The Requirements for Enjoyable Travel
This can often seem simple enough... Ultimately it is, but not without a great deal of experience, knowledge, and time devoted to mastering the histories, the cuisine, the right hotels, the best times to travel, the pitfalls, and knowing where the best surprises are.
Our company is in a rather amusing position: we offer private and group travel - for people who don't like group travel.
But this has nothing to do with any aversion to traveling with several people... It is because we share the well-regarded opinion that many group travel experiences simply fall short of many hopes and expectations. We do not offer anything similar, because of several core differences we embrace. Our approach - and our abilities - offer a very different and vastly more enjoyable experience:
"The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see." - G.K. Chesterton
This is the most important difference of them all. Well-versed in a broad array of disciplines, we are true students of culture. We are always striving to learn more and more from the places we visit, the great friends and colleagues we have there, and our own multi-national make-up.
We seek out the places that the locals frequent - for they know their country best of all. We create tours that cover all aspects of a host culture, no matter the predominant theme. Big group military history tours cover the battlefields well, but then fall completely short with food knowledge and local customs - or even a nearby treasure that is completely worth the stop, even if it isn't directly related.
We seek out the hidden gems and local favorites, and we pride ourselves on taking our groups to places where we are the only foreigners present - as often as possible. We want to be their guests... and we know their culture, history, language, and favorite foods enough to be respectful, make them proud, and get nothing short of the best hospitality and acceptance in return.
Our relationships with local guides, our choices of hotels and restaurants, our favorite little stops and spots are like gold to us, because we know the quality and authenticity they offer in return.
You're a couple, and you want a private tour? Great. You have 12 people, and you want to do a themed tour, with other special gems added in? Super. You can't afford a guided tour, but you want our help in putting together a future trip? No problem at all.
We have executed a 21-day tour for a couple across Europe. We have run a 14-person garden tour in California and a 16-person tour of a father's infantry unit's route of advance in WWII. Big or small, tightly-packed itinerary or laid-back and easy, high end or budget, we have done it all.
We've taken Garden Club ladies on a brewery tour and to a battlefield site and had them gushing. We've taken men to Monet's gardens and had them talking about it more than the ladies.
If you're traveling in mixed company, you'll have a varied set of expectations and interests. We have the knowledge to meet all of them realistically, and we also happen to have a practice that works extremely well: Often enough, we will coordinate stops that include a lot of free time. We'll lead a walking tour to get everyone oriented, and then we'll offer an escorted tour to some of our favorites - or lead whatever the consensus wants to see... while leaving those who want to see or do something different to enjoy their time and experience in their own unique way.
You've paid good money to travel. You should be given an experience that suits your preferences - while allowing us to surprise you and give you some new ones.
Signing up for a big group tour, where you are often shuttled from one stop to another like a herd of cattle is no fun at all. But often enough, these types of trips are successful, because large groups mean a cheaper price.
But you're often losing money, even by taking the cheaper trip. You may have saved money, but did you really have an experience that was worth it? Or did you simply come home with a lot of photos and a vague recollection of what you did?
You can also end up spending more when going it alone. Knowing the short-cuts, the cheaper fares, the local discounts and practices that many tourists miss out on is a critical service that we offer. We've put in the time to master these places and the way to travel to them. Let us help you and allow you to focus on the beauty of your trip instead of getting tangled in logistics and bad travel planning.
The beauty of our approach is this: you set your budget. We'll make it work for you without undercutting the purpose of your trip. We can match the right hotels, the right method of travel, and above all, coordinate the logistics of meeting your expectations, realistically and enjoyably. Our experience in this business gives us connections that mean hotel discounts, unique access, and a worth-every-penny experience. If you can't afford a guide, we can still agree on a price to put your travel plans together for you and prepare you like no one else.
This is another area in which we excel like few others. It is the guiding force behind all that we do. It is the reason we find the right places, develop friendships with a favorite restaurant owner or hotel manager, and it becomes evident in the knowledge and experiences we share with our clients.
Our driving force is not profit. It is excellence... it is the satisfaction of putting together a highly representative and authentic tour which you will appreciate and compare against all others.
Here's what some have said in the past... and we added a Testimonials page to let some others share what they experienced on our tours. We're immensely proud of such praise:
“So many beautiful moments of our spectacular trip continue to flood my mind and fill heart. Thanks for such a glorious life-time experience!”
“Thank you so much for all you do. The tour was amazing and so were you! You’re going to take over the world!”
“Thank you for a wonderful trip and your strong arms. You carried us in more ways than one.” - written by a lady who sprained her ankle. I carried her...
“My parents, my husband, and my kids just knew this trip was not possible or practical for me to take. Thanks to your special accommodations and assistance, it was just wonderful. Thank you so much for going the extra mile!” - written by a client who had suffered a stroke the year before...
"I just returned from a fabulous trip with David to Prague, Austria, and Bavaria. His leadership, knowledge, expertise, and humor made it a truly memorable adventure. David is a Renaissance man-he not only is an expert in history in general, and in particular World Wars I and II, he also is extremely knowledgeable about the arts, culture, photography, and culinary delights! The fact that David was raised both in the states as well as Europe gives him a special appreciation of the different cultures and their nuances. His language fluency as well as his connections in cities throughout Europe added to our experience. The wonderful hidden gems, the concerts, the small boutique hotels, the fabulous local cuisine we undoubtedly would've missed without his inside knowledge. Perhaps most important of all, it was a delight to be with David. He was unbelievably accommodating to all our peculiarities and foibles, his passion about Europe is infectious, and he kept us laughing a good part of every day. I can't say enough what a great experience we had with David."