Self-Guided Tours in BC: The Why & How of This Travel Trend


Who’s ready to travel again!? We’re all chomping at the bit to get outside and experience something new and wonderful. But for some, the risks surrounding international travel, of planning an elaborate holiday that may end up getting canceled, are just not worth it.

What’s the solution? How do we satisfy our travel bug in this age of uncertainty?

Enter the self-guided tour. This is an option we’ve grown to love these past few months, as it provides a great alternative for those who prefer independent travel but want a bit of support along the way.

Simply put, on a self-guided tour all of the logistics are taken care of for you – accommodation is booked, and your chosen activities are pre-arranged. All you have to do is download that itinerary and set off with your travel buddies.

Self-guided tours have been around long before the pandemic, but they’ve been given a new life with the increased demand for safe and easy ways to get that travel fix. Add the option to explore somewhere new and close-to-home, and you have a winning tour.

So why should you consider a self-guided vs. guided tour, and how do you get involved?

The Why:

No-Stress Vacation Planning

Even the most independent of travellers can find themselves crunched for time or short on ideas when it comes to planning. In a new destination, even one within our own country, it can be daunting to start that google search or open that guide book and try to piece together a multi-day trip that will make your whole group happy.

That’s the beauty of self-guided tours – they are inherently custom. Your booking agent will take stock of your interests and budget and create a tailored schedule with something for everyone. With a day-by-day itinerary in-hand, you can take the stress out of planning, navigate the trip with ease, and have more time to simply enjoy the experience.

Flexible & Affordable

There are no set dates here – you choose when you want to travel, and where (based on availability, of course). Custom itineraries mean you pick only the activities you and your group most want to do, with the option to split up for certain activities too. And don’t worry, we know how travel plans go – we make sure there is plenty of time to explore at your own pace and embrace the spontaneous.

We understand the pandemic has hit some wallets hard, and self-guided tours provide a more affordable option to group travel. Itineraries can be built around your budget, with varying accommodation styles, dining and tour options available in most destinations. Include as much or as little in your pre-planned itinerary as you like, and let the rest unfold from there.

Private, Small Groups Only

Self-guided means you are traveling in the safety and comfort of your own vehicle (or rental), with all the freedom to make those unplanned stops for a scenic lookout or a fresh coffee at that cute road-side cafe.

Then there is the peace-of-mind of traveling with your own small group, plus the quality time you get with your partner, friends, or family. Do you have loved ones that live across the country? We feel you! A self-guided tour is the perfect way to reconnect and share a new experience together.

While it can be great to meet like-minded people during a group tour, now is the time to nurture those valued connections with our loved ones. On a self-guided tour, there are still plenty of opportunities to connect with the locals, to share meals and laughs with new people along the way, as it suits your interests and comfort level.

Locally-guided day tour to San Josef Bay, Cape Scott Provincial Park – ‘North Island In-Depth

The How:

1 | Grab Your Crew

You’ve been talking about it for long enough – it’s time to rally that group of yours and start putting your plans in motion. Self-guided tours with us can be booked by groups of 2 or more, so pick your best travel companions for an adventure in British Columbia.

2 | Pick Your Destination

We love the remote corners, the lesser known communities, the wide open spaces. They have so much to offer without the crowds of a city or hot-spot destination. Our favourites? Check out the Sunshine Coast, just a short jaunt from Vancouver with its array of charming seaside villages, endless adventure sports, and those laid-back coastal vibes. Looking for something further a-field? Northern Vancouver Island offers a rugged, end-of-the-road feel with world-class whale watching, Indigenous history and culture, sea kayaking, and hiking amongst the old growth forests.

What’s the best time to visit British Columbia? Our peak season is July and August for the warm weather, with June and September offering a quieter experience with moderate temps.

3 | Confirm Your Itinerary

Travel companies like Mosaic Earth offer a range of pre-designed itineraries to start the planning process, which can then be customized to help you get the most from your vacation. Reach out to us any time – we can chat through your ideal accommodation, activities, and pace of travel, and provide a sample itinerary that suits your budget. Once your group gives the ‘OK’, we finalize all the details to get you on your way. Flexible cancellation is essential in these times – with your deposit refundable up to a month and a half in advance of your trip (less a $50 admin fee if paying by credit card).

4 | Embark on Your Adventure!

The fun starts now. We’ve organized your accommodation and booked you on the ferry, got you scheduled on your preferred day tours, those kayak rentals will be waiting for you on day 3, the waterfront restaurant has you booked at an ocean-view table for your final night… you get the picture.

You’ll depart with a detailed itinerary, a list of facts and stories about your destination, and recommendations for restaurants and stops along the way. You will also have access to remote support from our team throughout your journey to make sure the days unfold without a hitch.

Your love is travel, our love is planning – let’s work together and get you out there exploring this summer!

Interested in a self-guided, or a guided tour? Reach out to our team at: for more information.

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Guest Experience Specialist

Emma McLachlan

As a recent graduate with a Bachelors in Tourism Development, Emma has used her education and career opportunities to explore Canada, from coast to coast. Her previous experience in hotels, adventure guiding and travel consulting has relocated her to Lake Louise, Whistler, Montreal, Banff and Toronto.

Her exploration of the west coast ignited her love for adventure tourism, but also opened her eyes to the communities marginalized at the hands of the tourism industry. This flourished her passion for creating a more thoughtful relationship amongst tourism suppliers, local communities and tourists. With Mosaic Earth Travel, Emma is connecting her passions in regenerative tourism and travel.

Originally from Ontario, Emma’s various relocations exposed her to her favourite activities; including back-country camping and hiking, rollerblading, snowboarding, rock climbing and dreaming of her next adventure. Emma is based in Montreal, QC.

Photographer & Guide

Josh McGarel

An avid photographer for over twelve years, Josh has gained experience with local and international businesses, world-renowned athletes, and individuals to build professional content and brand presence across a variety of platforms.

He has worked on assignment for an expedition cruise operator as Photographer in Residence along the East Coast of Canada, South Georgia, and Antarctica. Here, Josh connected with his love of travel as he documented daily excursions, wildlife, and life onboard, and shared his knowledge of photography through presentations and workshops for passengers.

Hailing from the United Kingdom, Josh has lived in BC since 2014. He spends his time exploring the area by mountain bike and dreaming up crazy photo projects with friends.
Founder & Lead Guide

Pam McGarel

With a Masters of Science in International Development and Sustainable Tourism, Pam has dedicated her career to harnessing the power of travel to support the wellbeing of our planet and its people. She is an experienced guide, planner and project manager with a knack for logistics.

Prior to launching Mosaic Earth, Pam worked in sustainable tourism consulting where she helped develop a globally-recognized certification program for tourism businesses and destinations.

She has experience in public-private partnerships with a polar expedition cruise operator where she built relationships with world-leading field scientists, conservationists, and educators to facilitate their projects alongside the traveller experience. Pam is a member of the Adventure Travel Trade Association and Women Travel Leaders, and loves to connect with values-driven tourism professionals.

Originally from Ontario, Pam moved to BC in 2016 seeking outdoor adventure, with favourite activities including hiking, sea kayaking, snowboarding, and road trips around this beautiful province.