Written by Steven Musumeche

For first-time adventurers (or those not especially confident about taking off on a camping trip by themselves the first time), going with a guide may be the best way. A guided excursion may be ideal for the single adventurer who is uncomfortable with the idea of the outdoors or doesn’t have a partner to go with.

Guided trips are outdoor vacations organized and put together by companies specializing in extended ‘package’ trips.  Wilderness trips are often conducted by experienced guides who offer tips along the way. Guided trips like these are great for those who don’t have camping equipment and the skills needed for more involved camping trips because everything is often provided—from hiking boots and packs to tents and sleeping bags. Often, the only thing you have to worry about is getting to the departure point for the trip at hand, whether it is by airplane, car, or bus. So, in considering the cost, these trips may be bargains when you consider that you won’t have to buy specialized equipment for the trip.

Guided trips come in all shapes and colors, from weekend canoe camping excursions to two-week long adventures to different parts of the world. And they cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to three or four thousand depending on the nature and duration of the trip. You can find companies offering a variety of trips in outdoor magazines and from brochures available at your local camping gear store.

Guided trips also offer the opportunity to explore a range of camping locations and ‘mix’ different activities in one trip. Such excursions may include a canoe trip to a campsite one day, a day-long hike the next, and then a hike or canoe trip to another location. The great thing about guided tours is that you can show up with minimal gear—often nothing more than a pair of hiking boots and some warm clothes.

While this can take some of the thrill out of the planning that accompanies a do-it-yourself camping trip, it may be the answer for those who are short on time, or for those short on ideas about where to go.

Finding the Right Guided Camping Trip

As with the do-it-yourself trip, you’ll have to search local camping stores, chambers of commerce, and other sources for the names and phone numbers of guided trips. Typically, guided trips are offered on a package basis; you purchase a weekend-long trip or longer. Most have some theme attached to them—bird watching, kayaking, canoeing, or cycling. Others may offer a nature-appreciation theme; still others may offer instruction that builds your hiking and camping skills.

Whatever the theme, the more adventurous can parachute into a situation and enjoy a range of locales with like-minded adventurers. How about sea kayaking the coasts of Baja and dining by night on seafood at a beach camp? Or hiking through the rainforests of Costa Rica?

The world is your oyster with this kind of trip.

Getting To Your Guided Camping Trip

With a guided trip there isn’t much to getting there. Just hook up with the group at a pre-arranged time and date and get going. In most cases, this means getting to a bus or train stop and getting aboard. Guided camping trips to exotic locations will mean plane reservations and more transportation planning. Companies offering guided trips can often help with these arrangements.