Frequently Asked Questions
Here are links to all those questions you have but can't find the answers to elsewhere - whether it's about guiding options, walking alone, how to book - or even if you are unsure that a walking holiday is right for you.
Remember that our office team thrives on giving advice. We know our routes well, and should be able to help you decide which route is right for you.
Walk guiding options
Self-guided walking – is it for you?
If you have not done this kind of walking before remember that you will be on your own, sometimes in quite remote areas, and even though we provide local telephone support, you have to know where you are in order for our local team to help you! You will be following our written directions, and should be able to use a compass (medium and hard walks). Map reading competence is also required for the higher-graded walks at least, and useful for the easier ones. If in doubt, ask us for advice. Check also that your fitness is appropriate to the grade of walk chosen.
Self-Guided: The hands-off approach, but with an On Foot walkers’ pack little can go wrong – our detailed maps (where available) and comprehensive written notes will keep you on track. And if you do lose your way, a quick call to our local contact (who designed the route so knows it well) should sort you out.
Almost all our routes are now GPS-tracked so if you are uncertain about your navigation skills (or are walking alone) our GPS file downloaded to a smartphone or dedicated GPS unit (such as Garmin) will make it well nigh impossible to get lost. And our office team will help you set it up if you are a beginner with GPS.
Part-Guided: Think you can navigate but not 100% sure? Our local contact can help you to interpret our walking notes, use a compass and/or your pre-loaded GPS device, even read a map! We recommend using this service for your first walking day, or first and second walking days if you want additional comfort. Supplements apply – see pricing pages.
Fully Guided: Only one route (the Rila Mountains of Bulgaria) currently is fully guided by default (private, self-formed groups only) and the guiding services are included in the prices you see. On some others (indicated in the text) we can offer a guide (normally our Local Contact) for the duration of the holiday, though this option can increase the price of the holiday and is cost-effective normally only for groups of 6 or more.
If you are uncertain about your navigation skills then GPS is for you. With a suitable GPS unit, you just need to follow the path on the screen.
All of our easy-medium+ walks are now recorded and one of them may be suitable for you. Check the “How Much Walking” link for your chosen route to confirm that there is a download available (on request), or contact us.
New to Walking Holidays?
Walking is good for both body and soul, witness the annual output of every public health department in the world anxious to keep sickness at bay. Yet it is so much more than that. It is fundamentally the best way to see and to get to know an area, its people and customs that has been devised. It’s partly the pace – by going slowly you see more; equally though its the receptive state of mind engendered by the act of walking. By the end you will talking to the locals, be invited into their homes, politely tasting their home-produced firewater and swearing everlasting friendship.
Walking gets you off the beaten track. You may start off somewhere busy but in no time at all you are in the countryside, up into the hills, into the villages, where the pace of life slows and the hidden glories of nature and former cultures are ours to discover. You will not find big hotels, industrial food, clubs, bars, noise and feverishness; you will instead find peace, harmoniousness, little family run hotels, small slow-food restaurants and local wines.
Your choice between guided and self-guided will tend to head you towards one tour operator rather than another, so this is the first choice you have to make. But most of all, talk to a company that wants to advise you in your best interests. At On Foot Holidays we will never try to persuade you to do a walk that is not suitable for you. We want you to come back next year too!
This is a video devised by our former hosts in Sospel, and is a description of the Sospel circular walk on our Alpes Maritimes walk, featuring the unmistakable back view of our Mary (watch out for the red hair late in the video).
As our website develops we will be featuring more videos like this, here and in our blog pages, so keep an eye out for them.
A video introduction to walking holidays.
How to Book
Choose your route and best start date. Have some alternative dates up your sleeve.
Find a suitable flight or other means of travel but don’t book it yet. Call us for advice if the relevant timetables are not yet published, or if you don’t have a computer (or friendly travel agent).
Call or email us or use this website’s Reservations Link to check hotel availability and confirm the price. We will get back to you within 48 hours (not weekends). If the hotels have rooms for the days in question, we will make a provisional reservation for you.
Once we have told you we’ve made a provisional reservation for you, you may book your flight or other travel arrangements (we give you a few days in which to do this). If the relevant flight schedules have not yet been published, see step 5 below.
When you have booked your travel, contact us to confirm the booking. A deposit of £100 per person is payable. This deposit is non-refundable (though see below). If your departure is within 8 weeks, full payment is required. We will also check that you have read our booking conditions.
As part of our Booking Conditions we require you to have travel insurance to cover assistance, including full medical treatment and reptriation, in the event of accident, illness or death. This should be in place before you travel and we will need details. We also recommend that you obtain cover against cancellation (by you).
If you are unable to book your travel because flight schedules have not yet been published, you may confirm (and pay your deposit) subject to a satisfactory flight being eventually available. Under these circumstances only your deposit is fully refundable up to 90 days prior to your prospective start date. We will send you a Confirmed Reservation receipt for your payment.
If you have booked early, send us the balance of your payment prior to 56 days before departure.
We will send you a Walkers’ Pack with maps, route directions, background information on the regions, things to do and places to see, transfer advice to get you to the first hotel (and back from the last), including bus and train timetables and taxi ranks etc. and the name and telephone number of our local contact.
Note: It is a condition of booking that you have your own travel insurance.
Please read this section carefully. It sets out the agreement between us and is designed to be fair in protecting both our interests. On Foot Limited trading as On Foot Holidays is registered in England and its registered company number is 05589960. The registered office address is Stradbroke Cottage, Coombe Bissett, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP5 4LY, Great Britain. Bookings with On Foot Ltd (“On Foot”) are accepted only in accordance with the terms and conditions set out below.
1. CUSTOMER PROTECTION
On Foot Ltd is a company committed to customer satisfaction and consumer financial protection. We are therefore pleased to announce that, at no extra cost to you, and in accordance with the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 all passengers booking with On Foot Ltd are fully insured for the initial deposit, and subsequently the balance of monies paid as detailed in your booking confirmation form. The policy will also include repatriation if required, arising from the cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of On Foot Ltd. This insurance has been arranged with Affirma, a trading brand of MGA Cover Services Limited (registered address Farren House The Street, Farren Court Cowfold West Sussex RH 13 8BP, company registration: 08444204 authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority registration number 678541) under a binding authority with the insurer CBL Insurance Europe Limited (registered address 2nd Floor 13-17 Dawson Street Dublin 2 Ireland, who are authorized and regulated by the Financial conduct Authority registration number 203120)
In the unlikely event of insolvency you must inform Affirma (MGA Cover Services Limited) immediately on +44 (0) 20 3540 4422. Please ensure you retain your deposit and balance receipt and itinerary as evidence of cover and value.
Policy exclusions: This policy will not cover any monies paid back to you by your Travel Insurance or any losses which are recoverable under another insurance or bond.
2. MAKING A BOOKING AND YOUR DEPOSIT
A booking may be made by telephone or by email. This can either be confirmed by an immediate card payment of £100 deposit per person, or your reservation will be held for 4 days, pending receipt of your deposit. If the booking is made within 8 weeks of departure, the full balance is payable on booking. Premium credit cards are not accepted. If we are unable to accept your booking, we will of course return your payment to you immediately.
If you make a booking on behalf of others as well as yourself, we shall take it that you have the authority of each of those other people to enter into this contract and that you and they have agreed to be jointly and severally liable to us.
It is a condition of booking that you obtain travel insurance at the time the deposit is paid as per the Insurance clause below.
2A. SOLO WALKERS
On Foot welcomes solo walkers on all walks but with two conditions:
a. the walker owns and carries a recognized stand-alone GPS unit or Smartphone with GPS App that will accept and display .gpx files; and
b. can certify that he or she is competent in its use.
However on certain more easily navigable routes this condition is waived – check with the On Foot Holidays Team as the list varies.
As a condition of booking your holiday arrangements with us, you are required to obtain your own comprehensive travel insurance by the time the balance is paid. This policy must cover as a minimum private medical cover for the entire duration of your trip including 24 hour emergency cover with a repatriation service. Some insurance companies specifically exclude hiking from their cover or regard hiking over certain heights, or certain destinations, as more risky and therefore not covered or requiring an additional premium; you should therefore check that your policy covers you for the specific holiday you are buying. If you intend to undertake activities or excursions during your holiday and these are not covered by your standard policy, please ensure that you purchase additional cover for these. You are advised also to take out insurance to cover losses in the event of “force majeure” as we specifically exclude our own responsibility to you in such events (see clause 13 below), and against cancellation by you for any reason.
Please disclose any relevant information including pre-existing injury or condition to the insurer at the time of purchase of your policy. We cannot be held responsible or liable in any way for customers who fail to take out comprehensive travel insurance. Please note that insurance provided by credit card companies, household policies and banks often has limited cover. Please check at the time of booking that the cover provided by such a policy complies with this condition.
4. SPECIAL REQUESTS
If you have any special requests, you should inform us of these at the time of booking. We will advise your hotels of such requests but cannot guarantee that they will be met. Furthermore, On Foot has no liability to you if such requirements are not met.
5. CONFIRMATION OF BOOKING
We will send you our confirmation invoice within 7 days of booking. Our contract with you comes into existence when we send this to you. The contract and any matters arising from it shall be subject to English law and to the jurisdiction of the Courts of England and Wales. If you are resident in Scotland or Northern Ireland, the Courts of Scotland or Northern Ireland can deal with any disputes.
You have undertaken to pay for the holiday you have booked and we have undertaken to provide you with the holiday we describe on our website, unless modified by our confirmation invoice, itinerary or covering letter.
6. FINAL BALANCE
Full payment must be received by us not later than eight weeks (56 days) before departure. If the balance is not received in full by the due date, we reserve the right to treat the booking as cancelled by you and apply cancellation charges as set out below.
7. CHANGE IN PRICE
We reserve the right to vary the price of your holiday in relation to changes in transportation costs or the exchange rates applied to the particular package. We will not vary the price of your holiday fewer than 30 days before your departure date, but if variations occur before that time, we will absorb or retain an amount up to the first 2% (excluding any credit card and amendment charges) of your invoiced holiday cost. For variations greater than 2% we will absorb the first 2% in the case of increases.
Should the price of your holiday go down due to the changes mentioned above, by more than 2% of your holiday cost, then any refund due will be paid to you. However, please note that travel arrangements are not always purchased in local currency, or may have been provided for in advance at a different rate of exchange; furthermore some apparent changes have no impact on the price of your travel due to contractual and other protection in place.
If we impose a surcharge, which means paying more than 10% of your holiday price, you will be entitled to cancel your holiday with a full refund of all monies paid to us except for any amendment charges. Should you decide to cancel because of this you must exercise your right to do so within 14 days of the date of our surcharge invoice.
8. IF YOU ALTER YOUR BOOKING FOR ANY REASON
after it has been confirmed by us, and it does not involve a transfer to a different route or departure date, we will do our best to accommodate your written request. An alteration fee may be made to cover administration and we will notify you of the fee in advance of the changes. All changes are subject both to availability and to any resulting extra costs imposed by our suppliers. We pay our suppliers in advance and have agreed that once a booking has been paid for the sum paid is neither transferable nor returnable.
9. IF YOU TRANSFER YOUR BOOKING TO A DIFFERENT ROUTE OR A DIFFERENT DATE
after confirmation, a transfer fee of £100 per person will be payable. If other costs are incurred (such as the provision of walkers’ packs) or are imposed by our suppliers (see above) in effecting the transfer you will be liable to cover these. Any such change made within 28 days of start date will be treated as a cancellation and rebooking and clause 11 below will therefore apply instead of this clause.
10. IF WE HAVE TO ALTER
your route or hotel or food arrangements, any change will be either major or minor. Where a change is a minor change, we will, if practicable, advise you before departure, but we are not obliged to do so nor to pay you compensation. A minor change is any change apart from a major change as defined here.
When a change is a major change (and a major change is an alteration to the type or standard of accommodation or a material alteration to the route changing the length of any day by a factor of +/- 20%, or significantly altering the type of terrain), we will advise you as soon as is reasonably possible. You will then have the choice of accepting the change, taking an alternative holiday (and where this is of a lower price, we will refund the difference, where it is of a higher price, we may ask for a supplement), or withdrawing from the contract and accepting a full refund of all monies paid. If you choose to cancel the holiday in accordance with this clause, we will not be liable for any elements of your holiday that do not form part of your contract with On Foot, including but not limited to air transport arrangements and as such, we will not be responsible for any such loss or expense incurred by you as a result.
In the unlikely event that we become unable to provide a significant proportion of your trip after you depart, we will make alternative arrangements for you to continue the trip at no extra charge, or, if this is impossible, or you do not accept these alternative arrangements for a good reason, we will provide you with transport to the point of departure. In addition, if appropriate, we will pay you compensation of an amount which is reasonable taking into account all the circumstances. Compensation will not be considered appropriate, for example, in cases where a major change has to be made as a result of force majeure (see the Force Majeure clause below).
11. IF YOU HAVE TO CANCEL
your booking or any part thereof, or if any member of your party on whose behalf you have booked has to cancel their booking or part thereof, at any time after you have paid a deposit (or full payment where a deposit is not acceptable) we must be informed in a letter/fax/email signed by the person who made the booking. The cancellation only takes effect from the date at which the notification reaches our office. Deposits are non-refundable, and in addition a charge will be made which varies with the amount of time between On Foot receiving your written cancellation and the holiday start date. The charges are calculated as a proportion of your total holiday price (part cancellations will be calculated on a pro-rata basis). The full cancellation charges are as follows:
Up to 56 days before start date: deposit only
55-30 days before start date: 75%
29-8 days before start date: 90%
7 or fewer days before start date: 100%
Please note that if the reasons for your cancellation are covered by your insurance policy, you may be able to claim under it.
If you are unavoidably prevented from taking your holiday you may find another person to take your place. This right of transfer is subject to an administration fee of £75 per person. You, as transferor of the holiday, and the transferee shall be jointly and severally liable to On Foot for the payment of the balance due, together with all additional charges of whatever sort imposed by the suppliers providing the component parts of your holiday.
12. IF ON FOOT HAS TO CANCEL
your holiday before the date of departure, you will have the choice of taking an alternative holiday (and where this is of a lower price we will refund the difference or where it is of a higher price we may ask for a supplement) or accepting the full refund of all monies paid. In addition, in appropriate cases, and where such cancellation is not due to force majeure as defined below, we will pay compensation commensurate with your inconvenience. Please note that we will not be liable for any elements of your holiday that do not form part of your contract with On Foot, including but not limited to air transport arrangements and as such, we will not be responsible for any loss or expense in relation to these.
13. FORCE MAJEURE – CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND OUR CONTROL
Force majeure is unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, the consequences of which neither we nor our suppliers could foresee or avoid, even after taking all reasonable care. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, war or threat of war, riots, civil strife, terrorist activity or the threat of terrorist activity, biological warfare, industrial disputes, mechanical failure, natural or nuclear disaster, volcanic eruption, illness and disease (for example Swine Flu, Avian Flu or SARS), fire or adverse weather conditions, airport closure, level of water in rivers, changes in Foreign Office advice on suitability of travel to a destination or other similar events beyond our control. Unless where otherwise stated in these conditions, we will not pay compensation, cover any loss or accept responsibility if we have to change or cancel your booking for force majeure reasons. Please ensure that you have comprehensive travel insurance as per the Insurance clause above to cover these events.
14. PASSPORTS AND VISAS
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct validity on your passport, make the necessary applications and to comply with any regulations governing entry to your chosen country. If you do not obtain a visa, where this is required, or your passport or any other travel documentation is not in order and you are unable to travel as a result, you will be liable to pay the cancellation charges set out above. Furthermore, we will not accept any responsibility or refund any money in cases where you are unable to travel because of an invalid or mislaid visa or passport. Non British citizens should check with their embassy or consulate to obtain details of the relevant requirements.
For UK-based clients, the Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Office issues travel advice, which is regularly updated, and which relates to political, economic and other circumstances prevailing in countries throughout the world. If you want any such advice, you should contact them. Their telephone number is 020 7008 1500, and details are also available and at www.fco.gov.uk .
15. MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS
You must be fit and well enough to take part on the walking routes and your fitness must be appropriate to the grade of walk you have booked. If you have any reservations regarding your fitness for a trip, please ring the office for further details. Please also ensure that you take all the necessary equipment and that it is fit for purpose.
If you suffer from any pre-existing injuries that may affect your ability to undertake an activity, please consult your doctor and notify your insurers before you travel. Under no circumstances should you travel if your doctor has advised or would advise against it.
You should check with your doctor which inoculations or vaccinations they recommend for the country you are visiting and how long in advance you should have them. If you are a national of an EU country, and are holidaying in another, you should take an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card).
16. FLIGHTS, TRAIN TRAVEL AND TRAVEL DELAYS GENERALLY
We do not sell flights or train tickets and we will not be liable for any subsequent loss or inconvenience if a flight or train journey that you have purchased is delayed or cancelled. Please claim from the airline/railway company direct and/or your travel insurance policy for any such loss. We try hard to ensure that all advice regarding travel schedules is accurate at the time given. However, as we have no control over these, we cannot guarantee that transport will depart as specified.
The cost of the routes is based on accommodation in twin or double-bedded rooms. A single supplement is payable by those requiring their own room and is charged by the hotels and not On Foot. Your booking is accepted on the understanding that walking routes limit the availability of a choice of hotels and the standard of accommodation varies from place to place.
We do not sell excursions “in resort”. Therefore, when you purchase an excursion locally, your contract is with the local company and we have no liability whatsoever for anything which may go wrong on the excursion.
We cannot guarantee that the weather conditions will be suitable for the outdoor activities that you have booked and we shall not be held responsible for any loss, delay or costs whatsoever connected with adverse weather conditions.
20. CLIENT BEHAVIOUR
We reserve the right to decline to accept, or to retain as a client, anyone whose conduct is disruptive or detrimental to the enjoyment of other clients, or whose conduct may prejudice the reputation of On Foot with our suppliers or hotel owners. We shall be under no liability for any costs incurred by such a client as a result of our so doing.
21. ACCEPTANCE OF RISK
There is always an element of personal risk attached to the holiday and the activities that you have booked. In accepting these conditions, you consent to these risks. You may be on your own, sometimes in quite remote areas, so please take particular care in bad weather which can affect the terrain and visibility. You will be following our written directions, and should be able to use a compass for the medium and hard walks. Map reading competence is also required for the higher-graded walks at least, and useful for the easier ones. You should not deviate from these written directions and we will not accept any liability to you for any loss where you have not adhered to the routes.
22. ACCURACY OF WEBSITE AND PRINTED MATERIAL
On Foot makes every effort to ensure that the information contained on our website and in our printed material is as accurate as possible, and whilst correct at the time of publication, it may be subject to alteration. If On Foot receives prior notification of alterations to any accommodation, route, services or facilities we will inform you as soon as reasonably possible. It should be noted that destination information is for guidance purposes only and that the photographs on the website are used to give an impression of the accommodation and services offered.
On Foot reserves the right to change any of the prices, services or other particulars contained on our website and in our printed material at any time before we enter into a contract with you. If there is any change, we will notify you before we enter into a contract with you. Should any of these details change after making your booking you will be advised of the changes. Should you decide subsequently to cancel the booking, you may do so in accordance with the amendments, transfers or cancellation clauses above.
23. OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO YOU
(i) Our obligations, and those of our suppliers in providing any service or facility included in your holiday, are to take reasonable skill and care to arrange for the provision of such services and facilities and where we or our supplier is actually providing the service or facility, to provide them with reasonable skill and care. You must show that reasonable skill and care has not been used if you wish to make any claim. Standards of, for example, safety, hygiene and quality vary through the transport and destinations that your holiday may involve. Sometimes these standards will be lower than those that would be expected in the UK. The services and facilities will be deemed to be provided with reasonable skill and care if they comply with any local regulations that apply, or, if there are no applicable local regulations, if they are reasonable when compared to local standards and customs. However, reasonable skill and care does not necessarily mean compliance with each and every local law and regulation particularly where these impose absolute obligations.
(ii) For claims which do not involve death or personal injury, we accept, and will only have, liability, subject to paragraphs (iv) and (v) below, should we or our suppliers fail to satisfy the obligations detailed in paragraph (i) above. If we have liability, we will, subject to paragraphs (v) and (vi) below, pay you compensation of an amount which could be reasonably and properly expected, taking into account all the relevant circumstances. Any sums received by you from suppliers will be deducted from any sum paid to you as compensation by us.
(iii) For claims which involve death or personal injury as a result of an activity forming part of your holiday, we accept, and will only have, liability subject to paragraphs (iv) and (v) below should we or our suppliers fail to satisfy the obligations detailed in paragraph (i) above. If we have liability, we will, subject to paragraphs (v) and (vi) below, pay you reasonable compensation.
(iv) We have liability in accordance with paragraphs (ii) and (iii) above and subject to paragraphs (v) and (vi) below except where the loss or damage you suffer is either attributable to you, or attributable to someone unconnected with your holiday and is unforeseeable or unavoidable, or is due to unusual or unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, the consequences of which could not have been avoided even if all due care had been exercised.
(v) If any international convention applies to or governs any of the services or facilities included in your holiday arranged or provided by us, or provided by any of our suppliers, and you make a claim against us of any nature arising out of death, injury, loss or damage suffered during or as a result of the provision of those services or facilities, our liability to pay you compensation and/or the amount (if any) of compensation payable will be limited in accordance with that provided for by the international convention concerned. International Conventions which may apply include: in respect of international air travel, the Warsaw Convention 1929 (including as amended by the Hague Protocol of 1955 and by any of the additional Montreal Protocol of 1975) or the Montreal Convention of 1999; in respect of rail travel, the COTIF Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail 1980 (as amended); in respect of carriage by sea, the Athens Convention 1974; in respect of carriage by road, the Geneva Convention 1973; and in respect of hotels, the Paris Convention 1962. This means that we are to be regarded as having all benefit of any limitations of compensation contained in any of these Conventions or any other international convention applicable to your holiday.
(vi) If you choose to issue court proceedings in respect of a claim against us, you must do so within 2 years of your return from holiday or within 2 years of first discovering the matters giving rise to the claim, if this is later. If you do not, then our liability to you will be limited in all cases to a sum of £100.
(vii) You must, if we are adjudged to have, or if we accept, liability for a claim that you make, assign to us any rights that you may have against any of our servants, agents or suppliers which is in any way responsible for the failure of your holiday or any death or personal injury you may suffer. You must also co-operate with us in any claim we choose to bring against any third party which we, in our discretion, deem to be so responsible.
(viii) Other than as set out above, and as is detailed elsewhere in these booking conditions, we shall have no legal liability whatsoever to you for any loss, damage, personal injury or death which you suffer arising directly or indirectly from any aspect of your holiday.
24. DATA PROTECTION
We will provide your personal information, as well as any personal information you provide in relation to the persons whose travel arrangements have been made through you, to suppliers and carriers that might be located outside the UK and/or EU, to enable the operation of the services requested by you. If you make special requests which include, but are not limited to, special dietary, religious, or disability-related requirements which constitute sensitive information, the relevant data will also be passed to the relevant suppliers and carriers to enable provision of the services requested by you.
You must try yourself to remedy anything about which you may wish to complain and anything you cannot remedy should be reported to local contacts immediately so that any problem may be remedied on the spot. This includes consulting a doctor if you are ill, both locally and on your return. Our priority is to give you an enjoyable holiday, and we strive very hard to do so. However, if neither our office staff nor our local contact is able to help, and you still have a complaint, you should put it in writing at the time. Then send it to the company within 30 days of your return.
Unless they or we have been given the opportunity to rectify the problem at the time it is not reasonable to expect us to accept liability for any problem after you return home. Failure to follow this procedure may reduce or extinguish any rights you may have to make a claim against either us or the relevant supplier.
If you have a dispute with On Foot which you are unable to resolve, you may call upon the low-cost AITO Independent Dispute Settlement Service (details on request). Claims which exceed £2,500 per person or £10,000 per group or claims which apply principally or exclusively in respect of (or as a consequence of) illness or physical injury are not admissible for settlement under the service.
We are a also a member of ABTA, membership number Y6415. We are obliged to maintain a high standard of service to you by ABTA’s Code of Conduct. We can also offer you ABTA’s scheme for the resolution of disputes which is approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. If we can’t resolve your complaint, go to the ABTA Website to use ABTA’s simple procedure. Further information on the Code and ABTA’s assistance in resolving disputes can be found on www.abta.com.
Enjoy the freedom of solo walking?
The world is beautiful. Sometimes your stock of walking partners dries up, or you just want to be alone…
At On Foot Holidays we welcome solo walkers, but to enhance the experience apply some modest conditions:
1. Weather and time of year. Getting a little lost can be fun, but not if the weather is poor and the days short. Avoid early and late season and choose walks where you are likely to come across people and villages
2. The evenings are jollier if you aren’t the only person there, so again choose your walking time with care, and a route which is likely to throw you into contact with locals and other walkers.
3. A walking partner is another pair of eyes for navigation, but a GPS is just as good. It is a condition that all solo walkers carry a GPS unit (or agreed GPS smartphone App) and are a competent user. All our easy-medium+ graded routes are now GPS-tracked.
This rule will only be varied by agreement with On Foot and on certain easily navigable routes (currently Andros, Bohemia, Camino Primitivo, Dubrovnik, Naxos/Amorgos and Rhine). Talk to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)1722 322 652 to help you decide.
Pricing: We won’t penalise solo walkers, but we have to cover our costs. Our headline prices are based on two sharing, and so those two (or more) people are able to contribute to certain shared costs (eg rooms, walkers pack, luggage transfers and taxis, booking admin). When just one person goes, these costs need to be borne by just one, so it can appear expensive. We divide our “single” cost into two parts:
- Single room supplement (SRS) – you have to pay for a whole room in each accommodation, not just half a room, (SRS is payable by all walkers requring single occupancy whether alone or as part of a larger group). We will NOT find suitable other single walkers to share a room with you, so if you want to do that we won’t be able to help
- Lone traveller supplement (LTS) – likewise for walkers’ pack, transfers and booking admin. However if it transpires that luggage is being transferred at the same time as yours and we are able to make savings we will put these towards the cost of your next holiday with us!
We will never seek to profit from solo walkers – just cover our extra costs.
I see the holiday does not include flights. When do I book my own?
It is important that you don't book your flights or other travel arrangements until you have made a provisional reservation with us (i.e. you have contacted us and we have confirmed that the hotels can accept your reservations on the relevant dates). We will say to you, "You can now go ahead and book your flights". If you book them beforehand you may risk having flights but no holiday.
What does the price of the holiday include?
The price of the holiday includes
a. Accommodation as indicated for your route in either on a half board or bed & breakfast basis (see route details page)
b. Transfer of luggage between hotels (unless otherwise indicated - eg where a taxi or boat transfer is used for a particular leg)
c. A Walkers’ Pack containing route notes, maps, background information, luggage labels etc
d. The services of a "Local contact" should you get into trouble while walking or need advice
e. Some taxi transfers, depending on the route
f. Packed lunches where there is nowhere to buy your own lunch along the route
What does the price of the holiday not include?
The price of the holiday does not include:
a. Flights. This enables you to take advantage of low cost flight deals from local airports
b. Rail travel. Leaving you free to plan your travel as you choose
c. Normally, the cost of the transfer from the airport to the start of walk (though we tell you exactly how to do this and in some cases offer the taxi transfer as an extra). However, taxi transfers are included on some walks – check the Route Summary box on any route page
d. Any meals not included on the Route Details page
e. Hotel upgrade supplements
f. Extra nights
g. Single supplement
h. Lone traveller supplement
See below for further information on these last two topics.
Will I need to buy any special kit before I go?
We recommend taking certain things with you although you do not need to buy everything we suggest. The most important thing, which really will affect the enjoyment of your walk, is that you use a pair of well-worn-in walking boots or walking shoes. A full list of recommended kit will be given to you well in advance.
What about walking poles?
Walking poles are a standard part of the professional walker’s kit and are useful uphill and downhill, in poor weather and to steady yourself when crossing streams. You may save yourself annoying blisters, grazes and bruises, and protect yourself against accidents. A pole is a handy weapon against the unwelcome attentions of dogs (though these are normally chained up if behaviourally suspect!).
I'm thinking of going on one of your holidays on my own – what will happen if I get into trouble?
We have many single traveller clients who have hugely enjoyed our holidays. We do, however, advise all our clients to take a mobile phone with them and ask for their phone number before departure. This is particularly important with lone travellers. We pass the mobile phone number to the local contact, and also ask for any pre-existing medical conditions and your insurance details so that if you are injured our local contact can respond effectively.
Additionally, for most of our routes we ask our single walkers to carry and use a GPS device, whether something like a Garmin or a smartphone App. This way you can tell your Local Contact exactly where you are, and the risk of getting lost is reduced to zero. This ruling does not apply on certain of our more easily navigable routes.
How do I get travel insurance?
It is one of our booking conditions that you arrange your own travel insurance (covering hospital treatment abroad, medical transfers back home and, if you wish, cancellation of your holiday under certain circumstances). First check your house insurance as some policies include limited travel insurance, though you may wish to upgrade it. Travel insurance can otherwise be obtained from most major banks, travel agents and insurance brokers. On Foot Holidays does not sell travel insurance.
I haven't been on a walking holiday before - which holiday should I go on?
If you are new to walking holidays, you should try one of our easier walks first (Dubrovnik or Slovenia). We recommend you do some regular walking at home before the start of your holiday. Also, some walks are easier to navigate than others - ask us if you are a nervous navigator.
I'm really excited about my holiday, when do I get my Walkers' Pack?
Shortly after we have received your balance payment we will send the Walkers’ Pack to you. There may occasionally be a slight delay as we update the information within the pack regularly, but if this is the case we will let you know.
What's the advantage of travelling on a recommended start date?
We have chosen dates throughout the year that we believe are the best for walking, in terms of weather, spring flowers or autumn colour. However if you are unable to travel on one of our recommended start dates, you can choose your own start date (from “other possible dates”).
How can I keep up to date with your new routes?
Sign up to receive our newsletter and we will send you details of our new routes as soon as they are ready!
Will I meet the local contact during the holiday?
If everything goes smoothly, you may not see him or her at all. You may see some of our local contacts if they are also one of your hosts, or are doing your luggage transfers. The local contact is there if you need them, for advice or for help but if they do not hear from you during your holiday, they will assume that everything is fine.
I like the sound of one of your holidays but I don't think I could do that particular day of 8hrs walking. Can I still do it?
Normally there are options to shorten each day’s walk, for some however this is not possible. We will be happy to advise you for the specific walk you are interested in.
What is the smallest number of people you will accept a booking for – and the largest?
We have many clients who have happily walked the routes alone, with the support of a GPS file. The largest group we can accept depends on the size of the hotels on the route for example, 8 maximum on the Portugal route and up to 20 in Turkey. The route pages will indicate the maximum group size possible for the route in question..
How can I reserve a holiday if the airline has not yet published its schedule?
Make a reservation with us in the normal way; We will check and confirm hotel availability, and take a normal deposit from you to reserve the holiday. If there is a problem with flights when they do become available, you can cancel your booking with us and receive a full refund of your deposit, or change your start date without extra charges (unless the hotels charge more for the new dates).
What's the difference between a single room supplement and a lone traveller supplement?
A ‘single room supplement’ is the additional charge levied by a hotel for single occupancy of a hotel room, as against the cost per person sharing a room (the basis of all our pricing). Some hotels give no discount for single occupancy, charging the full room rate, others are more generous. We do not add any further charges for single ocupancy, but simply pass on the extra costs without markup.
A ‘lone traveller additional supplement’ is payable when one person is walking the route alone. This extra cost is due to having a dedicated luggage transfer on each stretch (instead of sharing this cost with another) and our booking admin costs, which are the same whether one person is travelling or more than one. Again we do not seek to profit out of single travellers, and positively welcome them.
Will I need a passport and/or visa for my holiday?
Always check the requirements of the particular country to which you are travelling; this will vary according to your own nationality, so you should make sure that you check the relevant embassy or consulate in your own country - these will normally have a website.
What about health? Will I need any special vaccinations?
The best advice we have found is on fitfortravel (http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk) which gives information on a country by country basis. Although aimed at UK residents its advice should be appropriate for all nationalities.
I've heard there are security problems in the country I want to travel to. Is this an issue?
For general travel alerts try www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice - though aimed at UK citizens. For other nationalities you should check your own agencies.