FAQ

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.

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

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.

You can e-mail us at info@randonneetours.com. You can also write or phone us at: #102-1529 West 6th Ave., Vancouver, BC V6J1R1 – Tel. 604.730.1247 or 1.800.242.1825. Our Vancouver office is open Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm PST.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

As large as you want.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Yes, we can source children’s bikes in most regions we have 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.

Yes, you can purchase gift cards for any tours or amounts. Our beautiful gifts cards can either be sent to you or personalized with the words of your choice and sent directly by mail to the (lucky) recipient.

Yes, please contact us and we will set it up for your special day.

Our website is kept current so it can be assumed to have the latest and most useful 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.

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.

Yes, children can have their own room. The minimum age required by the accommodations is usually 16.

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

Yes, if you gather a group of eight travelers or more, each participant will receive a 10% discount.

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.

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”.

Preparation

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.

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. Call 1.800.242.1825 to chat with one of our Travel Advisors to ensure the trip you are considering is appropriate.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Reservation

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.

  • All lodgings
  • All breakfasts, and one to three dinners depending on the length of your tour
  • Use of a high quality bicycle
  • Inn-to-inn luggage transfers
  • Comprehensive Tour Details with detailed pre-trip information
  • Detailed orientation material, highlighted maps, detailed route descriptions
  • Personal meet & greet with one of our local Area Managers
  • Area manager available on call throughout the tour
  • Bike mechanic assistance
  • On certain trips, extras such as cooking courses, walking tours with a local expert, wine tasting with a sommelier…
  • Randonnée Tours water bottle on bike tours
  • Access to Loyalty Program and other exclusive benefits

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. If you prefer the old fashion way you can also use the printable version and mail it use. Reservations over the phone are not possible.

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.

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, last year we confirmed 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.

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.

When paying an invoice in a different currency from the invoice, we use the exchange rate of the day (CAD/USD) as indicated by xe.com on the day we process the transaction.

Once your trip is confirmed, US $500 (or equivalent in CAD$) per person is required. For trips in Canada, the deposit is CAD $500 (or equivalent in US$). For custom trips the deposit amount may vary.

The balance of your tour is due 60 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 60 days from departure. For custom tours the due date may vary. If you are paying with a credit card, the balance will be automatically processed.

Our prices are made on the assumption that two people will share one bedroom, either sharing a double or twin bedroom. If one person decides to have a private room, a single supplement is applied.

Since our prices are based on a double occupancy (two people per room), a person who requires a private room is applied a single supplement. 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.

Certain trips require the payment of taxes. For trips in British Columbia for example, GST of 5% appliesPlease refer to the pricing on the itinerary page for specifics for the trip you are choosing.

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.

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.

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.

Cancellations must be made in writing. All cancellations are subject to a US$250 per person administration fee. The remainder of the deposit is fully refundable up to 60 days before the tour start. If you cancel a Randonnée Tours within 60 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.

Up until 90 days prior to the start date of your confirmed tour, Randonnée Tours allows to transfer (change tour) or reschedule (same tour different date) without penalties or administrative fees. The new tour has to start in the same calendar year as the one initially booked. Depending on the new tour selected, new dates and new accommodation arrangements the initial invoice price may change.

Between 90 days and 30 days from the start date of the tour, the fee for transferring or rescheduling a tour is US$250 per tour. The new tour has to start on the same calendar year as the one initially booked. Depending on the new tour selected, new dates and new accommodation arrangements the initial invoice price may change. Travelers who have purchased Randonnée Tours’ ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage get the US$250 fee waived and receive their 100% trip credit in order to change tour or reschedule it within the next 24 months.

Within 30 days of the tour start, transferring or rescheduling a tour is not permitted unless you have purchased Randonnée Tours’ ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage. Travelers who have purchased Randonnée Tours’ ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage can cancel, transfer or reschedule their tour up until 48 hours before the start and receive a 100% trip credit valid for 24 months.

Travelers are limited to one transfer or reschedule per tour booked.

Because Randonnée Tours strictly applies its transfer and reschedule policy, it is highly recommended that you purchase travel insurance.

Randonnée Tours offers an exclusive ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage which allows you to cancel for any reason up until 48 hours from departure and receive a 100% trip credit valid for 24 months. The cost of this is 5% of your trip cost if purchased at time of registration. After the trip confirmation and up until 60 days prior to departure, the coverage is available at 10% of total trip cost. After trip confirmation AND within 60 days of departure, it is not possible to purchase the coverage. Cancellations must be made in writing and receive by Randonnée Tours at least 48 hours before the start date of the tour. The cost of the coverage is due upon subscription to it.

For any other type of coverage including, trip interruption, medical expenses and evacuation, lost baggage… Randonnée Tours recommends Travel Guard.

Your credit card company might already offer you some insurance coverage when purchasing your tour or airfare with it. Please contact your credit card company directly for more information.

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.