Thursday, April 05, 2007

Self-Guided Vacations in Italy

I spent 17 days in Italy this past month helping to create Zephyr's newest business division: Self-Guided Adventures in Italy. This is a totally new concept for us and a fairly new concept in the travel world, so I'll explain.

Self-guided adventures are sort of a middle ground between taking a guided tour and going it alone. On a Zephyr Self-Guided Adventure, you will go to our website and select your activity (biking, hiking, or driving), your desired route in Italy, and your preferred travel date. We then book your hotels for you, give you detailed route directions, and provide you with a bike on biking tours. We also have a local representative who will meet you upon your arrival and help you in case of emergency. In short, we make it easy for you to have a vacation in Italy on your own.

The really cool thing is that we are taking the self-guided concept to new levels. We spent much of our time in Italy videotaping our local guide, Giovanni, as he explained the sites, culture, food, and wine of the area. We will place these on "personal video players" and loan them to our self-guided participants. It's like having your own e-Giovanni with you as you travel through Italy!

What's more, we are converting our printed route directions for the driving tour into a GPS system that will work in your car, just like at home. That way, you'll never get lost driving in Italy, which we know is a big concern of those who consider driving there.

Self-guided tours are not for everyone. If you don't have a group with whom to travel or prefer the support of a van and professional guides, a guided tour is a much better option. In plain English, if you aren't sure you could make it to the next hotel on your own, best to go on a guided Zephyr tour! However, if you are confident in your abilities, have your own group of travelers, or want flexibility in your dates, this is a good system.

We are starting only in Tuscany and Umbria, because we know it so well. Next year? How about Self-Guided Adventures in France! Check out the website:


Liz said...

I just pored over the web site and I think this is a fantastic idea! My skate, ski and work friends should all be excellent candidates for a Self-Guided Vacation, so I'm going to spread the word myself. Get that marketing going soon!

Vacations In Italy said...

This is really new concept and sounds very nice. I want to go for self guided vacation. But my friend interested to travel with all plannings, rout map, and with some travel agency as this is our first trip for Vacations In Italy. Please let me know if self guided vacation is safe and convenient.