Jun 23

Tripsite Bike Touring Company Review

Types of Bicycle Tours Offered by Tripsite.com

Tripsite Tours offers five basic types of bike tours:castles_day_3_6.179x179

By offering these five different bicycle touring options, Tripsite has pedaling tours for nearly every different level of active traveler. Tripsite works view-from-stokesay-castle-stokesay-shropshire-england-flnickhubbard.179x179with hundreds of different bike touring companies in order to offer a wide selection of bike tours. Their prices are the same as the local tour companies that they work with. This arrangement allows you to utilize one company to plan your entire bicycle travel itinerary whether it is one fantastic bike tour or a series of bike tours linked together. Whether you’re into road bike tours or bike trail tours, Tripsite makes it easy to plan your next bicycle tour by offering a well-designed website, exemplary customer service and a wide selection of bike tours.

Tripsite: One of the Best Bike Tour Websites on the Internet

The Tripsite.com website is well-designed and easy to navigate. The clean layout and aare.179x179functional navigation capabilities make it incredibly easy to find the right bike tour for your needs. Some of the Tripsite website features that make it a standout in the bike touring industry include:

  • bike tours listed by: type of tour (see above), country, month, difficulty level &/or price range
  • search feature: This important addition to the Tripsite website makes it much easier to find specific tours. For example if you only remember the name of the bike route or one word in the tour name, you can enter it into the search box and voila, you get a list of possible matches for your word/term.bruges-flfaunggsphoto.179x179
  • Tripsite blog: If you’re looking for bicycle touring information, how to prepare for your bike tour or just want to see some beautiful bike tour photos, the Tripsite blog has great articles written by both staff members and Tripsite customers.
  • travel prep: The Tripsite bike tour Travel Prep link provides you with FAQs about bike touring to help you prepare for your upcoming bicycle vacation.
  • chat feature: Another extremely helpful function on the Tripsite website is their chat feature. If you are online during business hours, you will have instant access to one of their helpful associates (real Tripsite employees, not an answering service) who cankoppelpoort-amersfoort-bike-tour-holland-netherlands-wcmultichill.770x350 answer your questions and help you find the ideal bike tour. If you happen to be online sometime other than business hours, you can instantly leave a message, and they’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.

What Tripsite Provides Before Your Bike Tour

Even before your tour begins, Tripsite is there to help you prepare for your bicycle holiday. You can contact them via telephone, email or by their online chat feature. They will answer your questions and help you prepare for your cycling trip. Once you have booked your trip, Tripsite will send you a packet of information to help you prepare for your tour. This packet is available via snail mail or by an email attachment, depending on how much time is available before your tour.

What Tripsite Provides On your Bicycle Tour

Tripsite starts by connecting you with the appropriate tour company. Then they provide you with an overview of the tour that includes:tulips-windmill-holland-netherlands-tulip-bike-boat-tour-nlboardoftourism.179x179

  • arrival information with helpful suggestions for getting to your first hotel (& a Google map link)
  • what to expect when you get to your first hotel
  • an introductory packet with information about:
    • your tour accommodations
    • meals
    • your tour bicycle
    • route description
    • route difficulty level
    • luggage transfer/transportation details

Other Bike Tour Services Offered by Tripsite

In addition to helping you plan awesome bike tours, Tripsite also offers these services:

  • group tours & charters – Be the hit of your bicycle club or community by asking Tripsite to help you plan a group tour or bike & boat charter.
  • bike trip insurance – Tripsite works with World Nomads to offer bicycle trip insurance for your next tour.
  • bike tour contests & giveaways – Your bicycle vacation photos or blog-posts can help you win great prizes with Tripsite.
  • complimentary bike tour gifts – Tripsite bike jersey anyone? What a great souvenir for remembering your bike tour of a lifetime.

Permanent link to this article: http://activetraveltours.com/active-travel-tour-providers/tripsite-bike-touring-company-review

Jun 21

Tour Company Review: Velociped Tours

logo for velociped bike toursVelociped Bike Tours

Velocip is a German-based bicycle touring company that has been in business since 1988. They offer both guided tours and self-guided bike tours. (They call their self-guided tours “Individual Bike Tours.”) Velociped also offers both bike trail tours as well as road bike tours. Most of their tours are in Europe, but they also have tours in Hawaii, New Zealand, Cuba and Vietnam. Bicycle tourists have two options for booking tours with Velociped. They can book directly on the Velociped website or they can book through a bicycle touring company such as Tripsite.com.

Touring the Moselle River

Touring the Moselle River

Velociped Self-Guided Bike Tours

One of Velociped’s bike touring specialties is self-guided tours. They do an excellent job of bridging the gap between guided bike tours and on-your-own bike tours. These self-guided tours provide touring bicyclists with bikes, lodging, touring guide books and luggage transfer. And they provide these services at a price that is not too much more than you might pay if you planned your own bike trip. Of course it helps that they’ve been in this business for well over two decades and have built up a strong relationship with local hotel operators.

Advantages of a Velociped Self-Guided Bicycle Tour

bike on trail through vineyards in Europe

Cycle Through Vineyards

So why go with a tour company rather than plan and organize your own bike tour? Well, as stated above, these self-guided tours are probably about the same cost as what it would cost you to plan your own pedaling tour. Plus, it saves you a lot of hassle. In addition, since Velociped has been doing this bike-tour-thing for quite awhile, they have the system down. They provide you with the following tour essentials:

  • a sturdy, comfortable bike – Their bikes are usually 21-speed touring bikes with a comfortable seat and handlebars. The bikes are in good shape and are usually less than a year old.
  • pannier – Velociped provides you with a water-resistant pannier for holding your daily touring gear such as a rain jacket, lunch/snacks, camera, etc.

    bike riders on mosel river trail

    Beautiful Mosel River Trail

  • bike repair kit – You probably won’t need to use it, but it’s nice to have a bike repair kit when you’re traveling all day for multiple days.
  • bike lock – This gives you peace of mind so that you feel comfortable going into restaurants or going on side tours and leaving your bicycle parked outside.
  • lodging – Velociped provides you with comfortable lodging. Be forewarned that the lodging, although fairly close to your bike route/trail, is not always as close as you’d like. But this is understandable considering all of the specific criteria that the lodging must meet. First of all, it has to be in the affordable range, and often times trailside accommodations aren’t very affordable. Secondly, it has to be comfortable. Although you will not always (maybe never in some countries) get a room with air conditioning, you will likely get a clean and comfortable room for the night. (See “Tips for Touring in Europe” post.) Tour companies must also find hotels that provide bicycle storage. Many hotels just don’t have room for such luxuries. And finally, they must find hotels that provide breakfast since this is usually included in most self-guided tours.
  • luggage transfer – I can’t even imagine going on one of these marathon tours while schlepping around all of my own luggage. First of all, that would be a lot of stuff, therefore quite heavy and cumbersome. Secondly, I’d have to constantly be worried about leaving my bike for fear of losing not only the bike, but everything else that I need for the tour. And finally, I would have to pack in a much more spartan fashion. No thanks!! This service alone makes the self-guided touring service worthwhile.
  • touring books & maps – I saved this one for last because it’s much more important and valuable than most people would realize. The touring literature that is provided by Velociped is exceptional. In most cases, they provide you with two essential touring publications. One is a guide to the trail or route you will be taking. It includes maps and a mile-by-mile description of the route. For example, in the case of the Moselle River Bike Trail, they provide you with a wonderful bike line publication entitled Moselle River Trail: From Metz to the Rhine. This book comes complete with a series of day-to-day maps, colorful photos, a thorough description of the route and even GPS Tracks that allow you to follow the route with your GPS-enabled device. Plus, you also get another tour book published by Velociped. This one has general bike touring information, specific directions to your daily lodging facility as well as detailed descriptions of some of the main towns & sites you will be visiting. Unlike travel guides you might purchase at a bookstore or online, these guides are specifically tailored to your bike tour and your bicycling itinerary.

Book Your Tour Directly Through Velociped or…

You have two choices when it comes to booking your bike tour. You can book directly through the Velociped website or you can utilize the services of a cycling vacation company such as Tripsite. You will get the same wonderful services described above no matter which option you choose. You will also pay the exact same price either way. However, I have found that it’s nice to have the added convenience of a bicycle touring specialist such as Tripsite to provide an added level of assistance when planning tours. Tripsite has a well-designed website and dedicated staff who can help you with your travel plans. This is especially helpful if you’re planning multiple bike tours in one trip. But either way you go, booking a tour with Velociped or Tripsite is a great first start in planning your dream bicycle tour.

Permanent link to this article: http://activetraveltours.com/active_travel_tours/tour-company-review-velociped-tours

May 26

Bike Tour Consolidators

One Website, Multiple Touring Companies

bike tour on bike trail

Bike Tour in France

Search for bike touring companies on the internet, and you will easily find hundreds of different companies. Locating a company is easy. Deciding which tour company to use is more difficult. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone could sort through all the different companies and find the best ones? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could book multiple tours using just one company? It would certainly take a lot of the hassle out of planning your active travel vacation.

What is an Active Travel Tour Consolidator?

Fortunately you can use just one tour consolidator to find and book bike tours with many different tour companies. These tour consolidators have already done all the hard work of finding local active travel tour companies and consolidating them into a single website so that you can search for the ideal bike tours or hiking tours all with one-stop-shopping. And fortunately, you don’t pay any extra for this service. The major active travel tour consolidators charge the exact same price for the tours they advertise as the individual tour companies that they feature. I will use the bike tours on Tripsite.com as an example of how tour consolidators work.

Hundreds of Bike Tours on One Website

bike tour details

Easy Website Navigation

So here’s how it works: You want to go on a bike tour. You have a general idea of where you want to go and a vague idea of what type of bike touring experience you’d like. For example, you may want a self-guided bike tour in Germany. The Tripsite website allows you to choose your tours by the following categories:

  • type of tour (i.e. guided tour, self-guided tour, bike & barge, etc.)
  • location of tour (by country)
  • month of tour
  • level of difficulty
  • price range

 

Who Offers the Actual Bike Tours?

The actual bike tours are offered by local bike tour companies. The bike tour consolidators act as the point of contact between you and the local tour companies. Once again, they do not charge you extra for this service. They usually make a small commission off of each tour, and that is paid by the actual tour company, not you. Basically, everyone benefits from this business model. The bike tour consolidator is responsible for finding great bike tour companies, compiling these companies all in one location and then helping you, the bike tour customer, book an ideal bike tour. This allows the actual bike tour providers to focus on organizing the best bike tours and not have to spend lots of time and money on marketing, web design and the rest of the administrivia that goes along with the business.

What Makes a Good Bike Tour Consolidator?

Here’s what you should look for in a good bike tour consolidator:

  • A well designed website that is easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye
  • The ability to search for bike tours using a range of criteria
  • The ability to perform a general search using keywords. (a search function on the website)
  • A company that is easy to contact using multiple modes of communication
    • live-chat (This is a great tool for getting information, especially in the early stages of your search.)
    • toll-free phone number
    • email and/or contact button/page
  • A company that offers numerous different types of bike tours in a wide variety of locations
  • Good customer service (You can usually tell, with your first contact, whether or not the company provides good service. Do they answer your questions? If the person can’t answer your question, are they willing and able to contact someone else in the company who can?)

Bike Tour Consolidator Reviews

In future Active Travel Tour blog-posts, I’ll review a number of active travel tour consolidators. Of course I’ll also review the local tour companies that actually provide the bike tours, hiking tours, canoe trips, snowshoe excursions and more. If you’re interested in specific touring companies, feel free to leave a comment below, and I’ll see what I can find out.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://activetraveltours.com/active_travel_tours/bike-tour-consolidators

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 ActiveTravelTours.com before planning your vacation.

Permanent link to this article: http://activetraveltours.com/active-travel-tour-providers/active-travel-tour-reviews

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:

Permanent link to this article: http://activetraveltours.com/active-travel-tour-providers/florida-trails-tour

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.

Permanent link to this article: http://activetraveltours.com/active_travel_tours/active-travel-tour-survey

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 ActiveTravelTours.com 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

ActiveTravelTours.com 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.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://activetraveltours.com/active-travel-tour-providers/tours-for-active-travelers

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 Trailsnet.com, 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 Trailsnet.com 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.

Permanent link to this article: http://activetraveltours.com/active-travel-tour-providers/active-travel-tours-will-feature-island-tours-in-2014

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.

Permanent link to this article: http://activetraveltours.com/travel-gifts/gifts-for-travelers-can-be-socially-conscious

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.

Permanent link to this article: http://activetraveltours.com/active_travel_tours/european-bicycling-vacations

Older posts «