Including Some You May Not Have Heard Of!
Anyone who has been reading this blog will know that I usually like to be completely independent and make all our own travel arrangements. However I do know this can be very time-consuming. It can also be a bit daunting if you are travelling to an unfamiliar destination, or if you are planning a complicated trip with several bases and transfers. And sometimes you might just see a pre-arranged trip that sounds perfect for you.
There are many excellent travel companies that arrange great tours like the ones we have described. Many of these are very flexible, so you can make adjustments as you wish. For instance you may want to add extra nights in places you particularly want to explore. Or make changes to a suggested itinerary. Or choose your preferred mode of transport or class of accommodation. Not all package holidays are alike!
So if you fancy a trip similar to the ones we have described, but need help with the arrangements, or if you prefer the security of knowing your holiday has been planned by an experienced team, or if you just want some inspiration, here are some suggestions. I have taken holidays with some of these companies, and would be more than happy to book trips with any of them.
(Please be aware that some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you make a booking or purchase after clicking on one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps to fund the site, and if you do wish to make a booking your support would be very much appreciated.)
Headwater are great. They arrange a large number of walking and cycling holidays where you walk (or cycle) from hotel to hotel, usually every two days. Your luggage is transferred for you so you only need to carry your day rucksack with you. There are also holidays based in one centre with suggested walks or cycle rides each day.
The holidays are all graded by level of difficulty, which ranges from relaxing strolls to serious hill walking, and detailed route notes and maps are provided. Both self guided and small group tours are available.
The holidays are mostly in Europe, with a few more exotic destinations like Costa Rica and the Caribbean. We have done self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking holidays in Spain and France, and really enjoyed them. The hotels were characterful and the food great. In most holidays breakfasts and evening meals are included, but check because each holiday is different.
Details of all their holidays are on their website, where you can also order a printed brochure if you prefer. The prices are for the tour only (i.e. you arrange your own travel to the starting point – see our page of Recommended Travel Resources).
Although Headwater are a UK company the holidays are available to customers worldwide.
Explore also arrange walking and cycling holidays, but they have a much larger range of destinations and holiday types, including some which are far more adventurous.
As well as self-guided and small group tours, there are family tours and tours suitable for solo travellers.
Destinations are worldwide, including some very exotic ones. If you are interested in the places described in Self Arranged Journeys they do trips to Iceland, Madeira, The Azores and Peru. Options for something completely different include Polar voyages, wildlife trips, and even trips to see an eclipse!
Explore holidays are available to customers in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Check out their website for the huge range available. You can also order printed brochures.
Exodus have a massive range of activity holidays (for UK travellers), covering all the destinations included in Self Arranged Journeys. Activities include wildlife walks, desert treks, cycling and snowshoeing, among others, and there are both centre-based and point-to-point trips.
The holidays range from fully escorted to self-guided, and some sound very adventurous. You can browse their colourful website, or order printed brochures.
Back-Roads specialize in small group luxury mini-coach tours (max 18 people) that avoid motorways and stick to, well, scenic back roads.
The tours are mainly in the UK and around Europe, including Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, and they are aimed at more mature travellers. They are particularly suitable for couples who like to meet other like-minded couples, and for solo travellers who prefer the security of travelling in a small group.
The tours are leisurely paced, and concentrate on beautiful landscapes and architecture, culinary experiences and boutique accommodation. Sounds great!
Back-Roads tours are available mainly to English-speaking travellers from the UK and Ireland, North America, Australia and New Zealand.
Tours range from adventure to luxury. The massive choice includes hiking and trekking, rail and coach tours, wildlife tours, culinary tours, indepdent tours, gay travel, polar tours, festivals, river cruises, etc., etc. There are choices suitable for independent exploring, family trips or groups.
TourRadar tours are available to customers worldwide.
We once booked a holiday through Inghams Lakes and Mountains range after seeing an offer that sounded like just the sort of trip we would book ourselves. The holiday was a week in a lovely hotel in Soll in the Austrian Tyrol, with flights, transfers and half-board included. It was extremely good value and we thoroughly enjoyed the week. We just went off walking and doing our own thing during the day, and then came back for a great meal in the hotel each evening.
Inghams also arrange guided walking and cycling holidays, rail holidays and holidays for solo travellers. They are aimed at UK travellers.
Occasionally it is nice to do things the easy way…..
Titan Travel are another UK company with an enormous range of tours, aimed more toward the luxury market.
Holiday types include rail journeys, ocean and river cruises, coach tours and ‘stay and explore’ holidays. There are options for small groups and solo travellers.
Themes include things like Northern Lights, World Wonders, National Parks, and a number of fantastic sounding Great Journeys and Grand Tours. Some of these seem to pack a lot in so you may prefer a more relaxed tour, but you will certainly see a lot!
All options are described on the website, and you can order printed brochures.
Azores Getaways specialize in holidays to the Azores, and also arrange holidays in Madeira, the Algarve, Gran Canaria and Lisbon.
Riviera Travel are a UK travel company who arrange an enormous number of tours worldwide, including many river cruises. They have tours to all the destinations in Self Arranged Journeys, including the Aeolian Islands (which very few travel companies reach).
The huge range includes rail journeys, wildlife holidays, city breaks and holidays for solo travellers.
You can order various printed brochures on their website.
If you are based in the UK and looking for a great value UK short break, try Great Little Breaks.
We’ve been on one of these (to Skipton in the Yorkshire Dales), and it really was fantastic value. You get little extras thrown in as well to make your break special. The name says it all!