Backroads: The Inside Scoop on Active Travel

Berkeley, CA (September 2010) With hundreds of active travel outfitters out there, it's tough to know which one to choose. Searching hundreds of Web sites, straining to interpret fine print and weeding through FAQs isn't exactly an enjoyable way to begin planning a vacation. A new Inside Scoop section featured on Backroads' Web site ( helps vacation planners cut to the chase. With refreshingly straightforward answers to consumers' most important questions, Backroads founder and president, Tom Hale, clearly details what to expect when signing up for one of Backroads' Biking, Walking, Multisport or Family adventures.

When Hale first began running Backroads trips in Death Valley in 1979, his goal was to turn adventure-seekers on to the idea of bicycle touring as a way to travel. Over the last 31 years, the concept of active travel has expanded to include a myriad of other outdoor activities: hiking, kayaking, climbing, rafting, camel riding and more. As popularity for active travel increased, so did the number of outfitters, all claiming to offer the "best" itineraries, the "best" group leaders," the "best" hotels and restaurants. So much so that it can be difficult on the surface to tell them apart. But according to Hale, it behooves travelers to do their homework before signing up for a trip. "Travel is different than a lot of things you spend money on," Hale said. "It's tough to know what to believe and hard to kick the tires."

"While we're advocates of all kinds of active travel and think that there are many excellent choices to choose from," he said, "it's simply not true that not all companies are created equal, and you want to find the one that's the best match for you." In order to help consumers do just that, Hale has come up with a list of questions travelers should ask of their potential outfitter. Among the most crucial questions is: "Who's running your trip?"

The truth is that many companies stamp their brand on their advertised trips, while actually outsourcing the entire tour to subcontractors so Hale encourages consumers to ask whether the trip is subcontracted, in which case they may be risking an inconsistent level of quality. Conversely, Backroads employs over 300 highly qualified active travel experts around the globe, and whether in the field or behind the scenes, they all work tirelessly toward the common goal of providing unparalleled travel experiences for Backroads guests time and time again.

The Inside Scoop lays Backroads' cards on the table. But this isn't something new for the company—Hale has found great success by keeping honesty at the forefront of how he does business. Beyond the comprehensive answers offered on the Inside Scoop, the Web site and Backroads Trip Consultants (800-GO-ACTIVE) openly provide all trip details, from activity mileages and equipment specs, to hotel particulars and meal options, and even group size and demographics. "I'd much rather put all the information out there ahead of time," Hale said, "than have a guest sign up for a trip only to realize halfway into it that the way we travel is not how they want to vacation."

Backroads' Inside Scoop is a great place to start before considering travel with any outfitter—it's a guide to making an informed decision. And by clearly lining out what his company is and isn't, Hale also provides a welcome, direct dose of the information necessary to decide if a vacation with Backroads is the right fit. Finally, some straight answers.

For More Information on These and Other Backroads Itineraries
To request a catalog, please contact a Trip Consultant by calling 800-462-2848 or visit Backroads is open 7 days a week 6 am to 6 pm, Pacific time.

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