Exploring Virginia - 2015

Exploring Virginia - 2015

Follow Eben and Carol in 2015 as they connect with Virginia's Splendor, Character and History...

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Canyonlands of the Southwest

Canyonlands of the Southwest

Grand Canyon, Sedona, Monument Valley, Bryce, Glen Canyon, Zion, Canyonlands, Moab, Four Corners, Capitol Reef, Arches, Natural Bridges, Lake Powell, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Yosemite, etc...

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Smokies and Blue Ridge Parkway

Smokies and Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky National Park, Asheville, Lexington, Natural Bridge, Grandfather Mountain, Cherokee, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Tail of the Dragon, etc...

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Mountains West

Mountains West

Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Waterton Lakes, Salt Lake City, Flaming Gorge, etc...

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Western Plains and Prairies

Western Plains and Prairies

Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, Badlands, Crazy Horse Memorial, Devils Tower, Cody, etc...

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New England

New England

Maine, Bar Harbor, Boston, Acacia, Fall Foliage, Concord, North Conway, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, etc...

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East USA

East USA

New York, Washington, Williamsburg, Philadelphia, Shenandoah, Yorktown, Jamestown, Monticello, Mount Vernon, Gettysburg, Lancaster County, etc...

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Price is what you pay for your vacation, value is what you get!


A refreshing new vacation booking concept introduced by Eben Schoeman 



Nobody should pay $10,000 for an American vacation with a street value of $2,000. We have a strong passion to design fabulous vacation experiences for clients who want the most value for the price they pay. . .

We offer 3 kinds of American vacations:

1. Motorcoach tours offered by established tour operators such as Tauck, Globus, Caravan, Collette, Brendan, Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Vantage, YMT Vacations, Mayflower Tours, Cosmos and A&K.

2. Privately guided tours by top local operators at each destination. You will fly or be transferred by road to different starting points where your guides will be waiting.  

3. Independent tours designed and booked by us for self-drive or fly-in enthusiasts. You then rent an RV or car and follow your custom itinerary for the best possible vacation experience.

WHAT EXACTLY IS OUR "REFRESHING NEW CONCEPT"?

It is a new approach for booking vacations, illustrated in this booking diagram.


1. We communicate, on your behalf, with international tour operators and ground operators (guides, lodges and transport on the ground in the USA) - often leading to considerable cost-savings, better value for money and most certainly a more fabulous vacation experience. 

2. We are independent and work for you - our client - and not for tour operators, ground operators, host travel agencies or travel consortia. 

3. We work with any American supplier who has a quality product or service that may be of interest to our clients. From well-known international tour operators (Tauck, Collette, YMT, etc) to the very best local ground operators (Grand Adventures, Pink Jeep Tours, Private DC Segway Tour, etc.)

4. Together, we discuss all the vacation choices BEFORE presenting an itinerary based on your input.  This is important; others may present itineraries with limited (if any) options but we provide you with all the relevant options and THEN we design an itinerary based on your decisions! 

5. Ours is a very unique arrangement that requires in-depth knowledge of the tourist centers in America. We travel in an RV for several months each year to all our favorite destinations. 10+ years of research for our itinerary planning books have afforded us intimate and unmatched knowledge of the national & state parks, lodges, airlines and ground operators. We put all this knowledge and personal relationships to work for you.

6. We do not charge any upfront fees like many travel planners! Why should you pay somebody before knowing if that person can deliver the vacation you want?   

~~~~~

If you want to compare our approach to the traditional vacation booking process, please take a look at the following diagram:



The travel planner (or consultant or travel agent or specialist) is either employed by the tour operator, or works independently as a commissioned agent or representative of the tour operator. The brochure rack of any travel agency is a showcase for the tour operators it represents.

In order to increase earnings, most individual travel planners and travel agencies are associated with hosts and/or travel consortia.  They benefit from the combined buying power, increased commissions, joined marketing campaigns, lead-generation and back-office support. But in order to achieve higher commission levels travel planners are expected to promote and sell only tours from "preferred" lists of tour operators.


This arrangement is problematic for many reasons:


1. You are presented with a very small sampling of travel and destination choices. Most consortia have agreements with less than 5 international tour operators and very few, if any, local ground operators. 


2. Surprisingly even USA-based travel planners have very little experience of American mainland destinations because many focus on Europe, the Caribbean, Disney and Hawaii! They receive some product training by tour operators but this knowledge is restricted to the itineraries presented in the brochures. 


3. Your itinerary represents the day-by-day activities and inclusions/exclusions of your tour. But your choices are limited to the capabilities of the ground operator under contract by your tour company and/or travel planner. In other words, you get whatever options were negotiated between your travel planner, the tour company and/or the ground operator; you do not have any insight into these options.

4. You will not know exactly what you will get until you arrive in the tour departure city! Only then will you find out what your vehicle or bus REALLY looks like, where your lodge is REALLY located in relation to the sights, and how long it REALLY takes to drive from point A to point B on your itinerary.

5. You are expected to completely trust your travel planner, the tour company and the ground operator - not always a good thing!  

Example - here are a few options that you may be missing:

a) Guides with specific skills that are important to you, such as birding or history
b) Buses or tour vehicles modified for comfort or photography
c) Flights (instead of long road transfers between national parks)
d) Upgraded lodging 
e) Full-board,all-inclusive stays versus bed & breakfast (tipping, drinks and laundry extra)
f) Value for your money - a huge consideration! Do not pay $10,000 for a $2,000 vacation!
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