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|Hayley Matthews • 11/04/16|
The Short Version: Traveling the globe can enrich your perspective on the world, and when you share an adventure with someone special, it can be even more thrilling and meaningful. Country Walkers takes singles and couples on a journey to witness hidden wonders in over 66 destinations from the U.S. to Australia. If you’re traveling alone, their packages offer unique pricing benefits, like slashing single supplements, to make solo travel more affordable. Their guided group tours also come with the added bonus of travel buddies walking, hiking, dining, and enjoying the trip alongside you. To meet new people or share a romantic trip with a loved one, embark on a tour of the world with Country Walkers.
During a guided tour of Italy, a couple from Toronto looked out over sprawling vistas while a salty sea breeze raised goosebumps on their skin. It was their 30th anniversary, and they chose to spend it awash in the splendor of the Italian landscape. With that backdrop, romance is pretty much inevitable. Hand in hand, they celebrated their lifelong commitment to one another and made a lasting memory in a truly beautiful setting.
Italy is among the most popular destinations for people, like this couple, who choose to travel with Country Walkers, a leading provider of worldwide active travel. Eric Segalstad, the Director of Marketing at Country Walkers, shared the story of these traveling lovebirds to illustrate how people come together on their guided and self-guided tours. The company’s motto is “Explore the world one step at a time” because they encourage journeying on foot to take in the scenery of destinations around the world.
Country Walkers was launched in 1979 in an old barn in Vermont by Bob and Cindy Maynard, a couple who wanted to show visitors the wonders of New England. Their planned excursions became so popular, they soon expanded from tours in their own backyard to journeys halfway round the world. Now the company offers guided and self-guided tours to guests looking for a social and stress-free way to travel the globe.
For guided tours, groups can made up of 16 to 18 people, but the average group size is a more intimate 12. The tours often become the setting for people meeting and forging connections — sometimes they even decide to go on multiple trips together. If you love seeing the world, the Country Walkers tours are an easy way to visit romantic and inspirational places with a group of like-minded people.
Country Walkers takes groups to 65+ destinations on five continents (including Africa via CW Safaris). Their seasoned experts handle the logistics of the trip so guests can relax and enjoy the scenery worry-free.
“We’re in it for the love of travel and forging relationships with people,” Eric said. “Our tours take people out of their normal routine in a wonderful escape from their day-to-day lives.”
By traveling the world over, Country Walkers immerses their guests in the culture of the region in all-inclusive vacation packages. Every port of call, from the vineyards of California to the glaciers of New Zealand, showcases their finest foods and rarest sights for visitors.
“The tours are all about slowing down, enjoying the pleasures of camaraderie, and immersing oneself in authentic experiences,” according to the Country Walkers website.
Eric described the typical Country Walkers guest as well-educated, affluent, and healthy. These passionate travelers can choose to take a trip as a couple or group, or they can venture out on their own. Solo travelers enjoy low or no single supplements when traveling with these single-friendly tours. If you don’t mind sharing a hotel room with a roommate of the same gender, you can save even more through the Single-Share Program.
Wish I had the words to tell you just how powerful it is to be on the way of Saint James, walking at my own pace, yet still in the company of our group, experiencing this ancient track.” — M. Murray, a Country Walkers guest in Spain 2015
With Country Walkers, you can choose your own adventure and set your own pace. The tours range in levels of difficulty from easy (walking four to six miles per day) to challenging (walking up to 14 miles on rugged terrain and climbs of up to 4,000 ft). Those who choose to challenge themselves are rewarded by the breathtaking sights of places like Ecuador’s Highlands.
“Most tour pages on Countrywalkers.com include reviews,” Eric said. “You can also see the highlights of each trip like what you’ll do and where you’ll stay, including the amenities that matter the most, so you know what you have to look forward to.”
Accommodations and cuisine are included as part of the experience. From start to finish, the guides try to make the journey seamless so you can enjoy the company of your travel buddies and the beauty of your destination.
Every year, Country Walkers organizes guided walking tours in two dozen countries. You can search by travel style to find the tour that attracts you. Each itinerary comes with a guide who is fluent in the language of the land and well-versed in the sights.
The tours are small, promising a 1:7 guide-to-guest ratio so it becomes a more personalized experience. “The guides are skilled at building cohesion and nurturing a group dynamic from day one,” Eric said, “and our guests are very welcoming to one another on the tours.”
Guests not only travel but also eat meals and enjoy shared activities that bring them closer throughout the experience. The well-organized adventures amaze guests with serene sights, delicious cuisine, and local guides who know all about the culture, environment, and history of the region.
From following the legendary pilgrim trail Camino de Santiago in northern Spain to walking Japan’s serene temple grounds, Country Walkers takes you off the beaten path and offers travel companions to share in the experience.
In 2010, Country Walkers started self-guided walking adventures for more independent travelers. These tours plan itineraries with greater flexibility so you can make it your own, even selecting your own travel date.
You can browse through and select from any of their 15 tours in several countries. Wherever you choose to go, you’ll have the freedom to walk at your own pace and create your own experience, going where you please with Country Walkers taking care of the details.
According to Country Walkers, “Guests are provided with comprehensive route notes and maps, luggage transfers between hotels, many meals, suggested visits, and an orientation meeting with a local rep” to get them situated on their trip. The rest is up to you.
To satisfy their adventurous guests, Country Walkers expanded to African tours with CW Safaris. Today, they host 10 tours and extensions in seven African countries. Expert guides offer insider understanding of the continent and its people.
Guests are welcomed so they can appreciate the traditions, wildlife, and local flavor that makes that particular region unique.
“People told me this would be a trip of a lifetime,” said E. Nickerson, a traveler from Massachusetts, “and it truly was. I was particularly impressed with CW Safaris.”
Adventure travel engages the senses and invigorates the mind, so it’s no wonder travelers often find themselves addicted to it. Eric said many guests come back for more and more trips. One intrepid retired couple has gone on more than 25 tours over the years.
Country Walkers loves to see that loyalty and hopes to excite such enthusiasm in all their guests by providing a remarkable travel experience. The tours foster a travel community by rewarding those who take multiple trips.
Their Encore Loyalty Program offers savings — and even a free trip if you earn enough credit — and the more you travel with them, the more you’ll save. “We’re pretty proud of our loyalty program,” Eric said. “We do a good job of following up with our guests to learn what works and how we can improve our tours, and it speaks volumes to us that people keep choosing to travel with Country Walkers again and again.”
Additionally, certain encore trips are offered exclusively to experienced guests who have gone on a tour with Country Walkers before. On these Encore-Only Adventures, you may run into some familiar faces and make connections with people all over the world.
The Vermont team is a group of active-minded and well-traveled individuals. According to Eric, his coworkers enjoy exploration and adventure just as much as their guests do. “People love hiking, biking, traveling, skiing, and all kinds of activities, so we’re a pretty active bunch,” he said. “It’s always fun on Monday morning to hear what people did on their weekends.”
The company encourages staying active, funding gym memberships, and ski passes for their employees.
Efficient and considerate, the multilingual staff gives personalized attention to their guests, helping people find the perfect getaway. Once on your trip, the guides are available 24/7 to answer your questions or address your concerns along your trip. They will be fluent in English as well as the language(s) of the area you visit.
The team also cultivates friendships with their guests — loyalty is a huge thing for them. Tour Consultants work hard to make sure you have everything you need for your travel. They even have an in-house travel agency with travel packages to lessen strain and cost of travel arrangements by connecting you with the airline to get you where you need to go.
Travel. Friendship. Landscapes. So much awaits you at Country Walkers. From the lakes of Italy to the savannas of Africa, the tours offer an up-close look at the culture of dozens of regions around the world as well as an interpersonal experience with travel companions.
Your guide, an experienced wanderer in touch with the local community, can expertly navigate bustling cities and lush valleys, letting you soak everything in at your leisure. With affordable benefits for solo travelers, groups, and repeat travelers, Country Walkers puts world-class travel within your reach.
All you need to do is pick where you want to go (and who you want to go with) and start making memories. Whether you’re venturing out on your own or exploring with your lifelong love, these tours provide a truly wondrous opportunity to marvel at the world and deepen your relationships.
“When you travel with like-minded people, solo or not, you end up forming friendships,” Eric said. “What people come home with, and what I think keeps them coming back, is the comradery and how that group dynamic is forged. It’s quite extraordinary.”