Get ready to walk, says Wayfarers

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InsightThe Wayfarers, an upmarket walking tour company with programs in 15 countries, has issued a kind of challenge to prospective customers: Book one of our more energetic walks, says the Newport, R.I.-based firm, and we'll throw in a free, four-week, pre-conditioning fitness routine to get you in shape for the trip.

"The Fit for Trips program is like having a Web-based personal trainer, with exercises geared specifically to the guest's trip itinerary and needs," said Judy Allpress, vice president of sales and marketing.

Clients register with the Fit for Trips website and select the length of program they'd like, from four to 12 weeks.

"They receive access to a personal exercise account with a comprehensive regime, including video [instruction] and a personal exercise chart," added Allpress, who added that the fitness program typically costs $169. A downloadable brochure is available at www.thewayfarers.com.  

The Wayfarers also implemented a new, 1 to 5 rating system for the walks, with a 5 rating being the highest challenge level. The Fit for Trip program is offered to clients booking a 4 or 5 level itinerary.

Other changes coming in 2011 include several new tours and a Country House Stay program, during which clients use England's Pentillie Castle, in Cornwall, as the base of operations rather than moving to a different accommodation each night.

This program reflects the wishes of past customers, Allpress said.

"Listening to our guests and tailoring our trips to suit has been a Wayfarers hallmark since we began in 1984. Our guests have asked for a trip that allows them to unpack for the week, rather than a trip that follows more of a continuous route moving from hotel to hotel," she said.

What isn't changing in 2011 is the Wayfarers' price list on its U.K. and Europe programs. For the third year, the firm is holding rates steady.

Said Allpress: "Most of our trips take place in the U.K. and Europe, and we pay our suppliers in sterling and euros, so we have maintained published prices fairly in line with the stronger dollar. We have also come to agreements with our hoteliers to hold their prices in turn, reflecting the current economic climate."

Among the new walking tours for next year is one in Alsace, France, called Founders' Walk. Clients will explore the Alsace Wine Trail and trek through forests near Obernai and the Vosges Mountains. It's a six-night trip with a rating of 3, and priced from $3,895 per person, double.

Also new is Pembrokeshire Coast, a trip along the coastal path in Wales that includes a dinner with Welsh Poet Laureate Gillian Clarke. Walkers will visit the national cathedral of Wales in St. Davids, a 5,000-year-old New Stone Age cromlech, and Dylan Thomas' boathouse on the Teifi Estuary. This six-night trip carries a 3 rating and is priced $3,795, double.

Other new itineraries feature Italy and Sicily.

Agents can review the whole product list at www.thewayfarers.com.

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