How To Choose a Self-Guided Walking Tour
Here’s a quick guide to help you easily choose your next self-guided walking tour and greatly enjoy it!
Choose the best time of year for you
One of the great advantages of going on a self guided holiday is that you can choose a date to suit yourself. It’s important to select the best time of year so ask the advice of the holiday provider. Walking in extreme heat is not advisable.
It’s also important to consider accommodation options as early as possible if your choice of dates is limited. In very popular destinations such as the Amalfi Coast, the best places to stay are frequently booked up six months in advance. With a self-guided tour, your accommodation is fully booked for you, assuring you of a comfortable place to rest your head after a day of travelling. A good company will use only recommended accommodation which has been selected with care.
Choose a suitable route
An advantage of walking independently is that you can walk at your own pace. It’s important to check that the distances and terrain is within your capacity. This is particularly important if you are on a ‘journeying-on’ type of holiday where you have checked out of your last hotel and have to reach the next hotel in time for check-in and dinner. While on a self-guided walking holiday you can linger over breakfast and stop whenever you please, you will still need to monitor your progress. Bear in mind that walking in southern Europe or where the temperature may be 30 degrees, is very much more demanding than walking in northern Europe.
Choose suitable companions
An advantage of walking independently is that you can walk at your own pace. It’s great to be able to choose your companions, walking with partner or friend, with family members or with a small group of friends. Make sure though that they too are fit enough to complete your chosen route without difficulty.
It’s likely that you will enjoy exploring at your own pace and having the freedom to focus on the things that matter to you. You can enjoy your vacation your way yet at the same time know that you won’t be on your own. A good company will ensure that every detail from recommended flights to transfers, hotels, restaurants, itineraries, cultural commentaries are included. With a self-guided tour, you get the feeling of independence along with the safety net of knowing that everything is organised and arranged for you.
Check what is included
You would expect breakfast to be included. Many companies do not include dinner so that you are free to make your own choices. It is always helpful to have restaurants recommended as well as details of where to buy your packed lunch or the best place for lunch. Flights and transfers are often not included but check that you will be given the assistance you require with arranging transport.
Choose and check the route
You may worry about this but you can enjoy worry free navigation providing you are provided with detailed, updated route notes and marked-up maps. Even if you’re a beginner, you are very unlikely to have any problems. There is no need to have a compass or GPS although of course if you have them and know how to use them you may well wish to take them along.
Make sure you know what to do in case of an emergency
You should check that you have access to telephone support and that you are provided with emergency procedures as well as safety considerations for the country you are visiting. Your hotel should also have details of your planned route and an indication of the time to expect you each afternoon.
Tailor the trip to suit your individual needs
Check whether your holiday company provides you with alternative routes or short cuts if you become tired or wish to cut the walk short. Having some flexibility is a great advantage and key to enjoying your holiday.
You will enjoy your adventure if you are fully prepared. Make sure you have maps, rain gear, and a mini emergency kit. Also make sure that your mobile phone is charged. Check the local weather forecast before setting out for the day. If you are in mountains, turn back if the weather deteriorates. You may also like to consider taking telescopic walking sticks and knee supports if you are likely to experience many gradients.
You can go solo too
While there won’t be as much social interaction on a self-guided tour as on a guided tour, you’re far freer to interact with the locals of the area that you’re visiting. This provides a much more authentic experience, while also giving you the ability to choose when you want to interact, and with whom.
The self-satisfaction the comes with completing a self-guided walking tour is far greater than that of a guided tour. You truly feel a sense of accomplishment as you have navigated your way along the trail of your choice.