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Tour groups

Debra Dunsmore

New Member
Past OR future Camino
June 2017
Hi Fellow Pilgrims,

My daughter studied abroad in Santiago de Compostela last Spring, and we became fascinated with the Camino. She and I plan to walk it in June & July 2017. She will be 25 years old and I will be 60 years old next summer. I have knee problems and therefore, I am concerned about the two of us walking alone. So, I am looking for a tour company or group that we could join--therefore, if I had to drop out for any reason, she would be able to continue on the Camino. She plans to carry her backpack, but I hope to only carry a daypack and have my suitcase transported from place to place. Have any of you used the tour companies--were you happy with them, any suggestions about picking one, etc?
We are also looking for recommendations on what type of clothes to wear, what type of hiking shoes are the best, etc.
I think this would be an awesome bonding experience for the two of us and a "once in a lifetime" opportunity, so it is something that we both really want to do.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and for any advice. It would be greatly appreciated! May God bless all of you!
 
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momof34man

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
05/16 Camino Frances, Camino Finesterre, Camino Muxia, 10/18 Cotswolds, 7/2020 - Camino Primitivo
One of the forum members on this site does tours. Her name is Nancy. Here is the link to her site. I have yet to go on my camino, but if I wanted to be part of a group, I'd definately look to doing one with her. I also had the pleasure of hearing about her camino experiences in person at my local REI.
http://www.thecaminoexperience.com/
I also had another friend use this tour company: http://marlycamino.com/ She loved it!

Sounds like a wonderful trip that you can share with a loved one....enjoy the planning. There is a lot of information on this site to help you.

Hope that helps!
 
Last edited:

Introibo

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances ( March 2015 )
Camino Portugues ( September 2015 )
Hi Debra
That sounds like an excellent way for you and your daughter to share the experience of the Camino.
Buen Camino
 

Debra Dunsmore

New Member
Past OR future Camino
June 2017
One of the forum members on this site does tours. Her name is Nancy. Here is the link to her site. I have yet to go on my camino, but if I wanted to be part of a group, I'd definately look to doing one with her. I also had the pleasure of hearing about her camino experiences in person at my local REI.
http://www.thecaminoexperience.com/
I also had another friend use this tour company: http://marlycamino.com/ She loved it!

Sounds like a wonderful trip that you can share with a loved one....enjoy the planning. There is a lot of information on this site to help you.

Hope that helps![/QUOTE
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Sounds like a great 'journey' for you to share.

Though I think you might not really need a tour company....

You could book accomodation a day or two ahead. Get your pack transported, which is an easy process that all accomodation stops can help you with. I had to use it myself last year.

If you find you are holding your daughter back.......just jump on a bus or grab a taxi and be waiting at the next stop for her! ;)

The tour companies do a great job, but you will be locking yourself into a schedule, that might not suit you after a while. Too fast, too slow....

Just plan ahead a day or two and make sure you have some 'bail out' options in your head. I.e. You know you will be in a village after 8 kms. So could get a taxi. Or passing through a town at 12 kms. .....

I always had a Plan B in my head just in case I had to stop.

A tour company will certainly be an easier option, and perhaps more peace of mind for you, but the inflexibility of the schedule may cause issues for you. I had friends who regretted the decision, once they realised it is not hard at all to just go it alone....

The people along the Camino have been supporting pilgrims for hundreds of years. I found 99% of them are delightful and very helpful ...

But if you are worried at all, go with the tour group option :)
 

Ahhhs

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP to Santiago, May 2015
Porto to Santiago, April 2016
Muxia-Finisterre-Santiago, April 2016
Camino Del Norte, April 2017
Sounds great! I'm sure you will both have a wonderful time and what an amazing bonding experience to share. For another possible option, you might also consider planning your Camino on your own. There are lots of other pilgrims to walk with in June and July. You can easily send your pack ahead if you chose to. There are also plenty of buses and taxis if you need them. Either way, with a tour group or on you own, you will be surrounded by lots of helpful and friendly pilgrims.

There are so many helpful people and threads on this forum. All of your questions can be answered here.

Enjoy the planning. Buen Camino!
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
A Forum member just walked the Portguese Camino and had hired a company to help with all the logistics. To say she was unimpressed by them is quite the euphanism.

Perhaps you can tells us how, specifically, a tour company can do anything for you that you would not be able to do on your own and we can give you our assesment.

You mention luggage being carried: a number of luggage transport companies go from albergue to albergue picking up and delivering bags. Why pay an intermediary a bonus to "arrange" this for you? You mention being able to drop out if you need to: you can always drop out as there are taxis, buses and trains all over the Camino.

If you book with a company you will lose your freedom of walking to where you want, follow or dump people, eat with them or ot, enjoy albergue camaraderie,lose the fun of discovering what you are able to do by yourself.

I would give it a second thought.
 
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jefferyonthecamino

http://www.barrerabooks.com/ - Guidebooks
Past OR future Camino
2021
Hi Fellow Pilgrims,

My daughter studied abroad in Santiago de Compostela last Spring, and we became fascinated with the Camino. She and I plan to walk it in June & July 2017. She will be 25 years old and I will be 60 years old next summer. I have knee problems and therefore, I am concerned about the two of us walking alone. So, I am looking for a tour company or group that we could join--therefore, if I had to drop out for any reason, she would be able to continue on the Camino. She plans to carry her backpack, but I hope to only carry a daypack and have my suitcase transported from place to place. Have any of you used the tour companies--were you happy with them, any suggestions about picking one, etc?
We are also looking for recommendations on what type of clothes to wear, what type of hiking shoes are the best, etc.
I think this would be an awesome bonding experience for the two of us and a "once in a lifetime" opportunity, so it is something that we both really want to do.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and for any advice. It would be greatly appreciated! May God bless all of you!

are you planning to walk from SJPP? not many tours companies offer all 800 kms. there are quite a few out there with mixed reviews, tripadvisor for reviews and opinions is probably your best option in my opinion.

BTW, nothing wrong with your plan, everything is easy for seasoned pilgrims, but if you are not familiar with the logistics, the language or rural spain, logistics on the Camino may be a bit daunting.

cheers

jeff
 

Waka

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Some but not all, and other routes too.
Myself I didn't use a tour company, but i know a few who used Nancy's outfit for, I think the first week. Talking to them later when they had departed they all said that it was just the right help they needed to get them started on the camino.

On the other hand there are so many people leaving SJPdP you would find it very difficult not to team up with other pilgrims.

There are options out there and I'm sure you will make the right choice.

I would like to add that I have no ties with Nancy or any other tour company.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Do you speak any Spanish, in order to be able to sort out problems on your own? (medical, transport issues, ticket ordering, etc.)?
 

Debra Dunsmore

New Member
Past OR future Camino
June 2017
are you planning to walk from SJPP? not many tours companies offer all 800 kms. there are quite a few out there with mixed reviews, tripadvisor for reviews and opinions is probably your best option in my opinion.

BTW, nothing wrong with your plan, everything is easy for seasoned pilgrims, but if you are not familiar with the logistics, the language or rural spain, logistics on the Camino may be a bit daunting.

cheers

jeff
Thanks so much for the info, Jeff. Also, I greatly appreciate your saying that "nothing is wrong with my plan". I know to many it may seem to be a "wimpy" way to do it (using a tour company), but I am a very type A personality, and I like to plan and know that both Kelly and I will be safe, and that she would be able to go on, if for some reason, I had to drop out. Thanks, again. Debbie
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
please see signature
Just plan ahead a day or two and make sure you have some 'bail out' options in your head

Debra, hi. There are two of you. You see this as a time for "bonding".

I think @Robo has a great way forward for the two of you to work together. If you do have to bail out of walking then, each day, agree on the next stage. You bus etc ahead and get the beds for the night sorted. Then, later in the day, maybe walk back a little way, rest up to await and greet your daughter and walk together for a short time.

That way you still enjoy as much as you can of the occasion and you are not tied to someone else's timetable.

Ultreia (keep striving)
Kia kaha (be strong/brave)
Buen camino (good journey)
 
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Mark Lee

Guest
Sounds like a great 'journey' for you to share.

Though I think you might not really need a tour company....

You could book accomodation a day or two ahead. Get your pack transported, which is an easy process that all accomodation stops can help you with. I had to use it myself last year.

If you find you are holding your daughter back.......just jump on a bus or grab a taxi and be waiting at the next stop for her! ;)

The tour companies do a great job, but you will be locking yourself into a schedule, that might not suit you after a while. Too fast, too slow....

Just plan ahead a day or two and make sure you have some 'bail out' options in your head. I.e. You know you will be in a village after 8 kms. So could get a taxi. Or passing through a town at 12 kms. .....

I always had a Plan B in my head just in case I had to stop.

A tour company will certainly be an easier option, and perhaps more peace of mind for you, but the inflexibility of the schedule may cause issues for you. I had friends who regretted the decision, once they realised it is not hard at all to just go it alone....

The people along the Camino have been supporting pilgrims for hundreds of years. I found 99% of them are delightful and very helpful ...

But if you are worried at all, go with the tour group option :)
He's right. Easy enough do it yourself type thing to do.
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
I like to plan and know that both Kelly and I will be safe, and that she would be able to go on, if for some reason, I had to drop out.

Although there are pluses and minuses for having a company make the arrangements, I did want to comment on the safety aspect, and the possibility of your daughter continuing if you cannot since those seem to be primary reasons for you choosing to go with a tour company.

You really will be no more or less safe with a tour company versus going on your own - the only added safety is that if something happens and you don't show up where you are supposed to be at the end of the day, someone may notice sooner and may start looking for you. The biggest risks to your safety are dehydration, over-exertion, and auto-accidents - none of which can be mitigated by a tour company. A pilgrim did disappear earlier this year - this was absolutely tragic, but also extremely uncommon - and I don't think that being with a tour company would have helped her. But, there are a lot of people on the Camino - if you get into trouble of any sort, chances are someone will be along within a minute or two, and pilgrims are probably the most helpful group of people you'll ever meet. You're going to be walking in June and July - plenty of people on the Camino that time of year.

Regarding your daughter continuing without you should you need to drop out - she can absolutely do this with or without a tour company. You'll undoubtedly meet lots of people along the Way, and by the time you'd have to drop out should you need to, your daughter would know lots of people to continue the walk with. Having her stops pre-arranged won't change that. In fact, not having a set itinerary is helpful in developing friendships because you can choose to stop or continue on based on where your new friends are stopping - or conversely, if you don't want to walk with someone anymore, you can stop early while that person walks on or visa versa. A lot of people (maybe half?) walk the Camino by themselves, so your daughter would be in good company should she need to continue alone.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
I've led 5 groups on the Camino on what we call our 'no-frills' group walks. This just means that although you stay in private rooms, (no dormitories) they are not in Five Star hotels or Paradores; there are no gourmet meals built into the cost, or air-conditioned Mercedes back up vehicles with healthy snacks following behind you. You can walk at your own pace, with or without others in the group, eat together if you want to, when you want to or not at all.
As much as I enjoyed my 3 walks on the Camino Frances, and those from Paris, Lourdes and the Via Francigena to Rome, staying mostly in albergues and carrying my own pack, I must admit that I now enjoy walking with like-minded people and sharing my love of the Camino with them.
Rooms are booked ahead at 20 km to 25km stages. For many it is a comfort to know that no matter how long or challenging your day, there is a bed and a hot shower waiting for you at the end of it. Having a room booked gives you more time to enjoy the path, have leisurely lunches and spend time in museums and churches that you might not have time to visit if you were aiming to get a bed in an albergue before 4pm. Our groups share the costs of visiting places like Clavijo, Las Medulas and Finisterre.
Compared with my first Caminos in 2002, 2004 and 2006, so many pilgrims stay in private accommodation now that you always have the opportunity to share stories of the road and communal meals with other pilgrims.
We have had people join our groups for their second (or third Camino) who say they have earned their stripes, carrying their packs and staying in albergues. They want a different experience, staying in private rooms, sending bags ahead and not having to join a race for beds.
When I walk a Camino on my own again, I will only choose to stay in a few traditional albergues that I really love and the rest of the time I will pre-book private rooms in pensiones or hostales.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
For information on commercial operators, please go to the Resources section (see the banner at the top of the website) and search within. We try to keep the general forum commercial free - which, of course, does not preclude people posting their opinions and experiences with different operators.
 
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SoulGirl

Member
Past OR future Camino
April and May 2016
Sounds like a great 'journey' for you to share.

Though I think you might not really need a tour company....

You could book accomodation a day or two ahead. Get your pack transported, which is an easy process that all accomodation stops can help you with. I had to use it myself last year.

If you find you are holding your daughter back.......just jump on a bus or grab a taxi and be waiting at the next stop for her! ;)

The tour companies do a great job, but you will be locking yourself into a schedule, that might not suit you after a while. Too fast, too slow....

Just plan ahead a day or two and make sure you have some 'bail out' options in your head. I.e. You know you will be in a village after 8 kms. So could get a taxi. Or passing through a town at 12 kms. .....

I always had a Plan B in my head just in case I had to stop.

A tour company will certainly be an easier option, and perhaps more peace of mind for you, but the inflexibility of the schedule may cause issues for you. I had friends who regretted the decision, once they realised it is not hard at all to just go it alone....

The people along the Camino have been supporting pilgrims for hundreds of years. I found 99% of them are delightful and very helpful ...

But if you are worried at all, go with the tour group option :)

love that advice Rob and your website and videos - very helpful.... :) i like this idea of sending my backpack away the way you did it :) though i am planning to go in july or mid july / aug and i wonder if i would be lucky in that sense of booking with just a few days ahead of me..and you paid all the accomodation (with private room) in cash? average 50 eur per night? thanks!!
 

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