Frequently Asked Questions
Starting an individual walking tour for the first time is always an exciting issue, which needs some initial preparations and information background. We hope the FAQs below will help you make it better and do this type of traveling more frequent in the future:
Know before you go!
We do encourage everybody to read more about the destination they are going to before getting there. Please note that the roadbook may give you only information that is essential for the walking trip itself (navigation details) but not about the history of certain places of interest or the local habits and holidays etc. The guide books of “Lonely Planet” or “Rough Guide” referring to your destination are may be the best choice for you although for some rural regions it would be best to find something on the Internet (including the travel forums of TripAdvsior and Lonely Planet). Wherever you go please respect local people, their traditions, religions and environment. And remember: no country is like others. Do not try to compare Italy with Norway, or Austria with Romania. Leave your expectations at home and free your mind! Be sure that only this way you will enjoy your trip fully and will be able to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings so much more.
What sorts of accommodation are normally used?
It is a philosophy of the self-guided walks to use home stays, family-run hotels, huts, pensions or good 3* hotels in general where travelers can experience in detail the local way of life at first hand, habits, food and personal attitude too. This approach is inseparable part of the idea of the self-guided tours, which main delivery is the ultimate and direct experience among tourists, nature and local people without the interference of any mediators (guides). Supplements for upgrade in the accommodation sometimes may also be available. Specific details about the accommodations used for each tour you can find on its webpage.
How difficult the tours are?
Although all trips are suitable for good walkers with no special skills (e.g. no rock climbing or ice-walking experience is needed) some tours are easier than others. Initial idea about the difficulty level of each tour can be received from the number of kilometers walked per day as well as from the uphill/downhill walking details. Some people may find 20km and uphill/downhill walk of 800m relatively easy hike, while for others this might be an impossible challenge. It is essential to know well your abilities and make the right decision prior to booking a certain package. The difficulty grade (normally stated as a number between 1 and 5 on each tour page) is for general orientation only.
How do I make a reservation?
Note that we never check accommodations for availability at first place, as by the time clients (potentially) decide to book, rooms may be gone. To start a reservation the customer is required to place an order online on our website (using the BOOK ONLINE tab on each tour’s page) and pay the required deposit (200 Euros/person for week-long tours, or more for longer or more expensive ones). If there is availability we will let you know within several business days (or more when high altitude huts/refuges are involved in the program). In case of lack of availability, we will also let you know, and either try again with a new tour starting date or a new tour (up to the customer to decide) or refund the deposit paid (minus 15 Euros/person for transaction charges/irrevocable expenses). To ease the process of potential refunds due to lack of availability, an online payment of the deposits is required (bank card/PayPal). As soon as availability is confirmed for a certain booking request, the deposits paid for it become non-refundable. Once an order is placed online (even before it is officially confirmed by us), amendments to it related to tour starting dates, different number/types of rooms, or even change to a completely different program, can only be done as per Chapter 3 of our Booking conditions (full description HERE). So please only book a certain tour if you have firm travel plans. Adding people/rooms and extra services on later stages will be done subject to availability.
What is the average group size?
In general the self-guided tours are run anytime within the best period for each particular trip, or in special occasions – starting on certain days of the week only. Most of them have a minimum group size of 2 persons, while some are also possible for solo hikers. It is very likely that you will meet other parties following the same route at the same time, especially along some of the popular trails. In such cases you can either join them on some of the days (if they don’t mind of course!) or you can walk by yourself only. In any case please do respect the tourists’ right to walk without your company and do not bother them in case you feel they wouldn’t really enjoy your company during the daily treks. Do not forget that most of the people coming on a self-guided trek have chosen this type of holiday only because they wish to spend some time on their own without anyone else walking by their side. We do have treks in remote regions too, where it is quite likely that you will not meet other tourists along the trails at all in certain days.
What sort of equipment should you bring along?
When booking a self-guided tour it is generally taken as granted that you have good sense for navigation, and some experience of walking on your own following maps, route notes and tourist signs. This also includes at least basic knowledge of what you might need in terms of clothing, going to a certain place. Our Checklist with recommended and/or necessary equipment can also be used as a rough guide for what you might need on your trek. Many of our local partners provide GPS tracks of the walks, or an access to a navigation app, where these tracks are already pre-loaded (this way some people walk without written route notes, only following the tracks through their smartphones).
What is a roadbook?
The roadbook you should receive on your email prior to departure or on spot in your first accommodation. This is the most important part of your travel documents (these days the route notes may be substituted with an access to a navigation app, where the GPS tracks of the trails and other information about them are already pre-loaded). You will read inside it notes about your tour which will help you to navigate and stay on the right path at all times. Remarks on specific parts of the route may also available (e.g. where to expect drinking water or picnic shelters or where you will be able to buy some refreshments etc.). Please take some time and study the route notes for the next day already on the previous day, as for some of the days you might be expected to choose between different options, to consider bus/boat/lifts timetables, and you should have to decide which of them you will choose depending on your physical condition and the weather forecast (and advise your provider in time in case changes of the transfers should be made accordingly).
How can I get to the starting point?
Initial information on how to get to the starting point (and also how to get back from the last point) is available either on the tour’s page or inside the pre-departure information which you will get before the tour starting date. Normally there would be some links to train/bus schedules (on some tours it is also possible to add a private transfer on arrival to the first accommodation, while for other tours – this is included already in the tour package). If these are not clear you can always get back to us for further assistance and logistical tips.
How does a typical hiking day look like?
Normally in the evening of the previous day you should read the roadbook (or plan) for the next day and decide when to start and/or which options to take (pick up for people/luggage transfers are often fixed, so try to comply with them). Please do inform yourself about the weather forecast in advance so that you can change your plans in order to avoid showers or storms (this is essential for the hikes, taking place above 2000m a.s.l.). In some mountain accommodations weather information is available at the reception. You can try asking your hosts about that or simply check online. Now that you are aware of what is expecting you, you can arrange your day as per your wishes, leaving more time on places of interest of you. If the weather forecast is too bad, or you wish to skip a certain hike, it is possible on some tours to use the luggage transportation vehicle, which can drive you to the next accommodation. This should be discussed with our local partners in advance though, and may cost extra.