TRAVEL AGENT vs. TRAVEL "ARTISAN"

Your dream vacation is waiting

Your dream vacation is waiting

Different types of travel require different types of travel planning. When I describe what I do, people commonly respond with "so, you're a travel agent." While, Explorateur Travel isn't your typical type of travel agency, there is a lot of overlap. I'd like to consider myself a travel consultant, but even that doesn't always seem to work. If I actually had to pick a name for what we do, I would like say that we are travel artisans. We thoughtfully create each itinerary to provide memorable experience based on style and local culture.

So to help you decide what kind of planning assistance you may need (if any), here is a breakdown of what an agent does, and how we are different.

Do you prefer an active vacation?

Do you prefer an active vacation?

Travel Agents...

  • Book all travel through a back office system
  • Work with a line of specific corporate companies which is determined by their partnerships
  • Are incentivized to book certain lines or routes for commission purposes
  • Provide luxury options and discounts based on company collaborations
  • Can be instrumental in booking group travel

 

Experience the culture of a place by a local cooking class!

Experience the culture of a place by a local cooking class!

Explorateur Travel...

  • Provides a la carte options of planning services that are selectable based on budget and need
  • Focuses on experiential accommodation and activity options (through home sharing, campgrounds, hotels, etc.)
  • Allows you receive an itinerary after sharing a few preferences and a click of a button
  • Tailors itineraries based on specific interests of clients from beginning to end
  • Makes travel planning fast, easy, and affordable with transparent pricing
  • Finds the "hidden gems" of a city to provide clients with memorable experiences
Have questions? Give us a ring!

Have questions? Give us a ring!

While I have been a travel agent previously, I found that I wasn't able to be as hands on with each client because it was more transactional and not focused on the meat and potatoes of the day to day itinerary of a vacation. Travel agents provide an excellent service for groups looking to book together, luxury trips, or even someone that may be looking for a more traditional experience. The good news is, that there are plenty of resources to help plan your trip, regardless of your travel style!

So reach out...after all, your vacation is a blank canvas that we can't wait to get our hands on! To check out our easy and affordable a la carte menu, click HERE!

THE GELATO BLINDNESS EPIDEMIC...IT'S A THING!

The Gianduiotto at  Da Nico  in Venice

The Gianduiotto at Da Nico in Venice

There's something very concerning sweeping the country of Italy. This rampant epidemic is infiltrating the populations of tourists and locals alike, and there is only one diagnosis appropriate for the symptoms. I know this illness as 'Gelato Blindness."

Now, you probably think I'm kidding. It's gelato for goodness sake! The creamiest, most heavenly treat (I would argue) in the world. How can this cause blindness? Keep with me here.

It all started when I was walking around Venice during my first segment of the trip. I noticed that almost every third person was walking with gelato and walking through busy (and very narrow) pedestrian walkways. This continued throughout the cities of Rome, Florence, Cortona, Montepulciano...and onto many more.

Here are the symptoms that you should be aware of:

The first symptom: The stare. There's a sense of wonder that sweeps across the face of the eager recipient of the mounding cup or cone. The hopeful gaze at the newly purchased treat is the first sign.

Gelateria  Buonocore  in Capri

Gelateria Buonocore in Capri

The second symptom: Panicked licking. Italy is most popular in the summer-time, which leaves those partaking in this delight in a sense of panic to eat quickly before it melts into a gooey puddle. Who wants sticky hands while perusing the gift shops, museums, or following a tour guide...no one! Plus...gelato is too good to let melt. So the panic leads to mania, and the rabid licking of the cone begins.

The third symptom: The stumble. I'm not saying that gelato is causing euphoric dillusion (although, a case could be made for that too), but what I am saying is that the panicked licking is the stage before complete disaster strikes. Most every person that I see eating gelato seems to be drunkenly stepping into the streets because of the extreme focus that they have in enjoying every last lick. I've witnessed people bump into strangers, drop bags, and completely block roads because priority #1 is wrapped in a piping hot, thin waffle cone and destroying their ability to function. What's even more terrifying is that there is no predictable time of day for this epidemic to hit because gelato seems to make a fine addition no matter the hour. 8 AM? Well, why the heck not get a banana and cappuccino double cone and call it breakfast? It's pretty much the same thing.

Best gelato of my life in Capri

Best gelato of my life in Capri

I'm writing this to fairly warn anyone who may fall victim to this terrifying travesty that is sweeping the boot-shaped country. If you are visiting Italy and have a sweet tooth, consider yourself at high risk. You may not hear about this on the news (call it what you want..but it smells like an effort to protect the reputation of these artisans and their goods *wink*) but I wanted to personally make everyone aware of the very real ramifications of indulging abroad.

Enjoy responsibly, my fellow travelers!

Gelato is not the only Italian sweet threatening the welfare of humanity. To learn about how limoncello can ruin lives, click here!

*Note: This article should not be used in replacement of medical advice from a doctor, nor should it be taken seriously. All parties enjoying gelato recreationally should consume responsibly and with full awareness.

 

 

 

REASONS WHY AFRICA WILL CHANGE YOU FOR GOOD

I know exactly what you’re thinking, ‘this chick is crazy. She’s obsessed with this continent (Ok. Maybe I am, just a little)’ but trust me after reading this post you will be too! I’m sure anyone who has traveled anywhere in Africa can attest to the fact that this is one of the most thrilling places you will travel to, and I’m not lying!

Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Fish River Canyon, Namibia

So I want you to take a minute…think about a few destinations of where you want to travel. I’m sure your list includes places like London, Italy, Germany, and Greece. Mine sure does! However, I feel like you’re missing one important place…a destination that will change you forever while placing an imprint on your heart that you’d never expect- Africa. 

First flight to Africa in 2015 

First flight to Africa in 2015 

I know it’s intimidating, and can be scary, but you’re thinking too much. Africa took me in with open arms, and not once did I feel unwelcome or like I didn’t belong. Have you always wanted to go on a safari? Do you like to climb mountains? Surf? Skydive? Scuba dive? Market-lover? (I know you’re out there.) Foodie? Have a history obsession? If you just answered any of those with a head nod, then I suggest you walk towards the idea of traveling to Africa ready for it to grab your hand and take you for a whirl.

 I think some people are afraid of what Africa has to offer, and that’s because they don’t know what exactly she does have to give. It’s ok to be scared, but I want you all to start using that fear, the fear of the unknown, and trust that fear so much that you start to wonder ‘why am I afraid?’ Then go after that fear and discover it; unfold it.

I thought up a short list of 5 reasons I think Africa and you are going to be besties. I limited it to 5 because I could probably go on forever about my time there...so check ‘em out.

View of Table Mountain from Blouberg, South Africa 

View of Table Mountain from Blouberg, South Africa 

Sunset in Cape Town, South Africa 

Sunset in Cape Town, South Africa 

  1. The locals I encountered in South Africa as well as other parts of Africa are kind, caring, hospitable, and so willing to share their culture with you. They are there for you and make you feel like you’re never alone. You’ll learn an unbelievable amount from them; whether it’s tips for what not to do, or the best local spots to hit up on a Friday night, they’re your go-to peeps. Infused with tradition and history, you’ll be amazed and never want to leave the conversation with them (especially when you hear their accents ;) )
  2.  The sunsets. They say there’s nothing like a South African sunset, and I will ditto this ‘till the day I die. No matter where you are, the colors that merge together paint the sky like you’ve never seen before. It’s a different type of sunset and brings you all the feels when you’re reminiscing on how amazing your day just was. The best thing to do is grab a bottle of wine, some snacks, and hike up to Lion’s Head or Signal Hill, chill at some bar in Ponta do Ouro, or sit around the campfire in Namibia. Oh, and don’t forget to give your mates a ring, because the company make it all the better! You’re going to catch yourself saying, “wow, I’m actually in Africa” and I promise once you see it you’ll know exactly what I mean.

  3. Lions, tigers, and bears (oh, my!) Well, maybe we should say lions, giraffes, and zebras instead! Safaris here are such a phenomenal experience. If you’re lucky you may see 3 of the Big Five, and now that’s something to send a post card about! Make sure you do your research before deciding which company/location you're going to use when you do go. When I was in South Africa I went to Kruger National Park and had the most amazing tour guides who were experienced and knew how to answer every question I threw their way. 
  4. Let’s all melt in a pot, mix it up, and call it Cape TownI only spent 3 months here and I wish it had been longer. After a few weeks I already knew in my heart I wasn't going to want to leave. Cape Town has it all and is for everyone. You name it and it's there! My favorite thing about this city is how different every single person is. You have people from every corner of the world and it just makes my heart so happy. Cape Town is another home for me, and definitely a must see if you're ever in Africa. 
  5. The wine…and beer. I barely have to say anything here. I know we all love a good glass of wine (or two..maybe three!), and for all those beer lovers out there a.k.a. me, Cape Town, ZA is your place to be! There are tons of wineries and super fun local breweries that will make your day. Groot ConstantiaFranschoek, and of course the infamous Drifter Brewing Company are just a few of my favs. There’s plenty to drink and you definitely won’t leave thirsty. 
  6. Just one more for good luck: She changes your life. Whether it’s the people you meet, the things you see, the volunteering you participate in, or the way it makes you feel at night, this is the place that changes your life. That airport in Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Mozam, wherever you end up, will see you cry. Not just tears rolling down your cheeks, but the tears and cries filled with emotions that you can’t even put into words. Africa is all about stepping outside of your comfort zone. Start with the flight, then go from there. You’re going to love it. You’ll go back, because it’s now a piece of you forever.
Volunteering in Cinsta East, South Africa 

Volunteering in Cinsta East, South Africa 

Africa stole my heart, and I have a feeling she might steal yours too.