I’m launching a new collaboration with my friend and colleague Reid Coen, owner of Imprint Tours. Beginning in 2018, I’ll be offering one or two off-season tours, adventures to exciting new destinations outside of Europe. Late January 2018 will be my first departure, the Tantalizing Thailand tour….and you’re invited!
You may be curious about how all of this started. This new opportunity came together over coffee and travel stories.
Reid and I have worked for Rick Steves for many years, I’m at 17 and he’s past the 20 year mark. We typically work March through October and have the winter free. Some years ago, a group contacted Reid and asked if he could put together an off-season tour to a destination outside of Europe. He is a very experienced guide in Europe but had not worked much outside of the continent, so he looked for a way to make connections around the world. Working with local agents, he arranged a tour for his group that kept to the basic philosophy of the Rick Steves program: authentic experiences, local mid-range hotels, great food and knowledgeable local guides. Rick even gave his blessing and a kind endorsement. Since his initial tour 10 years ago, he’s been growing and exploring new destinations.
Reid has been having a great time traveling all over the world with his tour company. He promotes what he calls “Travel with Intent” or the idea that travel is about more than simply seeing a place. Travel can be transformative.
So now we are joining forces and I couldn’t be more excited. Imprint Tours offers fantastic itineraries to exotic destinations that might be a little intimidating to navigate independently. If you’ve taken a Rick Steves tour and loved it but would like to branch out to the wider world, this is the company to see it with. If you love the idea of traveling with a tour guide that you kind of know, well, here I am and now’s your chance! If you’re looking for an adventure, have I got one for you.
Adventure ahead! But why a Thailand tour?
For my first foray into exotic tour guiding I’ve chosen a Thailand tour. I’ve chosen it because Thailand is a place that is beautiful and distant, but is one of the most accessible Asian destinations for travelers that are new to eastern travel. It’s clean. Most people speak English. It is relatively easy to get around. It is inexpensive. While it is well set up for excellent, comfortable tourism, it is also wildly different to anything you’ve ever seen. It knocked my socks off and I am pretty sure it will knock yours off too.
The Thailand tour itinerary is a 14 day experience that makes a loop around Thailand, beginning and ending in Bangkok. If you’d like, I am offering a three day extension to see the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia at the end of the tour, for an extra fee. The experience we have constructed will mix city and countryside, history and hands-on, with fun modes of transportation.
We will see the best that a Thailand tour can offer: the Grand Palace in Bangkok, the archaeological area of Ayutthaya, temples of Sukhothai, Khao Sok National Park, the Flower Festival in Chiang Mai. We will also dig into the culture: getting massages, feeding elephants, snorkeling, bicycling and meeting locals for a home-hosted dinner.
The hotels will be comfortable, moderate local-style hotels, what we would consider three or four star hotels. There are two exceptions, though, an overnight train and a night sleeping in floating cabins on a remote lake. One of the hotels is a pretty nice slice of paradise, set right on a sandy beach.
Imagine jasmine-scented rice with a bowl of warm curry, a mango smoothie and noodles drenched in coconut milk. Thai food is a crossroads of Chinese, Indian and Island flavors. It is magical, healthy food. We will include half of the dinners and all breakfasts. There may be other surprise food events included, but that will be up to me!
Part of the fun in Thailand is the experience of transportation. All of your transportation within the tour is included. We will be taking mini buses, planes, trains, long-tail boats, kayaks….just about every kind of transportation besides a ski lift!
If you’ve taken a tour before, you know that a good guide can turn any trip into something meaningful and magical. Our local guide in Thailand is a delightful woman named Ae. She’s a spark plug, very fun and extremely knowledgable. She will make you feel like you are visiting friends in Thailand rather than taking a tour, which is the best way in my opinion. And of course, I’ll be there as your guide as well, and you know I like to have fun!
If there is one thing I love about my job, it’s the groups! I enjoy working with inquisitive, thoughtful travelers who like to have a good time and learn new things. Be ready to make new friends, my groups usually become extended family by the end of the tour. We do walk an awful lot, be prepared for physical activity. Tour members are strongly encouraged to bring just a carry-on sized bag and daypack as you will be schlepping your bags yourself. My group limit is 26-28 delightful people. All ages welcome, but please contact me if you’d like to bring children under 12. No grumps, please.
Grab a Seat! Quick!
Registration is now open. If you’re on board, go to Imprinttours.com and fill out an application. Send in the forms along with a deposit of $400, refundable for 30 days. Email me at email@example.com and I’ll make sure to save you a seat.
The balance is due 120 days before the tour, but we are a tiny company and would be thrilled if you could pay way ahead. Full payments received by May 29 get a discount of $300! Woohoo!
You could spend your travel dollars in any way at all. Go to Hawaii, Disneyland. Visit cousins in South Dakota. All good choices. Why should you come with me? Because I want to show you the world. With my 17 years of tour guiding experience, I want to leap off of your computer screen and take you by the hand to places you’ve only dreamed of. There is so much of the world out there and so much to experience. Come adventuring with me. This is only the beginning!
Would you like to travel with me in Europe?
My schedule with Rick Steves Tours changes from year to year and I often don’t know what it will be until close to the tour dates. I often lead Venice-Florence-Rome, Sicily, Best of Italy, Best of Rome, Family Europe and Best of Europe.
Already have a group and need a guide? I can create custom itineraries to any destination in the world for groups of 10 or more.
For my 2017 European tour schedule or to arrange a custom tour, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope we will have the chance to go on adventure together!