What we offer you
Because we are not a travel agency, we can offer is a wider range of services. We don't sell vacation packages made by resorts and cruise lines: while these have their advantages (cheaper, mostly), they can be, well, a little too tourist-y. What we do is help you to plan and manage your journey, from airfare to planning routes and destinations to finding places to stay (not always hotels) to managing local bureaucracies and dealing with passport and immigration issues, and, for groups, we can serve as your guide, giving you cultural and historical tours of the places you'll go.
We have two sorts of deals for you: the kind we've made and offer to you, and the kind you want customized. Are you a biker and want to join a group touring Ireland? Check out what groups we already have started. Are you a student and want to explore South America before going to college? Contact us and let us help you know what to expect and what to do. Are you a teacher shopping around for someone to coordinate and organize a student trip? We can set it up for you, almost anywhere you are thinking of going.
what we do best
- Help you find the right place to go, whether you want city life, beautiful vistas, historical experiences, or culture at its rawest form. If you want to drop off the map, well, we can help with that, too (no fugitives, though, please).
- Coordinate your airfare and local transportation.
- Coordinate your accommodations, whatever they may end up being.
- Help you find transportation, whether it be a jeep, train, 4-wheeler, bike, horse, or llama.
- Help you know what to expect, what to pack, and what to do.
- Use our contacts in South America and Europe to help you if they can.
- Arrange tours and tours guides.
- Inform you on how to get around and thrive in new cultures.
- Keep in contact with you throughout your trip (whether it's a week or six months) to make sure you're safe and doing fine.
- Help you in a bind (as far as we can), whether it be problems with visas and passports, wallets or cameras stolen, or when your luggage is lost, you're lost, or all is lost.
What we can't (or won't) do
- Pack your bags.
- Take commissions from the hotels, airlines, or anyone else with whom we work.
- Pay for your trip!
- Pick you up from the airport. (Unless you happen to fly out of Kansas City.)
- Guarantee everything will be perfect. Stuff happens. Part of the journey is dealing with problems, and the farther off-road you go, the more problems you will encounter. We will help in everything we can, though. And with our help you should be able to avoid most of the big problems.
- Resorts, cruises, and spas. But we know a great agent who does, so I guess we can help you with that.
- Bail you from jail, or save you from flesh-eating fish. But we can help you know how to avoid those situations.
What will this cost?
Because we are not a commission-based agency, we charge you a fee up front. Let's talk through how that works.
If you choose a pre-made trip (that is, one that we've produced and offered), there will be a one-time up-front fee attached to the cost of the trip. You will be responsible to pay the total cost of the trip (which will include the fee) at the fee-cutoff date (which will be mentioned in the advertisement of the journey). The amount of that fee will vary depending on the trip details, and will be mentioned in the advertisement.
If you contact us for a customized trip (that is, one that we will produce for you), we will include an hourly fee. We will work as much as you ask us too (so, say, you want to manage your own airfare, we won't worry about that and won't spend any time doing it for you). In this case, you will receive two bills from us: one at the fee-cutoff date (usually a month before your trip), and another at the conclusion of your trip.
If you request a designer to serve as a journey guide for you, then the fee will be higher, and you will be charged an upfront fee at the fee cutoff date (and thus will not have any fees charged afterwards).
We can't be much more specific than that, because of the wide variety of factors going in to these trips. But if you're curious to get a very, very general estimate, consider this:
- Produced trip: approximately $500 fee added to the trip
- Custom journey: $25/hour for preparation, planning, and any help you may end up needing on the road. Assume in total probably about 20 hours of prep, depending on the length of your trip.
- Adding a guide? Prices vary, but about $1000 plus the cost of his or her airfare. (We recommend this only for group trips, in which case the fee is split amongst the travelers.)
Tell me more, please!
Let's say Robert joins one of our motorcycle tours. What does he get from us?
- A detailed itinerary. This includes routes, destinations (usually castles, cathedrals, ruins, quaint villages, mountainview vistas, coastline, forests, or whatever is outstanding for the area).
- Motorcycle rental. We work with agencies where we can find them. And in some places we can't find any, either.
- Accommodations each night.
- Breakfast and dinner arrangements.
- Some flexibility in lunch - meaning he is free to leave the group to find whatever lunch would suit him.
- Admission into paid destinations. Will the group stop at Stonehenge? Then we've included the price of admission in the trip cost.
- Detailed and personal tours by one of our designers (most of whom have advanced degrees and an enthusiasm to share).
- The designer will also work to resolve whatever issues happen to arise regarding reservations and trip arrangements.
- A great trip!
Or how about Mary, who wants to travel abroad for half a year. What can she expect from us?
- Consultation on her goals and ideas. We will probably use a Skype call to talk with her. (This service is free of charge!)
- Working with her, we will set out a general itinerary, that will outline where she wants to be and for how long.
- Using this, we will build the accommodations according to her budget and our suggestions. Hostels? Camping? Apartments? Does she want to house with a local family? Work on a co-op farm? Work on a boat? At this point we have made a contract with Mary, and the arrangements we do will begin our charge for her.
- We will provide her with information (usually by Skype in a videoconference) of what to expect in whichever countries she plans to visit. This information is specific and detailed according to which countries she plans to visit. It includes how to read signs, how to drive, how to get around, how to stay safe, which customs to avoid (late night Chilean parties) and which to get involved in (Tango lessons in Argentina), how to avoid pickpockets and con artists, and more like that.
- We help her make airline arrangements as she would like.
- We help her to satisfy all visa requirements (including fees, vaccines, and sometimes criminal background checks) for the countries.
- We keep in close contact the two weeks before leaving, and periodically through the time of her trip (about once a week or more emails and video calls).
- If she has problems, she can contact us and expect that we will do everything we can, from talking with local help, to sending money, to communicating with the US government, to keeping family informed. It's like travel insurance, but more personal.
- One last consultation after she gets back. We hope to learn from her experiences, just as she will learn from ours.
Are these trips safe?
Sure. As safe as traveling can be. I've (Dr. Rowland) lived and traveled in Europe and South America, and have never had any problems (like theft or violence) against me. But I know folks who have. And I'm aware that it can be different based on your sex, race, religion, and personality type. Our job is to help make those non-issues in keeping you safe.
Is there a requirement for the motorcycle tours?
Yes. You must have a valid US motorcycle license, with at least two years riding experience. In some cases, such as South American tours, we require at least five years experience because the roads are more hazardous or less developed.
Can my friend and I request the same custom trip?
Sure! In which case we will adjust the fee between both of you, since we will spend the time working for both of you. The same is true if you have more in your party - the fee will adjust to be less per person, since we will make plans for multiple individuals at the same time. The idea is the more you have going, the less the per-person fee will be.
My family would like help to arrange a trip like this. Can you do that?
Sure thing. In which case, see above about the fees.
I'd like a motorcycle tour, but different than those you've produced. Can I suggest an itinerary for a produced tour?
You're free to make a suggestion. Sometimes if a client requests a trip that we feel might be popular, and that the client is ok with making a group trip, we will advertise it, in which case, if it attracts other clients, the original client's fee will be adjusted to a produced tour fee instead of a custom journey fee (which is usually higher).
I love one of the produced tours you're offering, but I would need to adjust the date. Can that be done?
Nope. Sorry. Because of the difficulty in arranging motorcycle rentals (they book fast), we can't make alterations to produced trips. If that is really something you would like, we will instead customize the trip for you (in which case the fee will be a custom trip instead of produced), and in which case it may be a solo tour instead. It is doubtful whether a guide would stay on location for an additional tour (it depends on how close to the original trip the alternative date would be).
I want to bring my wife (husband, partner, etc) along on the motorcycle trip, but she will ride with me. Do I have to purchase two spots?
For a companion (being someone who will share transportation and accommodations, but not food), the cost of a produced trip is less. So if your wife is going to ride with you and share your room, her cost will be less than yours. But friends or adult children do not usually share rides and/or rooms, so they would be charged the same cost.
Speaking of children, is there an age requirement for these trips?
Technically speaking, no. But we don't get a lot of travelers younger than 18 on these trips.
I'm a representative of a Church. Do you arrange church trips, like mission trips?
Possibly. We would evaluate the idea on a case-to-case basis. (The difficulty can be in making contacts with local churches to receive mission groups.) Do get in touch and see what we can do.
Do you guys book trips anywhere in the world?
Sadly, no, not yet. We specialize in Europe and South America. Requests for trips to Australia, Africa, or Asia will be evaluated on a case-to-case basis, depending on how difficult for us the travel would be to arrange. We don't do Antarctica.