If you’re a fan of walking and want to arrange a tour, either in your local neighbourhood or much further afield, there are a number of ways that you can do so without it costing a fortune. The main thing is to double check your safety arrangements, plan your route carefully and ensure that you are with someone who knows the area well. That person could be you, depending on the area you have chosen. The following tips should help you keep to a budget.
Organise as much as possible yourself
If you know what you are doing, then arranging as much of the tour as you can yourself is likely to be a great way of keeping to a strict budget, especially if those coming on the tour pay you to organise it on their behalf. If you live in the immediate area, you can try to include local businesses who might be willing to give discounts in return for food, accommodation and any necessary transportation. You should be careful about safety measures, ensuring that you recce the walk in advance and are aware of any potential issues caused by the weather. This is particularly important if you are going to areas where the terrain is difficult, but even walks that are theoretically easy should be carefully checked.
Rely on dependable local businesses
Organising the tour yourself, or with the help of those you know well, is the best way of keeping to a budget, but make sure that you really do know the area well. You may have been on a couple of walking tours overseas, for example, but that doesn’t mean you know all the ins and outs of the area, especially if you are planning to travel in a different season. However, there is still a certain amount of organisation that you can do yourself, even if you are overseas – if you have previous experience with a particular tour guide, then you could try going to them directly, rather than going through a travel agent. Local English-speaking students may be more than willing to guide you.
Go on a tour organised by a reputable business
It may be tempting to seek the cheapest available walking tour, but this may not be the most sensible move, particularly if their safety record is unknown. Make sure you do your research carefully. The Internet is a great place to start; look for recommendations by customers and, if possible, contact them directly to ask them detailed questions. If you are going somewhere completely new, then make sure the company in question will make all the necessary arrangements – including picking you up from the appropriate transportation hub. Also have an idea of what to expect – if you are planning to go out into the great unknown, you may find the roads are unsafe and the food is sometimes out of the ordinary.
Know what to expect
There are many different types of walking tours, so make sure that you go for the one that will offer you what you want. For example, if you are going on a tour of a historical area, you may want to ensure that you get the best possible guide to explain things to you, whereas you aren’t so bothered about the food and the standard of accommodation. Then again, you may want to have a guide who knows the area well and can point out the local flora and fauna, even if their communication skills aren’t the best. Provided you know what to expect and are happy with the price you are quoted, you should be satisfied with your package.
Check about tips and gratuities
Particularly if your walking tour is abroad, you will need to check about any tips or gratuities that will be expected. There may be a flat fee for the tour itself, but you may then be expected to pay extra to the tour guide and any other people you come across who help you. Hopefully, this will only be a small amount, but it can still add to the overall cost and may be quite substantial, especially if you are going to a very poor country and feel that you should give extra money to the local people. There may also be unexpected costs that you simply haven’t factored in, so you will need to have an emergency fund anyway. This is why it pays to do some thorough research.
A walking tour can be a great way of getting to know an area, as well as work on your fitness levels. However, safety must come first and with that, comes dedicated research so that you know exactly what you are getting. If you cannot afford to pay for the tour that you want, then put it off until you can.