A Guided or Independent Walking Holiday?
Do I need a Guide or can I go Independent?
Posted by Mark Armstrong 23rd August 2013
If you've not been on a walking holiday before and therefore inexperienced in navigation or using maps or walking notes, then maybe a guided holiday is for you. However the decision is more complicated than just those factors. Here's some help.
Benefits of Going Guided
Added value of a Guide's local knowledge: Your guide can make sure you make the most of your holiday. Our guided walking holidays in France are mainly led by William Armstrong, who has experience, qualifications and interests in various subjects including geography geology and the environment which can help add insights into your surroundings.
Qualified Walking Leaders: For peace of mind if anything were to happen, you have someone qualified in first aid and able to deal with the situation. There is always a small risk of accident and injury associated with walking even on relatively easy ground.
Bilingual Guides: If you can, for example speak a little French, you maybe more confident to try out your grasp of the language with your hosts in the knowledge that your guide can help you out. Some of the B&B owners speak English, but having a bilingual guide can certainly help you out with communication and therefore your enjoyment of your holiday.
Meeting New People or Going Single: Group guided walking holidays are an ideal way to meet new people and make new friends and are an excellent means for single travellers to enjoy the company of like minded walkers.
Flexibility: Flexibility around local situations or circumstances, such as the weather. With a guide, they are at your disposal as a group to change itinerary where appropriate. For example if the weather was very wet and everyone agreed that they did not want to do the day's walk, they may be able to provide transport to a location to look around an abbey or castle.
Never Getting Lost: It is always possible that walking under your own devices, despite walking notes and a map, you may get lost, or go off track. With a guide, this is out of the question, unless you were to deliberately head off when no-one's looking!
Benefits of Independent Walking
No Minimum or Maximum Number of Walkers: It's your independent holiday and so we will try to accommodate your group numbers bearing in mind availability of accommodation. There's no waiting to see if the holiday is going ahead. For example, if you are a couple booked on a Guided holiday and you were the first to do so, you may have to wait awhile to see whether more will book and therefore confirm that the holiday is going ahead.
Independence: On an independent walking holiday, you're not beholden to a group of people apart from yourselves. Want to get up late, want to take a detour, it's all up to you... as long as you can get yourselves to the next B&B. Some walking holidays have several days at the same accommodation, so then it's really is up to you if one day you decide you need a break from walking and want to explore the local village or town.
Flexibility: We will endeavour to offer flexibility into the independent walking holidays. The walking notes provided will give you choices, where available. The walking notes provide information you won't find in a guidebook with local sights to see, some of which require a detour and it's up to you whether you make the effort to go. You'll have local information about markets etc so that you can stop and browse and shop whenever you want.
The Buzz of Discovery: There's great enjoyment from discovering the countryside for yourself. There's a certain buzz to be had from the revealing of new views, new mountains, new streams for yourself, step by step, path by path.