Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you're a first-timer or an experienced SwimTrekker, we know that you're likely to have a few questions for us. We've tried to answer some of the most common questions that we receive below, however, if there is anything you can't find here, please feel free to get in touch to have a chat with our team.
How far will I swim each day?
Daily swimming distances vary considerably from one trip to the next.
The majority of our trips cover an average of 3-6km per day, usually split between one morning swim and one afternoon swim, however, we also have several Short Swims options and introductory trips with shorter daily swim distances. At the other end of the scale, we also have a number of Long Swims trips and Distance Training Camps which include daily swim distances of 7-8km.
Please use the filters on our Trip Search page to find the daily swim distance that is just right for you.
Will I be able to swim the distances in the trip itinerary?
While the daily swim distances may be more than you're used to swimming in a single session, there are a couple of reasons why you may surprise yourself with how far you can swim on your trip.
Firstly, while many people are used to doing all of their daily swimming in a single session, e.g. before work, during lunchtime or at the end of the day, by breaking up your daily distance into several shorter swims, often with one swim in the morning and another in the afternoon, most people find that they can cover significantly greater distance that what they expected.
Secondly, while going up and down a pool can quickly become monotonous and cause you to end your session early, swimming in the open water means that there's always something interesting to look at, both above and below the water. This often means that you cover much more distance without even realising!
Finally, the psychological effect of seeing your target destinations ahead of you, combined with the increased buoyancy that you'll experience in the open water, generally means that it's possible to swim greater distances in the open water than what you could manage in the pool.
It's also worth mentioning that every swimming group is accompanied by its own support vessel, so if you do need to take a break at any stage throughout your swim, you're more than welcome to jump on the boat for a rest.
How fast do I need to be able to swim?
We often have a wide range of swimming speeds on a particular departure, with our guests covering 1km in the open water in anything from 10-40 minutes. As a guide, guests should be able to swim a minimum of 1km in 40 minutes.
One of the great features of a SwimTrek trip is that we cater for this range of swimming speeds on each departure. At the start of your trip, your guides will carry out an acclimatisation swim with all guests, which will then be used to group together swimmers of a similar speed. Generally, there are 2-3 different speed groups per trip, however, this can vary depending on the makeup of the group on each particular departure.
By splitting swimmers into smaller speed groups, we are able to ensure that all guests are swimming at an appropriate pace. Each group is also accompanied by a support vessel at all times.
Do I have to complete all of the swims?
No. This is a holiday, after all!
If you need to take a break during a swim you are welcome to jump on the support boat at any time. On the trips where we use kayaks rather than main support boats, your guides will be able to advise you about the various options for getting out of the water and walking different sections of the route, where possible.
Which strokes do people swim?
Although the majority of our guests swim front crawl (freestyle), we often have a number of breast-strokers, too. Having different swimming groups means you can swim whatever stroke you want.
What type of support do we have on the swims?
Every swimming group is accompanied by its own support vessel on each swim. On most trips, these vessels usually consist of one main boat and two inflatable boats, however, on some of our lakes and rivers trips where we are unable to use motorised vessels, our guides accompany swimmers in support kayaks.
Your support vessels and guides are there to provide safety cover, drinks and snacks, as well as assist with improving your technique over the course of your trip.
Will we see any marine life?
One of the great joys of open water swimming is that it gives you the chance to appreciate the incredible range of wildlife, natural topography and underwater vistas that most people never get the chance to see.
The type of marine life that you may encounter on your trip varies considerably from once location to the next. We’ve been known to swim with everything from curious dolphins and inquisitive seals to laid back sea turtles to exotic fish.
What should I bring with me on a trip?
For detailed information on what we recommend that you bring with you on a particular trip, please see the ‘Trip Info’ tab of the relevant package page. You can also download the Trip Notes from the ‘Trip Overview’ sidebar of each package page.
Will I need a wetsuit on the swims?
Every swimmer has a different sensitivity to cold water, which makes it difficult to give a generic answer to this question. 360guide have a fantastic article to help you decide whether you may need to wetsuit or not in certain water temperatures and, if so, which type and thickness might be right for you.
Many of the locations we operate in can be remote and it will be hard to find a wetsuit appropriate for swimming. If in doubt, we recommend that you bring a wetsuit with you from home. Throughout a week of swimming, your body will become more susceptible to the cold and you will feel the water affecting you more. We recommend bringing a suit that you have tried and tested and are happy swimming in.
If in doubt about whether you should take a wetsuit with you on your trip, we recommend that you follow our theory that “it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it!”
My wetsuit hire offer a range of different thickness swimming wetsuits on a 14-day, 28-day or full-season hire basis, meaning that you can get some swims in prior to heading out to location. Use the code ‘swimtrek’ when booking your wetsuit hire in order to receive a special discount.
Can I use a snorkel on the swims?
Whilst snorkels are permitted on our organised trips, swimmers are advised to discuss this with their guides at the welcome meeting. It is incredibly vital that if you choose to wear a snorkel, you continue to listen for instructions or warnings which may be issued by the guides and to maintain sighting at all times.
Will I have a chance to improve my swimming technique?
Many people take part in our trips in order to improve their open water swimming technique. Whether you’re new to the open water or have been out of the pool for your whole life, our guides will work closely with you to get the most out of every stroke that you take.
What will my fellow swimmers be like?
As swimming is a low impact, medium intensity activity, it enables a wide variety of ages and experience levels to take part in our trips. Your fellow guests could include young students, retired couples, solo travellers, groups of friends, experienced open water swimmers or those unfamiliar with life outside the pool.
Whatever the makeup of your group, you can be sure that you’ll have a mix of fascinating personalities from all around the world who share a common love of swimming and the great outdoors.
Are there any non-swimming activities?
The number of non-swimming activities varies considerably from one trip to the next, so it’s worth taking a look at the ‘Itinerary’ tab of the trip page that you’re interested in to find out more about what’s involved.
Many trips include great walks to and from the start/finish point of our swims, while there is usually also time to see some local sites and enjoy the culture and atmosphere of the location when you’re out of the water.
Can I bring a non-swimming guest?
The majority of our trips can cater for non-swimming guests, however, please note that this is subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. All non-swimming guests must agree to our non-swimmer agreement and, for safety reasons, are not permitted on the safety vessels that accompany our swimmers.
How should I prepare for my trip?
What’s included in my trip price?
For detailed information about exactly what’s included in your trip prices, please see the ‘Overview’ tab of the relevant package page.
All of our trips include swim guides and safety support on all swims and all accommodation and breakfasts (on multi-day trips). Please note that travel to and from your tour is not included in your trip price.
Can I book part of a trip?
Unfortunately, all of our trips must be booked as an entire package and no discount can be given for guests who are unable to take part in all activities/days.
Are there any age restrictions when joining a SwimTrek trip?
All guests must be 18 years or over at the beginning of this trip or be accompanied by a swimming adult if aged between 16 and 18.
Do you cater for solo travellers?
Absolutely! Many SwimTrekkers join our trips as solo travellers and end up with an incredible group of friends who share a love for the open water.
A limited number of single supplement rooms are available on most of our trips, however, it’s also possible to book a ‘Pooled Share’ room, which means that we will match you up with a SwimTrekker of the same gender to share a twin room. Please note that single supplements and pooled shares are both subject to availability.
How often do you cancel a departure?
As a tour operator, there may be times where we need to cancel a departure due to a lack of bookings on a particular date, however, this is an extremely rare occurrence and we consistently run more than 97% of our scheduled departures. If we do need to cancel a particular departure, we will advise all affected guests at least eight weeks prior to the trip start date.
How long has SwimTrek been running tours for?
How safe are your destinations?
The safety of our guests, guides and other local partners is the number one priority in every decision that we make. From monitoring up-to-date travel advice for each of our locations, to making adjustments to a planned itinerary during your time away, the well-being of each and every person who is involved in a SwimTrek holiday is always at the forefront of our minds. For more information on travel advice for any of our trip, please click click here .
Do I need to take out travel insurance before joining a trip?
How can I make a booking?
Bookings can be made directly via the SwimTrek website or by calling our head office team on +44 (0)1273 739713.
Generally, a 20% deposit is required in order to secure your bookings, however, please note that a larger deposit may be required for certain packages such as our Bosphorus Cross Continental Swim or our spectacular Galapagos Islands trip.
When is the final balance of my trip due and how can I pay it?
Payments can be made at any time in the lead up to your trip, however your final balance must be paid at least 10 weeks* before the start of your trip. To make a payment, you can log in and navigate to the ‘Costs and Payments’ section of your booking. Alternatively, you can call the SwimTrek office on +44 (0)1273 739713 to make a payment over the phone.
*Please note, some trips require earlier final balance payments.