What goes into The Best Possible Trip
- Superb trip design and planning
- Hands-on and accountable
- Clear, open and transparent
- Continuously making it better
- Three or four leaders per departure
- Two vans, there when you need them
- Select the best bike for you
- Set your own pace and priorities
- Choose your travel companions
- Choose your ideal group size
1 EXCELLENCE—WE NEVER STOP RAISING THE BAR
Superb Trip Design and Planning
Everything we do is purposeful, from the length and shape of the routes we offer each day, to the settings of our hotels, to finding the perfect spot for our grand picnics. We think it all matters, each tiny detail conspiring to create a journey that unfolds minute by minute, day by day.
At Backroads we have more than 100 field-based Trip Experts coordinated by a dozen seasoned Regional Managers, all of them former Trip Leaders. Our team knows the areas we explore inside out, so we can focus on crafting smart, inspiring and smooth-flowing travel experiences.
From our spring Quality Kickoff to our autumn Quality Summit, we live and breathe making your trip the best it can be.
Hands-On and Accountable
We sweat the details so you don't have to. We stand behind every trip and fully explain every element within it, because at Backroads we actually operate all of our trips. Which may sound obvious, but the fact is many travel companies use subcontractors: your local guide may be paid by a third-party operator hired to execute the trip that was sold to you—or even worse, an independent contractor with only a token sense of loyalty.
That's not our idea of quality assurance. The person whose job is to support you along the way can't be several steps removed from the people who made all those promises on the website or in the catalog. Backroads leaders are Backroads employees!
We invite you to Meet Our Leaders.
Clear, Open and Transparent
For us it comes down to core values of integrity and accountability. That's what drives our Book with Confidence policy and our Straight Talks detailing what to expect on a trip. And it's why we're straightforward in distinguishing luxury hotels that are truly Premiere Inns from those that represent a region's best but are more laid-back Casual Inns.
So when we hear companies saying they have the most dates, the widest trip selection, the best family options... well, we have to set the record straight. Backroads offers 10 times more guaranteed departures, 100+ more Biking and Multisport trips, and over 400 more family departures than the firms making those claims. Our message is simple: let's be honest. And for 38 years that's how we've earned our guests' trust.
Read what our guests have to say about How We Stack Up.
Continuously Making It Better
After 38 years, Backroads has a consistency of vision and organizational depth that are too often lacking in other travel companies—especially if they've passed through many hands or been rolled up into conglomerates.
For Backroads Founder and President, Tom Hale, staying #1 means we won't stop improving until we give our guests the best, most memorable, most seamless experience possible. And since we're always committed to improving, we'll be working on this for a long time.
Hear what our guests have to say about the Backroads Experience.
2 SUPPORT—WE'RE WITH YOU ALL THE WAY
Three or Four Leaders per Departure
Guests tell us it's our leaders who make a Backroads trip great, rating them over 97% for all-around quality of service. No other company has three or four leaders on every departure,* providing an unmatched level of support—and no one else has a standard five leaders on Deluxe Camping Trips.
We run the most rigorous recruiting and training program in the business. We select only a small fraction of the many highly qualified leader candidates who apply and we're proud of our retention rate of over 90%. Plus, unlike most travel companies, our trips are not led by independent contractors. Backroads leaders are employees who know they can count on us for coaching and mentoring—not to mention housing and health insurance—while they focus passionately on supporting our guests.
Hear from our guests about why Backroads Leaders Are the Best.
Two Vans, There When You Need Them
We know the level of support required for a truly great travel experience. That's why we have at least two vans on every trip*—so we can be there when you need us to offer snacks, help with your bike or a lift if it's time for a break from the road or trail. Don't limit your-self with one vehicle—the industry norm. Our goal is always to give you more and the freedom to explore.
You don't want to sit by the roadside hoping the sole van will come along… only to hear it's tied up elsewhere. On a typical Backroads day, whether you plan a bit of easygoing exploring or an epic journey, count on us for reliable, attentive four-wheeled support. And if someone tells you they can do that with just one van, ask them how, exactly?
Read more about our industry-leading Van Support.
Select the Best Bike for You
This isn't like borrowing a friend's bike for a quick spin. You're going to be riding for a few days, exploring a whole region. The last thing you need is a bike that's the wrong style, too heavy, incorrectly geared or poorly maintained —let alone rented from a local shop or supplied by a hotel.
Our expert team will help you select exactly what you need. From our Custom Titanium and Custom Kids' models, to the top-rated 2017 Specialized S-Works Roubaix and Ruby, to specialty bikes like the Co-Motion Periscope Torpedo tandem or our Custom Electric-Assist Titanium bike—the Backroads fleet of 6,000 professionally tuned and fitted bikes is the best in the business.
Read about what our guests have to say about the Backroads Bike Fleet.
3 CHOICE—YOU DECIDE WHAT FITS YOUR STYLE
Set Your Own Pace and Priorities
Each day we offer a choice of expertly designed routes, each with detailed directions, different activity ratings and shuttle options. Decide what works for you and then see who else has similar priorities—or head out on your own.
Don't get stuck on a trip with a company that makes everyone take the same route or, worse, follow the only guide who determines what the pace will be. And if a promise of "flexible distances" boils down to someone offering to take you out for a few extra miles at the end of the day—forget it. At Backroads we design trips for guests who have mixed abilities and interests, and whose personal pace may change from day to day.
Our guests tell you why Backroads has the Best Support for Mixed Abilities and Interests.
Choose Your Travel Companions
Who do you prefer to travel with? A mix of adult couples, friends and solo travelers? Or families—and if so, with younger teens and kids, or with older teens and 20-somethings? Or how about a private group of friends, family or colleagues?
With some companies, your trip may not have enough guests for a fluid, easy social mix. You can end up on an adult trip that includes young kids, or a family trip with no kids other than your own. Backroads has an unrivaled selection of trips and dates geared exclusively to your choice of traveling companions.
Choose Your Ideal Group Size
Enjoy exploring with a small circle of fellow travelers? Each year hundreds of Backroads departures host fewer than 10 guests. Or maybe you prefer a larger group, with plenty of options for mixing it up from one day to the next. We also run hundreds of Biking and Multisport trips for more than 22 people—often with a fourth leader for extra support on meet and move days. And of course we offer many more departures welcoming every number in between.
Whatever you decide is the ideal dynamic, count on Backroads for the best service ratio in the business. Our trips consistently average fewer than six guests per leader. We don't force you into a one-size-fits-all mold.
* Over 95% of Backroads guests on scheduled trips travel with three Backroads trip leaders or support staff, and two or more vehicles. We even add a fourth leader for meet and move days on some of our most logistically complex trips with the most guests to ensure everyone enjoys the best possible support. On less than 5% of scheduled trips, the number of guests is small enough that we can maintain our trademark high service standards with just two leaders and one van.