I was honored to be part of a fantastic tour last month in Italy. One of our alumni, Dee Opp, emailed me last October and said “If I can get a group of friends together to do a biking tour in Italy, would you set it up and be our guide?” Naturally, I said yes.
Dee traveled with us in 2003, when she joined our Montana Multisport Adventure. After that, she moved with her family to England and hadn’t found the time to join us again. This year, however, she wanted to create her own Private Adventure with friends from an American Women’s Group in England, a social club for expat American women living in England.
It is not easy creating a private tour. The realities of life intercede and it is difficult to find enough friends who have the same travel interests, the same vacation schedule, and a similar budget. In fact, most people who contact us about setting up a private tour can’t get the minimum of 10 participants we require.
Dee was exceptional, however. She started off on the typical route of telling her friends, other American women living in England. She found a few takers but we seemed to be stuck at half a dozen or so. She then recruited another friend, Marian Jacobson, who helped spread the word to even more potential participants. That grew the roster even more. Finally, Dee contacted a second American Women group in a different part of London and, with their help, eventually increased the group size to 16 women.
We actually customized the trip for the group, selecting just Umbria for the tour location (it is flatter than Tuscany) and limiting the tour to five days to accommodate busy schedules. Plus, we found a flight from London directly into the airport in Perugia and started the tour by biking directly from the airport.
Italy is amazing, Umbria is fantastic, and the tour was the same but I won’t go into details about the wonderful time we had. This post is about our Private Adventures and I wanted to share Dee’s experience as an organizer. We love running private tours because we can adjust them to be a perfect fit for the participants and because usually the fun starts from minute one, since the group often knows each other in advance.
Check out our page on Private and Custom Adventures and let us know if you think you can recruit a group of friends, relatives, or work buddies! Remember, private tours are most likely to run when there is one very committed organizer who recruits his or her friends, sometimes friends in different social circles, to join the group and also recruit their friends. It is not easy but the result is an incredible vacation – we are already planning a reunion next year for Dee’s group!