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Travel Stories

Friendly Kilometers: Active Travel with Friends

by ExperiencePlus! - Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Friendly Kilometers: Active Travel with Friends

Vacation travel with family or friends appeals to our sense of balance between quality time with those we care about while pursuing our personal interests. For those who find that active travel is their cup of tea, group travel allows them to spend time with family or friends while experiencing new destinations and cultures (perhaps a new language) with the added reward of physically active days.

Group active travel works as well for retirees as it does for those juggling the constraints of a work schedule with limited vacation time. Booking a group travel trip nudges a person into an actual commitment for a family or friend get-together and sets the ball in motion. You may be surprised at how easy it is to get others to join in.

Recently, four sets of friends chose our Butterflies, Bicycles, and Beaches (BBB) tour for their 2005 year-end travel and spent eight days cycling the diverse ecosystems of Costa Rica. Travelers Deb, Carole, and Toni comprised one group of companions. We were able to catch up with Deb and Carole during their busy schedules for a lighthearted interview. Read further as they share a bit about themselves and their thoughts on active travel with friends. Carole, Deb, and Toni in the Costa Rica central valley

ExperiencePlus!: Other than the BBB cycling trip, how often were you and your friends able to get together last year?

Deb: It’s been a couple of years since I have seen Toni. Our schedules are just too nuts and we don’t live anywhere close by. But we talk a lot and she just said – "Hey – we’re going!" Carole and I are business acquaintances who go to the same meeting every Friday morning at 7am, and then try to catch a quick breakfast whenever we can. One day at breakfast I told her what I was doing with Toni and she said "I’m going too!"

Carole: This was the first time I met Toni (this life!). Deb and I see each other often.

ExperiencePlus!: The trip involved cycling more than 200 miles of Costa Rica, including crossing the Continental Divide twice; did you share most of your conversations and laughs as you cycled?

Deb: [When cycling uphill] we were too out of breath. We sang songs from the Sound of Music and the big band era, not to mention the Banana Song.

Carole: [Yes], when I could catch my breath (either from laughing or exertion).

ExperiencePlus!: Does participating in group active travel save you time in planning your trip and make it more likely that you vacation with your friend than if you attempted to plan this type of trip on your own?

Deb: Absolutely! In fact, this is the best kind of trip because you are not responsible for anything but getting from one place to the next either on bike or in the van. It is mindless – my kind of vacation. Someone is always there to make sure I am OK!!

Carole: It was like going to camp with a great activities director and no worries. What a great and hassle free way to travel!

ExperiencePlus!: Care to share a memorable view or sighting along the BBB tour route?

Deb: Just one??? How about the howler monkeys in the trees right over our heads, how about Lake Arenal for 35 miles, how about the van at the bottom of the mountain, how about the pool at each hotel, how about the earthquake on the very first day? How about the making of new friends that will last for life!

Carole: Too many to report. Beauty everywhere. Friends Deb, Carole, and Toni celebrating the New Years Eve holiday while on an ExperiencePlus! cycling tour in Costa Rica

ExperiencePlus!: Favorite culinary delight you experienced in Costa Rica?

Deb: Butter Cookies!!!!!!! (and margaritas).

Carole: Definitely the Vegan Fare at the Lands of Love [hotel]. The food was exceptional.

ExperiencePlus!: Kilometers or miles? Milk chocolate or dark? Water or energy drink?

Deb: Kilometers cuz they always sound like more, dark chocolate (lifelong addiction), water with squeenchers added.

Carole: Kilometers cuz it’s way more impressive. Dark chocolate and coffee. Loved the orange powder squincher.

ExperiencePlus!: Any words of wisdom on active travel with friends for those not yet hooked?

Deb: You have got to try it – you will do it for the rest of your life.

Carole: Train!!! Don’t hesitate to jump in.

ExperiencePlus! Specialty Tours offers cycling, walking, and hiking tours for all ability levels (see our 100 – 400 rating system). Our Slowjourn™ tours offer daily cycling and walking options allowing family and friends to vacation together and individually choose how to spend their week.

The trendy term for travel with family and friends is "togethering", but we prefer to call a good thing by its tried and proven name. Call it what you may–we are always glad to share our recipe for enjoyable travel. Whether it is a reunion, a celebration of a special event, or simply time to explore a new destination our expertise can help you and your family and friends explore the world up close. Please call us today at 1-800-685-4565 or visit our website at www.experienceplus.com .

Joeann of ExperiencePlus! Joeann Gutowski is an accountant with ExperiencePlus! She and her husband Bob have tackled many trails while mountain biking and hiking in Colorado and Utah. When not crunching numbers at work she enjoys cycling, calligraphy, digging in the garden dirt, and reading. Also, her dog makes sure that she plays ball every day! You can email her at tours@ExperiencePlus.com.