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The Benefits of Self-guided Travel

Equal parts supportive and empowering, self-guided travel offers the best of all worlds. Here’s how it could level-up your next adventure.


Self-guided trips are one of the fastest-growing categories of adventure travel. As more travelers develop an appetite for new experiences and adventure, guided group tours can lose their appeal. Constant monitoring starts to feel unnecessary, not to mention expensive. That’s where self-guided travel comes in.

So, what is self-guided travel? Think of preferred travel style as a spectrum. On one end, you have fully guided, all-inclusive trips. On the other, you have totally unsupported solo expeditions. Self-guided travel sits right in the middle and offers the best of both worlds. With Macs Adventure’s self-guided trips, you pick your dates, your pace, and your travel partners. Macs then provides you with an itinerary, travel tips, and advice from experts who know the area inside out. Those experts are just a call away if you need them, but your trip is all your own. 

Here’s a deeper look at the top ten benefits of self-guided travel and how it can help you take your next adventure vacation to the next level. 

Middle-aged woman standing at base of stairs of a hotel

1. Find Itineraries That Suit Your Needs and Preferences

One of the biggest advantages of self-guided travel is that you get to choose your start dates and a route already tried and tested by an expert team. For example, you can visit Santorini when it's quieter or add an extra day to soak up the unspoiled charm of the Luberon Valley during your cycling tour of Provence.


2. Experience the Wonder and Awe of Self-supported Travel—Without the Logistical Hassle

For many of us, the joy of travel lies in exploring vast landscapes, encountering other cultures, and immersing ourselves in a totally new experience—not in frantically cobbling together spreadsheets the week before a trip. With self-paced exploration, you get to enjoy all the good stuff without having to labor through the research. And because you choose your own travel companions, you won’t ever have to endure awkward small talk or feel trapped by a tour guide. 


3. Enjoy Peace of Mind 24/7

On a self-guided tour with Macs, you’ll get your adventure fix without ever feeling like you’re high and dry. Need help finding your way? Refer to detailed route notes on the Macs Adventure app. Run into an emergency? We have a 24-hour on-call support line.

If you’re hiking solo, we can also keep tabs on your hotel or lodging check-ins. If you miss a check-in, your hotelier will alert us. That way, someone’s always accountable for you. This can provide incredible peace of mind for independent travelers who want to feel safe and supported without sacrificing the solo experience. 


4. Get Support Exactly When and How You Need It

Macs Adventure lets you choose the level of support you want. Prefer not to haul your heavy bag around?  We coordinate and manage your luggage to make sure your suitcase is always waiting for you at your next stop. We can help with route recommendations, local transit logistics, accommodation bookings, and gear advice. 


5. Leave Room to be Spontaneous

You may get a self-guided itinerary at the start of your trip, but you get to choose your own pace once you’re out. One of the best benefits of this kind of self-paced exploration is that you never need to worry about huffing and puffing behind a group of ultrafit adventurers—or about newbies slowing you down. Whether you’re traveling the Great Glen Way or knocking the Haute Route off your bucket list, you get to soak up the wonder at whatever pace you choose.

Self-guided travel also gives you the flexibility to be spontaneous. Want to push yourself out of your comfort zone? Summit that nearby peak, strike up a conversation with locals, or stop to sample the street food. Feeling luxurious? Take an extra hour to have a relaxed lunch at the piazza, or pedal slowly to listen to the birdsong. And if you need ideas, the Macs Adventure app comes preloaded with notes and suggestions of detours, stops, and sights along your way.

A group of three travelers sharing a sweet treat outdoors

6. Take the Stress Out of Planning Vacations

Trip planning can often feel like a high school group project: one person ends up doing all the work, while everyone else makes demands or assigns blame when things go awry. Fortunately, self-guided travel offers an alternative. 

If you’re celebrating with friends or meeting up with relatives, you can outsource the logistics to a self-guided tour operator like Macs Adventure, then split the cost evenly among the group. No one person has to drop a hefty deposit on hotels or bug everyone else for reimbursement. Splitting the cost means every party feels equally invested in the trip planning—and equally relaxed while they’re out on the trail.


7. Get the Most Adventure for the Best Value

Another great advantage of self-guided travel is that you get all the information you need to be your own guide. The Macs Adventure team has spent years getting to know each destination, its people, and its culture. When you book a trip with us, we hand over all that precious insider info. That means you get all our regional transit know-how, cultural savvy, and local wisdom without having to pay someone to babysit you. 


8. Discover Hidden Gems

Outside the U.S., some of the coolest boutique hotels, inns, and lodges only have a few guestrooms. To book them, you have to contact each one individually—a painstaking process that can take days, especially with time zone differences. Your options: DIY and stay in big chain hotels that have no cultural charm or positive impact on locals —or let Macs Adventure do the booking for you. Macs has longstanding relationships with some of the most unique lodgers and vendors in the regions where we operate. We know the locals, and we know how to get you in the door at a place you’ll love. 

Another amazing self-guided travel benefit is that it allows you to truly immerse yourself in the local culture. After all, it’s much easier to get to know a place when you’re not hiding behind a guide. As a free agent, you have the flexibility to interact with locals and enjoy authentic experiences—from traditional music sessions in a cozy pub in Ireland to sampling local delicacies in Japan.


9. Support Local Businesses

Another advantage of independent travel is that you can be more intentional about the types of establishments you support. Macs Adventure works with locally owned and operated suppliers whenever possible. Our goal is to uplift small business owners—not international conglomerates—and maximize our travelers’ positive economic impact on local communities. We have a long list of local vendors and mom-and-pop inns that we’ve worked with for years—like the family-run Crookabeck B&B along the Coast to Coast Walk, or the historic Volunteer Inn on the Cotswold Way. And we’re always keeping an eye out for new partners who embody our values. So, when you book a trip with Macs, you know your money will go where it matters. 


10. Tread Lightly on the Environment

One of the biggest pros of self-guided travel is its light environmental footprint. Unlike some other outfitters who rely on tour buses and big group sizes to hit their margins, Macs strives for a lower-impact approach. To start with, we carbon-count all our trips with the help of sustainability experts at eCollective. We’re proud partners with Leave No Trace, and we’re actively pursuing B Corp status. But our biggest focus is the way we approach independent travel. 

At Macs, we won’t ever dump a bus full of tourists on an unsuspecting village or delicate landscape. Instead, we offer primarily hiking and biking trips—which makes it easy for you to tread lightly on the environment as well as on the communities you pass through. To learn more about how Macs manages its environmental impact, check out our inaugural impact report


Hiking boots on trail

Is Self-Guided Travel Right for You?

Self-guided trips offer an empowering alternative to DIY travel. If you’re looking for an adventurous, self-supported experience—but don’t want to go through all the hassle of booking lodging, organizing luggage transfers, or juggling logistics—a self-guided trip could be the perfect solution for you. To learn more about how Macs Adventure can help, get to know us online or shoot us a message.

  • Why Self Guided?

    This Video shows you benefits of taking a self-guided trip with Macs Adventure.  We offer the perfect balance of experiencing the freedom of going where you want and taking the day at your own pace, which having all the logistics of your trip tied up, so you can have a hassle-free time. 

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The Biggest Choice

Self-guided hiking & biking is all we do - we have over 500 tried & tested trips.
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Around Since 2003

We’re still founder led & the world’s number one self-guided operator with mountains of experience.

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Plus, with a Feefo Platinum Service Award & British Travel Awards, you know you're in good hands.
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Positive Impact

We use independent suppliers to support communities along our routes, as well as work with organizations to help maintain & restore paths.
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