Pure Adventures has come up with a new way to participate in a hiking or bicycle tour. Previously, you had two options:
1. A guided tour, which requires you to ride or walk at the same pace as the group. The tour operator pre-selects most lodgings and restaurants, provides your bicycles and someone to maintain them, transports your luggage and arranges for a support vehicle along the route.
2. A self guided tour, in which the tour operator provides a bicycle, a map and cheerful “Good luck!” as you head out in search of adventure.
The folks at Pure Adventure, which offers biking, walking and hiking tours around the world, thinks there is a better way. It takes the best of both models and creates what it calls Supported Self Directed tours that are long on support but short on telling you what pace you need to go. It “lets guests enjoy many of the freedoms of a self-guided/independent trip with the sag wagon service and trip leader support of a fully guided tour.”
“These ‘SSD’ trips are similar to guided tours in the sense that they follow a route that is pre-planned by us the tour operator,” said Loren Siekman, founder of Pure Adventures. “Guests who are single, or couples, must choose a published departure so that these small number parties can join up with others to get a trip — just like a traditional guided trip. This format is also similar to the traditional guided trip in the sense that a support person from our team is along to ensure most of the logistics. But, that is really where the similarities end.”
Other than ending the day at the same location, all the members of the tour proceed at their own pace. Some may choose to stop off for a winery tour or linger at a particularly scenic location. Some may prefer to ride or walk in a group; others may wish to proceed alone to better enjoy the solitude. Members of the group make their own meal arrangements.
Pure Adventures provides a pre-tour briefing, including maps or GPS devices as required. It takes care of transporting your luggage and it will have support points at convenient intervals along the way with water and snacks for all. Mechanical repairs and assistance are only a phone call away.
The big difference? Cost and flexibility. Not having a dedicated tour guide with you ever step of the way keeps expenses to a minimum. Making your own food choices also lets you control you budget. Finally, a group of 6 or more has the flexibility of deciding its own arrival and departure dates. No need to fit into a pre-planned package of dates.
Pure Adventures is offering its SSD packages at several locations in the American Southwest, from Death Valley to Bryce Canyon, Zion and Yosemite national parks. Check out their ever expanding list of SSD adventures. You may find that Supported Self Directed touring is just the right combination of structure and freedom for you.
Source: Travel Pulse Photo Credit: Pure Adventures