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There are huge commercial pressures to upgrade and buy the best, most expensive, newest, etc. In the past I have gotten caught up in that a little. I almost always regret it and have learned to make do with what I have, ergo the touring on whatever bike I have and making it work.
Round trip ticket is cheaper than buying two single way tickets.Although this used to be true in a big way, my experience of recent years is that it is no longer true.
Are they all this way, or do they vary based upon (length/ride leader/group)?All ACA guided tours have fixed start and finish dates, but the intermediate stops are usually tentative (except where accommodations have been booked in advance). Many people book their flight home before the trip starts so they need to be sure to get there on time. See http://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/compare-tours/
When touring solo or with friends, some people also plan a fixed finish date. Others like to keep things open until they get all the way to the end. Still others wait to plan their transportation home for when they get close to the end.
Generally on long tours, there is plenty of opportunity to make up time if needed, so it's not very hard to hit the finish date unless some emergency comes up in the final days.
Why own extra tires? Tires are expensive, unlikely to fail unexpectedly, and can be purchased quickly. I'm looking forward to hearing why others think it's important to keep all these tires around for so long that rubber degradation is an issue.
None of these choices are inherently right or wrong, good or bad.
Without going back to the sites I looked at, I know one thing I thought about was maintenence -- I'll be taking a bike maintenance class at my local shop, but I'll be starting from almost zero knowledge