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Top Trip Memories
  • Spending your honeymoon on an African safari with just the two of you, your guide, and a parade of elephants and giraffes
  • Watching your children with pride as they tackle a hiking trail in New Zealand that your tour agency suggested was family-friendly
  • Sipping a cappuccino in a small Italian village that you would never have known about without your tour agency’s regional expertise
  • Relaxing in Thailand in the knowledge that if you need assistance, your tour agency has representatives in Bangkok
  • Having the fun of helping to plan your trip without having to sweat the details
  • Choosing a river cruise through Danube and Rhine to explore Germany
  • Touring the Sapa region in Northeast Vietnam that offers a traditional view into many of Vietnam’s ethnic tribes, such as the Hmong, as well as touring the meticulously maintained rice terraces
  • Riding horseback alongside local gauchos through ancient Lenga forests
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Tour Tips
  • Expect to pay somewhat more for a customized tour than a regularly scheduled guided tour
  • While you make the ultimate decisions on where and when to travel, part of what you’re paying for is your tour agency’s expertise, so take advantage of their advice   
  • Customized tours can be guided or unguided – you make the call on how much assistance you want
  • Many tour agencies that primarily offer guided group tours will now customize a tour for you as well 
  • Custom tours can be ideal for families, honeymooners, or small groups of friends who want to travel together 
  • Work out a maximum budget in advance before planning your custom tour, because, like Homer Simpson at a buffet, it can be hard to resist over-reaching when presented with all your options
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Custom Tours Travel Reviews & Ratings
5.0 out of 5



59 Reviews

Excellent 39 Great 1 Average 0 Disappointing 0 Terrible 0

Rating Details

5.0 Guide
5.0 Activities
5.0 Lodging
5.0 Transportation
5.0 Meals
Tour Reviews

You'll have a trip of a lifetime traveling with Myths and Mountains!

Bhutan: Fall Festivals, Families and Nature

5.0 August 2017 Myths and Mountains Recommend: Yes (Our favorite memories are) attending the Nimlong Festival, being present at the temple when the Master returned from 6 years of meditation on the mountain; walking into the temple where we received prayers and blessings to see a tray that had been prepared for each of us with our photos and placed next to the altar; Kinley and Pema (!!), visiting the READ Center and singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with a little girl there; seeing READ in action; walking on a trail through the rice fields, seeing the women bent over working; watching monks create the masterpiece mandala and then destroying it; the Thai massage on our last night in Bhutan; the absolute beauty, peace and serenity of the country; sitting quietly and hearing only bird song or the bells of a prayer wheel - too many highlights to list!

(Our favorite hotel was) Nak-Sel Resort and Spa - absolutely beautiful, spacious, lovely setting and spa facilities.

Jen (at Myths) took the time to talk with me about spending a day in Thailand, suggesting tour ideas, highlights (and low lights to avoid), warnings about the heat and crowds, etc. It really helped me focus in on what I wanted and then to enjoy my day there thoroughly. Toni painted a picture of Bhutan and the itinerary there. The information about what to expect, cultural norms, food and lodging, the map of Bhutan, the packing list were all very helpful.

(Our guide) Kinley was wonderful - such a sweetheart and he and Pema are a great act together. They worked very hard to make sure that we were all well cared for, go everywhere we needed to go and on time and with the proper dress and gear. I know there were a few glitches, there always are, and we never knew anything was wrong. We may have missed a thing or two because they were closed or inaccessible. That goes both ways in that we were able to return to one of the temples where the Master returned to great pomp and ceremony because of Kinley's diligence and that had to be covered by letting something else go. Kinley was one of the best guides I've experienced in my travels; he was very caring when I got sick and took great care of everyone. He has a very soft spot in his heart for Toni and Myths and Mountains and that showed in all his actions.

You'll have a trip of a lifetime traveling with Myths and Mountains!
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(Our guide) Kinley was incredible!

Bhutan: Fall Festivals, Families and Nature

5.0 August 2017 Myths and Mountains Recommend: Yes All of the information (from Myths and Mountains) was very helpful from the packing list to the essential country information. Jen was helpful with everything!

(Our favorite memory was) watching the mandala being made, the various rituals (especially the Dued), the visit to Mebar-tso Lake, Nimalung Festival and Taktsang pilgrimage.

(Our guide) Kinley was incredible! He is so knowledgeable about all things Bhutan, so patient, kind, considerate and thoughtful. Plus, he has a great sense of humor. He is an excellent communicator and was always so helpful with everything from start to finish. I cannot say enough about him. He is a true gem!
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Everyone at MM were very helpful and responsive.

Bhutan: Fall Festivals, Families and Nature

5.0 August 2017 Myths and Mountains Recommend: Yes Loved our tour guide and driver in Bhutan, Kin-le and Bema. Great access to cultural experiences, that I felt would be normally difficult to experience. (Favorite hotel was) Druk. Nice hotel with good food. Good location. (Favorite guide was) Kin-le. Very knowledgeable, has great connections to get us access to special activities. Read more

Really superb trip--highly recommended!

Cuba: Havana Weekend Getaway

5.0 July 2017 Discover Corps Recommend: Yes This trip was really superb, starting with the folks like Alex in the San Diego office to our tour guide in Havana, Orelvis (a perfect gentleman if there ever was one--and he seemed to know absolutely EVERYTHING about Havana), and our driver, Boris (who was an extremely safe driver, and the SUV that was our transportation was a practically new Honda), and our friendly hostess at the casa particular (B&B).

But at breakfast at the casa particular, keep in mind the CDC guidelines for healthy travel: cook it, boil it, peel it (yourself) or FORGET IT. So the bowl of fruit and the fruit juices? Pass them up in favor of coffee and toast. I know that sounds boring, but after I got home, I ended up in the hospital emergency room for dehydration due to e-coli--my fault for not following the CDC guidelines.

Also, to get up to my room at the casa particular, I had to climb a narrow, curved marble staircase--I took extra care not to fall either on the way up or on the way down.

The activities and attractions were first rate (but you must keep in mind that you're on "Cuban time," and not everything runs like a Swiss train). From the Hemingway house to the canon ceremony (which I loved even though it was a substitution for another event that was unexpectedly closed) to the jazz club (again, we went to one jazz club that for some reason didn't work out, but no problem--Orelvis took us to another jazz club recommended by his supervisor in Havana) to the art museum to the Malecon to the outdoor terrace at the Hotel Nacional and more, it was amazing how much we saw of Havana in about 72 hours.

There were only four people on the trip, and that was both a good thing and a bad thing--good because each of us received a great deal of attention from Orelvis and bad because two of the four didn't want to follow the itinerary and often went off on their own and then kept the rest of us waiting for them to return (highly frustrating--finally Boris said, "the schedule is the schedule," and we stopped catering to them). One of them spoke fluent Spanish--good for her--but I did wish that Orelvis had curtailed the lengthy conversations that she initiated with him, which the rest of us could not understand.

Two of my favorite activities were ones that I arranged myself: attending the world-class ballet at the gorgeously restored el Gran Teatro and then taking a yellow 1950 Chevrolet convertible with an Italian driver, who was an absolute hoot, back to the casa particular.

And the food at the private restaurants known as paladars was first rate. We even had lunch at one that Anthony Bourdain recently featured on his CNN travel show "Parts Unknown."

Just a small word of caution: sometimes there wasn't enough bottled water in the SUV in which we were riding, especially when we were dropped off at the casa particular at night. Make sure that you have plenty of bottled water with you at all times. (The CDC even recommends that you brush your teeth with bottled water.)

I also wish I had brought another pair of shoes with me because with all of the walking in the heat of the Cuban sun, my feet swelled. Fortunately, I had brought some Band-Aids with me, which helped cushion the sore spots.

I highly recommend this trip--to my way of thinking, it's much better than taking a cruise ship that only docks in Havana for one or two nights--and the "Havana Weekend Getaway" is the most popular trip to Cuba that is offered by Discover Corps, as I learned from Orelvis.
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Response time was immediate!!

Indochine: Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

5.0 May 2017 Myths and Mountains Recommend: Yes Response time was immediate. There was an ease and smoothness of every connection during a 5 week trip through three countries in Southeast Asia.

M&M was always going above and beyond - finding us unique situations and people to meet and having a true understanding and care for the local people.

Everything was straight forward and easy. We had so many favourite trip memories, but the fact that we were in some popular and crowded places where our guides always knew the best time of day and ways to get the most enjoyment from our visit.

Our favourite hotel was the Song Saa...pure luxury within a natural setting and our favourite guide was Cuoong ...because he would go beyond expectations day in and day out.
Advice: Please do not hesitate to have someone plan a trip for you it makes such a difference
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Custom Tours Trips & Tour Advice

Custom Tour Packages allow you to design your own trip rather than following a set itinerary already established by the tour operator. Where you go, how many days you spend there, and what kind of travel and accommodations you choose are entirely up to you. Your trip could include a private guide or guides, or you may want to guide yourself. Working under the guidance of a tour agency – some of which specialize only in custom tours -- you choose where you want to go and when, and the agency takes care of much or all of the logistics.

Customized tours have recently entered the mainstream of the tour business. Once mainly the province of the wealthy few who could afford to hire a tour agency to put together a trip just for them, custom tours are now widely offered by a whole range of tour companies, including those whose main business is offering guided group tours.

The effect is that custom tours – while generally more expensive than standard guided group tours for a variety of reasons – are no longer limited to just luxury tours that would bust the budget of many a traveler. With added competition, including that from more budget-oriented tour agencies, lower-cost custom tours are now much more readily available.

This isn’t to say that luxury custom tours are no longer predominant. They are, partially because budget travelers still tend to look to guided group tours first, where the economies of scale – and typically less work for the tour agencies – add up to lower prices. But the field is widening.

Who Are Good Candidates for Custom Tours?

Honeymooners. If you’re on your honeymoon, you may not wish to travel in the company of people you don’t know. A custom tour can easily be fashioned into a romantic tour of, say, Italy, or – for adventurous couples – a land-river tour of Southeast Asia or an African safari complete with private guide and luxury safari tents. 

Families. Custom tours are ideal for families who fear that their children will miss the company of other kids on group tours where adults predominate. Parents may also feel that other travelers will resent having children along on their group tour. With a custom tour, parents can emphasize quality family time together and make sure their kids’ interests are taken fully into account. Custom tours can also work well by adding grandparents to the generational mix, or perhaps by joining up with friends who have children the same age. 

Other small groups of friends or associates who want to travel together and follow the same itinerary, specific to them. 

Individuals or couples who like traveling by themselves but  don’t want to spend much time on logistics or who want expert advice in setting up their trip. Every custom tour should offer those two advantages.

Travelers who can’t find exactly what they want in a standard group guided tour. They’ve combed the brochures but none of the tours offered to their destination meet their needs in terms of timing or itinerary. With a custom tour, they can go where they want when they want. 

Travelers who want to go at their own pace and maintain more flexibility and spontaneity than guided group tours may offer. While many group tours offer some time to go off on your own, you may want more free time than that – and you still need to keep up (or slow down) to stay with the group. With a custom tour, you can choose your level of flexibility – for instance, you might opt for a rental car and arranged lodgings on a driving tour of Wales, keeping the rest of your day free to roam as you wish. (Custom tour agencies will provide suggested routes, sights, eating places, and other ideas, but you can make the final decisions on the spur of the moment when you’re there.)

Is a Custom Tour Right For You?

You know best what kind of traveler you are. If you enjoy making new friends or having lots of company on a trip, or feel more secure traveling with a group, you may be best suited for guided group tours. If you have very specific ideas about what you want to see or do on a trip, and can’t find guided group tours that fill the bill, a custom tour may be right for you.  

Many tour agencies listed on Stride specialize only in individualized custom (sometimes called “bespoke”) tours. Many other tour companies will custom design a tour for you if you prefer that to a standard tour.

What to Look For if You're Considering a Custom Tour

- Expertise in the region of your destination

- Personalized service that ensures you get what you pay for

- A robust policy of assistance during your trip if needed

- Highly trained local guides if you want them

- Competitive prices if you’re on a budget

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