There are many flavors of bike tour vacations but for the purposes of our “analysis” we looked at six of the most common:
- Custom private tours
- Budget group bike tours
- Luxury bicycle tours
- Self-guided cycling vacations
- Do it yourself cycling vacations
- Bike tours with advocacy groups and associations
To help choose the style of vacation bike tour that’s right for you we considered four questions:
- How do you feel about carrying your own luggage?
- How independent are you feeling?
- How luxurious do you like to be?
- Do you like to find your own way or be guided?
The following decision tree shows how your answers to these questions help you choose your ideal style of vacation bicycle tour.
Of course, this is a little tongue in cheek but you get the idea. If you are totally hard core and independent you will likely want to create a bicycle vacation by yourself. If, like most of us, you are OK with someone else carrying your luggage and you want a little local knowledge, there are multiple flavors of bike tour with no one style to suit everyone.
Finally, there is the question of budget. Not just the total budget (though that’s important) but making sure you value what you’re spending on. For example, group tours are great for an all-in price where someone else selects where you stay and what you eat. Just make sure that the operator’s values match your own. Self-guided bike tours are often better value overall but, as importantly, you get more control over when you splash out and when to economize. You may choose beer and burgers one night but a three-star Michelin restaurant the next; stay at cozy B&Bs through most of the tour but ending your cycling vacation at a glitzy resort.
More than anything, we encourage you to take the plunge and try a bike tour vacation. If you’re still not sure, check out Would You Enjoy a Bike Tour Vacation?.