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Tips and Advice / May 15, 2018

When a self-guided bike tour may be your better option

Not sure which type of tour to take? Sometimes realizing what you DON’T want can help you figure out what you DO want. Here’s a list of indicators that a guided group bike tour may not be right for you. 

Be sure to compare this list against the related post “When a guided group bike tour may be your better option.”

Guided bicycle tours follow a traditional group travel format – you and your traveling companions join other parties on a set departure date, and you ride as a group with your tour guide.

This style of travel is a staple for a reason: most elements of the trip are organized for you and there’s little left to chance, allowing you to sit back, relax, and follow the leader for a comfortable vacation experience. But that doesn’t mean it’s for everybody!


Here are a few indicators that guided bike touring may not be the right choice for you. (Check out self-guided tours instead!)

You don’t like riding in a pack.
Cycling in a single-file line and maintaining a median pace for the group sounds frustrating. You’d rather have wide open space in front of you and choose your own pace.

You find “unintentional detours” part of the adventure.
Getting a bit lost isn’t a disaster – it’s exciting! You don’t mind taking a scenic route, even if it’s by accident, because you like exploring the unexpected. And you’re confident you’ll find your way back to the route eventually, maybe even with a few new friends or stories.

You’re comfortable navigating language barriers and cultural differences.
Using a translation app, hand gestures, and a smile gets you a long way, so you don’t mind not being fluent in a foreign language. And learning a culture through trial and error makes for some of the best memories.

You tend to be spontaneous and seize every opportunity that comes your way.
You’ve got major FOMO (“fear of missing out”). An attitude of “sure, why not!” and “let’s do it!” keeps your eyes open for unplanned – and usually awesome – experiences. You don’t like to limit your options with a plan that’s too rigid and won’t allow you to carpe this diem.

You’re the master of your schedule.
Tying into the point above, you feel constricted if you can’t stop to take in the view whenever you feel like it. Scheduled rest and lunch breaks mean you may not be able to stop for coffee at that perfect little inn café you pass because the next planned stop is just another couple of miles ahead. You like the flexibility of lingering over breakfast before getting a late morning start on the bike, or heading out at dawn so you have lots of extra time to explore your next overnight town.

You take every opportunity to interact with locals.
You learn a lot about a place talking to the people who call it home, and you’re not afraid to strike up a conversation! Traveling within a group can insulate you from interacting with the local community because it’s often easier to converse with your fellow travelers and not confront language and cultural barriers. Likewise, individuals and small groups are more approachable for locals who want to engage with you too!

You prefer to learn by reading, exploring, and experiencing.
Rather than having knowledge relayed to you by a guide, you’re comfortable researching before your trip and learn a new place first-hand. Questions while you’re traveling? Answers are a smartphone and international data plan away!

If this all sounds like you, be sure to check out all of our self-guided tour options or learn more about self-guided tours.

Want some tour suggestions? E-mail a helpful tour advisor.

Tags from the story:

Guided, Self-guided, Solo travel, Travel tips

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