May 01

Active Travel Tour Reviews

Finding the Best Active Travel Tours for Your Needs

If you’re looking for a great bike tour or a memorable hiking vacation can be difficult. The good news is that there are a lot of great active travel tour companies out there. But finding the right one isn’t always so simple. When searching for the right tour provider, here are some questions you should ask:paddle-group

  • Does the tour company provide the kind of tour you’re looking for?
  • Do they provide tours that match your level of activity?
  • What services do they provide while you are on tour?
  • Do they provide a quality tour at a reasonable price?
  • Which tour companies provide the best customer service before, during and after your tour?

What Types of Active Travel Tour Companies Will We Review?

Active travel tour companies provide a wide variety of tour packages based on consumer interests and needs. Some different tour activities include bike tours, hiking tours, kayak tours, canoe tours, snowshoe tours and more. And many tour companies offer a variety of activities within their menu of tour options. But ActiveTravelTours will begin by separating the active travel vacation providers into three main categories:

  • small and/or local tour companies – These are the tour providers that often start as mom & pop businesses and remain small, offering a handful of tours in their own country and possibly surrounding countries.
  • large tour companies – These are the big-name companies that often have hundreds of tours around the world. These companies have large advertising budgets and, as a result, are usually quite well known to active travelers.
  • tour consolidators – Tour consolidators do not actually run tours but contract with (usually small/local) companies. By offering tours from a wide variety of different tour companies, consolidators are able to provide numerous tours from all over the world.

What to Expect From Active Travel Tour Company Reviews

A representative from ActiveTravelTours will actually participate in tours from the companies being reviewed. In some cases, we will provide guest reviews in order to cover as many tour companies as possible. After completing a bike tour, hiking tour or other active travel tour, we will provide our visitors and subscribers with a thorough review of both the individual tours and the tour company. We will base our reviews on company-provided information and our own experience on tour. We will share important facts about the company and their tours as well as opinions about our experience on the tours. We will review both guided and self-guided tours as well as specialty tours such as bike-and-barge tours, trail tours and family tours. And finally, we will provide information about the nuts-and-bolts of touring such as helpfulness of guides, quality of equipment, comfort of accommodations and caliber of the meals.

So if you are looking for bike tours, hiking tours, kayak tours, nordic ski tours, snowshoe tours or any other type of active travel tours, you’ll want to check before planning your vacation.

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Feb 06

Florida Trails Tour

Florida Trails Our Latest Active Travel Destination

I don’t know about where you live, but it’s awfully cold here today. Wouldn’t it be nice to escape to somewhere warm where we could ride some beautiful trails in shorts and a t-shirt? I’m thinking a Florida vacation sounds good about now. A long, scenic trail is just what the doctor ordered. A nice mix of typical Florida beaches & theme parks and some of the best bike trails in America would be the ideal spring, winter or fall vacation.

What Personal Transportation Vehicle would you take on a Florida trail if you had your druthers? You can take the poll below or the one located on the Florida Trails Tour page:

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Feb 06

Active Travel Tour Survey

Best Active Travel Tour?

If you haven’t noticed yet, we have a new active travel tour choice poll over in the right-hand sidebar. Please take a moment to vote and let us know your tour preference. You can take the poll directly in today’s blog-post (below) or in the sidebar.

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Feb 04

Tours for Active Travelers

Active Travel Tours Website Update

If you’re trying to find tours for active travelers, it just got a little easier. We’ve updated the website so you can find more information about our upcoming active tours. You’ll notice the biggest changes under the About Active Travel Tours link in the horizontal menu bar located above.

You can now locate the following information:

Tours For Active Travelers also allows you to locate active and adventure tours offered by other companies. Most of these companies offer guided tours as opposed to our hosted tours.


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Dec 31

Active Travel Tours Will Feature Island Tours in 2014

Island Active Travel Tours & Island Resorts

active travel tours on the water

This year’s kayak & canoe tours will be on the ocean.

As always, our main focus will be on Active Travel Tours including bicycle tours, running vacations, walking holidays and kayak getaways. But this year (and in 2015) our focus will be on active vacations on islands. We’ll take you around the world and over the seven seas to islands in the Caribbean, South Pacific, Mediterranean and much more. We’ll provide our usual reviews of active travel tour companies as well as resorts where you can stay while enjoying your active vacations.

New Active Travel Destinations and Continued Partnerships

Active Travel Tours, in partnership with, will be introducing you to even more great active holiday destinations. With the upcoming publication of the 50 Best Bike Trails in the World, we’re already beginning research on the 50 Best Islands for Biking. In each of our active travel guides (in both print and ebook versions), we’ll include information about the best biking routes, the best accommodations, the best transportation options and the best eateries. Of course for our 50 Best Bike Trails book, we focus on trails, hotels and transportation to the trailheads. We also provide options for getting your gear from one town to the next.

Best Islands for Biking

In our islands biking guide, we’ll focus on what islands are good for bike tours and what resorts have the best locations and accommodations for biking holidays. The island bike holidays will look at both island bike trails and less-crowded island roads for biking. We’ll not only give recommendations on where to stay but also where to eat, where to swim, where to enjoy great night-life and more. We’ve already gotten started on our research and look forward to future island bike excursions. If you have any recommendations, please let us know. We’re fairly booked for 2014 (March is still available on our calendar.) but are fairly open for 2015. We’ll keep you posted on and right here on the Active Travel Tours blog about our progress. We’ll be sharing resort reviews starting as early as February and continuing through the year.

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Dec 22

Gifts for Travelers Can Be Socially Conscious

Christmas Gifts & New Years Gifts for Travelers

traveler gift basket with fair trade products

fair trade gift basket for travelers

If you are looking for a gift for frequent travelers, here’s a great idea that makes a functional gift as well as a humanitarian gift for this holiday season or any time of year. Hometown Basket has a Fair Trade Traveler Gift Basket as well as a less expensive Fair Trade Traveler Gift Box that is the best holiday gift for business travelers as well as an awesome present for pleasure travelers.

Fair Trade Gifts Good for Giver, Receiver and Artisans

The nice thing about fair trade gift baskets is that they are the very best gifts for so many reasons:

  • Gift baskets are an easy way to shop for the holidays or birthdays
  • Fair Trade gift boxes can actually be an inexpensive gift
  • Fair trade makes the giver feel good about supporting a worthwhile cause.
  • Fair Trade gifts make the recipient feel good about getting a wonderful & thoughtful gift.
  • Fair Trade gift baskets are also good for Fair Trade artisans who work hard and deserve our support.
inexpensive fair trade gift idea

Fair Trade Travel Box is inexpensive alternative to gift basket

Find out More About Fair Trade Gift Baskets

For great information about Fair Trade gift baskets, visit the Gift Basket Information Blog where you’ll learn about the nine principles of fair trade.

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Oct 10

European Bicycling Vacations

Cycling in Europe

Cycling has always been a popular mode of transport for Europeans. This has been the case for a long time and biking’s popularity is not only in large towns and cities but also in rural villages and the countryside. Whatever city or country you travel to within Europe a bike rental company will not be far away. I work in the hospitality industry in Ireland for the Drury Court Hotel Group and we have noticed in recent years the increasing demand from our guests for bike rentals. People are becoming more active in general and this has begun to cross over into the holiday industry too. In my opinion, the best way to get around and to see any new destination is on a bike. This is not possible for all people to do for a number of different reasons but is worth doing if you are able to and if you have never previously considered it.

Cycling in Cities

City Breaks often entail lots and lots of walking, but if you are like me you will prefer to get up on a bike and see the city this way. It is a quicker way to get around and can be cheaper also because you can avoid using public transport and taxis. The majority of big European cities have become more bike friendly in recent years with the introduction of more cycle lanes, and bicycle parking facilities. Many cities today also have city biking initiatives which provide free or low cost bikes which are available at various bike stations around the city. The cities that offer such a service include Barcelona, Dublin, Paris, Copenhagen, Vienna, London and Paris. If the city you are travelling to does not offer such a programme you will be sure to find a bike rental company within the city. Most bike rental companies will offer a very affordable hourly or day rate for rentals as well as offering bike tours which can be a really interesting way to see any city.

Cycling in the Countryside

If you are travelling to the European Countryside, in France or Ireland for example, you are probably going to be near a small town or village, this is a good a place to start your bike rides from. If you have not brought your own bike with you, many of these types of locations will have a bike rental service nearby that will organise pick-ups and transportation of bicycles etc. for you. This is a very good way of seeing the area from a different perspective as well as getting to cycle places which are not accessible by car or tour bus, such as along the banks of a river or through a forest trail. One bit of advice I would offer to you is that if you are planning on going on rural cycles you need to be somewhat prepared. For example, dress appropriately for the weather, carry plenty of water and some snacks, carry a cell phone in case of an emergency and have a quantity of money on you because sometimes you just don’t know where you might end up.

There is plenty of good information about cycling abroad and biking holidays to be found online so be sure to do your research before you set off.

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Aug 12

How to Choose a Rock Climbing Harness

rock climbing harnessThe rock climbing harness is very vital because it connects the climber with his rope. Buying a harness is much more than walking into an adventure equipment store and picking up any top-quality harness. Here are some of the factors that must be considered:

Different Types of Harnesses

  1. Crag or all-round harnesses are recommended for beginners as they function efficiently in different climbing applications such as gym climbing and top roping. These harnesses are equipped with padded leg loops and waist belts and are therefore very comfortable. Detachable leg loops on these harnesses allow climbers to answer the call of nature without untying themselves from the climbing rope. They are also equipped with a front loop that can be used to attach a rappel device.
  2. Alpine harnesses are constructed for mountain climbing. These have to be very light in weight and bulk, and therefore are equipped with nominal padding. They are made using non-absorbent material to ensure that the harnesses can stand mountain or glacier weather conditions. Their waist belt is very adjustable and their detachable leg loops allow climbers to change clothes or answer nature’s call with the rope tied to their waist.
  3. Big wall climbing requires special harnesses that can withstand multiple-pitch and multiple-day climbing. Such harnesses are well-padded around the waistbelt and leg loops to make hanging more comfortable. They also feature gear racking to make the shoulder gear sling seem lighter. A strong haul loop at their back allows climbers to easily tow ropes or heavy bags.
  4. Climbers who participate in competitions like Speed Events can choose harnesses designed for competitive events. Such harnesses are slim and their webbing allows climbers to move freely. Padding and frills are limited.

Factors To Be Considered Before Buying A Climbing Harness

After determining the type of harness that will work for you, here are some factors you should consider before making a purchase:

  1. The fit characteristics of harnesses for women and children are different from those for men.
  2. Harnesses come in different styles – the Diaper harness is made using flat webbing and a buckled waistbelt with adjustable leg loops, which allow climbers to wear it over different types of clothing; full-body harnesses are meant for children or adults with narrow waists; chest harnesses are worn on climbs in which the climber is at risk of falling on his head.
  3. If the harness fits tight, it will restrict the climber’s movement or pinch him; if it is loose, it could let go all of a sudden and cause the climber to fall.
  4. The waistbelt should fit comfortably just above the hip bone. It should not restrict the breathing.
  5. Climbers should be able to double-back their leg loop’s webbing straps through the buckles and still have 2 inches of strap left.
  6. The harness must be tied strictly as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. A harness lasts up to two years depending on usage. It should be immediately replaced if the climber feels it has weakened.

These tips should help you choose an appropriate harness for when rock climbing.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source:

Martin A. Gaines, a sports enthusiast from San Jose, CA loves rock climbing and highly recommends for advanced rock and mountain climbing training.

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Jul 28

Five Items You Need for a Bike Tour in Costa Rica

Riding the bike trails of Costa Rica…

…is an experience like no other. The popularity of the bike tour in Costa Rica has risen dramatically over the last decade or so. It’s now common to see groups and solo cyclists barrelling down the dirt trails and camping on the beaches in the twilight. If you’re planning on visiting Mal Pais, Montezuma, and San Teresa on two wheels, remember these five items.

beach wear

bike the jungle

1.     Bike Shorts

 For obvious reasons, you’re going to want to wear as little clothing as you possibly can. It’s important to wear a proper pair of bike shorts, though. For all of Costa Rica’s untouched beauty, it’s still bumpy and rugged. It will take its toll on your backside. You don’t want to fear having to sit down at the end of a ride because of searing pain. Bike shorts have lots of padding in the back so you can sit in the saddle for hours without feeling a thing.

2.     Large Water Bottle

A common mistake of the novice cyclist is not bringing a big enough water bottle. The mountain and highland areas aren’t particularly hot. You can get away with not bringing much. In the Pacific coastal areas, the temperatures are searing. If you’re riding for eight hours each day you’re going to get dehydrated quickly.

Bring the largest bottle your bike can accommodate. It’s also worth bringing a backpack with a few emergency bottles of water. Never underestimate the Latin American heat.

3.     Long-Sleeve Shirt

 It might seem silly to wear clothing which actually covers the skin, but it’s helpful. You’ll need to wear suncream to stop UV rays and sunburn. As you sweat, your body washes the cream away from your skin and leaves you exposed. By wearing a breathable cycling shirt, it washes away at a slower pace and leaves you more time to enjoy your bike tour in Costa Rica.

4.     Lightweight Layering

 Costa Rica is a very small country, especially if you’re travelling across its width. You can find yourself in the middle of a steamy jungle before lunch and on a misty mountain plateau by dinner. It creates a challenge for cyclists. What should you wear to cope with the temperatures?

The answer is in lightweight layers. These clothes keep you warm, or cool, whilst not being bulky. You can add and remove clothing as and when you need to.

1.     Energy Bars

Guided cycling tours will take you to little restaurants and outposts where you can eat and replenish energy. If you’re alone, or if you get separated from the main group, you can find yourself getting hungry fast. Stay energised by bringing along some foods which are high in energy foods. Consider dedicated energy bars and drinks, if they’re available. Energy gels are a favourite of cyclists as they don’t change in consistency in the heat.

If not, bananas are good for some quick energy. Alternatively, stop and have lunch. You don’t want to tire yourself out by continuing to cycle on against your hunger pangs.

The best way to combat hunger, though, is to eat properly before beginning your day’s ride.

About the author: Geoff McCabe is a keen cyclist and has interests in many eco friendly projects, including Anamaya, his Anamaya Resort.


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Jul 27

Top Fun Outdoor Activities That You can Do Without Spending Too Much

fun outdoor activitiesIf you’re working from 8-5 from Monday to Friday, you will feel burned out and tired. If you spend too much time in the office facing your computer, then you need to get out. If you’re too tired to spend time with your family, you need to do activities with them on weekends.

You might be thinking that you will need to spend too much when you want to do something outdoors, then you are wrong. There are many fun outdoor activities that you can do with your family without spending too much. You don’t need an expensive equipment to have fun and in most cases some gadgets or playthings are already with you . You just have to maximize and teach your kids to use it. Other fun activities just need a good pair of running shoes. If the weather is good, you don’t want to waste it watching TV or doing take home work. Outdoor activities can provide a bonding and fun experience with the family  and the kids can also learn new things. It’s time to go out and enjoy.

  1. Go jogging. Why use a treadmill when the sun is shining brightly outside. Go for an early morning jog around the park, or the local track and field or go for safe jogging trails to make it more challenging. You don’t need to have a gym membership to be fit. A 30 minute run will do wonders for you and your family. Jogging regularly is a great way to stay in shape, it can also give you a nice tan and it’s free.
  2. Go for group rides. Riding your bike around is fun. Riding with a group is much better.  It will burn calories and will let you do some sight seeing while riding.  It is also a an awesome activity to do as a family. Age does not matter when you want to go for a ride. You don’t need to have a custom made or specialized bike to do it. Just make sure that the bikes are all well maintained. Bring water and some fruits or energy bars for snacks. Don’t forget to wear proper helmets whenever you ride.
  3. Play backyard bowling. Your kids will love this game. It is such an easy game that can be set up in minutes. You can use cereal boxes as bowling pins. Whoever knocks down the most pins will be declared the winner.
  4. Kickball. You may think that it is a kid’s game but kick ball can also be played by a group of adults. This is a great team building sport since each team will have 11 players and engage all the players throwing, kicking and catching the ball.
  5. Go for a swim. You can teach your kids to swim in a pool, lake or beach.  Go kayaking in a lake, collect seashells on the beach with your kids, let your dog take a dip with you in the lake. Everyone enjoys water. Get wet and go for a swim.
    1. Frisbee. As long as there is an open space then you can play frisbee. Frisbee can also give you a great workout. With all the throwing , twisting, catching and running will give your heart a good exercise. A casual  game of Frisbee when you’re having a picnic in the park can burn 170 calories within 30 minutes.
    2. Flowboarding. This is a great way of learning the basics of surfing and body boarding on a thin sheet of water over a stationary in a controlled environment. The kids will love this.
    3. Take the dog out. In addition to the tension beater benefits of walking, spending time with a pet can also help minimize anxieties and calm the mind.
    4. Go camping. A camping trip will give you great memories. Nothing can beat sleeping under the stars, cooking food over firewood and using few pans and utensils, stories to tell and being one with nature. Roasting marshmallows and drinking hot cocoa while telling funny or scary stories to entertain everyone. Leave your handheld game consoles and work at home. Go for a hike or go fishing. Anything  is possible under the sun and the stars. If you don’t want to go  far, you can go backyard camping. Friends of your kids can go camping with you. It will be more fun and exciting.
    5. Explore a new bike trail. If you’re an adventurous rider, you can explore new bike trails with your ride buddies as long as the trail is not owned privately and have access to the nearest medical facility just in case anything happens. The thrill of slicing new trails you and your friends only knows will bring great fun to your every ride.

    You see, you don’t need to spend to have a good time. You just need to have the right timing, make use of existing gadgets, be creative, be adventurous and good times will be ahead of you and your family.

    Roselen is an active member of Enduro  mountain bike racing group. Though she loves being active she still campaigns for safer sports through wearing the right support gear. Spreading knowledge and awareness about sports injury  are one of her goals when blogging.

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