Backroads (tel. 800/462-2848; www. backroads.com) runs all kinds of active travel trips, from biking, walking, hiking, and more, and some multi-sport ones, too, all over the world. In the U.S., Backroads runs biking/hiking trips in the U.S., including a Death Valley multi-sport, a four-day trip priced from $1,598 for casual inns, with a departure November 19-22. All meals are included, and the trip starts in Las Vegas. You can also choose from a singles/solos trip November 12-15 and December 19-22. You get maps and the routes are rated according to difficulty. Or take everyone to Hawaii for a family biking and hiking on Kauai, also known as the "Garden Isle." It's a six-day, five-night trip with a departure August 5 priced from $2,798 per person and December 18 from $3,098 per person, for accommodations in casual inns. All meals are included except for one lunch and one dinner.
New this year for Backroads is a Nova Scotia multi-sport trip that takes you along the Lighthouse Route and the Bay of Fundy. It's priced from $2,398 for a six-day, five-night trip with stays at casual inns, with all meals except two included. Departures are available September 9 for the company's classic trip or August 5 for a singles/solos trip. The terrain is comprised of a rugged coastline, coves, rocky cliffs, and a rich fishing heritage.
GAP Adventures (tel. 800/708-7761; www. gapadventures.com) has a special promotion for some of its new trips, including its Hike, Bike and Raft trip in India, a fifteen-day excursion that starts from $990 (without airfare). There are departures with availability scheduled October 21, November 18, and December 16, and several in early 2008. The ground you'll cover includes Delhi, Shekhawati region, Jaipur, Agra, Almora, Corbett National Park (where you can ride an elephant and raft on the River Ganges), and Rishikesh. The promotion is only valid through August 31, so you must book by then. It's a fully supported bicycle ride of three days in Shekhawati region, which is comprised of small towns with temples and forts, and the price also includes, among other activities, entrance fees to sightseeing per the itinerary, guided walks in Kumaon hills and a jeep safari inside the national park -- or elephant safari, if available. The maximum group size is fifteen and the minimum is ten, and you have the services of a group leader and local guides. Acomodatoins include hotels/guesthouses for the majority of the trip, along with two nights of river camping and an overnight on a train in a sleeper car. Seventeen meals are included, and the company recommends you budget about $150 for additional expenses, such as the meals that are not included.
Intrepid Travel (tel. 866/847-8192; www. intrepidtravel.com), based in Australia but which does business with American travelers, has a trip called Active South Island -- that's New Zealand's south island. It's a nine-day excursion that starts in Christchurch and includes cycling, hiking on Mt. Isobel, canoeing, and thermal spring relaxation. It's priced from A$1,670 (about US$1,434) with a local payment of NZ$100 (about US$78). There is availability on two trips -- one that departs Saturday, October 20 and another on Saturday November 3. The price includes six breakfasts and seven lunches, transportation within the country, two nights of hotel stay sand the rest are in shared facilities such as guesthouses or lodges. It does not include airfare.
The Thailand hike, bike and raft trip is on special right now, starting from $1,095 for trips departing July 21. You must book by July 14, however, to get 20 percent off the rate of $1,095 AUD (about US$938) plus a local payment of 8,500 Thai baht (approximately US$268). With the 20 per cent discount, though, the cost is about A$852, or about US$730. It is a thirteen-day trip that includes cycling through Bangkok and Chiang Mai, jungle trekking, and kayaking, along with time for soaking in hot springs and getting a Thai massage. Seventeen meals are included, along with seven nights at a hotel or guesthouse, one night of camping, two nights in a hill tribe village, and two evenings on overnight trains. If you can't take this trip on this date, there are other options. Departures through August 31 start from A$1,095; departures September 1-December 31 start from A$1,135, about US$972.
The advantage with Intrepid is that the company has extensive trip offerings around the world that average about ten participants. Additionally, Intrepid strives to be a carbon-neutral operation by the year 2009.
VBT (tel. 800/245-3868; www.vbt.com) has been offering bicycling vacations since 1971, and the company is running some specials on its web site. Travel to its new destination, Costa Rica, for a seven-day trip is now priced from $1,995, including airfare from Miami for an October 27 departure. Depart November 24 or December 15 from $2,195. The fee covers accommodations in three-star hotels, eighteen meals, transfers, bicycle and helmet use, full van support, route directions and maps, welcome reception and sightseeing and cultural activities. You'll visit active volcanoes, a visit with a strawberry farm and a coffee farm, and ride through papaya, pineapple and yucca farms. There's even a wildlife safari on the itinerary at Lake Arenal, and opportunities for bird watching in Los Angeles Cloud forest.
Mountain Travel Sobek (tel. 888/MTSOBEK; www.mountaintravelsobek.com) offers multi-sport trips around the world that include some combination of mountain biking, hiking, swimming, kayaking, rafting, horseback riding -- you name it; chances are, you'll never be bored. The company's trip Hiking in the Dolomites is just that: a moderate, eight-night vacation priced from $3,190 (if the trip has 9-16 members) that takes you through this mountain rage in the far northeast corner of Italy. There are departures July 14, September 1 and September 15. You start and finish in Venice, and hike in an environment that includes pillars, pinnacles, rock walls, stunning views, green valleys with wildflowers. The price includes seven nights' accommodations in hotels and one night in a mountain inn, 20 meals, airport transfers, ground transportation, medical and evacuation insurance. Round-trip airfare, tips, etc., are not included.