Get to Know Us
How long has Randonnée Tours been in business and who owns the company?
Randonnée Tours was founded in 1989 by Ruth Marr; in 2005, Randonnée was acquired by Robbin McKinney, who continues in the role today as President and chief scout.
What is Randonnée Tours’ difference people are talking about?
For more than 25 years Randonnée Tours has been offering an exceptional line of self-guided active vacations in Canada, the United States and Europe which allow you to fully engage with the place you visit and the people you meet along the way. We strongly believe that you should be able to explore the world at your own pace. All our self-guided tours are designed to offer active & independent travelers an authentic experience with exceptional value and unmatched flexibility.
To compare with a restaurant you would choose for a truly special occasion, we would not be the largest or the most expensive. But here the owner greets you at the door, the experience is genuine and the bill is fair. Learn more
Who travels with Randonnée Tours?
Our guests are independent travelers who are open-minded and curious about the world. Biking or walking/hiking is the means to explore. Our youngest traveler was 2 years old and the oldest (…), older than you. More than half of our guests are Randonnée Tours aficionados and a third were referred by friends.
If I'm traveling alone, is it safe?
Yes, we have several guests, including females, traveling solo every year and never experienced safety related incidents. Shall the usual common sense and precautions be used, they are also valid for traveling as a group.
I usually plan trips with my friends - how would we benefit by booking with you instead?
We know that for some travelers, doing the research is half the fun. We also know that it can get complicated and time-consuming trying to accommodate everyone’s wishes, foreign languages and unfamiliar regions!
Think of Randonnée as your personal trip planner – your favorite travel agent, local expert, and guide book rolled into one. With over 110 researched itineraries in 12 countries, take advantage of our vast knowledge and local contacts to ensure your vacation is the best it can be. We know your time is limited and your vacation precious. For custom trips, bring your ideas to us and we’ll work with you to plan a complete itinerary custom-designed for your friends or family.
Can you provide me with guest references for your trips?
Yes, please contact our office, we will be happy to provide with the name and telephone of previous guests who went on trips with us.
Can kids go on Randonnée Tours trips?
Yes, there is no age limitation. In order to have the best experience possible, it is essential to choose a trip that is adapted to children and families. We have several children and family friendly trips with easy activities and a lot to stay entertained along the way. Contact one of our Travel Advisors for more information.
We respect the privacy of every individual who visits our website. We take great measures to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of any personal information on this site. All personal information supplied will remain within our organization and will not be shared with any external entity unless prior permission is given. Your personal information will not be sold, distributed or published in any manner whatsoever.
Does Randonnée Tours offer special youth rates?
Yes, Randonnée Tours offers attractive youth/family rates. When one child or two children share a room with two adults, youths receive the following discount off the trip price:
-75% off for ages 1-4
-50% off for ages 5-9
-25% off for ages 10-16
Do you have special rates for groups?
Yes, if you gather a group of eight travelers or more, each participant will receive a 10% discount.
What responsibilities do I assume as a guest?
Guests are responsible for: choosing a tour matching with their physical abilities, fitness level and health conditions; arriving at the trip start on time for the meeting scheduled with the Area Manager; packing for the trip the clothing and gear recommended in the Tour Details; respecting the laws and customs of countries visited; using Randonnée Tours bicycles and equipment appropriately and according to Randonnée Tours guidelines; ensuring that all Randonnée Tours’ bicycles and equipment are returned in the same condition than initially provided excluding normal wear and tear.
What are Randonnée Tours' limitations of liability?
Randonnée Tours is not liable for any loss, damage, injury or expense that I, or my next of kin or personal representatives, may suffer or incur as a result of my participation in travel arranged by Randonnée Tours. The complete document “limitations of liability” is available here: “Release & Indemnity”.
How large can my group be?
As large as you want.
What are the accommodations on Randonnée Tours trips?
On most trips Randonnée Tours offers three different levels of accommodation, Luxe, Classic and Casual/ B&B. All accommodations offer rooms with private bathroom.
Randonnée Tours selects interesting and distinctive accommodations, many of which are located in buildings that are several hundred years old. Some have been inns since they were built, but you may also be staying in converted mills, mansions, and farmhouses or perhaps a castle.
Do you offer private rooms for solo travelers part of a group?
No, if you are part of a group and want to have your own room, it is possible. Since our prices are based on a double occupancy (two people per room), a single supplement will apply if have a room just for yourself.
Do I need to bring my own equipment?
Not unless you want to! Randonnée bicycle fleets include high performance hybrid and road bikes. The bicycles include fitting and set-up, hand pump, spare inner tube, repair kit, multi-tool, tire levers, seat bag, lock, map case, handlebar bag (hybrid only), and water bottle. If you love your bike so much that you bring it for the tour, no problem, we will deduct the cost of the “bike rental” from your bill.
Please note we do not provide helmets for hygiene and safety reasons.
How hard are the tours?
Most tours are rated as moderate. The average daily cycling distance is 45-50 km (about 30 miles). Walking tours average 8-12 km per day (5-8 miles). This usually requires 4-5 hours of pedaling or walking per day. With stops and rests, add more time. Browse tours by Activity or Destination to read detailed itineraries including information on level of activity.
What is the terrain like?
Throughout most of Europe, the terrain is hilly. In general, you can expect some hills on each cycling day. Hills include a decline as well as an incline! Riding hills introduces variety into the day’s ride which can be less fatiguing than constantly riding on a level surface. The key exception is the Loire Valley tour, which is relatively flat. Similar circumstances apply for the walking tours. Read each tour’s description for specifics.
What kind of shape do I need to be in to enjoy my trip?
Randonnée offers trips for all levels of fitness. Some are more challenging than others and will require a higher level of fitness. Overall a basic level is needed. The fitter that you are, the more you will enjoy the tour. It is essential that you choose a trip and cycling/hiking options that match with your abilities. We suggest that you refer to the activity level information available on each trip description or talk to one of our Travel Advisors about your level and the difficulty you are looking for. They’ll help you pick the right trip for you. Contact us to chat with one of our Travel Advisors to ensure the trip you are considering is appropriate.
How should I train for my trip?
As a self-analysis before you start, ask yourself if you can cycle 45 km (30 miles) in a morning or afternoon, or go for a brisk walk for two hours. If you’re choosing a biking trip, the best training is to get out and ride; if you are choosing a hiking trip you should be walking or hiking prior to your trip. Slowly, build up distances and intensity so you can do rides or hikes similar to the ones you will do during your tour. No matter where you start, the important is to start and enjoy it. Try to train on two areas, cardiovascular fitness so you fill comfortable with the overall distances and consecutive days of activity, and intensity so you can manage the difficulties during the day, climbs for example. We’ll send you specific training tips once your trip is confirmed.
I consider myself fairly fit - will this tour be challenging enough for me?
For very fit riders, there are extra distances and hills that you can add as an option. There are some longer routes for the walking tours as well, but we can help you select a tour that is more challenging in terms of average distances walked.
What if my travel companion(s) and I have different abilities?
On most tours, we are able to provide several options throughout the trip to accommodate different goals and fitness levels. Many of these options are provided as ‘Add-on options’ so you will have the choice to do or not. Very fit cyclists and hikers can always add hills and distance! On layover days you can also decide to relax by the swimming pool all day and explore the surroundings. We can help you select a tour that offers many daily options to satisfy travelers with different abilities.
What can I do if I find the biking or hiking too tiring?
To reduce difficulty during the tour, we encourage you to avoid cycling or hiking during the warmest hours of the day, stay at all-time properly hydrated and fed, and if you cycle walk up the hills.
How does it work if I do not want/cannot to cycle or walk on a day?
If on a “point to point” day, you are not able to ride or hike, contact the area manager as soon as possible so he/she can find the best arrangement to have you transferred. Transferring with the luggage might not be possible. Liability, schedule and the type of vehicle used may not allow the transport of passengers. If there is an additional cost to transfer between hotels you will need to pay this yourself directly to the provider.
What kind of support can I expect along the way?
Our self-guided tours provide behind-the-scenes support to your journey. If you have a question or need bike mechanic assistance*, our area managers are available on call throughout the tour. In case of emergency help is just a phone call away, 24/7.
*You have to be able to fix a flat tire yourself. You will have all the spares and tools to repair it.
Do I have to carry any of my own luggage or gear?
All the luggage transfers during our trips are included. For hiking, we recommend using a small day pack to carry water and food supplies. Hybrid bikes are equipped with a handlebar bag offering space for personal items such as a compact camera, wallet, cell phone, snacks, and a compact rain jacket. If you feel like the handlebar bag is not enough, you are free to bring and ride with a daypack or panniers. If you are planning on riding a road bike keep in mind that your bicycle will have not a handlebar bag so it might be a good idea to have a cycling jersey with some back pockets. We believe that cycling and hiking “light” is the best way to go.
How do I get to the start of the trip? How will I get to the airport at the trip's end?
Detailed information about starting and ending locations, airport and transportation options will be included in your trip confirmation package. We provide specific information on the recommended way to get to the start of the trip and how to depart. Each tour begins and ends in or near a town accessible by train bus or taxi. If you plan on driving to the trip start, please contact one of Randonnée Tours’ Travel Advisors for more information on parking options.
How can I arrange my travel before and after my Randonnée Tours trip?
You can contact Randonnée Tours for some suggestions and advice or contact your travel agent. Randonnée Tours does not book plane and train tickets or car rentals. If you would like someone to make those arrangements for you, Randonnée Tours can recommend travel agents that have offered excellent advice to Randonnée clients in the past.
Randonnée Tours does not recommend purchasing nonrefundable airline tickets before the confirmation of your tour.
Will I need a passport or a visa if I'm traveling internationally?
You will need a valid passport for trips outside of your country. No visas are required for Canadian and American citizens for the destinations offered by Randonnée Tours. It is recommended to carry your passport with you at all times. For most countries passports must be valid 3 months beyond length of stay. It is also a good idea to make a photocopy of the pages of your passport that contain your personal information and photograph and carry it separately from your passport.
What do I do with my electronics and valuables when I'm on a trip?
We recommend leaving any valuables at home that are not absolutely essential for your tour. If you bring valuables on your trip, please remember that we do not assume responsibility for these. During the day we suggest you keep your passport, wallet, cell phone and any other valuables with you. Although we have never had an issue or loss on any luggage transfer in the past, we do not assume responsibility for any damage or loss incurred at any time during the trip.
Do you provide children's bikes?
Yes, we can source children’s bikes in most regions we have trips.
Can children have their own room?
Yes, children can have their own room. The minimum age required by the accommodations is usually 16.
Ready to Book!
How can I know if the trip will run for the start date I want?
The only thing you have to do is to fill-out and submit your registration form so we can contact the accommodations and confirm your trip. Thanks to our dedicated travel advisors, we confirm 100% of our trips and more than 99% of them at the exact date chosen by our guests. No deposit is due until the confirmation of the trip. When we receive a registration form and contact the accommodations to confirm a trip, we commit by making firm reservation. We consider that you do the same and commit to the date you requested.
How far in advance do I need to reserve my vacation?
The earlier, the better. All our self-guided trips are ‘on request’ and the confirmation of your trip depends on the availability of the accommodations. As soon as we will have received your registration form we will contact the accommodations. Remember that we offer early bird prices for tour booked 10 months in advance or more.
What does a trip cost?
Less than you’d expect. Randonnée’s experience in self-guided travel has resulted in rewarding relationships over the years with our hand-picked accommodations, restaurants and attractions. Our regular returns ensure that desirable rooms, services and amenities are available for much less than you’d pay booking it yourself. Depending on a trip’s destination and duration, those savings can really add up. Browse tours by Destination and pick your trip to view rates.
How much of a deposit is required?
Once your trip is confirmed, US $750 (or equivalent in CAD$) per person is required. For trips in Canada, the deposit is CAD $750 (or equivalent in US$). For custom trips the deposit amount may vary.
What’s a ‘single supplement’?
Since our prices are based on on the assumption that two people will share one bedroom, either sharing a double or twin bedroom; a single supplement will be applied to a single person who requires a private room. The amount depends on the cost of the accommodations and represents the fraction of the room that would have been paid by another traveler if the room was shared.
When is the balance of my tour due?
The balance of your tour is due 90 days prior to the start date mentioned on your registration form, however you may pay the balance at any time between the trip confirmation and 90 days from departure. For custom tours the due date may vary.
How do I sign up for my Randonnée Tours trip?
You have to fill out our registration form online. On the right hand side of any page of our website, click on the button “Book this trip” then you just have to follow the steps and fill-out the fields. Reservations over the phone are not possible.
Can I reserve my Randonnée Tours vacation with my travel agent?
Yes, we work with Travel Agents and are more than happy to receive your registration through an agent. For the travel agent to be compensated, he/she must introduce you to Randonnée Tours.
How long does it take for my trip to be confirmed?
Our goal is to confirm your trip as quickly as possible so you can continue prepare your vacations. We are usually able to confirm your trip and preferred date within 48-72 hours. Depending on the season, the tour and accommodation type you are booking the time needed to confirm may vary. Many of the “small” hotels and B&B’s we use do not have 24/7 reservation staff year round.
Will the price of my trip change?
No, the listed price for your trip when you register is the price you will pay. Even if we change prices after you book, your price is guaranteed.
Do you charge any additional taxes?
Only our Canadian trips require the payment of taxes. For trips in British Columbia for example, GST of 5% applies. Please refer to the pricing on the itinerary page for specifics for the trip you are choosing.
How do you calculate exchange rates when trips are invoiced in USD and paid in CAD or vice versa?
When clients’ preferred currency is different than the one we invoice the trip with (CAD $ for Canadian trips; USD $ for other trips), we use the live exchange rate on the day we send the invoice.
When will I receive more detailed information about my trip so I can start planning?
We will acknowledge the reception of your registration form as soon as we have reviewed it and made sure we have all the information to contact the accommodations and confirm your tour. Then as soon as your tour is confirmed, usually 48-72 hours after acknowledgement of your registration, you will receive an email including a Tour Details which list the answers to many questions about your trip, and everything else you need to plan and prepare. Approximately 30 days prior to departure, you will receive your detailed Route Instructions, maps, and other information that you will need on your tour. The reason we wait until 30 days prior to your trip, is that we want you to have the latest information possible.
What is Randonnée Tours' cancellation policy?
Cancellations must be made in writing. All cancellations are subject to a US $500 per person administration fee. The remainder of the deposit is fully refundable up to 90 days before the tour start. If you cancel a Randonnée Tours within 90 days of the tour start, the full trip cost, including the deposit, is not refundable. Because the cancellation policy is strictly applied, purchasing travel protection is highly recommended.
Please make sure to check our most updated Terms & Conditions for updates related to Covid19.