How do you choose your guides?
Your Trip Leaders will make or break your experience. It’s easy to have leaders look good on paper—much harder to recruit and train talented, well-rounded, empathetic people who consistently achieve excellence. Ask friends who’ve traveled with a company about their leaders. And compare the quality and depth of guest quotes promoted in marketing materials. You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn by doing so.
Can I set my own pace and style?
Does the company offer flexible daily routes? Are you encouraged to bike or walk at your own pace? Can you do your thing while your partner does his or hers? An outfitter with too few leaders and vans—whether supporting 10 guests or 20—has no option but to make you do things their way. For example, sticking to a single route that’s shorter or longer than you’d like, or requiring that you travel as a group—tied to the leader, and moving faster or slower than your preferred pace. Again, your vacation should be your vacation. Having the right level of support—leaders, vans, equipment, GPS, directions with ample route options—spells the difference between a fun journey designed for your interests and energy, and one built to be easier and cheaper to operate.
Small group travel—what's the right number of guests on a trip?
Compared to more traditional travel, active/adventure travel companies have a small number of guests. But only you know the perfect balance between group fun when you want it and solo time when you need it. In travel, as in bike shorts, there's no such thing as one size fits all. A great active travel company builds that flexibility into the design and support systems of their trips. Ask about group size—minimum, maximum and average—and the reasoning behind it. Does the number of guests allow for both camaraderie and freedom? How many Trip Leaders are guaranteed, and how much van support can you count on? Is there a robust number of scheduled departures—enough to allow for a range of group sizes—so you can decide how much company is right for you?