Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What is a Self-Guided Bicycle Tour? (And is it for you?)

Self-guided bicycle touring means somebody else handles all your logistics including:

route planning, lodging, breakfast normally, a bicycle rental (OR bring your own),
luggage shuttles from hotel to hotel (usually), a "road book" and/or map of your route, emergency service (sometimes; sometimes you have to handle your own repairs).

On a self-guided tour you may be on your own or you may find yourself cycling from place to place with others on the same tour. That means you'll ride with them if you want or you'll be alone if you prefer. Europeans tend to prefer self-guided tours so you may find you are sharing the road and lodging with Germans, Brits, Irish folks, or who knows?

The advantages of a self-guided tour

- someone handles most of the logistics;
- you get to travel at your own pace;
- you often get to choose your dates;
- it is a lot cheaper than a guided tour.

The Disadvantages of a Self-guided Tour over a Guided or Escorted Tour

- you may be alone so there is no group to join;
- if it rains you go to plan B (usually, put on your rain gear and follow plan A; i.e., there is no shuttle van to pick you up);
- you have no guide to help in an emergency or to help you understand the culture, the language, to negotiate with hotel-keepers or restaurants.

For more information about self-guided tours click here.

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