The Camino de Santiago with a specialised agency
Doing the Camino de Santiago with a specialized agency, such as Santiago Ways, or by yourself is a personal decision. Many people prefer to trust their pilgrimage with the security in having a team of people specializing in the pilgrim route behind you. Others prefer to jump on the adventure for free and deal with the inconvenience they may encounter on the way.
In this article, we want to explain to you what services a specialized agency in the Camino de Santiago can offer you. We also want to talk to you about in which cases it is better to have this type of service and what is the profile of pilgrims who most request our services.
Doing the Camino de Santiago with an agency: what it means
Before we begin to talk about what it means to do the Camino de Santiago with a travel agency, it is important to clarify the difference between the two great services offered by this type of company. On one hand, the Camino travel agencies offer the organization of the trip. On the other, they provide the opportunity to join an organized group.
In Santiago Ways, we offer both services. However, in this article we do not want to talk about organized groups to the Camino de Santiago, because we already have another article, which you can consult by clicking on the link. On this occasion, we want to focus on what it means to hire the organization of your trip on the Camino de Santiago.
The difference between one service and another is that in the case of organized groups the pilgrimage is made with other people who do the Camino de Santiago on the same dates as you. Whereas when you hire an agency to do the Camino de Santiago you go by yourself, but without having to worry about the pre-planning, because that is what the agency is all about.
That is to say, in the case of organized groups you are the one that adapts to the date of departure, to the travel companions and to the route. However, when you hire an agency to organize the Camino de Santiago for you, it is the travel company that adapts to you: what day you want to start, what route you want to take, whether there is a group or you go alone, etc.
What does an agency do to organize the Camino de Santiago?
As we said earlier, an agency, like ours, is responsible for organizing the pilgrimage to Compostela in a personalized way. Then we explain with details that means that the agency adapts to you and not you to it.
The first thing that an agency specialized in the organization of the way of Santiago does is to listen to you. In our case, we worry about knowing what are the expectations of the people who get in touch with us, in what physical condition they are and what available time they have to complete the Camino de Santiago.
From there, our team advises you on what is the best Camino de Santiago for you, as well as the right starting point, if you intend to complete the tour in Compostela. We also advise you on the distribution of the stages. Obviously, there are people who already have these aspects clear in their mind and in those cases, we adapt to them.
It is important that when choosing a travel agency to do the Camino de Santiago, choose a specialist on the pilgrim route. Some agencies will offer you the option to organize the trip, but since they are not specialized, they will offer you only certain sections of the Camino de Santiago.
Therefore, your advice will not be objective but will be conditioned with the sections of the Camino de Santiago with those who work. In this sense, in Santiago Ways, we are proud to say that we work with all sections on the Camino de Santiago. Not in vain do we say that we are lovers of the Camino.
Transfer to the beginning of your Camino de Santiago
In Santiago Ways, we know that the transfers to the locality where the pilgrimage begins, are sometimes difficult to plan. For this reason, we advise the pilgrims who travel with us on which is the nearest airport and from there we offer the transport service to the starting point of the Camino de Santiago.
Booking accommodation on the route
One of the great advantages of doing the Camino de Santiago with an agency is that they are in charge of booking accommodation. Once you have decided on the route to be made and the distribution of stages, we will be in charge of booking in charming establishments, in the different towns in which each stage ends.
In our agency, specifically, we work with hotels, rural houses and Galician houses that offer great comfort to pilgrims and always in rooms with private bathrooms. To make sure that the establishments we work with offer excellent quality in their service, our team checks them personally.
We also carry out a thorough follow-up of the opinions from all our clients on the treatment received in the accommodation. We have no commitment to any establishment, we simply collaborate with those who offer the best quality.
That is why on our website you will not find the exact name of the hotels or cottages that we work with. This information is received by the person 30 days before starting the Camino de Santiago. It is the only way to guarantee always the best quality and to be able to adapt in a personalized way to the needs of each pilgrim.
This is one of the things that pilgrims most value in making the Camino de Santiago with an agency. Especially when the pilgrimage takes place in high season, where it is sometimes difficult to get accommodation, or when pilgrims come from foreign countries.
Incidents and emergencies
As we commented to you before, doing the Camino de Santiago organizing with an agency, means that you go by yourself, and you receive support. That is why the management of incidents or emergencies is so important that is included in the travel pack.
In Santiago Ways to make sure that the people who do the Camino de Santiago with us feel accompanied when the unexpected happens, we facilitate two services. One is that of telephone assistance and the other is the emergency vehicle.
On the telephone helpline, a specialist in the Camino de Santiago advises pilgrims about any questions they may have during the tour. It also helps them to solve any kind of inconvenience that may arise during the pilgrimage.
The assistance vehicle is a service that is only activated in an emergency. If necessary, the vehicle moves to the point where you find yourself. Obviously, like insurance, it is of that type of services that should be counted on, but it is better not to have to use it.
Another of the services that are included in the organization of the Camino de Santiago with an agency is the transporting of your backpack between stages. In this publication of our blog of the Camino de Santiago, we explain in more detail the advantages of not carrying your backpack on the Camino de Santiago.
Meals are also usually included in the services of organization of the Camino de Santiago. It depends on the agency will include all meals or just a few. In our case, we give the option to the people interested in arranging the trip with us to choose between only having breakfast or breakfast with the evening meal.
Including breakfast in the organization of the trip is quite important. In some places, you will not find bars or restaurants that open early and where you can have a nutritious breakfast before you start walking. By having this service included in your accommodation, you will be assured that you are prepared early and that there is never a morning without having to start your journey on an empty stomach.
Having the included dinners is comfortable. You avoid having to go out at night in search of a place to eat and also make sure you will taste regional dishes. The gastronomy of the Camino de Santiago is one of its attractions.
Having travel insurance is also important on any trip you make. Even more so, on trips that are expected to include risky activities. While doing the Camino de Santiago on foot or by bicycle is not a risky activity, there is a possibility that during the tour you will suffer an injury.
If you are Spanish, you will get health care in any location on the road. However, if you are a foreigner having travel insurance is the best way to avoid expensive bills associated with health care.
We, in addition to travel insurance, offer cancellation insurance, because the contingencies exist and these do not only occur on the route. Unfortunately, sometimes, with the whole trip scheduled, there is a problem that ends up spoiling the adventure. Therefore, we always advise to include it.
In addition to all previous services, in Santiago Ways, we offer the possibility to arrange specialized guides that will accompany you in the tour or to schedule visits to places of great tourist interest. You tell us you want to visit and we’ll schedule everything for you.
Those persons who want to do the Camino de Santiago on a bicycle can also rent one through a travel agency. The advantage of this service is that when you rent, you can count on insurance too, so if you need to repair or change it, the agency takes care of everything and you do not have to stop.
Transport to get you home
Like the outward trip, in Santiago Ways, we take care of advising you on which is the nearest airport for you to return home. If you arrive in Compostela, from the same city you can take a flight. But if you make a stretch of the Camino de Santiago that does not end in the heart of Galicia, we help you to reach the nearest airport.
Doing the Camino de Santiago with an agency: what it isn’t
There are many myths about what you can do and what you cannot do on the Camino de Santiago with an agency. Next, we explain what you cannot do with an agency:
- It’s not having someone walking next to you, marking schedules. Unless you contract a guide service.
- It is not to go through the Camino de Santiago without impacting the local economy. We, in particular, work without intermediaries, only with local businesses and professionals.
- It is not taking transport. As we have already told you, an agency deals with the logistical aspects, every kilometre you travel will be the result of your own effort.
- It isn’t not living the adventure. The only adventure you will lose if you decide to hire an agency to organize your pilgrimage to Santiago is to spend hours and hours in front of the computer, worrying about the pre-planning.
Who decides to do the Camino de Santiago with an agency?
Although during the years that we have helped the pilgrims to arrive in Santiago de Compostela, all kinds of people have travelled with us, it is true that there are some profiles, because of their personal characteristics, that are more inclined to look for the services of an Agency. These are:
- Foreigners. Organizing the Camino de Santiago from faraway countries can be quite more complicated. If it is your case, we recommend that you consult our article on pilgrimage being from another country.
- Families. Doing the Camino de Santiago with children requires much more planning.
- People who have little time or do not want to make the effort. As we have already indicated, that if an agency takes care of everything for you, it saves you a lot of time.
- Pilgrims walking or cycling who do not want to take a risk. They are people who want to have the peace of mind knowing that if you have a problem, there will be a specialized team that will take care of everything.
We have explained pretty well what it means to do the Camino de Santiago with an agency. Anyway, as the images say more than the words, we leave a video in which you will see what exactly consists of doing the Camino de Santiago with Santiago Ways.
We encourage you to get in touch with us if you are looking for an agency to organize your trip to the Camino de Santiago. Our team will be happy to assist you and will advise you without compromise.