With Backroads: We operate our own trips worldwide. We don't pay others to do the job we promise to do for you.
With Others: Subcontracting compromises quality. Not disclosing outsourced trips is deceptive.
You need to know who is running your trip.
TWO SUPPORT VANS
With Backroads: We provide two support vans*. We're there when and where you need us—for a lift, a snack or help with your bike.
With Others: A single vehicle limits your options. When you want or need a ride you don't want to hear that the only van is spoken for or a long wait is in order.
THREE INCREDIBLE LEADERS
With Backroads: Our trips have three leaders*. Guests score them 9.7 out of 10, telling us they make all the difference. We have the best leader recruitment, training and management programs. And only 7% of candidates are hired.
With Others: No other company consistently staffs its trips with three leaders—let alone matches our standard five on Family Camping Trips. Many companies provide little or no training for their leaders. No one can touch Backroads' leader training and management program.
With Backroads: On international trips we pair expert local guides with experienced Backroads leaders, ensuring that you get the perfect balance of insider insights and attentive personal service.
With Others: Many companies only employ local guides—usually to cut costs, which is often at the expense of your travel experience.
THE RIGHT BIKES
With Backroads: Our fleet of 4,500 expertly maintained bikes is the best in active travel and includes our brand new Custom Titanium bike, the top-rated 2014 Specialized S-Works Roubaix and women's Ruby, the Co-Motion Periscope Torpedo tandem and the new Custom Electric-Assist bike.
With Others: When companies don't invest in their fleets (or can't afford to), you end up with bikes that are poorly maintained, too heavy, incorrectly geared, inconsistent in quality and—worst of all—procured locally or owned by the hotel.
THOUGHTFUL TRIP DESIGN
With Backroads: Tom Hale, with 35 years at the helm, guides a team of 10 trip designers with an average tenure of 17 years along with 75 amazing Trip Experts to create exceptional travel experiences.
With Others: When "looking under the hood" of just one company, we found morning wine tastings; hotels that are only four miles apart (just pick the best one!); daily route options ranging from a short 23 miles to a long 24 miles and constant, tedious, undesignated shuttles.
With Backroads: To accommodate varied activity levels, you need three leaders; two vans; multiple route options; detailed directions; a rating system showing if shuttles are required; plenty of well-matched riding/hiking companions; and a variety of bike options.
With Others: Many companies claim they can accommodate travelers with mixed abilities. Without the necessary capabilities to make it happen, it is a disingenuous and inaccurate promise.
MULTIPLE DAILY ROUTES
With Backroads: Choosing among several expertly designed routes each day gives you the freedom to enjoy the best of a region at your own pace. All of our route options have complete directions and are described in detail on our website.
With Others: With many companies, everyone is forced onto the same route. Want a different option? You might get a highlighted map but no support—or even worse, have to follow a leader who is not riding/hiking at your pace. Without written directions there is zero flexibility.
THE RIGHT TRIP SIZE
With Backroads: Our trips have few enough guests to create optimum flexibility, but enough to invite interesting dynamics. One size does not fit all. The ideal number of guests is a critical point of difference between Biking, Walking, Family and Singles-Solos Trips.
With Others: With very small groups there may be no other guests at your ability level and less variety in the folks you dine with each night. On Family Trips, will your kids find friends their own age? And if you hope to meet other singles, does "less is more" really work for you?
With Backroads: We designate our hotels as Premiere or Casual so you know what to expect and what you're paying for. In either category, you can count on an appropriate balance of high quality and demonstrable value.
With Others: Many of our Casual hotels are quietly used by other companies on trips that they position as decidedly "non-Casual." Are you paying Premiere prices for Casual hotels?
With Backroads: We have far and away the most dates and itineraries available for Private Trip organizers, with Backroads leadership from start to finish. Our published Private Trip prices make it even easier to create a trip.
With Others: Nobody comes close to matching our date and itinerary selection. Are your seldom-seen local leader(s) only available by phone? Be sure there is a good reason for the price you are paying.
FAMILY TRIP EXPERTISE
With Backroads: We're the undisputed experts in active family travel. Since 2000 we've successfully run more than 2,400 dedicated Family Trips around the world.
With Others: Be leary of any company calling themselves the family expert when they run one-tenth as many trips. If you can't trust the big statements, can you trust the company that makes them?
With Backroads: For more than two decades we've led the way for single and solo travelers. Now with more dates and destinations than ever.
With Others: We're not aware of any active travel company that runs more than a handful of dedicated singles departures.
With Backroads: Downloadable GPS directions**, cyclometers, elevation profiles, daily regional snapshots, local maps, self-navigable directions, custom-built kids' bikes, telescoping walking sticks, cold drinks at the end of each day, the world's best Trip Consultants on call seven days a week—and more.
With Others: While some companies may offer a few of these extras, no one comes close to providing what Backroads does. It's the difference between doing what's required and, in our case, always looking for new ways to exceed expectations.
*95% of Backroads guests travel with two or more support vehicles, and three Backroads leaders or support staff. The other 5% are on scheduled trips with very few guests where just one van and two leaders can maintain our high service standards.
**Available on all road biking trips in Europe and North America.