Frequently Asked Questions

What do you mean by a “rowing tour” or a “rowing trip”?

Alternate words could be vacation, holiday, travel, adventure or experience. We use the words “tour” and “trip” interchangeably. Our rowing trips appeal to rowers, just like a hiking trip appeals to someone who enjoys walking or a biking tour appeals to a cyclist. Rowing travel is the chance to enjoy our favourite sport in another part of the world. One online dictionary defines a “trip” as a journey or excursion, especially for pleasure. That sums up Rowing The World.

How long are the trips and what about the groups?

With few exceptions, our trips are two to 10 days. Most trips are about a week, so seven, or eight days. Group size varies with usually eight to 15 rowers. On occasion we run a trip with a smaller or bigger group. Each trip description provides these details. Our Independent Rowing Experiences are possible for solo travellers, two rowers or a small group.

Guests are a mix of rowers from Canada, the U.S., U.K., Switzerland, Australia and other countries. They are men and women, skewed a bit higher for women, typically between 45 and 70 years old.

Where and when do you run trips?

Our tour line-up changes every year. Most of our trips take place in Europe and Canada. Trips in the northern hemisphere typically run April or May to October. Most years we have a trip to a tropical or southern hemisphere location during the winter months in the north. It can take time to develop each trip, especially a new destination. It is easy to get on the advance notice list for a trip that is not ready yet or on the wait list for a trip that is sold-out or just register your interest in a destination if you are not ready to book yet. Click on “Put me on the waitlist” or “Interested? Questions?” buttons from the Summary list or on any tour page.

What will the rowing be like?

Rowing is the most important part of each trip and all are designed to be varied and exceptional. Each rowing trip is carefully crafted to suit the local water conditions and touring opportunities. It can vary, but typically we row 80 to 100 kilometres on a one-week trip. Daily distance vary between 10 and 30 km. Usually, distances and difficulty can be modified if needed based on water conditions, weather and other factors.

There are different styles of trips.  We might row point to point down a river like the Thames in England or around a lake, such as Lago Maggiore in Italy. Centre-based trips like our BC Wilderness trip explore different rows out from one location. Or we might sample rows at different clubs or trailer boats to a new daily location, such as our Three Rivers in France trip. We have come to love coastal rowing and appreciate the opportunities to see spectacular scenery where fine boats could not go. You can join one of these trips even if you do not have coastal experience – we will give you pointers and tips on adapting your flatwater stroke to coastal conditions. Be sure to read our blog post on coastal rowing techniques. Some rowers find coastal rowing under rough conditions to be more tiring than regular rowing, so if you have concerns, please chat with us.

Send us an email or give us a call and we would be happy to help you choose the right trip that suits you.

What rowing experience is required?

You need to be a good, fit rower with solid skills. Our trips are not for beginners. We require a minimum of two years sliding seat sculling experience. Rowers who join us row or have rowed competitively, recreationally or both. You must be able to scull and you should row regularly. During the registration process we have a validation form which is required to confirm that you have a suitable level of experience and skill. If you are a beginner we have suggestions on how to get to the level to enjoy our trips in the future.

What kind of shape do I have to be in?

You should be reasonably fit and able to row for at least two hours at a rate of 18-22 strokes per minute. It is less about aerobic or short burst fitness and more about endurance and having the strength to keep pushing each stroke for an extended time.  And getting your rear end adapted to be on the seat for so long! Sometimes, you can opt out of a row, but depending on the group and number of rowers, you may need to row every time. We take turns coxing, however, which is an opportunity to take a break.

We recommend that our guests train and prepare for their trip. Think of a rowing trip as a marathon, not a sprint. You need to build stamina to recover quickly and to be able to row day after day. Your basic fitness will need to be enhanced to prevent injury. There are physical demands associated with long duration rowing, and you need to develop fatigue resistance. We are ready to help you, with information on Why Train for a Rowing Tour and Top Tips for a Rowing Tour Training Program.

What type of boats will we row?

This varies with each trip, but we frequently row recreational or coastal coxed quads and doubles. We partner with local clubs  or businesses for the use of the boats. The types of boats we row, when we row, where we go, and whether we are with local rowers or not, is determined in collaboration with our partner rowing clubs. To offer optimum rowing experiences, decisions are influenced by water conditions (particularly tides since many rivers may be influenced far inland), weather, available equipment and local knowledge.

Who guides the trips?

Sometimes, our very own Ruth Marr guides the trips but she can’t do them all! So, she works with talented, energetic, strong, knowledgeable, and most importantly, friendly, local rowers and  Rowing The World guides. You will meet some amazing leaders and will be rowing in their home waters.

What else do we do besides rowing?

While rowing is the focus of the trip, we don’t row all the time! Other activities—a bike ride, museum tour, or listening to music in a pub—enhance the experience and expose us to the destination’s most authentic activities beyond rowing. We enjoy some of these experiences with local rowers. On some trips we take a full day off the rowing. For example, one day on the Mosel River trip in Germany we take a break from the water and visit Maria Laach Abbey, a stunning Benedictine abbey founded in 1093 on the shores of a lake. From there, we take in Burg Eltz, a castle that has been compared to castles built by King Ludwig in Bavaria. Followed by wine tasting, of course!

What is the accommodation like?

While accommodations differ depending where we are, they are all delightful places to stay and selected for their distinctiveness. For example, on our Thames trip, we stay in an Oxford college, a pub hotel and a luxury spa hotel. In Italy, we stay in very nice character hotels. In South Africa, we stay in lodges and luxury thatched roof cottages. In British Columbia we stay in a remote wilderness lodge which can only be accessed by water.

Can you book extra nights before or after the tour?

Please book any advance night accommodation directly with the hotel. Feel free to mention that you are part of the Rowing The World group to keep the same room for the extra nights you book. You will receive an accommodation list following your registration.

My partner doesn’t row. Can they come too?

Non-rowing companions are almost always welcome and that option is listed clearly on the website trip descriptions. Typically two options are possible for non-rowers. The Fully Independent Non-rower gives you maximum flexibility to structure each day to suit yourself, while joining the group for evening activities plus breakfast. Our guides will be happy to provide suggestions and advice, but you must provide your own transportation, typically a rental car. The second option is Semi-guided Non-rower. The priority of the guides is to support the rowers, and you will be invited to join the rowers at breaks and for lunches. As much as possible, you will be able to enjoy other activities and sightseeing while the rowers are on the water, such as walking, kayaking, cycling, etc. Transportation and lunches are included. Customization may be possible. We may be able to tweak and modify the offered program to better suit your needs and preferences. Talk to us and we will be happy to see what might be possible.

Can we plan a private trip for our club and friends?

Absolutely! We believe that joining one of our small group trips is a wonderful way to meet rowers from other clubs and countries. But we also know that it can be very special for you and your rowing club mates to enjoy a private tour, just for you. We listen to your needs to create a private journey, whether a unique date for one of our existing tours, or a completely customized trip to a new destination. Picture your crew rowing a historic river, trying coastal in a gorgeous setting or guest rowing with a different club each day. Send us an email or fill in this Club Trip Planning Form.

How can I book a trip?

Right on our website! Use the Book Now button. We are working on a more detailed explanation – stay tuned. In the meantime, if you have questions, of course we are happy to help.

What about flights?

We do not book flights or any other transportation to the starting locations, unless specified in tour description.

What if I have to cancel?

We understand that things can change. Please carefully read our Terms & Conditions for our refund policy and other details. As always, we are happy to answer your questions.

What about Covid?

January 2023: Rowing The World recommends but no longer requires guests to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to test via PCR or rapid antigen prior to joining a trip. We will remain aligned with the entry requirements for every country where we operate trips. At the moment, none of our destinations require vaccination or proof of negative tests, unless arriving directly from China.

We will continue to follow public health orders, travel advisories and the advice of government agencies and appropriate rowing organizations. Once you have registered for a trip, please continue to stay up to date. Each participant is responsible for knowing and meeting all vaccination, testing or other requirements for the destination, both for arrival and while in country.

Read more here.

Want to know more? Please have a look at our Testimonials page, since our past guests tell it best! There are also links there to stories about our guests, guides and more. Please contact us, we are happy to help you.