Archive for March, 2012

Stay tuned: Las Vegas tips

My daughter Jennifer and husband Tom – recently went to Las Vegas for a little R and R from work. So in the next couple of days – she will be my guest writer and give you a few tips gained from their Vegas experience

Trip planning done right

A little bit more about what American Odyssey does – I specialize in group travel planning for schools, senior adults, sports teams and any other groups that may need a trip. The majority of my groups up until now have been school groups with lots of trips to Disney, DC, NYC, Savannah and local sights. Sometimes I just charter the bus for a group that already has plans, but other trips are complete packages with meals, activities, hotels and transportation. I do group airfare, motor coach and cruises. Now, I am increasing my marketing to corporate groups, senior adults, church groups and even some packages for individuals. I find that many of the tour operators like to specialize in one area such as middle school groups. I am happy to do these – but for me, I love the variety of all types of groups and lots of different locations. The one thing that remains the same no matter what type of group you have – everyone wants a well planned trip and good value for their dollar.

Love to travel…love to live

American Odyssey Tours, Inc. is a home based agency in Cumming, Georgia about 30 miles north of Atlanta. I am the owner and set up tours for groups with the assistance of my husband, Dave (Also my bookkeeper.) When my mind is doing creative thinking, he is the one who keeps the paperwork in order. My daughters often have a part in trip planning and escorting as well. Jennifer has often had to step in as my computer tech when things aren’t going well with the technology. I have 4 children and 6 grandchildren – these are my real true loves in life. But travel is also something that I love. I think the secret to having a successful business is to make sure it is something for which you have a passion. Of course, it is still work. Many people that I talk to who want to start in the travel business think about “travel and fun”. What you always have to remember is that you are there to make sure that your clients have the best experience possible. Having a good time yourself is a bonus.

What’s in a name?

“American Odyssey Tours” got its name from another one of my ventures with the foreign exchange students. In 1984 -my exchange student at the time, heard about a North Carolina company setting up a cross country camping tour. He thought for sure I could put this together for the Georgia students. It was winter – I was getting the urge to travel-so why not at least look into it. Summer of 1984 – 1 charter bus, 24 days and 45 foreign students (plus what seemed like a ton of gear). It was awesome! I ran the trip for 11 summers and it had to have a name -American Odyssey. Later, the company name as well. Someday I would love to do this trip again.

How it all began

Today, a little about how this all got started. When my kids were in school- we hosted foreign exchange students– One each year for 11 years. Prior to the Georgia students going home at the end of the year – the organization decided they should see Washington DC. I volunteered to set up a trip. No real experience in this, although I think I was always the one in my own family to organize trips and events. If you check out your own family or group of friends, you will probably find that person. The trip was ok -So of course, this became an annual event for the foreign students. Now, I had become someone to ask if the school group- band, team, etc needed a bus. So, I ended up doing 3-4 trips each year for one group or another. At that time, I told one of the bus drivers-” If I could do one good trip a month- I would be happy” .. How expectations change