Backroads Quality Index


When choosing who to travel with make sure you have the right information. This unsolicited feedback from a past guest gets at the heart of what's so important to us: "It's all true—your trips really are as beautiful and carefully crafted as you promise."

We've read these claims from three different companies: "we have the most guaranteed departures," "we have the most extensive trip selection," and "we're the experts on family vacations."

TRUTH BE TOLD, Backroads has 11 times more guaranteed departures, 40 more bike itineraries and another 60 multisport trips, and over 400 more family dates. If you can't trust what a company says about the big things, you might want to be especially alert to the smaller promises that contribute to the travel experience you expect and deserve.


At Backroads we always operate our own trips worldwide—they're never subcontracted.We don't pay others to do the job we promise to do for you.

Subcontracting compromises quality. You deserve to at least know when you are on a subcontracted trip and make sure to insist on knowing who the subcontractor is.


Backroads provides two support vans*. We're there when and where you need us—for a lift, a snack, help with your bike or to get you to the trails you want to explore.

A single vehicle limits your experience. When you want or need a ride you don't want to hear that the only van is spoken for or that a long wait is in order.


Backroads trips have three leaders*. Guests award them an average score of 9.7 out of 10, telling us they make all the difference. We have the best leader recruitment, training and management programs in the business, hiring fewer than 6% of candidates.

Numerous outfitters provide little or no training for their leaders. And no other company consistently staffs its trips with three leaders—let alone matches our standard five on Family Camping Trips.


The Backroads fleet of 5,500 expertly maintained bikes is the best in the business. It includes our Custom Titanium bike, the toprated Specialized S-Works Roubaix and women's S-Works Ruby, the Co-Motion Periscope Torpedo tandem and our Custom Electric-Assist bike.

Insist on knowing exactly what quality of bike you will be riding. Don't end up riding a bike that is too heavy, poorly maintained, inconsistent in quality, incorrectly geared and—usually worst of all—rented locally or owned by the hotel.


On Backroads international trips we pair our expert local guides with experienced Backroads leaders to ensure that you get the perfect balance of insider insights and attentive personal service.

Beware of outfits who only employ local guides—usually to cut costs—often at the expense of your experience.


With Backroads, you choose among several expertly designed routes or activity options each day, giving you ultimate freedom so you can enjoy the best of a region at your own pace. All of our route options have self-navigable directions and are described in detail on our website.

Look out for companies who force everyone onto the same route—or even worse, require you to follow a leader who rides/hikes faster or slower than you desire. With no directions you cannot go at your own pace or explore on your own.


With Backroads you can choose who you want to travel with. Whether with adult travelers, families with younger kids, families with teens and 20-somethings, mothers and daughters, solo travelers or your own private group. We're the only company where you truly have an extensive selection of dates, destinations and traveling companions.

Don't be forced into one mold where you end up on an adult trip with many kids, a family trip without kids other than your own, or a trip without enough guests for a fun and fluid social atmosphere.


To support varied activity levels, Backroads provides two vans*, a great variety of route options, detailed directions so you can go at your own pace, a rating system showing if shuttles are required (in case you'd rather bike than use the van), plenty of well-matched riding/hiking companions and an array of bikes to choose from.

Many companies claim they can accommodate travelers with mixed abilities. Without the necessary capabilities to make it happen and leaders who aren't biased toward one end of the athletic spectrum or another, it's a promise that can't be met.


Backroads designates 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.

Many of our Casual hotels are quietly used by others and described as decidedly "non-Casual." Be sure you aren't paying Premiere prices for Casual hotels.

*Over 95% of Backroads guests on scheduled departures travel with two or more support vehicles and three Backroads leaders or support staff. Fewer than 5% are on scheduled trips where the small number of guests requires just one van and two leaders to maintain our high service standards, or on select Walking & Hiking Trips where our routes are a combination of loop hikes and out-&-back trails that allow two leaders and fewer vans to provide excellent trail support.