WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Of course you've got questions. Traveling can be complicated, although we aim to take care of all the details, big and small. Here are the answers to the most frequent questions we get. Don't forget, you're always free to contact us directly.
Q. What types of trips do you offer? As a bespoke operator, we customize all sorts of trips throughout Europe, but we specialize in active multi-day vacations in France, Spain, and Italy. Our roots are in bike touring, so we know the best itineraries and routes for all levels of cyclists. We also love to arrange multi-sport vacations with a cultural focus. But really, whatever floats your boat.
Q. Do your trips come with a guide? Most of our itineraries come with an experienced guide (or two) who will transport your group, lead the way on biking and hiking excursions, introduce you to local culture and cuisine, and otherwise ensure your comfort and safety. Along the way, you will often meet our experts for deeper dives into a cultural subject, be it World War 1 history, wine making, or truffle hunting.
Q. What categories of hotels do you use? We typically choose 4- and 5-star lodging, although it depends on the guest‘s wishes. We know the hotels in the regions we visit well, and match guests with properties they will particularly enjoy. And for all hotels, know that we always ask for the best rooms for Active Vacations guests.
Q. How do meals work on a trip? We will arrange meals the way you want them. Most of the hotels we work with include breakfast. On bike tours, our guests often prefer a picnic lunch, which our guides are happy to prepare. For dinners, we can arrange for the types of restaurants you prefer. With some tour companies, groups are offered a fixed meal. We always ensure that our groups can order off the menu. Our restaurants are carefully selected for the freshness and the quality of the cooking. We also strive for balance and diversity: If we have a gastronomic restaurant planned for the evening, we may opt for a lighter meal at lunch. Some of our expedition-style trips may use 3-star hotels, charming and family-run, and the cuisine, while not fancy, is always tasty and local. At Active Vacations we spend a lot of time scouting and trying out places (and we enjoy it!) to make sure we bring our guests to the best places to eat.
Q. Do I need to be active every day? Certainly not. It’s your trip. Often we have members of the same group interested in different activities, or non-activities. It is our job to be flexible and provide multiple options. One may want a cycle ride through rolling hills, while another might want to spend the afternoon at a local market, or perhaps the spa. We can accommodate it all.
Q. How far in advance do I need to book? Four to six months in advance is typical, but really, the sooner the better in order for us to secure the best bookings, especially at small inns in high season.
Q. How do booking and payment work? We work with a Colorado-based American company—ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours—to manage the payments for Active Vacations. This provides convenient and secure online booking in US dollars. There are no foreign transaction fees.
Q. Do you have a U.S. office? We have partnered with a Colorado-based American company—ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours. Its staff can answer questions related to the trip by phone and email during office hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M., Mountain Standard Time).
Q. Do you offer trip insurance? Yes. You can buy trip insurance through our American partner, Experience Plus! Bicycle Tours. You can also choose to purchase it on your own.
Q. How do you rate the difficulty of your trips? We try to match the terrain to the group’s fitness and interest level. Here’s our cheat sheet: Cappuccino: Level terrain, 20 to 30 miles a day, with under 1,000 feet a day of elevation gain. Espresso: Moderate terrain, rolling hills with a few climbs, 30 to 50 miles per day with under 3,000 feet a day of elevation gain. Double Espresso: Hilly terrain and long distances, from 50 to 80 miles a day, with some days including more than 6,000 feet of elevation gain.
Q. What kind of bikes do you use on the trips? We work with the largest bicycle rental company in France and we have been using its Trek bikes for all of our trips in Europe for many years. We always provide the newest bikes in the best condition. Our tour guides attend courses in bike mechanics every year and maintain the bikes daily during the course of the trip.
Q. Can I bring my own bike? Yes. The price of the bike rental will be deducted from the trip price.
Q. Are your trips gay-friendly? Yes, we welcome LBGTQ guests and ensure you will be comfortable and gladly received at the lodgings and restaurants we visit.
Q. Can you provide me with references? Yes, many of our past clients are happy and willing to speak to our potential clients. Just ask us; we will provide you with a list of references.
Q. What's included and what’s not? Since we run custom trips, you decide what you want included or not in the trip price. However, here are the inclusions/exclusions in a typical itinerary.
• All accommodations
• All breakfasts, all lunches but one, all dinners but one. Order off the menu, where possible
• Two guides
• Snacks and water during the activities
• Local experts such as historians, national monuments guides, wine experts, certified guides for all extreme sports (mountain biking, rafting, mountaineering, etc)
• Van shuttles, van support and luggage transportation
• All gratuities at group hotels and restaurants
• Special events such as wine tastings
• Bike rental on biking and multisport trips
• Museum and park entrance fees
• Water bottle and Active Vacations bike jersey
• Airfare, travel documents
•Alcoholic beverages are usually not included, but can be added directly to the trip price on request.
•Tips for tour leaders
• Personal expenses