Discover France Adventures pioneered and perfected the art of self-guided travel. Each of our self-guided cycling and multi-sport tours is a complete and affordable vacation, tailored specifically for active, independent and curious travelers who demand exceptional value and flexibility.
Our self-guided tours offer the same quality, style, service and comforts of our guided trips. The only difference is that with self-guided... you are the guide!
Here are some of the highlights of a self-guided tour:
- You choose the dates of your travel
- You travel with your own small group, typically 2 to 10 travelers
- Your route and lodging are meticulously planned by our experienced staff
- All plans are completely customizable according to your wishes and interests
- You have a choice of hotel options to fit your budget
- All your luggage transfers are included
- You have access to local support and emergency services 24/7
Sophisticated and discerning North American travelers are now discovering what Europeans have long known: self-guided travel offers tremendous freedom, flexibility, support and independence. And perhaps best of all, you don't do any work to put it together! Our self guided biking and multisport tours are truly the best of both worlds. You travel on your terms with all the help and support you need so you can focus on what matters most.
It’s important to note that a self-guided vacation is not the same as ‘do-it-yourself’ or 'self-contained'. With a those kinds of trips, you are responsible for everything from planning the routes, arranging hotels, luggage transfers, carrying your gear, etc. There are times when it is fun to plan and do everything yourself, but if you don't have the time and don't want to risk your precious vacation, then our self-guided formula is the best choice!
Frequently Asked Questions:
How flexible is a self-guided tour in terms of itinerary?
While most of our travelers opt for one of our pre-planned self-guided itineraries, we can modify any of our tours to suit your particular needs. We typically offer a variety of hotels to fit your budget. And unlike guided trips with set departure dates, there is no chance of an operator canceling the trip for low participation. Your tour can only be cancelled by you guessed it…you.
How affordable are the self-guided tours?
The all-important question for many people is “how much is this going to cost?” Prices will vary based upon your level of accommodations and duration of trip. In general, self-guided travel with Discover France Adventures averages approximately $1,500 per person for a 7-night trip. Compare this to the approximate cost of guided trips that typically cost $3,500 to $5,500 with many of our competitors!
What kind of support does Discover France offer during the trip?
On your first evening (or morning), you’ll be met by a Discover France Adventures representative, who will get your trip off to a great start by ensuring you’re comfortable with the routes and your trip materials. Included in your trip materials are up-to-date recommendations for dining, cultural attractions and other on-tour highlights. We arrange all of your luggage transfers. And should any urgent issues arise, you have 24-hour access to a Discover France Adventures person through our local self-guided support hotline.
How do you create and plan the routes?
Many of our tours are created with a specific theme in mind,for example, riding along routes of great historical significance. All of our routes are thoroughly researched and ridden annually by our staff to ensure you will have the best possible experience. We also plan our routes so you’ll have plenty of time to savor small towns and villages along the way and enjoy interacting with the locals.
Are these family-friendly vacations?
Children are welcome at many of our hotels, but kids under the age of 10 may require special equipment such as trailers or child tandems. If so, we recommend parents have some prior experience at home with these tools. Keep in mind some of the routes and tour activities may not be very interesting for children. We recommend discussing the proposed routes with us to determine whether the route is suitable for kids.
Am I fit enough for the trip I’m thinking of?
Ask yourself if you are fit enough to do the trip you are contemplating…and enjoy yourself along the way. Our cycling and multisport tours require a minimum level of fitness, so please call us and we’ll help you decide which of our self-guided tours are best suited to you and your companions. While on tour, please remember you’ll have access to our local support contacts, but if you are unable to finish the day’s ride, we will send a support van. Of course, that’s just another opportunity to have a beer at a local café, smell the flowers, etc.
Can you get by in a language that is not your primary language?
This doesn’t mean you have to speak French, just enough to seem like you're trying. If a local villager or shopkeeper doesn’t speak your language, do you think you can you get by with what slightly awkward phrasebook pronunciations, charades…and most importantly, a smile? If this causes you to panic, self-guided may not be for you. On the other hand, you’re sure to look back on these heartwarming and humorous experiences as one of the unexpected highlights of your trip!
Can you read a map and follow road signs?
This normally is very easy, but if you are not comfortable or you don’t enjoy reading a map, self-guided may not be for you (keep in mid we provide a GPS for 2 people!). To really enjoy a self-guided trip, you’ll need to be flexible and have a sense of humor. So if do you miss a turn and have to backtrack or even ask a local for assistance, you’ll be okay doing so and remember the most memorable trips always have a little unscripted adventure built into them. And if you should get a flat tire…don’t worry. Honestly, fixing a flat is nowhere near as challenging as most people think. We’ll provide you a complete flat repair kit, and your Discover France Adventures rep will review this and other basic bike maintenance at your orientation.
At a Glance: Advantages vs. Disadvantages
The following table may help you determine if a self-guided tour is the right option for you and your companions:
|Guided Tours||Self-Guided Tours||Self-Contained Tours|
|Departure Dates Open||N||Y||Y|
|Full time guide||Y||N||N|
|Guide/Local Contact Support||Y||Y||N|
|Professionally Planned Routes||Y||Y||N (individual work)|
|Meals Included||Y - varies||Y- varies||N|
|Transfers Included||Y - varies||Y - varies||N|
|Any group size allowed||N||Y||n/a|
|Guaranteed departure||N - varies||Y||Y|
|Professional Travel Services available for add-ons, etc.||Y - varies||Y - varies||N|
|Typical prices: $-$$$$ Inexpensive to Very Expensive||$$$-$$$$||$-$$$||$-$$|
Still have questions? Call us toll-free at 1-800-929-0152 and we’ll be happy to help you plan the right vacation.