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Why Self-Guided Tours

As an independent travelers who makes her own arrangements, I’ve often thought that it takes two visits to really enjoy an area. The first is a reconnaisance trip, a chance to get a sense of local culture, geography, and figure out transportation. On the second trip, I can get straight to the good stuff and relish the things that make a place a unique. Alas, a return trip isn't always an option.  

It helps to read guide books and research an area before traveling. I also like reading fiction set in an area I'm traveling to, to get a feel for the place I'm about to visit.  But even with research beforehand, I've sometimes - okay, often - thought that I should have done a tour. I might have got more out of the trip.

A guided tour catering to one's particular interests can help make the most of precious travel time. The downside: it comes with a rigid schedule. Not great, if you treasure flexibility and want to linger or move on at will. Besides, there is something to be said for making your own discoveries, being surprised by what you find, making the trip and place your own. 

A self-guided tour, on the other hand, can be individualized with my interests in mind and designed to get me to the places I want to see. I expect to be provided with directions, distances, travel time.  In the case of hiking tours, the information a local provider can supply is sometimes not available from other sources, such as online maps.

Closer to home, our vistors to southern Vancouver Island can hike in amazing parks, provided they are traveling by car and can find their way around - no small feat in some areas!  They hike loops in the parks to get back to the parking lot. Trek & Treats developed maps for self-guided tours which show how to cross the parks and continue on connecting routes, many as interesting and beautiful as the parks themselves. We also include historic sites, communities and tips on where to eat along the route. That's before adding our route support, incl. accommodation bookings, luggage transport and rides to a starting point along the route, when wanted.

In my experience, a self-guided tour allows me to avoid the pitfalls of guided tours - the rigid schedule, the tour group members with different interests, and the time-consuming task of doing overly detailed planning. It's more relaxing, and gives me a chance to simply enjoy the trip, on my own or with company.  And I can still have the adventure of finding my way using only maps and descriptions in unknown territory.  It's rewarding and it's fun.

Posted by: Administrator Monday Jan 06, 2014 10:22
Categories: Hiking Vancouver Island, Trek & Treats, Walking Tour | Tags: hiking inn-to-inn, Salish Sea, self-guided hiking tour, trekking, Vancouver Island hiking tour, Victoria, walking tour