Those bike-boat travel things! Are they good?
May 30, 2014 9:01 AM   Subscribe

Have you ever been on one of those group boat-and-bike travel expeditions? Are they terrible—or amazing?

So there's a bunch of companies that offer like, for instance, an eight-day package where like 15 people get on a boat and get dumped on an island each day and bike across it. What are they like? Are they fun? Are they nightmarish? Are they filled with dour Swedes? (That's not the worst possible outcome of course.)

Any specific recommendations of operators or tours would be welcome. I think it sounds like a great way to see a lot of different places in an area of the world, but also it could be really isolating or also like... being trapped with a bunch of strangers on a small boat, and then trapped with them in a pack of bikes! Eek! What if they're all racists or something terrible! (Or, say, what if you're a gay couple, and they're all homophobes!)

(This thread was useful regarding other kinds of group travel.)
posted by RJ Reynolds to Travel & Transportation (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I did this with my family in the Netherlands a few years back. It was awesome! The biking was fun, coming back to the boat in the afternoon for tea & cookies was really nice, the meals were good. One day when it was raining a lot I chose to stay on the boat and read, and that was great too. All around a nice, low-key way to do a vacation.

In our group, we didn't interact so much with the other folks because there happened to be significant language barriers. My parents just returned from a second trip, though (in France this time), and this time they really got to know the other travelers, and that was a big part of why they enjoyed it.

I'd say it's a really nice type of vacation to do if you come with your own small group; if you are going alone, then who else is on our same boat matters more and that's more up for chance.

(FWIW, one or possibly two of the couples on my parents' boat just now were gay. One couple was on their honeymoon, in fact!)

Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the tour operator...
posted by wyzewoman at 9:28 AM on May 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

OK, I found out who our operator was. My dad says:

The actual “operator” of our tour was HAT (Holland Aqua Tours).
They hire the boat and tour guides and supply the bicycles.
They market their tours directly but also sell them through other tour companies,
such as Van Gogh. As far as I could tell, there was no cost saving in buying directly from HAT and the folk at Van Gogh were a pleasure to deal with.
posted by wyzewoman at 11:50 AM on May 30, 2014 [4 favorites]

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