your liking.
Is it more expensive to customise an itinerary than travel in a group tour?
Not necessarily. The beauty of customising your own itinerary is that you are only paying for the services that you want. As our escorted group tours are small, the pricing does not vary greatly from a group tour to a private tour. However, a private tour does provide you the convenience of travelling at your pace, your way, and to a certain extent, can be designed whilst on the road. You will also have the full attention of a private guide, so you can ask questions and learn about what is of interest to you personally, further enhancing your touring experience.
I am concerned about my impact on travelling through untouched regions. Can I offset my carbon emissions?
Yes. All travellers on Crooked Compass tours have the option to offset their part of their tour's carbon footprint by donating $4AUD (tax-deductible) at time of booking. 100% of these funds are donated to Greenfleet, an environmental non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting our climate by restoring our forests. By partnering with Greenfleet, we are confident that our carbon offset program provides genuine and lasting environmental benefits. Your offset donation funds plant trees and restore permanent native forests in Australia and New Zealand. As they grow, these forests provide many community and environmental benefits by absorbing carbon emissions, protecting our unique biodiversity, restoring habitat for native wildlife, preventing soil salinity and erosion, improving water quality and much more.
If you'd like to find out more and offset the rest of your carbon emissions, visit www.greenfleet.org.au
Do you have a Sustainable Tourism Policy?
Crooked Compass strives to be a leader in sustainable tourism. Our policy can be read here.
Can I book my Crooked Compass tour through my Travel Agent?
Yes. We love our travel agent partners and welcome you book through your preferred travel agency.
What accreditation do you have?
Crooked Compass is a member of AFTA (Australia Federation of Travel Agents) and is fully ATAS accredited as well as a member of CATO.
AFTA Member No: 13436 ATAS Accreditation No: A13056.
CATO Registered Operator No: 48335343