Thursday, December 18, 2008

You Might Like a Self-Guided Tour



This is part 2 of a 2 part series to help you decide if a guided or self-guided tour might be right for you.

What follows are 10 talking points in favor of a self-guided hiking tour.

You might like a self-guided tour if:

1. Your schedule doesn't allow a guided tour. Some people simply can’t travel during the period that we offer the guided version.

2. You like to design every step of your dream vacation. Self-guided tours resemble Choose your Own Adventure books. We can completely customize any self-guided itinerary. We can make it longer, shorter, simpler, more luxurious, easier, harder, good for kids, great for honeymoons, and more. Our longest self-guided tour is a 54 -day hiking extravaganza from the Italian Tyrol to the French Alps. We can design hiking tours that keep you up high so that you wake up to the sun in remote mountain refuges above tree line. We can build a tour that samples only the finest restaurants and hotels. Just tell us what you’d like. We are also happy to provide easier and harder options for each day. We provide custom tour proposals, and we don’t charge one penny until you decide that you like what we’ve proposed. We’ll keep amending the proposal until you’re satisfied.

3. You’re independent. Guides like to deliver their guests on time, which means that they usually follow a schedule of some sort. You’re on your own schedule when you follow a self-guided tour. This means that you are in complete control, but you’re also completely responsible for your decisions. We still handle all of the hotel accommodations and the logistics specific to each tour, but in the end, you wear the big boots out on the trail.

4. You like adventure. Some people find that self-guided tours offer more adventure, simply because you don’t have someone looking over your shoulder, and you don’t succumb to the social “bubble” that some group experiences can produce.

5. You are comfortable with maps and route finding. We provide four-color topographical maps, most of them scaled at 1:25,000, with the hiking routes outlined. Most tours include a larger-scaled overview map as well. There may be some map differences between tours. Please inquire about your specific tour.

6. You like guidebooks. We include written hike descriptions with every map. They have a bit of a guidebook feel, but better. Example, “Walk out of our hotel and turn left. You’ll see a supermarket on your right hand side. Stop in and buy a few goodies for your picnic lunch. The man’s name behind the counter is Jorg. Ask him for the sausage. Hide the sausage in your friend’s pack and see how long it takes before they notice. Continue past the market and head toward the large fountain straight ahead. You’ll see the hiking trail on the opposite side of the fountain.”

7. You like to hike at your own pace. Guides always encourage their guests to hike at their own speed, but it’s never the same as hiking alone or with your own private group of friends.

8. You just don’t like groups. Hey, that’s fair. Our guides don’t either. ;-)

9. You don’t like to be waited on. That’s fair too.

10. You like to save money. This is usually the deciding factor. Self-guided trips typically cost less than their guided counterparts. Consider the Italian Dolomites Trek for example. The self-guided version costs $1,085 less than the guided version in double occupancy. That’s almost $2200 saved between two people. The cost benefit might enable you to buy another plane ticket and go on another tour. You could also use the savings to add more nights to your existing tour. Think of the fun.

Click here to start designing the custom tour of your dreams.

Or, see part 1 of this series, You Might Like a Guided Tour If: in order to compare with a guided tour.

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