We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Self-guided is much cheaper than guided trips. It depends, though, on your travel confidence. GPS is always handy. You get to see countryside, villages, and cities at your own hiking pace.
What they generally do is to transport your luggage from destination to destination, give you a map, and make your reservations. Most of their point-to-point daily walks are 8-10 miles, but some travel companies expect you to walk or hike 15 miles/day. That's a lot for many people especially in hilly terrain.
Another point is that their mapped walks are rated in the Euroland method of mild/moderate/challenging. Their "moderate" can entail serious hill-hiking so your fitness is a factor. If they say "challenging," they really mean it.
So, a more vigorous with less luxury, and a chance to see what ordinary tourists do not.
Sometimes they provide transfers to another starting point. They usually plan for two days in cities of interest, like Pisa, for people who love old churches, museums, and cafes.
It's fun to check out what these companies have to offer:
Here's something I learned on a recently-completed tour of Southeast Asia.
ALWAYS GET TRAVEL INSURANCE if it's available.
We heard about someone on a prior tour who had fallen down a flight of 30 marble stairs in some museum in Malaysia and ended up in a Malaysian hospital with brain and spinal injuries. Eventually, she was airlifted to the U.S. by private air ambulance. Although she has recovered, the experience cost the family more than U.S.$500,000 which was not covered by their medical insurance, Medicare does not apply abroad, and they had no travel insurance.
My wife is always debating whether we should get travel insurance. This demonstrated why.
True. My nephew broke his neck swimming in the ocean in Mexico. He languished in a hospital in Mexico City for several months. (they don't do anything for foreigners but put them in the back room). His girlfriend was his only caregiver during that time! He was eventually life flighted to Johns Hopkins Medical Center - at exorbitant cost to one of his relatives. Travel insurance is critical.