10 Advantages to Traveling with a Great Company

I've often thought of traveling to Israel (and even living there) on my own, but this past trip--more than any other--has underscored what a great company our travel group, Educational Opportunities (EO), is...and what a blessing they are. Here's just ten reasons:

1. Advance preparations. Even though the lovely Robin and I have traveled often to Israel and other destinations, it's a great help to have an organizational partner like EO to make sure details are taken care of, before AND during the trip.

2. When our outgoing connection from Atlanta to New York kept getting delayed (putting our flight to Amman at risk), it was good to have a company hotline number to call, and have that person communicating with the airlines about potential alternate plans ahead of time. Brought me a lotta peace at the time, I gotta say.

3. Great guides. We had a better-than-ever experience with our guides this year, from Samer in Jordan (top) to Nader in Israel (middle) to Emad in Egypt (bottom).

You can always find a guide in country, of course, but you never know what you're going to get. With EO, we do.

4. Transitions. Every time we landed or arrived at a new airport, EO had someone there to greet us and shepherd us through the maze of lines and checks and inspections and so on. It was invariably a much smoother and shorter process with our local contacts at the helm.

5. Accommodations. EO does a great job of keeping a trip affordable while providing more-than-adequate (sometimes luxurious) accommodations. The hotels they choose are as reliable as they come.

6. Food. EO also does a fine job of not only letting us know what and when and where to eat or not eat in various countries, but also of choosing midday restaurants that are reasonable in cost....and safe for the ol' tum-tum.

7. Luggage. When in Tiberias one of our group's suitcases got mistakenly loaded onto a bus bound for Jerusalem (we were heading around the Galilee and then into Jordan), EO managed to arrange for its transportation back to us within a few hours. I can't imagine what would have happened without their intervention.

8. Transportation. Especially in Cairo, where the traffic was cuh-RAZY, it is such a blessing to have full-size buses (even for our group of 19, which enabled AJ to stretch out in the back!) and very accomplished drivers, which has always been our experience with EO.

9. Peace of mind. While cruising in a felucca on the Nile (I just LOVE saying that)...

...the local waterway police motored up to our sailboat and asked our ship's crew for their papers. A moment of uneasiness disappeared when our guide reassured us, explaining that it was routine and there was no problem. This peace of mind also operates when choosing vendors, shops, felucca drivers, etc., with the guidance of our EO guide!

10. When we landed in New York after a thirteen hour flight and learned that all our connecting flights had been cancelled, I placed a call to the EO emergency number...and was told that hotel rooms had already been booked for our group at the airport hotel, just in case! It turned out we didn't need them, but it was good to have someone watching out for us.

I like an adventure as much as the next guy, but I'm grateful for a company like EO that keeps the adventure...enjoyable.

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