Not sure when to plan and book your next outdoor adventure? The answer is: NOW!
After the disruption and uncertainty of the pandemic, travel of course is now very much back in full swing, with demand greater than ever.
But one clear trend we’ve noticed post-COVID is that many travellers now delay their decision to book until much later, hoping to make arrangements at the last minute.
We strongly recommend making your plans as far in advance as possible. This will allow you to have the trip you want on the dates you want, and should also reduce your costs by taking advantage of better flight and other travel fares.
What’s wrong with booking last minute?
For the experiences we offer, two things:
- Availability: Unless you are very flexible on the dates you can travel and/or booking as just one or two persons, you are likely to find that your chosen option is fully booked unless you plan far in advance, especially for certain tours and activities. If you are a family or group of friends travelling together, it’s even more important to plan ahead, as availability will be even more limited even further in advance, especially if you are hoping to arrange a private tour.
- Price: Even if space still remains for your chosen tour/dates, booking last-minute will usually mean the overall cost of your trip is higher. In general, the prices for our experiences do not change significantly during a season, so booking in advance vs last-minute will usually make little or no difference to the cost of your booking with us. However, it may make a substantial difference to your travel costs or other associated expenses such as extra hotel nights in connection with your trip. You may well find that flights which would have cost £200 if booked months in advance rise to £500 or £600 if booked close to departure.
Do I have to plan far in advance for all trips?
For the experiences offered by Nature Travels, in terms of availability for the tours themselves, there are two main tour types for which availability is always extremely limited very far in advance, and for which you should definitely book as soon as possible. These are:
- All dogsled tours: Many of our dogsled tours will already be full 6-9 months or more before departure.
- Some summer tours: Particularly those involving moving between accommodation (such as the itineraries listed under our Summer Multi-activity category and also those of our Hiking tours which have accommodation in small hotels and guest houses along the route). We recommend booking at least 8 months or so in advance, especially for peak periods. Timber rafting, for which the number of rafts able to start on a particular day is strictly limited, may also become fully booked far in advance for the most popular dates.
Why is availability for dog sledding so limited?
There are two main reasons why dogsled tours become full so quickly:
- Capacity: Operating any dogsled tour requires significant resources. First, there must of course be enough dogs available. A single dogsled tour group with 6 guests (most of our dogsled tours have max. group size between 4 and 6 persons) will require at least 30 dogs (typically 4 dogs per guest sled and 6 dogs for the guide’s sled, plus contingencies for animals that may be resting, in heat, having puppies, etc). Second, there must be a guide not committed to other engagements, and thirdly, there must be available accommodation for all nights of the tour.
- Accessibility: Dog sledding is by far our most popular winter activity because, depending on the tour chosen, it is an adventurous winter experience that can be accessible to a very wide range of participants. At one end of the scale, we offer multi-day dogsled tours such as Discover Dog Sledding in Lapland and Introduction to Dog Sledding and Winter Camping in Finnmark which are ideal for both family and adult groups (in the case of the Discover Dog Sledding tour, the tour is suitable for children as young as six years). At the other end, we have challenging wilderness expeditions for adults such as Dog Sledding and Winter Camping on the King’s Trail and Wilderness Dogsled Adventure in Vindelfjällen.
Availability for other guided tours in winter, such as our range of cross country skiing and ice skating experiences will also often be very limited, but these activities are a little more “specialist”, perhaps requiring particular levels of previous experience depending on the tour, and so pressure on availability is usually not quite as high as for dog sledding.
Why is availability for summer tours moving between accommodation so limited?
There are two main factors affecting availability for these tours:
- Accommodation: For the tours to be possible, all the various accommodation along the route must be available for your chosen dates. For tours taking place in areas which are very popular with locals, such as the Stockholm Archipelago, most accommodation will be fully booked many months in advance, particularly during the Swedish summer holidays (from late June to mid-August).
- Logistics: These tours also require significant logistical arrangements such as the organisation of luggage transfers, so although the tours themselves are self-guided, only a limited number of guests are able to participate on a particular tour date.
Are some activities easier to arrange last-minute than others?
Yes. We offer a very wide range of canoeing and kayaking tours in summertime, and in general, because most of these tours are self-guided and usually have very flexible start dates, there may well still be availability even if you are planning at very short notice.
However, certain tours and dates will still become fully booked some way in advance, particularly if travelling during the peak summer period, and of course you still have the disadvantage that travel costs are likely to be much higher than if you can plan further in advance.
What about COVID and other factors which may affect my ability to travel?
Any good-quality travel insurance policy will now offer comprehensive cover for COVID, for example if you are unable to travel due to falling ill or if you need to cut short your trip due to the illness of a close relative.
We ourselves will of course make every effort to offer as much flexibility as possible if changes to your plans are necessary. You may wish to see our customer reviews on Google, for example, for comments on the service our guests receive. Please ensure you read the Booking Conditions for your tour carefully before booking and don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions to help you make your plans – we’re happy to help.
So don’t delay – book today!
We offer many ways to browse and choose your perfect trip:
- Use our Trip Finder to search our full range of experiences by activity, month, and type of traveller.
- Browse our range of Inspire Me articles for ideas to match the type of trip you’re looking for.
- If you already know what activity you’re interested in, you can easily compare our range of tours for the following activities: Canoeing, Kayaking, Hiking, Dog Sledding, Ski Touring and Cross Country Skiing.
- Simply Contact Us and we’ll be happy to talk and help you find the most suitable option.