Country Walkers guided tours ...

Aug 7th, 2001, 07:35 PM
  #1  
michelle/nyc
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Country Walkers guided tours ...

I am stongly considering a walking tour through Tuscany's countryside with Country Walkers. After receiving some great responses from a question I posted recently, I did some research on different companies recommended (Ciclismo, Wilderness Adventures, Butterfield & Robinson) I would love to hear any feedback regarding Country Walkers experiences (or other tours). I am usually a very independent traveller and want to make sure that an organized tour would be worth the cost...
 
Aug 7th, 2001, 10:52 PM
  #2  
Dan
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Friends of mine are are going on the Tuscany walking tour with Country Walkers this October. They went on a prvious walking trip with CW, to Provence, and really enjoyed it. I looked at their intinerary for the Tuscany trip, and it looks very nice. However, it is hard for me to swallow the price. They are paying something like $3,200 per person for eight nights - which comes to $800 per couple per night! I guess if you have plenty of $$$ that is ok.

If it were me I would go on my own. There are books, guides, etc. on finding places where to walk. Doing on your own would not be too difficult. My friends say that the tour is worth it because the company takes care of the lugggage. I would say...I can walk in a loop, so no one has to carry my luggage to the end of the walk.
 
Aug 8th, 2001, 06:47 AM
  #3  
michelle/nyc
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do you mind me asking how old your friends are... ? I'm in my 30s... I'm thinking of going in October too but haven't decided on dates.

I agree with you about the cost!! however, I don't want to rent a car and without one I think I would miss out on a lot of the countryside... have you done Tuscany on your own?
 
Aug 8th, 2001, 06:53 AM
  #4  
andi
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I am going with Wilderness Travel in October, and it's quite a bit less expensive than Country Walkers, and I'd guess that the quality is pretty high. We're staying in very nice hotels, etc. I'm a very young 50, I think others on the trip are around the same but you could ask. I think re: tour vs. alone, that all depends on your capacity for solitude. I usually spend a couple of days in a city before and after hiking vacations, which is about my limit. I look forward to my vacations a lot, and part of what's been so much fun has been the groups. Lots of fun, interesting people, lots of laughter. A vacation all alone for me would be no vacation at all. You have to know yourself and think about what would make you happy.`
 
Aug 8th, 2001, 10:31 AM
  #5  
michelle/nyc
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thanks... I'm getting info from Wilderness Travel in the mail... I didn't find their website to user friendly since you needed to log in to become a member. the cost of the tour is a factor, but I will probably splurge a little to enjoy all CW has to offer.
 
Aug 8th, 2001, 01:23 PM
  #6  
x
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I have never been on a country walkers tour either but I was interested as well. I am in my late 20s and when I looked at the brochure carefully, most of the people in the photos looked a lot older than me - in their 50s or older. Maybe all that walking aged them. That itself wouldn't prevent me from going but if you are really concerned, maybe you should ask the company.
 
Aug 8th, 2001, 02:43 PM
  #7  
Barbara
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I have not been on CW, but I understand that it caters to an "older" crowd, generally upwards of 50. Most walking tours, as opposed to hiking tours are geared that way. I have done a lot of adventure travelling with groups, including Wilderness Travel, Backroads, Overseas Adventure Travel, Mountain Travel, etc..They are all professionals, but it is luck of the draw as to the nature of the group and the leaders. I would suggest you ask the age of all the people currently signed up for the trip, and whether they are couples or singles. Check out Gorp.com and adventureseek.com, they were very helpful in comparing trips. Also have you thought about hiking in the French Alps or biking? Both tend to draw a younger,or more age-diverse, crowd. Good luck!
 
Aug 8th, 2001, 04:30 PM
  #8  
andi
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Barbara,

I've also taken Back Roads and am doing my first Wilderness Travel trip (Tuscany) this October. Any special insights to pass along? Thanks.
 
Aug 8th, 2001, 08:13 PM
  #9  
Judy
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For people enjoy walking on their own: With a little planning, walking guides from libraries and taking publice ransportations, it is not hard to arrange a 10 days walking in Tuscany with moderate accommodations,best meals available and absolute freedom for $1,000 (exclude air).
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 09:18 AM
  #10  
michelle/nyc
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Barbara, is that the Tuscan Trails tour you're considering? I called yesterday for a brochure. what made you choose them?

I've found that if you're flexible with dates, the tour companies are happy to help you find people who are in your age group. this has been a hard decision for me to make...
 
Aug 10th, 2001, 03:26 PM
  #11  
jilly
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top it...
 
Aug 12th, 2001, 12:25 PM
  #12  
barry
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I was going to do a walking tour but found it so much more fun to plan it on my own. I guess that's not the feedback you were looking for.
 
Aug 12th, 2001, 12:31 PM
  #13  
Sheila
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You might want to have a look at the Alternative Travel Group from Oxford. They do guided and unguided stuff and give choices of hotels and shift your luggage. I haven't done it but have friend who've done both varieties. Their web address is in here somehere. If you want me to look it up, drop me an email
 
Aug 12th, 2001, 01:10 PM
  #14  
cmt
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Here it is. I get their catalogue but haven't taken one of their trips yet.


www.alternative-travel.co.uk/
 
Aug 13th, 2001, 03:35 AM
  #15  
andi
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Michelle,

Just out of curiosity, I checked out the Country Walkers web site, mainly to compare their Tuscany trip to the Wilderness Travel one I'm taking (compared WT's Medieval Hill Towns to CW's Tuscan Miracle). CW'S is $1000 more and the accommodations are the same or lesser, according to my Frommer's guide. Both stay in La Cisterna in San Gimignano, and WT stays at the Duomo in Siena, which is more expensive than the one CW stays at according to Frommer's. WT does have four out of eight dinners on our own, which I think is more than CW, but that certainly wouldn't account for $1000. Just for the record, I've never been attracted to CW because the people look on the older side - and I'm 50! Anyway, I'll be curious to know what you decide and how it works out.
 
Aug 13th, 2001, 05:05 AM
  #16  
cmt
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I took only one CW tour--the one to Crete. I did not like the guides, and the price was excessive in light of the very very cheap accommodations we had (not complaining about where we stayed--it was western Crete and simple, but price should've reflected that). However I've heard that many of their tours are wonderful. The people were great: mid 30's to late 70's and a lively, fun, friendly, smart group. Most wee early 50's, as was I.
I think all these companies are inconsistent, e.g., my best tour and my worst tour were with Ciclismo Classico. BCT was good in two tours that I took, but I think their groups are a little older--must be where they advertise. For whatever it's worth, some of the older people (I mean well older than 50's) are really fun interesting people--imagine the kind of people who are gutsy and energetic enough to go on hiking trips in their 70's, so don't assume they'd be a bore. I do prefer to be on a tour with people both much younger and much older than I. Tuscany is a very traditional destination and MAY may therefore attract more traditional people (or not) (I went on tours to two very "traditional" areas--Provence and Tuscany--but also to the less common areas--Crete, Sicily, Dordogne).

I'd like to try ATG, but I'm afraid their trips may be a little too difficu;lt for me. I like their catalogue, and I think their quality may be more consistently good than the others becasue of their training methods. They seem to be NOT overpriced, maybe becasue they don't spend as much $ on promo as the USA-based companies.I heard rave reviews of their trips from a very fussy, very experienced traveler.
 
Aug 13th, 2001, 04:43 PM
  #17  
topper
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Topping
 
Aug 13th, 2001, 05:04 PM
  #18  
Barbara
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Michelle,
I wasn't talking about any trip in particular with those other groups I named, just in general. I was considering a trip in September, but I had a very limited time period in which to travel, and the bike trips I considered were all couples, except for me. I am actually going to do a horseback riding trip in December, instead. Good luck on your decision, and feel free to email me further questions.
 

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