Here is an option for those whose vacation times and dreams do not coincide... schedule your own trip! On this page, we discuss...
- ...scheduling a trip on the dates you want, to follow one of our regular routes.
- How to register for the trip you have had us schedule.
- A “Founders Discount” for which you qualify.
If you prefer a private trip, either because you wish to modify our route or comfort level, or because you want to avoid cooties, please see our page on “Charter Trips.”
There are four conditions for scheduling a trip on one of our regular routes.
- You must generally be at least 6 “Trip Founders”.
What is a “Trip Founder?” A Trip Founder of a Guest-Initiated trip is someone who commits to go on the trip within 15 days of its creation (application and trip deposit required). Special (more constraining than usual) cancellation conditions apply. Trip Founders are generally eligible for a 10% “Founder’s Discount” on the base trip price. More importantly, they are essential to the scheduling of a Guest-Initiated trip.
Perhaps you can scare up 6 friends, but if not, consider posting a note in your gym, or your language class, or kidnapping a passerby. You can schedule a trip for as few as 4 people if you do so by November 1st of the prior year. Discounted children 3-and-up count as “half people" (not in our hearts, but for the purposes of trip creation). See Prices and Signing Up / Canceling, below.
The “Founder’s Discount” applies provided the trip creation terms are met (number of Founders, lead time, departure date and day of the week...)
We add the trip to our departure schedule, at our risk. If no one else joins, it will run for just your group. If others climb aboard, you meet new, interesting people, hopefully cootie-free.
- We generally need a 4-month lead time to schedule a new trip departure (1 month for a Day Trip), to give us time to attract additional riders.
Given the time needed to negotiate the process and get the Trip Founder applications and deposits in, you have to be reasonably set in your plans by about 5 months prior, obviously less for a Day Trip).
- The trip must be scheduled to start on the same day of the week as that route’s regularly-scheduled trips.
This condition can be waived for a minimum of 8 riders. But it is not wise to do so, for several reasons:
- Our route sheets make reference to opening hours and train schedules which vary with the day of the week. They will not be as reliable on other days of the week.
- Operating the trip on the “regular” days of the week improves the chances of getting hotel space in our first choice hotels.
- Certain operational concerns are best addressed as part of our regular service pattern (for instance, we do things like scheduling our passage through a market town... on market day).
- We are more likely to be able to schedule a Trip Coordinator for your trip if the trip only occupies one of his work weeks, rather than straddling two.
Day Trips are often more expensive if scheduled for Fridays or Saturdays.
- We can add new departures of trips to our schedule so long as operating constraints permit.
In other words, hotel rooms, bikes and personnel must be available for the trip to be scheduled.
We will not generally add trips within two weeks of existing departures on the same itinerary, unless the existing departure is full or very close to it.
The trip must be scheduled such that it not draw too many riders from an already-scheduled trip operating just before or after.
Once you tell us your dates, and we confirm the trip (generally within 48 hours), each Trip Founder has 15 days to send in the standard trip deposit, along with a trip application.
If six applications and deposits are received by the cutoff date, the trip is scheduled (only 4 are needed if the cutoff date is at the latest November 1st of the prior year). If fewer are received, either...
- ...each individual deposit is refunded, less an administrative charge of 20€, or the equivalent in the currency of your statement.
Or (at our discretion)...
- ...the trip is confirmed and operated for the number of people who have joined, without additional charge.
There is no surcharge for Guest-Initiated Trips, unless such a surcharge is negotiated for a trip scheduled by fewer than six guests. In addition, Trip Founders are generally eligible for a 10% discount on the base trip price.
Conversely, other commercial discounts do not apply to Guest-Initiated Trips, except as specified in the description of the discount.
Signing Up, Canceling
The standard trip deposit required of a Trip Founder of a Guest-Initiated Trip is non-refundable (except through our cancellation waivers see below). Otherwise, usual payment (and cancellation) terms apply.
A Day Trip scheduled at guest initiative is subject to a 60€ / person cancellation fee, or to its usual cancellation charge, whichever is higher. Hotel cancellation charges, if any, additionally apply.
Cancellation waivers, if desired, must be subscribed when the deposit is made. They cover cancellation in the usual conditions (including refund of the otherwise nonrefundable trip deposit, if applicable).
Should a Trip Founder prove unable to travel, payments made can be transferred to any other person of his or her choosing, by simple written instruction, under the following conditions.
- Transferred payments can only serve as a payment for a newly-registering traveller, travelling on the same trip. They cannot be transferred to someone already registered for the trip, to someone who has been previously registered to the trip and has cancelled, nor to someone travelling on another trip.
- The newly registering traveller must be someone found by the efforts of the canceling traveller, directly or indirectly. The deposit will not be applied to people unknown to the traveller, subscribing to the trip through Blue Marble.
- An administrative charge is withheld from the transferred amount. This charge will correspond to the charge normally assessed when participation in one of our regularly-scheduled trips is canceled 8 or more weeks in advance.
- Only payments are transferred, not prices or other conditions. For instance, the fact that a payment is transferred does not in any way influence the trip price paid by the newly-subscribing rider. If the price in effect when the new rider joins is different (higher or lower) than the price in effect when the Trip Founder registered for the trip, the new price applies.
Follow this link to information on private (charter) trips.
Philadelphia friends in the Basque Country (top)
Detroy / Zavitz pod in Provence (bottom)