Our team of trip designers are world-travelers, cyclists, and adventurers who are passionate about bringing the best travel experiences to life. Have you ever wondered about the behind the scenes work that takes place to plan your incredible cycling vacations? Our trip designers share the inside scoop.
How our trip planning process works
As huge travel lovers, our trip designers are always carried away by wanderlust and the excitement of discovering new travel destinations. When they stumble upon a must-see destination, they prepare a brief overview, pitch the destination to the team, and, if it is a good fit, start designing a trip! A lot of things go into the planning process, from finding the best hotels to incorporating the highest safety standards. Our trip designers ask: What’s the history of this region? What is the terrain? What rider level is the best fit for the routes? Where are the best hotels and restaurants situated?
The research process is extensive and typically includes in-person visits to the region by the trip designers to check hotels, restaurants, and more. But the process doesn’t end once we have run the first trip. The designers are always looking for ways to continue to improve our trips. They carefully read every single guest evaluation and consistently get guide feedback about all elements of the trip, which helps them to find opportunities to include new routes, hotels, or excursions that are sure to wow.
Our trip designer, Penny, explains that when it comes to planning our epic race trips like the Tour de France, “We look at the race as a whole and imagine the very best experience possible. This is a combination of spectacular stages and rides, together with a few nights at a small luxurious boutique hotel where guests can relax, refresh, and enjoy their surroundings while refueling with delicious local cuisine. The perfect day is a ride on the day’s race route ahead of the peloton with lunch on the race course, where the riders fly by so close you can taste their excitement and sweat.”
How we put together our routes
Typically, our trip designers start off by researching the best hotels in the area and the most important sites to visit during the trip. Based on the riding level of the trip, they work to connect the hotels and points of interest through the most picturesque and fun rides. They also take a look at restaurants in the area, asking if there is a really great restaurant worth a diversion on the route? In many destinations, our local guides are another go-to source for our routes. They ride in the region frequently and know where to go for the best views, the quietest roads, and the most authentic experience. Our trip designers work closely with them to seamlessly blend incredible riding with the best sightseeing and dining in the region.
Once initial research and planning has been done, the second step involves work on the ground. Our trip designers get out in the field, hopping in a rental car and driving a lot of routes, and then actually getting on their bikes to test out some of the favorites. They are carefully making sure that the road conditions offer a safe riding experience and that the scenery is spectacular. On all of our trips, the routes are verified before the trip is ready to book.
The third step in the route planning process is what we call Final Trip Preparation. At this stage, the guides arrive a week prior to the first trip of the season to ride the routes and verify that the roads are still in good condition and everything is in order for when guests arrive.
How we choose hotels
We have a variety of stringent criteria to ensure that our guests have the most pleasant stay possible during their vacation. We typically look for boutique-style hotels that offer exceptional amenities, including onsite breakfast, a spa, pools, porterage availability, quiet guest rooms, and laundry services. The hotels need to be in the best area of the region and offer great riding opportunities nearby (or even right out the front door). We love to find historic properties that are tied into the rich history of the region they represent. We also look to see if they have sustainability standards in place and ensure that they meet our enhanced health and safety standards.
How we choose restaurants
Cuisine is a big part of a country’s culture, and when it comes to trip design, it’s hugely important to give our guests a memory that lasts a lifetime. We seek to foster a true connection to the region that keeps you wanting to come back again and again.
One of the things we really look for when choosing dining options for our trips is experiences that you couldn’t stumble upon on your own—an opportunity that came to be after developing long lasting connections with the locals, one that we found via the word of mouth, or one that is particularly authentic and unique. It might be a meal in a local’s home, a private cooking class in a family-run winery put together especially for us, or even a delectable picnic in a historic olive mill.
At Trek Travel, we celebrate gastronomy and enjoy dining at world-famous, Michelin-starred tables. But when it comes to great trip design, our job is to also scout the most undiscovered, small, family-run cafes, eateries, or restaurants that will welcome you like long lost family and tell you their story and philosophy. We look for places where they still cook with their grandma’s recipe from 80 years ago because it is always unmistakably delicious. The kind of places that decorate the walls with old family pictures and make the most authentic regional cuisine around.
What makes Trek Travel trips special
Having a team of professional trip designers working behind the scenes means that we can take travel planning to a whole new level. Our team carefully orchestrates the entire trip to balance excitement with relaxation, exceptional rides with unique, local experiences, and much more. Every day is perfectly planned to build on the next, reaching a final crescendo near the end of the trip.
We always work hard to make connections with locals in every region where we travel because they know that region so well and always have a pulse on the best new restaurants, routes, or hotels a region has to offer. We’re in contact with our partners constantly, and because of our long-term relationships, they are always willing to go the extra mile for our guests. For instance, some of our hotels will upgrade rooms for our guests celebrating special occasions.
Our Trip Designers are also a huge part of what makes our trips special. They love what they do, and their passion comes through in the quality of trips they plan for you.
“There is no better job than creating the trip of a lifetime. Dare yourself to imagine the ultimate trip, then challenge yourself to put it together so it becomes reality.” – Penny
“I love the creativity of getting to know a region and dissecting the best parts to showcase to our guests. I really enjoy the connections I have with our partners, too, who truly feel like friends.” – Ashley
“I love researching and planning the small details that make a big difference! When I was in college, I had a big stash of travel magazines. It was probably bigger than my stash of real books. I do this job with the same excitement that I had flipping through my travel magazines.” – Ioanna
At Trek Travel, it is our mission to show you the best of the world by bike through curating unforgettable adventures. We weave our signature hospitality into every aspect of our trips, which truly upgrades your vacation into the experience of a lifetime.
Ready to experience one of our trips for yourself?