“When I refer to “our guides” – that usually means me – Gary Scott. Answers below have a short and a long answer and mainly refer to the Dolomites walking tours but the information is basically the same for all of our tours. – Gary P. Scott (the founder and owner of Right Path Adventures)
Your health and safety have always been our number one priority, and we are continually monitoring the COVID situation in all places that we run tours. We are not going to run the risk of people getting sick on our trips and will have no problem canceling or rescheduling a trip if deemed necessary with refunds provided.
Our guides will not run a trip if they are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID19 and will be wearing masks when necessary and appropriate and washing their hands at every opportunity. Water for handwashing and hand sanitizer will be available in our vans at every stop whenever possible.
Anyone wanting to join one of our trips will be sent a comprehensive questionnaire regarding their health and where they will be traveling before the tour with us. We will be in touch with all trip participants right before the trip to check on them and to make sure they are fit and healthy. Any person we deem unsafe to travel with the group will be deemed “unfit to travel,” and we will cancel their trip and refund their trip fees.
We will be maintaining ALL recommended COVID safe procedures at every step of our trips, including limiting the number of people on our trips (and the number of people in our van to 4-6 guests (and having two vehicles if needed for a larger group). We will be cleaning the van/s at every chance we get and thoroughly disinfecting it at the end of each day.
Private van pick-ups can be arranged to and from most cities in Europe if you do not want to take a train or a flight to meet us at the start or the end of a trip, or we can assist you with organizing private vehicle transportation.
As always, we highly recommend comprehensive trip insurance (as we did before the COVID situation), and even emergency evacuation insurance. Check out our recommended Travel Insurance provider here, and for Global Rescue for emergency evacuation insurance, click here.
We will be practicing social distancing whenever possible, using hand sanitizer at every chance we get and using masks when deemed appropriate. We will also be checking the situation in advance at every place we visit, every hotel we stay at and every restaurant where we plan to dine. If a place is deemed unsafe or a health risk, we will not take you there. Fortunately, our tours focus on getting away from it all and avoiding crowds, and we spend most of our time in nature and away from most risks. You can dine away from the group on your own anytime you want.
Once again – your health and safety have always been our number one priority, and we are continually monitoring the situation in all places that we run tours. We are not going to run the risk of people getting sick on our trips and will have no problem canceling or rescheduling a trip if necessary.
We attract like-minded, fun people who come on our trips to hike, explore, enjoy great food, have unique experiences, relax knowing we have everything taken care of, and to have a great time. My tours and my guiding style is fun, laid back, interesting, flexible, safe, healthy, enriching, educational, mindful, and even transformational. We have had many of our guests go on 2, 3, or 4 tours with us, and many are willing to talk with you about their experiences if you are interested – just let us know.
Your job as a guest on our tours is to relax and have a great time and to let me do my job. My job as a travel company owner and walking and travel guide is to take care of you (my guest) to the very best of my ability.
Travel Tip: Give more and get more back. We have found that the more you give to a trip and to the group, the more you will get out of it. Be nice and friendly and people will be nice and friendly back to you. Be the opposite, and you’ll probably get the opposite back. We personally believe that when you join a group trip, you have an obligation to contribute to the betterment of the group and arrive with a great attitude. No one enjoys the company of a sourpuss. I used to tell people at my travel talks – and I’ll repeat it here – “if you aren’t going to be fun to be with – please do not come on one of my trips.” It’s not fair to the other members of the group or me!
I am constantly on the move, so best to start a chat with me – (see the chatbox on the bottom right-hand side of your screen), or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a good contact number to call you on. Or you can try me on my U.S. phone at 435 729 9107, or on my Australian phone at +61406 834 855. Try me anytime as I have my phone off when I am sleeping or unavailable. I look forward to chatting with you!
I have taken all ages on our tours from 8 to 89 and every age in between. (Both the 8-year-old and the 89-year-old were fast and super keen walkers!) On our regular group trips, we do not mix teens under the age of 18 with our adult guests, unless everyone is comfortable with that. We do however, often take kids under 18 on private family trips with their parents or two families at the same time; please ask us for more details. After 36 years of leading people through the mountains on hundreds of trips, I have found that age is far less important than attitude.
The average age of our guests is between 50-70, and most are not “mountain goats” or “marathon runners” but merely normal people who enjoy nature and walking and beautiful scenery. So no previous walking experience is necessary to have a great time, and there is always the option to walk less or walk more! I am an expert at finding the perfect walk or hike for you no matter what age or fitness level you are at.
Types of people – my trips attract like-minded people who come on a trip to do some incredible hikes and see some amazing sights, to learn about the local culture, traditions, and history, and to have fun in a beautiful and unique part of the world. To eat amazing food and drink incredible local wines, and to savor the light dancing on the mountains as the sun sets and rises. My tours and my guiding style is fun, laid back, interesting, flexible, safe, healthy, enriching, educational, mindful, and can even be transformational, and many guests that join me are often looking for the same thing. Some come just to hike and see great views and that is OK too!
I have guided over 40 treks and expeditions into the Himalaya and over 20 just to Everest Base Camp, and everything thinks, “Ooooo, that must be a really hard trek, and you have to be really fit to do it” – that’s simply not true. I have taken people in their mid-70’s and people who did NO (zero) training or physical preparation and people who were 60lbs overweight and people with injuries to Everest Base Camp, and they all made it. (Let alone in 2003 I co-led an awesome group of 27 people with all kinds of disabilities – including four folk in wheelchairs – who all made it – what’s your excuse?)
What’s far more important is that your feet are “fit and ready” to be on them for 6+ hours a day. Sure, you’ll be less tired at the end of the days walk if you are “fitter” but I have taken the least likely candidates on hiking tours, and they may have been sore at the end of the day, but they did it – and they felt darn proud of themselves at the end of each day, and the trip!
Most people plan and book a trip like this way in advance, so you’ll have plenty of time to “get in shape,” and we can help you with suggestions for how you can best prepare physically for one of our tours. Plus, we avoid bis ascents and descents and use cable cars to get to the best hiking spots and the best views, and remember – we’ve taken thousands of people on hundreds of tours, and we know what we are talking about. Bottom line – we want you to have a great time and not worry. If you are concerned about your fitness, please contact us, and we’ll evaluate that for you and discuss if you have time to get in better shape for one of our walking tours.
We have taken dozens of people with absolutely no hiking experience on our tours – and they had a blast! But think about it, most trips involve walking whether you visit Paris or Rome or New York or the Grand Canyon. I believe you’d be more tired and sore after spending the day walking around a city than on one of our trips. I once guided 27 people with all levels of disabilities to Everest Base Camp in Nepal – and four of them were in wheelchairs – so we can handle whatever level of fitness or walker you are. Once again, contact us for further clarification on this if you are concerned. Please don’t miss out on this incredible experience by pre-judging yourself – let us do that for you – we are the experts and we certainly don’t want to take people who are not up for it so we will be honest for you and match you to the “right trip” and on the “right path”.
Please check the descriptions for each tour where it will state exactly what is included and not included – just know that we are a company that strives to offer the best of service and value for money at the best price possible. We don’t cut corners and won’t hit you up later for “hidden” extra charges.
Some of our tours include everything except for some meals where you can make your own choices of where you dine and how much you spend (with our recommendations of course). Our goal is to include as much as possible, so you have minimal out-of-pocket expenses. All of our tours do not include alcohol and hotel extra charges or spa treatments, or travel insurance (which we highly recommend, especially in these times.) You are also responsible for getting yourself to the start of the tour and wherever you need to go after the tour finishes.
We don’t nickel-and-dime our guests, and we are more generous than we should be and often pay for many things that most tour companies don’t include. For example, single travelers can have their own room at no additional charge – as most companies charge a single room supplement.
As always, we highly recommend comprehensive trip insurance (as we did before the COVID situation) and even emergency evacuation insurance.
We have always been sympathetic to our guests that need to cancel for one reason or another and always refund fees paid when we can and feel that it is the “right” thing to do. Due to the current COVID19 situation, we have revamped our booking and cancellation policy and we will be very flexible with it. If you must cancel for any reason we will refund whatever amount you have paid for a trip (less PayPal fees of 3%) and any hotel bookings we have made that we cannot get a refund for though this should not be an issue as we will be avoiding non-refundable hotel bookings as much as possible in the future (sometimes that is not possible but many hotels have relaxed their cancellation policies as well due to COVID.)
As always, we highly recommend comprehensive trip insurance (as we did before the COVID situation), and even emergency evacuation insurance.
Trying to get to the start of a tour the morning the tour departs is not wise as you will no doubt be rushed and stressed out, and we usually have to get going as we have plans for that day, and you will have to catch up at your own expense. If you get to the pickup place the night before this won’t happen, and you will be more relaxed – which is the mode we want you in. Of course, if you book a private tour or if you let us know your travel plans in advance, we can wait for you or arrange for you to meet us en route.
Private van pick-ups can be arranged to and from most cities in Europe if you do not want to take a train or a flight to meet us at the start or the end of a trip, or we can assist you with organizing your own private transportation. Travel Tip: Use GoOpti for inexpensive van transfers.
I find it amusing when someone spends a small fortune flying overseas, and on a tour, then they don’t want to spring $20 for a taxi to get them to the start of a tour on time, or they spend three hours on a crowded public boat/bus ride that made them sick, and late, when they could have taken a very pleasant 30-minute private boat/taxi ride for a few more bucks…
Another free tip: We only want you to have the best trip possible, and so we are always happy to help you with planning your trip before you make travel plans before and after your tour with us. We have had people visit places where they weren’t happy, and we could have easily suggested a far cooler place to go. And we have had people follow their travel agents or some well-meaning friends’ advice, and they flew one place, had to stay the night in a hotel, then took a train to another place, just to go somewhere where we could have helped them get to in a private van in a few hours…
If deemed necessary, we will limit the number of people in our van due to COVID and use a second van if necessary. Our drivers are very safe and drive for the comfort and safety of our guests, we are never in a hurry and rarely have people experience motion sickness because of the way we drive. We get many comments from guests that they feel very safe when driving with us.
We know the front seats offer the best views, and we know it’s less fun to sit in the back of a van, and we know that some people get motion sickness, however – since we drive slowly and smoothly, we hardly ever have people suffer from motion sickness, and for that reason, we ask that people swap seats often – unless you prefer to sit in the back of the van.
We also kindly ask that people do not eat or drink beverages (water is fine) in the van, and there are many good reasons why we ask this. We do try and stop every hour for a 10-15 minute pit-stop, and that is a great time to hit the bathrooms, rotate seats, and/or have a snack or a cup of coffee.
We want you to be very happy with every aspect of our trips and where you will be staying. We hand select the accommodation and don’t stay there again if we find it not up to our high standards. We consider location, views, cleanliness, amenities, the staff, the vibe of the place, and many other “unseen” factors when choosing accommodation. We are not looking to save money when we book hotels – we want our guests to be happy.
Please note that on some of our tours, when we stay one night in a location, it is not always possible to get “the best rooms with the best views.” Many Europeans stay at places for a week or more, and often are regulars that come back to the same hotel year after year and often reserve rooms way in advance for the next season, and so they get the best rooms. We have found we can secure better rooms in less expensive hotels so sometimes we do that. And please understand that it can get very busy in Europe in the summer and to secure a room for a few nights is sometimes very difficult so we use our contacts to get the best rooms we can get that are available. It’s not easy to make everyone happy all the time, but we sure try to!
We offer our single travelers a room on their own at no additional cost, even when this costs us more. Single rooms are not as common as western countries so often a single room might not be that large or with a view – they are usually at the rear of a hotel. We do try and negotiate the best rooms for all of our guests, and when available, we will book a double room for our single guests – once again, even if it costs us more. You can always ask the front desk to upgrade your room – at your own expense.
If you are not happy with your room or want to try and move rooms, we suggest that you don’t unpack but politely ask at the front desk if there are other rooms available. I have always found that a smile and being nice gives me better results whenever I am asking for anything, anywhere.
We choose hotels based on many factors, sometimes it’s because they are unique to that area or country, and we want you to have that experience, even if it means fewer amenities or something else. It could be the sunset from the rooftop balcony is out of this world, and that’s why we choose for you to stay there.
Or, it could be the wonderful owners or staff that welcome us back each time we stay and treat us so well. The more you interact with the hotel staff the more you will get out of the experience staying there. The more times we stay at a place, the deeper those relationships and friendships get, and you will often feel very welcome where we have you stay.
Often our guides will stay at a different hotel to save on overhead, and often they will dine on their own for the same reason and many others.
Travel Tip: If your guide recommends you do something – like order a drink from the lobby bar and watch the sunset from the rooftop – do it – otherwise, you’ll miss out on the main reason we stayed there in the first place. Bonus Tip: When your guide suggests doing something – it’s not a “suggestion.”
Why would we not want you to be happy with where we dine? As with accommodation, we are not trying to save money on the places we choose to dine; we want you to be happy and to have a “local experience”. We choose restaurants based on our vast (and past) experiences, and often it’s because of the location, the view, the vibe, the quality of the food (obviously), and the way the staff treats our guests. Most of the places we dine offer numerous meal options and many places now offer gluten free and vegetarian meals. Organic locally grown food is also a big thing.
Travel Tip: Avoid when possible asking for changes to what’s on the menu.
In Europe, most hotels have breakfast included, and on some of our tours such as the Dolomites tour, we cover the cost of all meals. On some of our other tours, we cover some lunches and breakfasts (check each tour for details), and you have the choice of where you dine when the tab is on you. We will, of course, make recommendations on where to dine. The cost of lunches and dinners is equal with what you’d pay to go out to eat in the U.S. or Australia, and there will be numerous options for what level of dining you choose. Our guides usually take the evening off and so won’t be joining you for dinner, let alone it’s more expensive for them and a lot of calories to eat out all the time at restaurants for six months straight.
We have no problem paying for a beer or glass of wine at lunch, but in the evenings and at other times, alcohol is at your expense. Travel Tip: Please don’t order French wine a German beer when you are dining in Italy – it’s a huge insult. Ask the wait staff for their suggestion for a good wine or beer from the region, same with food, and they will be happy to help you. And, to get the best service – look the restaurant staff in the eyes and smile and say hello and even ask how they are doing – they will appreciate it.
With a zillion trips and walks/hikes under our belts we know what works and what is a great walk/hike. We know exactly where to take you to get the best views and to have an incredible experience. We know how to vary the walks to cater to different “levels” of walkers and often take detours to split the group up to make everyone happy. We have never “lost” anyone nor ever had anyone have an accident on one of our walks – and we plan to keep it that way. And, we often have an extra guide along, (or get one if necessary), so we often have a guide in front and one bringing up the rear, especially if we find the group has wildly varying abilities and experience.
You are probably very good at what you do, and we are very, very good at what we do. From many years of experience, we know how to evaluate our guests and to find the perfect hike for them. Don’t worry that we will not cover enough ground for you; there are always options and side-trips, and there is always more walking you can do at the end of the day if you want to walk more. And, there are often options to walk less if that is your preference, and there is often a cable car or chair lift nearby to cut a trail or take a shortcut or to head back to the village or hotel if you have had enough hiking for that day. There is always tomorrow.
We do know what a great hike is and what suits 95% of our guests, and we rarely have a problem with people not being comfortable with the walking distances we choose. We’ll always point out other walks you can do from the hotel, but interestingly enough, we always ask at the end of the day if people want suggestions of other walking routes, and 95% of the time, they say, “no we’re fine – that was perfect thanks.”
We believe in the philosophy of “it doesn’t matter how far you walk, what matters is how you feel about how far you walked.”
For those that need numbers – on a typical day we’ll cover 8 – 12 miles and 1,000 – 2,000 feet of elevation gain. You can hike fast or slow – it doesn’t matter – we know how to keep groups together, so let us worry about that. With fitter and keener walkers we’ll cover more ground.
Our guides think deeply about where to take a group each day, depending on the group and the weather, and are experts at finding the “right path” for you. Since we are doing day hikes, we can vary hikes from day-to-day. In the Dolomites, for example, there are thousands of miles of trails to choose from for all levels of ability and fitness, and hundreds of cable cars we use to access the best hikes and best views without having to spend half the day hiking up a huge hill looking at your feet.
We have taken mountain goats, and marathon runners, and very experienced hikers on many of our trips, and they love the walks we have taken them on. We’ve also had people ask to be challenged, and they often regretted that later. Don’t worry – we are experts at taking groups with varied hiking fitness and having everyone very happy at the end of the day.
We have also taken people with no previous walking experience and who were not in great shape and we showed them how to use hiking poles and how to walk more efficiently and to slow down and not rush, and they did great and had a wonderful time. We rarely have problems with people “not being able to keep up” or “holding the group back” – we are experts at this. It’s OK if people to charge ahead and some people bring up the rear – that will usually happen no matter what the makeup of the group. If someone races ahead, they will simply be waiting at the next trail intersection or enjoying the view with a cappuccino at the next rest stop – no big deal. It is not a race and we are always trying to slow people down to enjoy the scenery, and not just focus on “getting to the end” – what’s the point in that?
If you are still worried about anything, it is better to contact us and even consider booking a private trip. Most people book a trip like this many months in advance, and so have time to get into “walking Shape,” or we can suggest a walking program for you to get you into better shape for the trip if that is a concern of yours.
We try and get across to our guests that the idea is there is no hurry, and that the goal is to enjoy the incredible views and not simply rush by them. To relax and be in the moment and savor the experience.
I have had people ask, “what trails are you going to take us on” and my reply is, “I don’t know – I haven’t seen you hike.”
Think of your hiking guide like a ski guide. They are going to take you on an easy trail (ski run) to begin with and see how you hike (ski), and what types of terrain you like and don’t like, and then adjust things as the trip progresses. There are ALWAYS options and lots of trails we can take. What’s easy to one person is hard for another – it’s all relative. Best to contact us to chat, and we’ll find the “right path” and the “right” tour for you.
Of course, on a private trip, we’ll tailor the walks specifically to your group and your walking preferences and go for as long and hard as you desire.
Want harder or longer hikes, just ask your guide; that is why they are there.
Tip: Don’t tell a super fit mountain guide that you want to be challenged.
With around 10,000km of hiking trails spread over nine nature parks that intersect like a giant spider web over ridges and passes and down into valleys and villages, it is a very confusing place. We have our favorite hikes that have the best views, but it is hard to describe the trails we take people on as very few hikes have names like other places in the world, and we often wander from one trail to another depending on the group and the weather and to avoid the busier areas. As we mentioned in answer to the last question above, we won’t know what hikes we will be doing until we see the group hike, but rest assured we’re going to show you the best of the Dolomites without a lot of driving and while staying away from crowds. And, to be honest, we like to keep our favorite trails a secret.
With over 250 walking tours under our belts, we have had every level of walkers, and maybe 1% of the time, we have someone who just isn’t up for one or two of the walks and when that happens we’ll have them drink a cappuccino with one of our guides and chat about life in Europe while the others ramble on and then swing back around to all join up again.
You won’t be left behind or waiting for long upfront – it rarely happens – and when it does we adapt and have options for slower walkers and are very used to this. We often have an extra guide along, so we have a guide in front and one bringing up the rear, so it is rarely an issue. We get many couples who have different walking speeds and conditioning and
If you are worried about it, contact us to figure out a solution, and we’ll let you know if we’ll suggest it if we think you should book a private trip or your own guide (which we can arrange).
There are ways we can get around the cable car rides in most cases and there are many trails that we don’t need to use cable cars to access. Once again, it’s best to discuss this in advance to find out the best plan for you.
We avoid big drops and dangerous trails, to be honest, I don’t have the stomach for them anymore either, and it’s too stressful for me to take people on steep and dangerous trails. If you let us know in advance, or we find out during the tour you want more “challenging terrain,” we’ll hook you up with one of our local guides to take you on some more serious trails.
We provide hiking poles for anyone that wants to use them, and we will teach you how to use them to help you walk more efficiently and with less effort and stress on your joints. They can also prevent slips and slides.
We also have daypacks, water bottles, rain jackets (which you rarely need in the Dolomites), and warm jackets – for those that want to use them.
I am a big fan of low cut hiking shoes with good, solid soles and have worn them all over the world including over rocky and icy glaciers to Everest Base Camp. Some people have weak ankles and do like a little more support, but you rarely need to worry about mud or hitting your ankles on rocks where we will be going. There are some very good low cut hiking shoes by climbing shoe companies like 5.10 and LaSportiva with a sole that is great on Dolomite rock and slippery cobblestones in villages so they make great travel shoes as well. (I have used these brands for many years, and they are very durable and very comfortable.)
Hiking “boots” are too heavy and not necessary, and rain or/and mud is rare, so it is unlikely your shoes will get wet. You also do not need “GoreTex” boots, which keep your feet hot and sweaty ALL the time, as opposed to keeping your feet dry that rare time when it is wet. And really, is it that big a deal if your feet get wet – they will dry out overnight in your hotel room. The conditions and weather are pretty darn good when and where we go, so bring what works for you or enjoy the comfort of a new pair of lightweight low-cut walking shoes and be happy!
I have had people wear running shoes, and they will work; however, some of the trails are quite rocky, and some sections are on dirt roads, so wearing running shoes all day, day after day, is very different from wearing them for a few hours and many peoples feet get sore and even bruised heels. I suggest walking shoes with a more solid (Vibram type) sole.
Why not unplug from your devices and relax in the hotel spa (many European spas are awesome), go for a swim (I always pack a swimsuit), watch the sunset, explore the area on an e-bike, or explore the village and do some shopping. Or have a drink at the lobby bar and write some postcards and talk with the barista – it could be the highlight of your stay. Why not do something different and let your mind be on vacation…
Travel Tip: Walk around the shops and buy a small gift for a friend or family member, or yourself – clothing and caps make great gifts and travel mementos. I have bought small, inexpensive items like a leather belt in a market that has lasted me many years and reminded me of that place. Your friends/family will be touched that you thought of them while on your trip, and no doubt appreciate a cool gift from halfway around the world.
The places we go to are “safe,” and we have never had anyone have any issues with theft on one of our trips – (just be careful of your “stuff”).
Travel Tip: You have worked hard and saved up for this overseas trip, and have spent a lot of hard-earned money to get here and on this tour, so why not relax your purse strings, support local merchants, and live a little…
In most places we go people in hotels and restaurants will speak English. However, we do prefer to stay at more off-the-beaten places versus to experience more of the local feel of a place, versus places full of fellow western travelers, so some staff may not speak great English. We consider this all part of the experience and the fun but we would not go to these places if we hadn’t been able to get things done or order what we wanted. That said we have found that if you speak slowly and clearly, most people will figure out what you are trying to say. Tip: And this is nothing new, learn a few words of the local language before you go and/or use Google translate on your phone and start a conversation – many people will enjoy the experience and a chance to learn and practice their English.
Quick story: My wife Katarina spoke only three words of English when we met, which I joke was “leave me alone” – and the rest is history as they say.
All the hotels we use have free Wi-Fi. We do suggest unplugging and being in the moment as much as possible while on our trips. We also kindly ask that phones are not used at group meals (unless to look at photos) and that you are present while on trails and during our activities.
There is always time to check all those important emails and messages before breakfast and before dinner, so why not take a moment to unplug and be in the moment and really be where you are… you are on vacation – (which is supposed to give your mind a break from work and the rest of the world) – unless you are waiting for a kidney transplant or something super important, it probably can wait, right. We ask that if you must use your phone at group meals, then please excuse yourself from the table first.
Do get an international plan for your phone; it is well worth it and quite inexpensive these days, you’ll be glad you did whenever you need it. We do ask that you keep your phone on the morning of your pickup.
Tip: Want to offend your group or your guide – check your messages/emails while on the trail or at dinner. Time on the trail is a sacred time to us, and phone use distracts everyone around you from the special moments we are all trying to capture.
Many singles worry that other couples will just want to be by themselves whereas the opposite is true – couples often love meeting and spending time with other people – no matter if they are singles or couples.
We offer our single travelers a room on their own at no additional cost, even when this costs us more. Single rooms are not as common as western countries, so often a single room might not be that large or with a view – they are usually at the rear of a hotel. We do try and negotiate the best rooms available for all of our guests and, when available, will book a nice double room for single use – once again, even if it costs us more. You can always ask at the front desk to upgrade your room – at your own cost.
Occasionally we’ll get people who want to stay back at the hotel to relax in the hotel spa, or to explore the village we’re staying in, or to take an easier walk in the valley – it’s no problem. For our planning, it is best if you can tell us as soon as you know you want to sit out a day or talk to us about the next day’s hike in case we know you wouldn’t want to miss it and we’ll suggest a better day to sit out. Anything is possible and OK by us.
Biggest Travel tip: Find out if you trust the company (and your guide) that you want to book a tour with before you book with them. And then – you can relax as now you know you are in good hands and that you don’t have to worry about a thing. And then, listen to your guide and do what he says to do.