A walking holiday with an escorted tours company is literally a breath of fresh air, finds Sharon.

It’s often said that a good walk clears the mind, improves our health and burns those extra pounds gained at the many travel functions we have the privilege of attending.

They say that a 30-minute walk every day lowers the risk of heart problems and blood pressure – something I would say is raised on many a day in a travel agent’s life. Sitting at a desk from nine to five doesn’t bode well with helping to burn off those excess pounds.

I’m not sure about you, but I’ve noticed more customers opting for holidays that allow them to do some walking, enjoy some scenery and help maintain their health. I’m not sure I’d noticed this trend that much until I’ve (maybe) come to an age where health and wellness seem a bit more important.

Inspired by clients

Ireland has long been a destination where walkers have travelled for many miles to walk the 82-mile Saint Patrick’s Way trail from Armagh to Downpatrick. It certainly is a scenic path, yet I’ve lived there all my life and never even considered it.

Austria is a fab place to start if you fancy a good walk. The scenery is breathtaking and there are many pathways through the mountains for beginners or advanced walkers.

Lots of my customers over this last year have influenced my choice of holiday destination. It’s a bit of role reversal when your client requests a holiday that gives you the desire to do the same thing.

But imagine your holiday being somewhere just to have a breath of fresh air. That idea stuck with me and came from my customers. What’s really annoying is that most of them are fitter, but older, than me and while I have worked in travel for 25 years, many have much more experience of travelling than I do.

Walking tour

This year I decided to go all out and walk 62 miles of the Portuguese Camino Way with Greenlife Tours. Amazing! I thought I’d better get a start on this keeping fit before all those fancy functions catch up.

I wasn’t doing it for religious reasons, but I still wanted to book with a touring company to get the most out of the trip. Safety? Tick. Fear of getting lost? Nope. We walked about 12 miles a day, which was challenging enough but manageable. And guess what…my luggage was delivered to my next destination every day. I felt a bit of a cheat doing that, but it was my first trip and there’s no point not taking advantage of the service.

On the Camino Way, the only signage is pictures of a shell and an arrow. Paths lead you along riversides and through pine forests,  vineyards and open countryside, with pure fresh air all the way.

I had done enough research myself to go unescorted, but Greenlife offers fully-inclusive escorted tours on all parts of the Camino, and on longer routes in Lisbon, France, Italy and Ireland.

Tapas and vino blanco kept the energy levels up, and with a bottle of alberino for around €3, my heart has been opened to the Galicia region of Spain.

It was a breath of fresh air.


More of my clients choose escorted tours

I’ve noticed lots of clients are opting for group travel and escorted tours (as well as local departures). We have seen a huge growth in planned, tailor-made group travel, both for ad hoc groups approaching us and those we put together ourselves. Most people travel on escorted tours because they just don’t see as much if they drive themselves or aren’t familiar with local hotspots to visit. They either want the security in numbers or just love the company when exploring new places without having to think too much about how to get there or what to do. As the saying has it: If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.