Self-Guided & Guided Walking Holidays: the Difference
We are often asked how self-guided walking holidays differ from guided walking holidays. If you’ve only ever been on guided walks, you might feel a bit daunted by the idea of guiding yourself! So we’ve written the following guide if you’re considering self-guided walking holidays but need more information about how it all works.
Remember, we’re always happy to answer individual questions, so please don’t hesitate to call us on +44 (0)20 7233 6563 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A self-guided walking holiday gives you freedom and choice: you can choose the exact days in the week you’d like to go, the time of year, accommodation to suit your budget (from recommended options), your food, and when you want to eat. You can also decide for yourself when you want to take a break, what places of interest you want to visit during a walk, etc.
On a self-guided walking holiday you can choose who to walk with – whether by yourself, your partner, friend or group of friends. If you go with a small group, you will be able to enjoy the camaraderie of walking with people you know. And finding the way together is great fun.
Your walking holiday company will organise and book many of the elements of your self-guided holiday for you, eg accommodation, restaurants, transfers. They will guide you during the planning stage about possible options according to your preferences. Accommodation prices frequently vary according to season and type and standard of room.
4 EXPERT ADVICE
Get in touch with your holiday company once you have a destination in mind for self-guided walking. They will be able to prompt you about issues you might want to consider, eg the right time of year, accommodation options, grade of walking, opportunities to split up the day’s walking, etc. They will also be able to answer any questions you may have. A good company will be able to provide you with a bespoke holiday tailored to your individual requirements.
5 CENTRE-BASED OR JOURNEYING?
Decide whether you want a centre-based holiday where you can settle down in one location, or a ‘journeying’ holiday where you move on every day. If you choose a one-centre holiday, check how you will get to the start and finish of the walk each day if you do not have your own transport. If the walk is not circular, will your company provide a taxi? If you choose a journeying holiday, bear in mind that this can be very tiring as there is pressure to reach the next destination each night. Daily packing and unpacking can be tedious and take up valuable time.
6 CULTURAL COMMENTARIES
If you like having informative cultural commentaries to accompany your walking, ask whether your holiday company includes these in the holiday. Ask about the format and level of detail. When you know something of the history, culture and customs of the area you are visiting, this can considerably enhance your holiday experience.
Check whether meals are included in your holiday. Are you bound to dine in the hotel restaurant every evening, or can you choose to go elsewhere? Some holiday companies will make all restaurant reservations for you; others will leave you to decide and book when you arrive.
8 GETTING LOST!
You may worry about getting lost. A good holiday company will ensure that the route notes are detailed enough to ensure you do not get lost on the route. Good directions, ideally in an easy-to-handle weather-proof format, are essential for a self-guided holiday, so ask for assurance about this. Simply having a guide book is not sufficient. Similarly, a good quality map (Ordnance Survey or similar) that has the route marked-up by your holiday provider is very helpful.
Ask your holiday company whether daily walks are flexible in case you want an easy day. Also, be clear about what grade the walks are so you can be sure they will suit your walking abilities. What happens if you cannot complete the daily route? On a centre-based holiday it is always easier to summon a taxi to take you back to your accommodation which is unlikely to be too far away. Does your chosen company provide you with the phone numbers of taxis?
Finally, safety information. Are you given information about what to do in an emergency and emergency phone numbers? You should be given advice on drinking water and general local health and safety considerations.