Off The Grid and into adventure

There’s vacation, and then there’s travel.

People take vacations to common hotspots, often laying by the pool and thumbing through brochures plotting the next day’s diversion. Vacationers wait in lines and see the same attractions as everybody else.

Travel, at least according to the founders of Off The Grid Excursions, is something more.

“When you travel you get energized and you get new experiences,” explained Jaclyn Carron, a 2008 marketing and finance graduate of Northeastern who co-founded the new travel company with three other alumni. “When you learn about new cultures, you learn about yourself.”

“We wanted it to feel more like an adventure than a vacation,” she added, “so we custom-curated trips that take you off the beaten path.”

Off The Grid celebrated its launch with a party on Tuesday night and has partnered with IDEA: Northeastern’s Venture Accelerator, to develop its business model and secure outside funding.

The company is booking trips now to Thailand, Morocco, Peru and a Central America excursion to Belize and Guatemala for travel starting in January. The trips were designed by Carron and her co-founders — 2006 entrepreneurship and finance graduate Jen Downing; 2007 business management and marketing graduate Charles Stevenson; and 2010 accounting and finance graduate Nicholas Lento — and will be led by local guides who know the area and speak both English and local languages.

The weeklong trips will be targeted to young travelers, no more than 16 of which will go on each excursion. “As soon as you bring 25 people to a new place, it can sometimes be hard to even fit into that space,” Carron said.

The Northeastern entrepreneurs chose to build their travel business for a simple reason: Each had long ago caught the travel bug, either through family vacations or experiential-learning opportunities at Northeastern, and wanted to build a business rather than work at a more traditional 9-to-5 job.

“We have a passion for travel,” Carron said, “and we’re eager to share that passion with others.”