For hikers to have a good experience, the place of overnight stay is important as more time is spent there than on the trail itself. Every country has its own “typical” overnight places: the issue is not how good the facilities are but WHICH facilities are available so as to plan for a convenient stay. For this reason the attached questionnaire lists all the normal basic facilities that hikers require. The accommodation units are then classified (not ranked or graded!) into three classes: Excellent (comfortable facilities), Standard or Rustic (basic facilities). Rustic can e.g. be better for a specific hiker than the “Excellent” unit due to his preference for a pristine experience; away from the hustle and bustle of city life. (Accommodation Checklist)
With the coming of “slack packing”, where hikers’ gear is transported for them, and units offer catering services, another category emerged over and above the more traditional types of accommodation. Thus a separate category of “luxury” has been added to the Green Flag system (Luxury Accommodation) Staying in B&B’s or local Inns will be classified as “luxury” in contrast to self-catering overnight huts.
Of importance is to remember that the Green Flag audit is geared towards the bi-annual assessment of what facilities are provided. It cannot vouch for the everyday cleanliness or similar character of facilities. For this purpose a questionnaire is provided by trail owners whereby hikers can give feedback as to their experience by means of an interim monitoring system.
The accommodation classification is shown in the figure below: