There are self-guided and there are guided walking holidays. Both styles of walking holidays have great advantages. In its most basic form, a self-guided walking vacation is a holiday during which you, or your family group, guide themselves on walking routes according to a route book description and provided maps. In contrast, a guided walking break is one that is led by a walk leader or instructor each day, so you do not need to follow a route description or map, or navigate. A walking holiday that you book yourself will require you to organise walking routes, accommodation and carrying your own luggage.
How to spot a self-guided walking holiday!
A self guided walking holiday follows a format that requires the least input from travellers before they go – and the enjoyment of walking days without the need for carrying luggage or worrying about where you’ll sleep each night. You choose the duration of the holiday, the place, the grade and any personal interests. You can also choose your budget for overnight accommodation. Every day, you will find detailed descriptions of your walking route, including a map and lots of tips and advice about what to see and do as you walk. For your added reassurance there will be a local helpline number provided on most self-guided walking trips. At the end of your walking day you will have an accommodation booked and ready for you, your luggage waiting at your hotel and often a meal booked for the evening. The holidays are checked, rated and organised for you to ensure you benefit from the best of local knowledge and expertise. So, if you like the idea of discovering a new place or country on foot, with the luxury of having routes, luggage and hotels taken care of for you, this is the holiday for you.
Advantages of a self-guided walking holiday
You can rely on the provided walking route description book and map to ensure that you follow a correct route each day. No prior knowledge of the area is required and you will benefit from those who have done the walking holiday before to make sure that the route, distance and length of time is all laid out for you to follow.
Tips and advice
Because the route has been walked before you and there is access to lots of local knowledge. A self-guided walking programme has the bonus of including lots of hints, tips and advice about what you’ll see on your walking route each day. You find information about cafes, restaurants, post offices, banks and other important places to stop.
The routes will also take you to highlight destinations and attractions wherever you choose to holiday. You do not need to do the research before you go on holiday. Simply turn up, start walking – and your route guide will take you to the best places.
Know what you’ll get
All self-guided walking holidays are graded according to fitness levels and interests. So before you set off you’ll know what distances and terrain you’ll encounter and whether the holiday is suitable for children or adults who aren’t so fit. If you like wine-tasting, arts, fine cuisine, history or whatever, you can chose a self-guided walking holiday to suit your interests, too.
A self-guided holiday gives you the freedom to set off when you want and walk as fast as you wish. This type of walking holiday is at your own pace, so long as you make it to the night’s accommodation! On some holidays there is an option to shorten a walk, for example, if it’s an out-and-back walk or a circular walk. You can also stop-off at villages and attractions when you want and enjoy leisurely café stops, lunches and picnics without worrying about what the rest of a larger guided group wants to do.
Luggage carried for you
A walking holiday that is organised yourself will usually require you to carry your own luggage. Walking with a rucksack on your back is a completely different holiday when compared to the joy of walking with only a small pack for your daily picnic and clothing essentials. On a self-guided walking holiday your overnight luggage is transferred for you between accommodations.
A self guided walking holiday is one of the least stressful ways to travel. Rated and graded accommodations are pre-booked by a local expert so that each night you know where you’ll be staying and what to expect.
* We will be blogging about guided walking holidays in the coming weeks.
Macs Adventure offers a wide range of self-guided walking holidays.