Backroads Leaders: A Guest’s Perspective

Hiking on a Backroads trip in ItalyI've traveled with Backroads on eight unforgettable adventures and from my first trip to Vermont, I was hooked! I could write a book about why I love Backroads, but this is a blog, so I'll pare it down to a few reasons why I continually choose Backroads over any other active travel company:

From the minute you meet your Backroads Trip Leaders, you are truly on vacation! They are accessible 24/7 with one goal: to provide the most memorable vacation of your life.

They handle all the details. Forget worrying about how to get from Point A to Point B, dealing with language barriers, schlepping your suitcase or trying to find the best hiking trails or cycling routes--they've got it covered. I always tell people "Your biggest worry is to decide which route you want to hike or cycle or what you're going to order for dinner." Couples I've met say that traveling with Backroads eliminates a lot of arguments they might have when vacationing on their own.

Backroads Trip Leader Tomasso Spinelli in Italy

Backroads thinks of EVERYTHING! They've been doing this for 38 years and know what makes for a truly exceptional experience.

Backroads Leaders must support all guests with varying levels of physical abilities and a wide range of personalities. That's no easy task and takes a very special type of person. Every group I've traveled with has loved and admired each and every leader.

Here are two personal examples of what Backroads Trip Leaders do:

  • Cinque Terre and Tuscany Backroads Walking and Hiking TripAfter a long day of hiking in Cinque Terre this summer, we boarded a train for a 45-minute ride to our hotel. After 10 minutes, the train broke down. The crew had no idea how long we would be there--it could be hours. Within minutes, our leaders were contacting independent transportation services and after screening several companies, hired two vans that appeared within 30 minutes. They drove us over an hour to arrive at our hotel in time for dinner. This had to have cost Backroads a pretty Euro! Tommaso, our senior leader said, "Backroads gives leaders full discretion to handle this type of situation. They don't want your memory of this day to be sitting on a broken train for hours. We just make it happen."
  • Backroads Trip Leaders and vanIn Alaska, it poured rain one day of our trip. Most of the group wanted to finish our bike ride, so we carried on. One leader rode with us and another drove the support van continuously throughout the day, making sure we were all okay. The third leader decided to surprise us and set up a tent along the route, twice, complete with hot chocolate, snacks, heaters and a change of dry clothes... WOW!

Traveling in a group is a new experience for many people. I wasn't sure what to expect on my first trip, but I soon found that traveling with people from all over the country (and the world) created an even better experience than I could have imagined! By making unique memories together you bond in a special way.

Dinner on a Backroads Trip in Italy with our Leaders

Backroads knows the Trip Leaders can literally make or break a guest's experience. That's why they are so selective in their recruiting, hiring and training of Backroads Leaders.

On eight trips, I've never been disappointed and am always amazed at the quality of the leaders. They are knowledgeable, personable, flexible, dedicated, curious, intelligent, thoughtful, confident and FUN!  I'm already signed up for my next Backroads adventure, bound for Ireland this summer. It's wonderful to know I'll be meeting up with more amazing fellow travelers and fantastic Trip Leaders for another "best trip ever."

Backroads Trip Leader with a picnic in Tuscany, Italy

6 Responses

  1. Ed Keating

    There is a lot of wisdom in Ms. Nierling’s insightful blog. I also find it interesting that she worked in hotel management. The type of customer service orientation one finds in Backroads and its wonderful guides is clearly exemplary within the hospitality industry.

    I likewise have experienced Backroads spending a very large amount of money in response to an unexpected turn of events. In my case, it was heavy rain in Caen at the end of the Brittany-Normandy trip, disrupting plans for an outdoor picnic. Though the food was already purchased and prepared, the guides instead took us customers to eat at a very nice restaurant inside the museum we were visiting in Caen. The guides were empowered to elevate the company’s expenses by several hundred Euros, probably, in the interest of having the best-possible experience for the Backroads’ customer.

    • Sylvia Nierling Sylvia Nierling

      Hello Ed, thank you for the kind words on my blog. I’m glad to hear that you feel the same way as I do about the trip leaders and how noticeable it is that they really put us as guests first. Maybe we’ll cross paths on a Backroads trip sometime!

  2. Aleda Jo Howard

    I agree with you 100%! I will be taking my 29th Backroads trip in May. Nobody does active travel better than Backroads and their leaders are fantastic. All I have to do is show up and they take care of everything from that point forward.

    • Sylvia Nierling Sylvia Nierling

      I hope you have a great 29th trip Aleda! That’s amazing!

  3. Christine Wagoner

    I will be taking my 13th & 14th trips this year with Backroads. The trips have been well planned. The leaders are fantastic. This company has allowed me to see many of our National Parks in a way that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. The out of the U.S. trips have been fantastic also. I am so looking forward to seeing Iceland and New Zealand this year!

    • Sylvia Nierling Sylvia Nierling

      I agree Christine, I feel as though I have been able to have unique and wonderful experiences that I would never have had if I was traveling on my own. Such special trips! I hope you have a great time in Iceland and New Zealand!

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