I am looking at a few of the REI travel packages (3-4 day backpacking trips). Does anyone have any thoughts on if they are worth it?
Wondering if it is better to pay to enjoy a trip without the planning (or at least the bulk of it) or is it better to go on your own plans so you are not held to the REI itinerary?
It depends on what you’re looking for. If you like to plan your own itinerary and be flexible in what you’re doing, they might not work for you. I travel by myself and am not interested in planning everything out. So, for me, the trips are great. I’ve gone on 4 trips and canceled 2 last year (covid). The guides are great, the other people are a lot of fun, and I don’t need to worry about anything once I hook up with the group. I met a really good friend through one of the trips when we were placed as roommates, and we’ve gone on 2 more trips together, with another coming up.
I've taken a number of trips with REI adventures - all international trips, I've never done the shorter 3-4 day trips you mention. I've been 100% happy with my experiences and think they've all been worth it.
The guides have all been knowledgeable, not only about the way-finding of the routes, but also the history, culture, flora, fauna, geology of the area, which is super informative. In the trips I've done (NZ, patagonia, the galapagos, and Iceland) there haven't been any hikes or sights in the area I wanted to see (based on my own research) that we didn't do, and many cases the itineraries had us do amazing hikes that are lesser known and not in the guidebooks- those usually end up being my favorites.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Do you enjoy the planning? Not only of the hikes, but also the food, logistics, camping/hotel finding. I usually enjoy planning, but sometimes not having to set up a camp kitchen or find a good restaurant when I'm exhausted from a day's hiking is worth its weight in gold.
- Would you be comfortable hiking/camping alone in the areas you'd be? One reason I keep coming back to REI for trips is that I'm a solo female traveller with only a moderate amount of camping experience. I wouldn't want to/wouldn't feel comfortable hiking alone in areas like Patagonia or the Icelandic back country.
- Are you prone to wanting additional info on the hike? Having a knowledgeable guide is great for people (like me) who tend to have lots of 'what is that animal' or 'what is this geological formation' questions
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.