A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Luggage Transfer Correos

leading a camino group

2020 Camino Guides

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
I have been asked to consider leading a group on a camino. Now I am of the opinion that this is completely unnecessary as it's so easy to just go and do it....but having spoken with a delightful Korean couple on the highway from Sarria, I have come to realise that not everyone is comfortable with that - and once they've done two days of a guided excursion they may well be planning their next solo trip because they are so awed by the wonderful experience! So I am no longer against the idea of providing this kind of support to someone who might want it. (And who could resist another reason to go back?!)
I have a few caminos under my belt now (most with at least three or four kids and up to a group of eleven) and have advised a number of people before they have done their own successful walks so I feel like I have a bit of experience I could share. I'm one of those rare individuals who does big picture thinking and fine details in equal measure, so I've already written two pages of questions to consider, whilst having fallen in love with the general idea.
For those of you who have led a group (and there are quite a number here), is there anything that springs to mind that you would caution me about? Thanks in advance!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I have considered doing "training wheels" for a few people - starting off with them in SJPDP, and walking with them to Pamplona where I let the continue on solo. I would then take a bus to Irun and do the Norte sola.

I meet so many people who are afraid to get started/have never traveled alone/been to Europe who are being held back by their fears. They just need a little "push start".
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
I have been asked to consider leading a group on a camino. Now I am of the opinion that this is completely unnecessary as it's so easy to just go and do it....but having spoken with a delightful Korean couple on the highway from Sarria, I have come to realise that not everyone is comfortable with that - and once they've done two days of a guided excursion they may well be planning their next solo trip because they are so awed by the wonderful experience! So I am no longer against the idea of providing this kind of support to someone who might want it. (And who could resist another reason to go back?!)
I have a few caminos under my belt now (most with at least three or four kids and up to a group of eleven) and have advised a number of people before they have done their own successful walks so I feel like I have a bit of experience I could share. I'm one of those rare individuals who does big picture thinking and fine details in equal measure, so I've already written two pages of questions to consider, whilst having fallen in love with the general idea.
For those of you who have led a group (and there are quite a number here), is there anything that springs to mind that you would caution me about? Thanks in advance!
Ask yourself why you are doing it? ;)
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
@trecile what a fabulous suggestion!
@Robo good question. A few answers immediately spring to mind: I like to say yes when I can * Spain * camino * I like to share * I like to empower and encourage * it’s a “valid” answer to the question “why are you going AGAIN?”!!
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Hi, one thing that springs to my mind is how many people are in the group and how many 'leaders' will there be? Are they planning to walk alone on the way or do they want to stick together? If the later, what about different walking speeds? Also, are they expecting any additional program, like extensive explanations of churches etc?
BC SY
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Wait, @Kiwi-family , you haven't guided a group before? Family or not, doing the arrangements for all those generations at once does count. ♥
Go for it, and buen camino!!!
Those were my thoughts exactly. I was going to say it, but then kiwi mentioned it herself referring to her own family...she has quite the brood!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
AnnieSantiago has had plenty of experiences in leading groups...both good and bad, but every time she has said "never again" she rallies and plans another. I like to think she is fiesty and strong!
 
Last edited:

Rosemary Boyd

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
future
I have been asked to consider leading a group on a camino. Now I am of the opinion that this is completely unnecessary as it's so easy to just go and do it....but having spoken with a delightful Korean couple on the highway from Sarria, I have come to realise that not everyone is comfortable with that - and once they've done two days of a guided excursion they may well be planning their next solo trip because they are so awed by the wonderful experience! So I am no longer against the idea of providing this kind of support to someone who might want it. (And who could resist another reason to go back?!)
I have a few caminos under my belt now (most with at least three or four kids and up to a group of eleven) and have advised a number of people before they have done their own successful walks so I feel like I have a bit of experience I could share. I'm one of those rare individuals who does big picture thinking and fine details in equal measure, so I've already written two pages of questions to consider, whilst having fallen in love with the general idea.
For those of you who have led a group (and there are quite a number here), is there anything that springs to mind that you would caution me about? Thanks in advance!

Please let me know how successful you are at booking albergues.
Thank you!
Rosemary from Canada
 

musicman

Ensuitepilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Have all your accommodation booked in advance - I use Booking.com - having led groups on the Portuguese, Ingles and Sansbres,nos varying from 16-25.
Organise transits from airport to starting point. Shuttle bus, train or Taxis?
Who is prepared to share?
How will you organise any necessary payments?
Can you rotate your back- up each day?
Make sure you have everyone’s mobile number, and they yours.
Depending on length of Camino - rest day - if two weeks?
Research bars en route for comfort and drunks breaks .
Agree a “ bag rest” every hour.
First aid?
Ask for any “ ailments” - confidential to you of course.
Any dietary requirements?

Buen Camino.
 

Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
I have been leading groups for the last couple of years. I normally provide a list of accommodation. I normally book the albergues for the group (as most albergues do not require a deposit). For those who want to stay in private rooms I provide contacts and links so that people can book their own rooms. I ask everyone to book their own flights but work out the flight details for all those who are travelling from the same airport that I use. For the last trip I booked a coach to pickup most of the group (18 people) from Santiago airport to go to Sarria. In terms of practicalities, a Whatsapp group is a brilliant way to keep in touch with the group before, during and even after the pilgrimage. Everyone walks at their own pace and I tend to walk at the back to support and because I am a slow stroller. I make sure everyone has my phone number. Most of the group meet up during the day at different stops that I suggest. In the evening we normally all go for a pilgrim's menu at a restaurant that I suggest. I am always pleasantly suprised how such diverse people make great friendships on the Camino, especially on one trip where a retired Catholic priest and an avowed atheist made an amazing friendship.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
I have been asked to consider leading a group on a camino. Now I am of the opinion that this is completely unnecessary as it's so easy to just go and do it....but having spoken with a delightful Korean couple on the highway from Sarria, I have come to realise that not everyone is comfortable with that - and once they've done two days of a guided excursion they may well be planning their next solo trip because they are so awed by the wonderful experience! So I am no longer against the idea of providing this kind of support to someone who might want it. (And who could resist another reason to go back?!)
I have a few caminos under my belt now (most with at least three or four kids and up to a group of eleven) and have advised a number of people before they have done their own successful walks so I feel like I have a bit of experience I could share. I'm one of those rare individuals who does big picture thinking and fine details in equal measure, so I've already written two pages of questions to consider, whilst having fallen in love with the general idea.
For those of you who have led a group (and there are quite a number here), is there anything that springs to mind that you would caution me about? Thanks in advance!
I like the suggestion of "Training Wheels". Maybe consider helping with bookings, meet in the morning for coffee, start with three short days and then take off the wheels. Your guests will get more out of there Camino (I believe) if it isn't a fully guided tour.
 

dfox

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (4/2017)
CP (5/2019)
CF (5/2021)
For those of you who have led a group (and there are quite a number here), is there anything that springs to mind that you would caution me about? Thanks in advance!
I organized a group of 16 including myself happily and successfully completed Camino Portugues this past May.

I don't want to be a "tour manager" responsible for participants' "flights, accommodation, meals, ....". I wanted to enjoy the walk without "burden" too. As such, a prerequisite for joining the "group" is the participants were self-served and managed. By the way, these folks are used to do self-guided tours by themselves.

How did I do it:
52 weeks before the trip, "do and don't", what to expect, ... for the Camino Portugues trip were sent to potential participants from time to time so that they are knowledgeable the "in and out" of the trip.

Once the desired chartered flight was available for booking, I reserved my flight and advised folks accordingly, they then booked the same flight. None of them called me for assistance.

Once I booked my hotels, they did the same. In case, the hotels were not available, they searched hotels close to mine. None of them called me for assistance. By the way, all bookings had free cancellation.

I did the same to book a day-trip from SdC to Finisterre/Muxia. I reserved my seats and they followed suit.

Because of such positive experience, I am organizing one for CF in 2021(?) or 2022.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Have all your accommodation booked in advance - I use Booking.com - having led groups on the Portuguese, Ingles and Sansbres,nos varying from 16-25.
Organise transits from airport to starting point. Shuttle bus, train or Taxis?
Who is prepared to share?
How will you organise any necessary payments?
Can you rotate your back- up each day?
Make sure you have everyone’s mobile number, and they yours.
Depending on length of Camino - rest day - if two weeks?
Research bars en route for comfort and drunks breaks .
Agree a “ bag rest” every hour.
First aid?
Ask for any “ ailments” - confidential to you of course.
Any dietary requirements?

Buen Camino.
You all who plan to take large groups must be saints cuz it sounds like a can of worms to me! Hopefully there is a bit of financial compensation involved or you all must be extreme extroverts!😊
I am going with three other family members this spring, two of which are newbies and I've stressed more than usual, pre-booked everything and worry whether they will enjoy themselves or not...and I'm not even talking about potential rain!
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Well, I do it for more than one reason.

Honestly, the MAIN reason I do it is for my own health. My specialist prescribed long distance walking for my MCS, and the Camino serves that purpose well. Over the years, I've made relationships with various landlords and business owners and I get good prices. When I take a group, I work up the costs for 8 people and divide by 7, so it benefits me, but it ALSO benefits those in my group, as they are getting lodging, backpack transport, and someone who knows the ropes at a VERY low cost.

The second reason I do it is to help those who would like to walk but are a little afraid for whatever reason. Some don't speak Spanish and worry they will not be able to communicate. Some have medical issues and cannot carry their own pack. Some are afraid to walk alone, afraid of getting lost, afraid of wild animals, afraid of not having a bed, afraid of how long and far they can walk, afraid of not finding a taxi or bus when they need it, there are many reasons people choose a group. Some just enjoy walking in a group and not having to make the arrangements themselves.

PROS: When I take a group, I take them for 3 weeks and I plan MY trip for 6 weeks. This way I can get in 3 weeks of walking on my own before hand. As any of you know who have traveled to Europe, once you are there, it's not too expensive, so I can choose where to start walking on MY 3 weeks.

You meet and make friends with some wonderful people!

Many pilgrims, after walking with my group, gain enough confidence to go back and finish up the sections they missed on their own. Many become addicts like us! lol!

Then there's the walking and the beauty of Spain.
It never disappoints.
Seeing the wonder in the eyes of new pilgrims... it's healing and satisfying.
Knowing that they never would have done this alone but now maybe they can!

CONS:
1)
It is a HELL of a lot of administrative work. If I added up the hours of taking reservations, making sure everyone has signed all the paperwork, making sure they all have travel insurance, negotiating and making the lodging reservations, negotiating and making the backpack reservations, emailing back and forth with SEVEN nervous pilgrims, supplying them with all the info they need to make their Camino a good one, I probably MAKE less than $2/hour, if that. So those who think I"m getting a "free ride" are out of their minds.

2) Ok..so this will be a vent and you've heard it before from me.
There is almost always that one person, that one difficult to deal with person, who makes you want to pull your hair out. I have had drunk people who started fires in lodging fireplaces at midnight, leaving them roaring, then going to bed, having the landlord up putting out fires at 2 am. I have had people hanging their wet dripping raincoats on precious antique statues. I've had people being SO very rude to taxi drivers and pack transporters. I've had people who chose to sleep in the bathroom, so their roommate could not use it or to sleep in the landlords OFFICE, or outside the lodging door, for whatever reason. I had one woman who didn't arrive in Roncesvalles from Orisson until just before 10 pm, stressing out the entire group. I've had extremely argumentative people who fought with other group members. I've had people get upset because I wouldn't carry their packs up 2 flights of stairs even though I make it very CLEAR I will not do that unless they're injured. I've had one woman throw a temper tantrum because she checked into the wrong private room, when she was supposed to be in a double shared, and knocked her big old suitcase all around the beautiful antique furniture. I've had a woman screaming in my face because I told her she it wasn't right to cancel her taxi on the spur of the moment, when he drove so far to pick her up. I've had people who were TOLD if they snored they needed to book a private room drive out their roommates, forcing me to figure out lodging for the other. I've had people complain the lodging at San Martin Pinario "felt like a prison cell" when they were clearly told and shown photos of the rooms ahead of time. I had to leave one fellow at a bar because he ordered his breakfast 5 minutes before the scheduled taxi, forcing us to leave him on his own. He was warned in writing the group would leave if he wasn't ready, but boy, he sure did get P.O.'d.

So though MOST of the people in your group will be wonderful, there will always be that "one" who seems to live to make your 3 weeks a nightmare :::laughing gleefully:::

I don't do well with difficult people. I tend to say what's on my mind. It's a result of childhood abuse, being clear and to the point - and some folks prefer to be coddled - for you to beat around the bush.

So I would suggest a class on dealing with difficult people before leading a group, unless you know all the folks quite well. I have learned by being in the fire. Probably not smart. lol!

All that said, I have had some WONDERFUL groups and made some life long friendships.
So it's certainly not ALL bad.
But it is work, not a vacation, when you are responsible for all those folks.

3)
What if's. You need to be prepared for the "what ifs."
What if one of your walkers gets sick and needs to stay in place. Will the others still walk?
What if YOU get sick? Who will lead them?
What if ... (use your imagination)

Otherwise, it can be a gas and a lot of fun!

Suggestions:
Make sure your walkers know all the "rules" and what to expect.
Leave nothing to common sense - some won't have any.

Do not take more than 7 plus yourself.
You can get 8 into a taxi -more and you'll need 2 taxis.

Relax and let them work some problems out for themselves.

Don't babysit them.
After the first day or two, cut them loose and let them take their own lead.

Have fun and a Buen Camino!
 

Dave

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Via Podiensis 2015
I'm in a different categories of most group leaders on here, since I lead high school students. I can mandate pre-trip training and a set packing list (which I can inspect and confirm prior to departure). And, for the most part, they are used to following orders--adults are not! I note that because I would be far more hesitant about leading a group where I was blind to their preparation, especially if we were all following the same set schedule. I suppose it's easier for adults to taxi ahead alone, though!

My biggest suggestion in terms of questions to consider is this: do you want to organize a group of individuals, where each is pursuing their own individual pilgrimage experience within your loose organizational frame, or do you want to create a group in earnest, in which you forge a collective identity and set of shared experiences? Both are valid, and they don't have to be totally mutually exclusive, but that initial intention will shape a lot of your planning.

Again, with high schoolers, it's definitely got to be the latter. So, we have group meetings at least every other night, to share experiences and talk about what we're seeing. We do a bit of group engineering, sometimes having forced partnerships for stages, where they just walk with one peer, often someone they don't normally fall into rhythm with. We cook and eat together, when it's possible, because if there's two things you bond over, it's suffering and food.

But then, within that frame, we still try to preserve chances for the students to have their own distinct experiences, including "solo" days where they avoid other group members throughout their walk (though they are encouraged to talk with other pilgrims).

Solo walkers often bemoan what pilgrims miss out on when they walk in groups, and I hear that, but I also marvel at how much can be gained from that shared experience in a group. I'd think about how you can try to capitalize on some of the advantages of both formats.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Well, I do it for more than one reason.

Honestly, the MAIN reason I do it is for my own health. My specialist prescribed long distance walking for my MCS, and the Camino serves that purpose well. Over the years, I've made relationships with various landlords and business owners and I get good prices. When I take a group, I work up the costs for 8 people and divide by 7, so it benefits me, but it ALSO benefits those in my group, as they are getting lodging, backpack transport, and someone who knows the ropes at a VERY low cost.

The second reason I do it is to help those who would like to walk but are a little afraid for whatever reason. Some don't speak Spanish and worry they will not be able to communicate. Some have medical issues and cannot carry their own pack. Some are afraid to walk alone, afraid of getting lost, afraid of wild animals, afraid of not having a bed, afraid of how long and far they can walk, afraid of not finding a taxi or bus when they need it, there are many reasons people choose a group. Some just enjoy walking in a group and not having to make the arrangements themselves.

PROS: When I take a group, I take them for 3 weeks and I plan MY trip for 6 weeks. This way I can get in 3 weeks of walking on my own before hand. As any of you know who have traveled to Europe, once you are there, it's not too expensive, so I can choose where to start walking on MY 3 weeks.

You meet and make friends with some wonderful people!

Many pilgrims, after walking with my group, gain enough confidence to go back and finish up the sections they missed on their own. Many become addicts like us! lol!

Then there's the walking and the beauty of Spain.
It never disappoints.
Seeing the wonder in the eyes of new pilgrims... it's healing and satisfying.
Knowing that they never would have done this alone but now maybe they can!

CONS:
1)
It is a HELL of a lot of administrative work. If I added up the hours of taking reservations, making sure everyone has signed all the paperwork, making sure they all have travel insurance, negotiating and making the lodging reservations, negotiating and making the backpack reservations, emailing back and forth with SEVEN nervous pilgrims, supplying them with all the info they need to make their Camino a good one, I probably MAKE less than $2/hour, if that. So those who think I"m getting a "free ride" are out of their minds.

2) Ok..so this will be a vent and you've heard it before from me.
There is almost always that one person, that one difficult to deal with person, who makes you want to pull your hair out. I have had drunk people who started fires in lodging fireplaces at midnight, leaving them roaring, then going to bed, having the landlord up putting out fires at 2 am. I have had people hanging their wet dripping raincoats on precious antique statues. I've had people being SO very rude to taxi drivers and pack transporters. I've had people who chose to sleep in the bathroom, so their roommate could not use it or to sleep in the landlords OFFICE, or outside the lodging door, for whatever reason. I had one woman who didn't arrive in Roncesvalles from Orisson until just before 10 pm, stressing out the entire group. I've had extremely argumentative people who fought with other group members. I've had people get upset because I wouldn't carry their packs up 2 flights of stairs even though I make it very CLEAR I will not do that unless they're injured. I've had one woman throw a temper tantrum because she checked into the wrong private room, when she was supposed to be in a double shared, and knocked her big old suitcase all around the beautiful antique furniture. I've had a woman screaming in my face because I told her she it wasn't right to cancel her taxi on the spur of the moment, when he drove so far to pick her up. I've had people who were TOLD if they snored they needed to book a private room drive out their roommates, forcing me to figure out lodging for the other. I've had people complain the lodging at San Martin Pinario "felt like a prison cell" when they were clearly told and shown photos of the rooms ahead of time. I had to leave one fellow at a bar because he ordered his breakfast 5 minutes before the scheduled taxi, forcing us to leave him on his own. He was warned in writing the group would leave if he wasn't ready, but boy, he sure did get P.O.'d.

So though MOST of the people in your group will be wonderful, there will always be that "one" who seems to live to make your 3 weeks a nightmare :::laughing gleefully:::

I don't do well with difficult people. I tend to say what's on my mind. It's a result of childhood abuse, being clear and to the point - and some folks prefer to be coddled - for you to beat around the bush.

So I would suggest a class on dealing with difficult people before leading a group, unless you know all the folks quite well. I have learned by being in the fire. Probably not smart. lol!

All that said, I have had some WONDERFUL groups and made some life long friendships.
So it's certainly not ALL bad.
But it is work, not a vacation, when you are responsible for all those folks.

3)
What if's. You need to be prepared for the "what ifs."
What if one of your walkers gets sick and needs to stay in place. Will the others still walk?
What if YOU get sick? Who will lead them?
What if ... (use your imagination)

Otherwise, it can be a gas and a lot of fun!

Suggestions:
Make sure your walkers know all the "rules" and what to expect.
Leave nothing to common sense - some won't have any.

Do not take more than 7 plus yourself.
You can get 8 into a taxi -more and you'll need 2 taxis.

Relax and let them work some problems out for themselves.

Don't babysit them.
After the first day or two, cut them loose and let them take their own lead.

Have fun and a Buen Camino!
Excellent post, Annie! You provided candid information "full circle"!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
For those of you who have led a group (and there are quite a number here), is there anything that springs to mind that you would caution me about? Thanks in advance!
Also, if you don't need to do this to support your own Camino, I'd suggest trying it with just 3 people to begin with. This way you can hire one taxi.

Here are some more things to ask yourself:

1)How many days will you walk?
2) What places are "must" sees?
3) How many rest days will you require?
4) How many kilometers per day will you walk?
5)Will you offer backpack transport?
6) Will you offer private lodging?
7) Where will you begin?
8) Will you stay in any albergues, such as in Roncesvalles where lodging is at a premium?
9) Will you break up the first day if walking from SJPP?
10) What will your prices include?
11) Will they make their own lodging reservations or will you do it for them?
12) How will they pay you?
13) How will they pay you if they're in a different country?
14) What are the fees in your country for wire transfers?
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés
For those of you who have led a group (and there are quite a number here), is there anything that springs to mind that you would caution me about? Thanks in advance!
Always remember Rule Number One: STAY CHILLED.

It is not easy.

Be VERY organized.

Check, double check, and check everything again – everybody in the group is relying on YOU.

Shit happens, so have Plan B.

Lead from the back. (I’ll explain that more if you want.)

There is always one in the group who doesn’t “fit”, so you must be able to cope with that, and ease the way for everyone.

12 is an ideal number to stay together as a “team”. More than 12 and you may get a split in the group with 2 rival factions.

Choose your lodgings carefully. Some places are too small for groups. Groups tend to take over the kitchen, forcing solo pilgrims out.

And never forget Rule Number One: STAY CHILLED.


Jill
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I also have no desire or intention to lead a group, but I noticed a group checking in when I served as a hospitalera in the donativo albergue in Najera in September, 2019. This was outside of my expectation of where groups would stay. A woman came to the desk during afternoon check-in and offered some money to pay for a group of seven that she was leading. She wanted to know if it was enough, so we said, "Sure, and invited her to put it in the box. They had no reservations, as this is not permitted in donativo albergues, but there were still beds available for all of them. Najera does not provide meals, but has kitchen facilities, which could work well for a small group and would keep costs down. I mention this because it was new to me and opened up the idea that plans for groups might be much more varied than I knew. Good luck to all who take it on.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
. A woman came to the desk during afternoon check-in and offered some money to pay for a group of seven that she was leading. She wanted to know if it was enough, so we said, "Sure, and invited her to put it in the box. They had no reservations, as this is not permitted in donativo albergues, but there were still beds available for all of them.
I find it surprising that an albergue which does not accept reservations would allow one person to go on ahead and book in a entire group of seven who will turn up later. It seems contrary to the whole "first come first served" principle.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I find it surprising that an albergue which does not accept reservations would allow one person to go on ahead and book in a entire group of seven who will turn up later. It seems contrary to the whole "first come first served" principle.
I don't think that she was there ahead of the others, just that she paid for all and was obviously in charge of the group. The place was packed and I do not recall that we asked her to identify the members of her group. She was offering a 50 euro bill, so she could scarcely divide it among the pilgrims. She was Russian and it is possible that she was the only one in the group who was able to speak Spanish (or English like those of us on the desk at the time). But you have brought up a good point and we certainly made a point of enforcing all the regulations of a donativo albergue.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014
Camino Frances 2016
Camino Frances 2018
I have been asked to consider leading a group on a camino. Now I am of the opinion that this is completely unnecessary as it's so easy to just go and do it....but having spoken with a delightful Korean couple on the highway from Sarria, I have come to realise that not everyone is comfortable with that - and once they've done two days of a guided excursion they may well be planning their next solo trip because they are so awed by the wonderful experience! So I am no longer against the idea of providing this kind of support to someone who might want it. (And who could resist another reason to go back?!)
I have a few caminos under my belt now (most with at least three or four kids and up to a group of eleven) and have advised a number of people before they have done their own successful walks so I feel like I have a bit of experience I could share. I'm one of those rare individuals who does big picture thinking and fine details in equal measure, so I've already written two pages of questions to consider, whilst having fallen in love with the general idea.
For those of you who have led a group (and there are quite a number here), is there anything that springs to mind that you would caution me about? Thanks in advance!
I led a group of 17 from Leon to Santiago In September, 2018. I began organizing 18 months before our departure date. Because of the size and age of the group I opted to use an Irish based company to handle the accommodations and bag transfers. They did a remarkable job. Unfortunately, most did not train properly and their experience was less than optimal. The typical schedule had me getting everyone on the path in the morning and then I walked ahead to meet them at the next town (my Camino began in SJPDP so I was physically able to walk ahead). We had a common dinner each night to share experiences of the day and go over the plans for the next day. For most of the group, the Camino was a wonderful experience. 18 months later we get together occasionally for a Camino reunion! All-in-all, it was a wonderful adventure. Buen Camino.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Thank you everyone for your questions, experiences and advice.
Very helpful details.
 

Get on our Mailing list for new products on the Camino Store and news from the Camino Forum







Advertisement

Booking.com

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter






Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.3%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.8%
  • March

    Votes: 52 4.3%
  • April

    Votes: 185 15.2%
  • May

    Votes: 297 24.4%
  • June

    Votes: 86 7.1%
  • July

    Votes: 23 1.9%
  • August

    Votes: 27 2.2%
  • September

    Votes: 349 28.7%
  • October

    Votes: 149 12.2%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 6 0.5%
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock