On 5 July 1841 he organised a rail excursion for 500 temperance campaigners from Leicester to the nearby town of Loughborough. Excursions to Liverpool (1845), Scotland (1846) and the Great Exhibition in London (1851) followed. In 1872 he organised a round-the-world tour, lasting 222 days.
Ownership of his company, Thomas Cook and Son, remained with his family until 1928. In 2002 it was acquired by the German company C&N Touristic AG, which later changed its name to Thomas Cook AG.