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Who We Are

Traveling should be an opportunity to SEEK new and exciting experiences, EXPLORE different vistas and horizons, and DISCOVER fascinating lands and cultures. It should shake you up and change you. It should be about embarking on an inner journey as well as an outward one, and the experience should leave a permanent imprint on your soul.

Travel should impact one permanently and wholeheartedly, without leaving any trace of one having arrived at all. “Take nothing away. Leave nothing behind.”

traveler in colorful nature scene

We have rafted the Zambezi River, canoed the Okavango Delta, swam The South Pacific Seas (with humpbacks), visited the pagodas of Burma, and so much more. Our philosophy is to plan journeys to exciting destinations while treading lightly upon the cultures and environments of our fellow citizens and all living creatures on this planet we share. We hope you are as excited about your adventure as we are!

Let us be your travel guides, companions, mentors. We’ve been there before and have mapped out the best routes and places to rest your head. We’ve personally tried the  60 Baht Pad Thai from the lady with the rickety food cart at the end of Khao San Road. We’ve swam with humpbacks in Tonga. We’ve built houses for a Sri Lankan fisherman and his family left with nothing but the clothes on their backs after the Great Boxing Day Tsunami. We’ve walked with injured Cheetahs in Namibia. Let us share our vast experience and knowledge on hundreds of destinations across the globe and help you get OUT there!

Our Mission

Our mission is to curate life changing travel experiences that integrate cultural immersion, off-the-beaten track exploration, and meaningful volunteer opportunities while being guided by our core values of responsibility, sustainability, and community. We believe travel should leave a permanent imprint on one’s soul through ethical encounters with different cultures while moving about with a soft footprint. Travel should impact one profoundly and wholeheartedly, without leaving any trace of one having arrived at all. We encourage travelers to step outside their comfort zones, challenge their perspectives, and return home with a broader worldview and a deeper sense of purpose.

Our Founder

laura stegeman

Before the idea of Get Out There Tours was ever envisioned, there were hundreds of trips taken to both on and off the beaten track destinations. But it all started with a Delta flight to Frankfurt and a Eurail Pass, after all, every story has its beginning. The passion hit hard and fast and for the next 35 years, nearly one hundred countries would be visited.

After returning from living in Germany, Laura worked in travel, first as a travel consultant and then marketing manager at STA Travel. Later, a travel writing stint while based in Cusco, Peru became a means to remain south of the border for a couple of years. Next came a true and deep love affair with Southeast Asia, especially Thailand and Burma. Today, Laura calls Thailand her second home and leads groups there personally each year on our Signature Trip, Serenity In Siam.

The Pandemic has not been kind to any small travel company, but Laura followed along with YouTube News programs based in Thailand and Bali–keeping an eye on the state of things from trusted sources. When the government of Thailand decided to open up Phuket as a test market for reopening the entire country, Laura and one loyal Get Out There Tours Traveler, entered the country under the Phuket Sandbox Program on the Serenity In Siam IV Itinerary. The trip was a success and plans began for Serenity In Siam V (November 2022). 

Travelers started wanting begin traveling again and started asking Laura for help planning big itineraries to developing destinations during post pandemic times.  Business has never been better, thanks to the Journey Planning side of things and Sold Out Bali 2023 and Serenity in Siam 6 Trips.  What’s next? Laura plans to return to Bali in September 2024 after summer trips to Costa Rica and Oregon before heading back to volunteer at Elephant Nature Park on the way to launching her Serenity in Siam 7: Laos, Bangkok, and Koh Kood, Thailand. A joint venture with Carley Jane later in 2025 or early 2026 will be packaged as a Yoga Retreat with yet another chance to volunteer at Elephant Nature Park. Bucket List destinations still linger on Laura’s To-Do List, so stay tuned for Bhutan and Iceland. As always, requests are taken! Stay tuned as Laura and Get Out There Tours continues to seek, explore, and discover the planet.

Our Core Values

Get Out There Tours+Travel is dedicated to embracing diversity and fostering inclusivity. We believe that every individual, regardless of their background, should feel valued and included when they join us on our trips. Our commitment to ethical practices extends to minimizing our environmental impact and preserving the beauty of our destinations for future generations. We tread softly on the turf of our animal friends, promoting sustainability and environmental responsibility. Together, let’s embark on unforgettable journeys that not only create lasting memories but also foster a culture of unity, understanding, and environmental stewardship.

Responsible Animal Tourism

We at Get Out There Tours endeavor to promote the ethical treatment of animals. We spend hours researching each trip to ensure that the practices of our suppliers are in line with our standards and that they are advocates of Responsible Animal Tourism as well. Unfortunately not all are on the same page as we are yet, but we see progression every day. In the past, even WE have not known better, but when we know better, we do better. We are constantly changing suppliers, sometimes at the last minute out of respect for our animal friends. In regards to Elephant Tourism, as it is unfortunately called, we believe that there are the good sanctuaries and the bad, but the good ones are needed to allow for the continued rescue of “trained” elephants worldwide.

woman next to an elephant

Elephant Riding is not longer a practice we condone. In addition, Elephant Bathing as a tourist activity is not longer considered good for the elephants. The elephants need to cool off but extended time in the water or extended time laying on theirs sides is not good for the elephants, nor is being surrounded by dozens of laughing, tourists prancing about trying to get the best selfie. Further, we have learned, that any touching of the elephants is just not good. Over tourism has caused this to become chaotic and unnerving for our gentle giant friends, and we at Get Out There Tours are committed to just letting “elephants be elephants.” Join us on one of our visits to Chiang Mai Elephant Nature Park, founded by the incredible and compassionate Lek Saengduean Chailert. It is experience that will change you forever, and with your help, it will change the elephant’s life as well.

There ARE good sanctuaries. Please reach out to us and we will help you find one. Our RECOMMENDED sanctuary is 100% Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai. We are here to assist our travelers learn about these amazing creatures while not harming but only nurturing their existence through education, donations, and one-on-one experiences like our ELEPHANT AMBASSADOR VOLUNTEER PROGRAM. Want to know more? REACH OUT NOW 

In March 2023 a group of our travelers sponsored FOUR ELEPHANTS at Elephant Nature Park in the name of our founder, Laura Stegeman because they too are passionate about the plight of the Asian Elephant. We are so grateful to them and to ELP for knowing better and doing better. See how you can spread the love by joining one of our trips to Thailand where we visit Elephant Nature Park on every itinerary including Chiang Mai.

Our big hearted travelers did it again! In February 2024, our Serenity in Siam 6 Group visited Elephant Nature Park. Half of the group stayed overnight and participated in some volunteer activities in what we have named our Elephant Ambassador Program. We gained up close and personal access to the operation and toured all areas of the sanctuary including the rescue dog section and the three Cat Kingdoms. We were able to make a “cake” for a couple of the Grandma elephant residents out of watermelon, cucumbers, rice, and banana. During the stay, we were told about the need for a more space and Lek, with hope and joy in her eyes, told us of a new land expansion purchase happening nearby which would allow for the rescue and care with space to roam free for hundreds more elephants. On behalf of the members of Serenity in Siam 6, $540 was donated to this project on May 2, 2024. Thank you to all who gave so lovingly.

Please consider donating as well through Trunks Up, a non profit handling fundraising for ENP.

Carbon Footprint

man pouring water on a bull

We at Get Out There Tours are concerned about Climate Change and the impact Air Travel has on our planet. Most airlines now have Carbon Offset Programs where you can offset the impact of your flight by donating a small amount to an approved Offset Program. We should all be doing this each time we fly. Here is more information and as always feel free to drop us and email to find out more about how we offset other areas of travel:

Click here to read more about the Gold Standard for offsetting emissions

Wipe out your flight impact with seatree