I want to take a moment to congratulate our Director of Tours, Andrea. She has been named a Top Travel Specialist for the second consecutive year in Conde Nast Traveler Magazine. The current August issue will be available in print within the next week.
Andrea was named a travel specialist not only because of her knowledge of the countries and her length of experience, but because of her continued efforts to maintain impeccable quality tour experiences and her personal passion for the company and the countries in which we tour. This spring Andrea personally conducted guide training in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. She also conducted numerous hotel inspections to make sure the hotels we offer are up to her strict standards of quality as well as inspected new hotels to offer to our guests. She opened up a new office in Laos and new Journeys Within Our Community non profit in Laos. Needless to say it was a very busy off-season, but her continued efforts to improve Journeys Within are visible within every tour.
I am very proud to be a member of such a great team and to have a leader that inspires me to continue to improve not only my personal work ethics, but to also continue to improve the company and to continue to improve the quality of life for the people within the countries which we tour. I would like to express my most sincere congratulations to Andrea, I can think of no other person who deserves the title of Travel Specialist.
After living and playing in Southeast Asia for the last 6 years we have had many hotel experiences. We have been lucky enough to stay in some amazing properties and we have definitely have had some less than appealing places…websites can be deceiving! I have done hotel inspections in every country, in every city we go to and we have found some hotels that we feel embody the spirit of Journeys Within. Our Signature Hotels are in all price ranges and in all countries, they are the places that when we travel we like to stay. The hotels that we feel give a little more than is necessary. We consider them our partners in making each trip we run special and memorable. We have stayed in all of our Signature Hotels and we have included reviews from other tour consultants as well as from guests so you can get a real sense of each property. Our rating system is described below, my good friend Dawn Johnson once warned me that it was a ‘socks on’ hotel and I loved the mental image and expanded on her clever description.
Shoes On: A more basic property that might not be clean enough for even socks…hopefully there would be another compelling reason to stay here.
Socks On: Not dirty, but not really ready for bare feet either. Sometimes this is used for good value for money places that are fine…but could use some new carpets.
Socks Off: Clean and fresh, you can take your socks off and not worry about stepping on anything or getting grubby feet.
Everything Off: This is for those special properties that make you want to get naked! Fluffy white beds with lots of pillows, sparking clean hardwood floors and big bathrooms with only flattering mirrors.
For a detailed list and full reviews of our Signature Hotels go to www.journeys-within.com
Andrea and I were talking about some new services that we could offer for our guests and she and I agreed helping with a honeymoon registry would be something people would enjoy. So I looked around and found a great site that offers honeymoon registry for free, www.honeyfund.com.
I have put together a sample honeymoon registry at http://www.honeyfund.com/wedding/journeyswithinhoneymoon. Here you can see examples of how your wedding guests give the gift of upgrades or pay for an adventure already on your itinerary. Your registry is completely customized for you. Honeyfund will host your registry free, and I can set it up and maintain it for you as a courtesy service. Unlike other services where you simply receive the money, when your guests give a gift I will directly book it and send you a confirmation of your gift. (Just one less thing for you to have to do yourself – which is nice:) I personally know how stressful planning a wedding can be, so I hope to make this as stress free and fun as possible. If you have any questions – please do not hestitate to contact me.