THE REAL COST BENEFIT OF A MOTO-CHARLIE TOUR
Everyone says that the cheapest way to tour is to do everything yourself. That means that you do all the research on your own. You find and rent the motorcycle if needed, you identify, book, locate and pay for the hotels, you pay for your own food and gas and then the raison d’être, you find your own way through New England.
I’ve done that all my life while touring in New Engalnd and I did that for 15 years – 2 times a year before I started Alps Tours. Lots of riders do it, but it can be a lot of work. Even now I spend 3 – 4 hours just researching a new hotel in a great location at a realistic distance along the route.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that the way I route my tours now, where we stay, the places we visit and the logistics of how it all come together are way better today after doing it dozens and dozens of times, than it was way back when I did it for the first time – experience counts.
When you do it all on your own you pay the real cost without any profit or mark-up included for a tour operator.
You do the exact same thing on a Moto-Charlie tour, meaning that you pay for everything yourself – no hidden costs. I use my experience to do all the hard work for you.
The only extra cost on my tour is a separate, clearly identified fee for my services. That fee pays for Moto-Charlie to make all the motorcycle reservations, hotel reservations and guide every tour. The amount of this fee is significantly less than the profit and mark-ups built into other tour operator prices.
In Europe hotels usually charge by the person. In America they usually charge per the room.
To keep things simple I calculate the AVERAGE TOTAL COST per day. I use the mid to high level room rates at each hostelry to show what I believe the maximim cost will be.
I then take the cost per day and multiply it times the number of tour days.
AVERAGE TOURING COST PER DAY FOR A SINGLE RIDER is $395/day:
+ Hotels (Includes Breakfast) – $220/day
+ Dinner – $50/day
+ Incidentals (Lunch and Gas per day) – $45/day
+ Moto-Charlie Fee – $80/day
AVERAGE TOURING COST PER DAY FOR A COUPLE RIDING 2-UP is $530/day: ($265 per person)
+ Hotels (Includes Breakfast) – $220/day
+ Dinner – $100/day
+ Incidentals (Lunch and Gas per day) – $70/day
+ Moto-Charlie Fee – $140/day ($80 rider +$60 passenger)
2 riders sharing a room can save almost $100 per day.
As you can see from the cost breakdown the main cost driver is lodging. Please note that these tour costs also reflect high season hotel rates in effect from July 1 through September foliage season. The best New England experience is to stay in classic and historic inns that are unique to this region. They provide a level of ambience that adds to your tour experience and they are so cool. They are also old and require a fair bit of money to maintain. Many are family run with excellent restaurants, all which adds up to a higher level of personal service, which I believe is worth the extra price.
Note: Our lodgings provide different price levels. I show the average mid-high level price including the 9% meals and rooms tax. Some rooms may end up being a little cheaper, some a little more expensive. I also estimate $50 per person for dinner. You may be able to chose menu items that total up to less than my estimate.
On my tours there is no markup. With the other tour companies, you’re given an all-inclusive price that (1) is missing certain cost items so it really isn’t all-inclusive, and (2) gives you no way to tell how much their fee really is because their costs are bundled together.
- RIDING DAYS – Be sure to pinpoint how many riding days there are. Many 8-day tours end up being 5 days of riding, etc. My tours assume that every day is a riding day.
- EXTRA DINNERS – Most tours have free days where you are in the same town for more than one night. Frequently dinner is not included in the tour price for those nights in case you want to eat somewhere different than the prior night. I include an average of $40 per dinner for free days.
- GAS, LUNCH AND INCIDENTALS – Remember to add $35 – $55 per day to the tour price from other tour companies for incidental expenses to cover lunch, gas, etc. (these amounts are included in my cost numbers above).
- MY TOUR COSTS INCLUDE ALL OF THE ABOVE – With other tour providers you can expect to spend another $250 to $500 per person or more than the published prices, depending on the length of tour.
It can be difficult to compare tour costs from company to company. The number of days is usually different, the type of lodging can be different, there can be low season pricing, etc.
One way to help you understand the cost difference is to figure the cost per day.
Based on my cost breakdown you can see what the average cost is per day. When looking at other tour companies take their published price and divide it by the number of riding days. Then make sure to add the missing items like gas, lunches and meals per day to come up with a comparative average per day. Now you have some basis for comparison.
If you think that your trip will be longer, or shorter, than my tour schedule or if you have some significant cost issue that is not part of the regular tour activity and you would like some assistance in calculating your cost, please let me know.
Obviously you should not pick a tour company based on price alone. You can also go cheaper if you elect to stay at chain hotels or economy lodgings, but you will be missing a key part of what makes New England so special. On a Moto-Charlie tour you get more than 20 years of personalized tour guide experince, a unique riding mix of mountain climbs, classic back roads, winding coastal lanes and local hidden gems all intended to give you the most memorable adventure for your money.