Backroads is slowing starting to look toward post-Covid travel and just released their 2021 trip dates, as well as new protocol for post coronavirus trips. Backroads reports seeing a steady interest from guests wanting to travel in 2021, and have also changed their cancellation policy to offer even more flexibility with trip changes.
“If you’ve met me, you know I’m not one for staying at home,” says Tom Hale, founder of Backroads on the company’s blog. “Whether I’m in the office, on the trails around my house or exploring the world with Backroads, I love being on the move. And now that so many of us are working from home, I’m also missing the face-to-face collaboration of our Backroads team that has been so integral to our culture over the “years. But, cabin fever aside, good things are happening at Backroads. We certainly haven’t let the grass grow under our feet these past few weeks; we’ve been working harder than ever to prepare ourselves for a whole new world of travel. Without a crystal ball, I can’t yet say exactly when we’ll be running trips again (I’m remaining optimistic we’ll be back on the road this summer), but I can tell you this: we’re going to be charging out of the gate just as soon as it’s safe to do so.”
The 2021 dates are available for booking at backroads.com. Soon dates will be available for a new 2021 Quebec walking and hiking and Provence and French Riviera multi-adventure tours, along with other new trip offerings.
“We believe that Backroads’ style of outdoor adventure travel will be a popular way for people to start exploring again since our trips naturally allow for social distancing, flexibility, optional group activities, and going at their own pace on foot or bike,” says the company in press materials. “While under SIP [Stay in Place] we have rejiggered our trips to allow for more safety protocol and social distancing practices.”
“We expect the U.S. National Parks, our shorter 4-day weekend trips, and Canada to be the most popular trips this year and into 2021. We also expect a rise in our private trip offerings where families and small groups of friends can travel together with us,” says the tour operator in press materials.
Preparing for Travel into 2020
“While the world has been transformed in big ways, I can confidently say that when this is all said and done, the essence of a Backroads trip will remain unchanged,” adds Hale. “I say this because, without quite realizing it, we’ve spent the past 40 years crafting our own style of active travel that has now turned out to be more resonant—and necessary—than ever. The sense of journey we find on our trips means that we’re spending our time on quiet back roads, ancient footpaths and stunning solitary landscapes—no packed buses or crowded resorts here. Our guests travel with Backroads because they know they’ll have the flexibility to go their own pace, to adventure with the group or break off and be as independent as they like. A Backroads trip is, at its core, an opportunity to get away from it all. None of that is going to change—because it’s exactly the kind of travel we need now.”
However, he adds it won’t be business as usual this year either. Travelers will be high-fifing less and waving more, sharing stories rather than clicking cups. And due to the changes needed to make travel safe now, Backroads has taken a comprehensive look at every aspect of their trips to ensure high standards of safety. A few changes that will be made include: group sizes will be smaller to give guests more personal space on the road and trail, or just while sitting for a meal together. Meals will include more picnics in scenic open-air spaces, and there will be more options than before for dining at your leisure, on your own or with the company’s small group.
“Despite the new realities we face, I have no doubt that the Backroads magic will be with us when we’re back traveling together again, and even stronger than before. Because after going through these weeks and months of sheltering in place, everything that makes a Backroads trip special is exactly what our bodies and minds are needing in big ways. Freedom to move. Freedom to explore. Shared adventures and face-to-face laughter with the people in our lives who bring us joy and remind us that life can be unbelievably great sometimes. Those days are waiting for us just around the corner, and I look forward to sharing them with you,” adds Hale.
What is Backroads Doing to Keep Guests Safe:
- Hotels have been selected because of their high standards for quality & Backroads has asked all hotel operators to abide by an enhanced safety protocol for cleaning and physical distancing.
- From GPS devices to hiking poles—every piece of gear will get a daily cleaning, as will all common surface areas in the company’s new fleet of vans.
- All trip leaders retrained in food safety—plus have received enhanced training on CDC and WHO safe guidelines. In addition, this year they’ll also be wearing gloves and face coverings during food preparation.
- New training for Trip Leaders to support guests as they travel in these unusual times.
- Healthy standards—on day one of the trip, all guests will have their temperature taken by a Backroads Trip Leader. A reading greater than 100 degrees will mean they will be unable to join the trip.
- All guests are suggested to bring their preferred face coverings, whether face masks or simple bandanas. Backroads will have a small supply on hand for guests who forget.
- Hand sanitizer will be available, but guests are encouraged to also bring their own.
- More vans will be used on each trip to allow guests space between travelers.
- No bus tours—groups the always been small, but the average size fro 2020 will be 10 guests, with a maximum of 20 guests on biking and multi-adventure trips, and 15 on walking trips.
- Single supplement pricing has been reduced on all departures should guests prefer a private room.
- Large tables will be avoided at meal times.
- Group and cultural events will be optional; and every precaution will be taken should guests choose to participate. If guests prefer to skip the group route raps, the information will be delivered to them personally.