Self-guided Walking Tours - Everything You Need to Know
Self-guided walking tours weren’t a common solution to use for travelers till Covid-19 came into the game. But it wasn’t something new either, it was always there just the use of this concept was much smaller. We’ve got used to self-guided tours and audio guides on shorter distances such as museums or city tours. But slowly some pioneers in the worldwide market started offering multi-day self-guided walking and self-driving tours.
In those days it was a choice between group tours, self-guided tours, and planning your adventure on your own. Today, at the end of 2021 group travel has more risks than ever before. As more people from different locations are meeting in one spot, a bigger chance is that COVID disease or regulations around it will ruin the trip. Also, a guide, who is having multiple contacts with citizens of the whole planet is a high-risk person.
Self-guided walking tours became for us a stable and safe solution for all kinds of travelers. It doesn’t matter if you are a solo traveler or a group of 8 friends, you will be able to get the same services for similar prices. Also, you can book the tour on any date in the season, and no more canceled adventures because of workmates’ vacation plans.
We are proud to say that we are the first tour operator in Georgia who started to run self-guided walking tours in the Caucasus region.
Let's look at how self-guided walking tours are built up more closely. We are passionate hikers of our own who have traveled and lived in various regions of Georgia. We found Svaneti the best region to start our first self-guided routes with, after all, Svaneti is one of the gems of the high Caucasus. First of all, we explored all the routes and visited various guesthouses and hotels ourselves. We are investing a lot of effort in establishing a good service based on relationships between local guesthouse owners and our guests.
Routes are leading you from one village to another, where a warm dinner awaits you in the guesthouse. We provide each traveler with a GPS map that can be used offline on a smartphone and audio guide by day, which gives historical and cultural insights about Svaneti and Georgia for deeper integration. Also, emergency mobile phones are included, but you can always ask questions to the operator in chat. Guesthouse owners as well as drivers are informed in advance of travelers’ schedules and know their whereabouts, and will inform us in case of delay.
So there are a lot of people involved during each tour who are taking care of your self-guided walking adventure. Isn’t it great? I think it is, but there are also some pros and cons around self-guided tours which shouldn’t be neglected. Let's talk below about them.
A self-guided walking tour will fit people who:
If you are looking for a new level of adventure or traveling in a small group or solo and you have small experience in hiking, it will be a great time for you. You will have all instructions and support but you will be following the trail on your own, giving you more independence with responsibility.
Other than that, self-guided walking tours give more freedom in time and grow self-confidence. If you always wanted to know how it is to be a real explorer and do it on your own, here is your safest chance to try it out.
Talking about budget, self-guided tours will always be more budget-friendly than guided. If you want to learn more about it, request your price here.
Maybe self-guided tours aren’t for you if
You have never hiked or traveled on your own before. Or you feel insecure without a group leader whether it will be your friend, family member, or hired guide. It is a totally normal feeling, we also like to relax sometimes. That is why we have a nice guided hiking tour to the alpine lake in Lagodekhi National park with a horse who will carry your backpack and you can practice riding. Check the details of the tour here.
Self-guided tour pros:
You have absolute freedom to experience the journey as you wish: at your own pace, make or not to make photo stops, socialize or stay away from other people altogether if you like. Challenge yourself with more optional routes and activities or relax with a wine in cafes. It’s all up to you.
Freedom of choosing services according to your preferences, thus flexibility of getting a suitable price for you.
You have no stress on the organization of your trip to a different country and more importantly, you save your time as everything is organized and arranged for you, including transfers, luggage transfers, accommodation, meals, and all other services you choose.
The comforting feeling of safety while having 24/7 support chat, emergency phone, and always helpful and lovely locals as our partners in the region.
An opportunity to meet and communicate with locals in an authentic atmosphere, truly a wonderful experience that is often neglected during guided tours.
Flexibility to choose your vacation dates when suits you best during the season.
Feeling of accomplishment after finishing the self-guided walking tour that you have navigated all by yourself.
Perfectly suitable for couples, solo travelers, and small groups.
Self-guided tour cons:
The responsibility to follow the map and trail notes on your own.
If you don’t like solo travel or get bored easily when walking alone, then self-guided tours might not be for you.
And it is not suitable for people who plan to travel or hike solo for the first time ever.
How safe is a self-guided tour?
We are taking care of and tracking our travelers' itineraries daily. Being online on support chat, as well as in constant communication with guesthouses and drivers. There is an emergency phone for safety too. From season 2022 we are planning to add GPS modules that we can always see travelers during the tour. Nevertheless, we always encourage travelers to be at least 2 people in a group rather than solo. If we have a few people going on the same dates we are offering to connect them for better safety. Although Georgia is a safe country in general, and we do have solo guests, you should keep in mind that mountains are always a higher risk place than town or office.