by April Cole
In 2006, Andrea was working in Cambodia running Journeys Within Tour Company and B & B and she had done such an incredible job of creating the best travel experiences in Cambodia, she was named to the Conde Nast Top Travel Specialists List. The list at this time was said to be harder to get onto than getting into Harvard. For her to have just started Journeys Within a few years prior, this was an especially great honor for a travel consultant.
When she was named to the list, she knew that she needed to ensure that the level of guest experience was elevated, and decided to open a US office as a travel coach. That’s where I came in ; ) Andrea hired me to support the travel expert business on the US side, while she split her time between the US and Cambodia - and our business journey evolved from there. Since that time, we have gone through a few iterations of names and even ownership - but our team, our tour experiences and our commitment to creating trips worthy of being named as the best by Conde Nast Traveler - has remained the same.
Why am I blogging about this now? Well, because for the 16th year in a row for Andrea and for the 5th year in a row for me Conde Nast Traveler has named us as Top Travel Specialists.
I’m so grateful to once again be named among the Top Travel Specialists in the world. But I’m even more grateful that this list brought Andrea and I together as business partners and friends, and that we get to continue to offer the best tour experiences to our guests all these years later.
By April Cole
They have said “It’s all about who you know,” and that’s the reason why we started the Travel Partners section of Kaanect. We don’t don’t just promote providers because we think they’re good; we refer clients to our travel partners because those providers are exactly who we trust to create epic travel experiences for ourselves too!
Just this past month I hired Brooke of Tumbleweed Travel to help me plan a last-minute RV trip through the Southwestern U.S. for my family. I was incredibly busy with work and life, and knew we wanted to get away during the kids’ fast-approaching winter break, but I simply did not have the time to put together a trip.
I love researching where to stay and what to see along the way, and I have a fair bit of experience planning trips 😉 But I also know myself and know that I would have spent far too much time researching every option and wondering if I was picking the best sites and best routing for this road trip, and I knew that working with someone who knows the region better than I do would ultimately create a great experience for my family.
I emailed Brooke and asked if she ever planned trips for people who already have an RV, but need help with all the rest, and she said she absolutely does. I was so excited! I gave her my dates, where we were hoping to go, the length of my RV and the number of people traveling, and then left everything in her incredibly capable hands.
Within a few days she sent an amazing itinerary that outlined the routing, places to see along the way, as well as all the nitty gritty details and the bookings for the best RV parks in each location. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect.
I can honestly say that her planning was better than I could have done on my own. She adjusted the direction of travel to allow us to stay in the better RV parks, and the routing which we took minimized overall drive time.
We started by driving from Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas and spent a night at a cute place off the strip with a hot tub and a pool - which was perfect after the long leg of driving that day.
The next day we went from Las Vegas to Sedona, with a planned stop at the Hoover Dam and the Road Kill Cafe on Route 66. As my son was a huge Pixar “Cars” fan, Route 66 was a highlight that day!
We then spent two nights in Sedona. Brooke offered some planned touring options, but we opted to plan our own hiking adventures those days. We explored a few different spots, and really loved checking out a few of the vortexes Sedona is known for.
Next, we went to the South Rim Grand Canyon and stayed in the park. The RV park was a 1 mile walk from the rim - but you also had the option of taking the park bus that picked you up right at the park. As it snowed while we were there, we opted for the heated bus most of the time 😉
While it snowed while we were there, we weren’t sad about it. We were the only people at the canyon most of the time, and the canyon covered with a few inches of snow was one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen.
After two nights at the Grand Canyon we were slated to continue on to Zion National Park. We were all really excited to head to Zion, and this was something Brooke recommended we add, as it added a new location and it shortened our drive on the way back home. But, after three nights of snow and four big humans in one small RV, we decided to leave on a high note and cut out Zion and went back through Vegas again. This change was a last-minute decision and Brooke was quick to help us make the changes to our reservations.
So we went back up to Vegas and spent time in the warmth and played in the pool. Then we added in some quirky art activities, with a visit to Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart exhibit.
Then we journeyed home, stopping at everything strange and fun along the way - The Car Forest, Clown Museum and a fireworks stand that let you shoot fireworks right on the spot. (Living in fire-prone California, we were excited for this!)
All in all, I could not have done this trip in the time-frame I wanted without Brooke's help. She made the booking easy and fun, and I highly recommend you work with her and Tumbleweed Travel. If you have your own RV or trailer or if you’re looking to rent one, she can help you create a great trip, and better yet, great memories with your family on the road.