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Friendly Planet Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Customer Testimonial’

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Friendly Planet reviewed: One traveler’s experience on our Kenya Wildlife Safari tour

Are you dreaming of wide, open spaces, and exploring the great unknown on an African safari? If so, you’re not alone. That’s why our Kenya Wildlife Safari is a very popular tour among our travelers.

We recently received the below email from Carol Schmidt, who recently returned from this 11-day tour. We wanted to share her email with you (verbatim).

“We just returned from the Wildlife Kenya Safari and one would have to say, “Hakuna Matata” about any concern I had after reading travel reviews that the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi was less than satisfactory! It is disconcerting that one could complain about the accommodations. While it is an older hotel, it is clean and in a great location, particularly given the short amount of free-time we had.

This location gave us a chance to go to the International Market and to see the Parliament and governmental buildings. I would rate our breakfasts at the Intercontinental as scrumptious and the presentation was incredible! Who could possibly complain about fresh squeezed orange juice, Kenyan coffee with hot milk, and a variety of over 50 feet of food choices? It was absolutely awesome and the service was superb.

Thanks to Vintage Africa we had an incredible driver, Dominic, who has an A+ personality, and is probably a mixture of human/animal/bird! Dominic could sense animals before they were visible and he knew their patterns along with having a vast knowledge of their behaviors and instincts. He astonished us with his mastery of the bird species. We learned so much from him and it was so obvious he loves his job!

This was the most spectacular Safari we could imagine and we cannot thank all the Friendly Planet staff and Vintage Africa for making it one we will never forget. Our accommodations, the food, everything was simply marvelous! Friendly Planet was recommended to us by an unfamiliar traveler we met in California; now we will recommend Friendly Planet to our friends and acquaintances and we will be back for another adventure with Friendly Planet in the future! Asante Sana and feel free to share the good words. While the leopard is often difficult to spot, thanks to Dominic, we were fortunate to see him up close and personal! We hope you will enjoy the photo.”

Thanks for sharing such kind words, Carol! We’re glad you enjoyed your safari vacation with us!

5 travelers tell us why our Dubai tour is truly dazzling

Testimonials from our travelers offer non-biased opinions and real experiences of our tours. Since we have been focusing on Dubai with our “Be Dazzled by Dubai” Facebook contest in full swing, I wanted to share a few testimonials from travelers who went on our Dazzling Dubai tour.

But before I get to their feedback, I want to remind everyone that this is the last week to enter our Facebook contest to win a free trip for two to Dubai! So, enter now!

“Flying with Emirates was an amazing experience. The airline was extremely professional and the staff on board made the trip as comfortable and enjoyable as it could have been. The food, amenities and extras were wonderful. I will always choose Emirates whenever possible. The overall trip was wonderful too. The staff in Dubai was very helpful, knowledgeable, and eager to assist in making the guests feel at home. The hotel was neat, perfectly located, and had great service.” -Andrea Orbe-Martinez

“Overall, the process of booking with Friendly Planet was great and very easy. The flights on Emirates were amazing – the airline is wonderful. I also thought the optional tours were excellent. The dinner cruise and the desert safari tour were great. Everything with this tour was absolutely excellent. The destinations were fabulous, and the price was amazing. I have compared tour companies and the Friendly Planet price and what is included cannot be beat.” -Yameci Maldonado

“We were very pleased with the promptness being met and escorted throughout our tour. The hotel and transportation provided were very nice. Our tour guides were also well versed on the culture and history of Dubai. Overall, we truly enjoyed our trip.” - Albert and Zell Verschaeve

“A good package deal. Our tour guide was professional, knowledgeable and well organized. Also, the tour bus driver was courteous and alert. The hotel was excellent, had great service, and friendly and helpful employees. All of our included breakfasts were excellent too.” – Koumba Noni

Thanks to Andrea, Yameci, Albert, Zell, and Koumba for sharing your experience about our Dazzling Dubai tour. Have you been to Dubai on one of our tours? We’d love to hear from you too – comment below.

One young traveler’s perspective on Greece

A few months ago, I contributed my first article to the Huffington Post where I made the case that travelers should still be booking trips to see the fascinating, historical country of Greece. I also mentioned in the article that Eli and Aileen Fink, our CFO and Operations Manager at Friendly Planet Travel respectively, would be taking their two young daughters on a trip to Greece this summer.

Upon their return, I asked if they would like to share their experience on our blog, and an enthusiastic traveler jumped at the chance! Loren, Eli and Aileen’s 12-year-old daughter, was excited to blog about her family trip to Greece and what she saw while she was there. Read on to get the full story from Loren’s perspective.

Me, Loren, in front of Apollo's temple in Delphi“I have loved Greek mythology for the past two years and I was so excited when I found out that my family and I were going to Greece for a summer vacation.

The temples to the gods were mainly in ruins, just stones and pillars, but it was still so astonishing to see all those places and imagine what it was like centuries ago. It was a great experience. I got to learn new things, try new foods, and see mind-blowing places.

Greece is an amazing place. There are many beautiful sites to see from the Acropolis to Apollo’s sanctuary in Delphi. Greece has a long and interesting history, so you can learn a lot from visiting Greece, and if you love to shop, there is a place in Athens called the Plakka, which has many stores and restaurants. There are many things that will surely amaze you.
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Why Thailand owns the title ‘incredible’

We recently announced new departure dates for Friendly Planet Travel’s Incredible Thailand tour, and they’re already selling out! However, I’m not surprised. Thailand is beloved by our travelers, including Dr. Ak Schmidt, a long-time Friendly Planet traveler who just returned from our Incredible Thailand tour.

She sent me an e-mail telling me why her tour was so wonderful, and gives some excellent advice if you’re traveling to Thailand. I copied the e-mail below (verbatim).

“the trip to thailand was indeed incredible! it sounds great on the friendly planet overview but it’s so much more! i don’t know where to start. hotels were great. everyone should stay at the dusit thani. we went back there for a weekend on our own.

our guide was awesome. she made extra stops for us along the road for things like sticky rice cooked in bamboo (loved that) and always asked if everyone had their passports, etc when we went to a different place. she took us on a boat to laos and everyone got their passports stamped and of course we got to shop a little.

as far as shopping goes, i’d say watch out. thailand has everything and you’re gonna want it all. bangkok is easy to get around in and has a super mall close to the dusit thani. one thing i would say too is that the golden buddha and the white temple should be emphasized more in the advertising because they are unique and more than amazing – truly incredible!!

i’ve been to egypt, borneo, morocco, cambodia, vietnam, kenya and now thailand with fp. going to south africa this summer. guess that tells you something. ps. will send pix if any are good, but jim yancey is gonna have the best pictures. you should pick some for your website. ps2, our guide, lek, was the best i’ve ever had and y’all have some good ones. and noni, her assistant had a cooler with ICE and COLD soft drinks and water. i can’t tell you how wonderful that was. a really great practice where it’s so hot.” — Dr. Schmidt, La Grange, Texas

Thanks Dr. Schmidt for the kind words! I look forward to hearing about your trip to South Africa with us. If you’re interested in experiencing Thailand, you can still book a departure date for the 14-day Incredible Thailand tour. But hurry, space is limited!

Friendly Planet Travel’s top 7 posts of 2010

I have to admit. A year ago at this time, I was shakin’ in my boots. We were about to re-launch the Friendly Planet Travel blog on a new platform and I wasn’t sure if our readers would follow us. Then my worries subsided when I saw that our readers did, indeed, come visit us at our new home on the Web. Thank you!

Upon this reflection, I thought I would share with you the blog posts that you loved the most since we made the switch. Here are our top seven posts of 2010.

1.) Vietnam is Anthony Bourdain’s favorite place on Earth to eat. The Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain traveled to his favorite place in the world to eat, Vietnam, for his show, “Anthony Bourdain No Reservations.” I share the Tony’s enthusiasm for Vietnamese food, and tell you how I happily ate my way through the country last year on my trip to Vietnam.

2.) Should you carry cash, credit, or a traveler’s check when traveling? A lot of us are accustomed to paying for most things with our credit or debit cards. It’s easy and convenient. But when you’re traveling, using a credit card might not always be the best option. So before you leave the U.S., I help you determine whether you should be carrying cash, credit, or a traveler’s check.

3.) The best travel apps for your smart phoneIf you have a smart phone, you probably have apps. So which travel apps are worth it? I can’t tell you (just yet), but Becca Torres of the Planet Travel Reservations team can. See which apps made Becca’s cut.

4.) Get exclusive savings on Friendly Planet tours with Hot Deals. For the first time, Friendly Planet Travel started giving subscribers to the Hots Deals mailer exclusive coupon codes on Friendly Planet tours. We told you all about how to sign up to not only get announcements on deals and new destinations, but how to save even more bucks on select tours.

5.) Advice on what you shouldn’t pack in your suitcase. Some people like to pick up every knickknack and souvenir they can get their hands on when they travel. From the hotel shampoo to the restaurant matchstick book, they shove it all into their luggage. Find out what you should keep and what you should toss.

6.) Friendly Planet review: A snapshot of the Best of China tour. Ron and his wife Jan booked the Best of China tour for October 2009. They came back with over 1,600 photos to share. We talk to Ron in a podcast to get the stories behind the photos and what travelers shouldn’t miss when they’re in China.

7.) What to do if you’re stranded in an airportWhat do travelers need to know in the event that some force of nature grounds air traffic and throws their plans into gridlock? I share a few suggestions you can follow if you find yourself stranded, sharing an airport with hundreds of other travelers in the same boat as you.

That’s my wrap up. And if there are any topics you’d like to see covered in the New Year, leave them in a comment on this post.

Three-time Friendly Planet traveler reviews our South African Explorer

Before Friendly Planet’s South African Explorer tour sold out for 2010, Holly Pecarek from Atlanta, Ga. was able to book a reservation. When she returned from South Africa, she sent me an e-mail that made my day.

While I was reading it, I found out that this was her third tour with us. Thanks Holly for continuing to choose Friendly Planet Travel! Read on to see what makes Holly a loyal customer. I copied the e-mail below (verbatim).

“Unreal trip! This is my 3rd tour with Friendly Planet and I have enjoyed every one of them. It was so organized and the guides so friendly! I don’t know how you all make any money because the accomodations are always top-notch! Amazing trip from start to finish. I can’t wait to pick my next trip! Thanks for everything!” – Holly Pecarek, Atlanta, Ga.

Thanks again for your note Holly! I look forward to hearing about tour number four. ;) And for the rest of the folks out there, if you’re disappointed that our South African Explorer tour is sold out, don’t be! Take a gander at our new Best of South Africa tour. Departure dates are still available for 2011.

Customer Testimonial: From Ecuador to China

I know I’ve done my job when I hear from customers who want to return for another tour. Or when travelers keep coming back to experience a new exotic destination. These next two testimonials are from opposite sides of the globe. They loved every part of their trip, and I hope they’ll become Friendly Planet Travel frequent flyers.

You know by now how much I love reading these. So don’t hesitate to let me know how your exotic tour went!

A Taste of China

This was our second tour with Friendly Planet the first being India 3 years ago. We just got back from China and wanted to tell you how amazing the trip was and what a great time we had. Our guide David was fantastic and all the accomodations were perfect. We are so glad that we went and we will do more tours with Friendly Planet in the future. 

-O.R. Nasseri, San Diego, Calif.

Exotic Ecuador

I just returned and wanted to let you know that this trip was absolutely wonderful. It was very well put together; had a great itinerary, involved no surprises; and was a great value. The hotels were outstanding and I truly enjoyed the variety of activities expecially in the Amazon Region. Based upon this great experience I will definately consider Friendly Planet again.

-Theodore Lattanzio, New York, N.Y. 

Customer testimonial: Feeling like honorary Ecuadorians

Hearing what a wonderful job our tour guides do always makes me proud. I love getting feedback about our trips, and I recently received some rave reviews about our Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands tour.

I wanted to share one with you from a couple who found their tour guide to be above and beyond their expectations.

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"In writing our evaluation, we did not have enough room to tell you about our guide, Patricio. He was, without a doubt, the most friendly, patient, and knowledgeable guide we have had out of many tours we have taken. We hope that you will pass this information on to the Friendly Planet office in Ecuador, as we feel that he should be given special recognition for the superb representation of your company. We had two medical emergencies with travelers in our group. He was able to get doctors for them and arrange for one of them to join our trip the next day.(The other man refused treatment, as this wasw an on-going medical problem, and was fine the next morning.) Another time, while telling us of the exportation from Ecuador of roses, he asked our driver, Jose, to stop for a moment. He came back a few minutes later with roses for all of the women on the bus! These were just two of the many kindnesses he extended to our group. He really understands the meaning of "guest service" and is to be commended for the way he conducts a tour. We came away feeling like honorary Ecuadorians!"

– Cathy and Rich Sholtanis, Tamworth, NH

Customer testimonials: Taj Mahal Express and Best of China and Yangtze Cruise

As you know, we always have a steady stream of customer testimonials flowing in to the Friendly Planet Travel offices. Maybe it’s the holiday cheer, maybe it’s because it’s so satisfying to see all of our hard work pay off, or maybe it’s just because, but our customer reviews have really put a smile on my face recently. So I thought I’d share a couple with you today, verbatim.

FP_TajMahal.jpgWhen we first heard about our tour to India, we were a little hesitant because the price was so low. We thought it may be too good to be true. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that it was everything we had hoped for and more. The flights were trouble-free and all the hotels were much better than expected. Our hotel in Delhi was the nicest hotel that I have ever stayed at! And I have traveled the world and been to many high class hotels. Also, we were initially concerned about our safety while in India. It turns out that safety was not an issue. Again, we were pleasantly surprised to find the Indian people very welcoming towards Americans. You couldn’t find nicer people in the world. I don’t know how you kept the tour price so low! Keep up the low prices and high standards. I can’t wait to book my next Friendly Planet trip!

- Riley Loback, Seattle

FP_YangtzeRiver.jpgMy husband and I want to thank you for creating comprehensive, fun packed days of touring in China. We saw all the sights we had on our own lists and the city guides made sure that if possible, they worked in places the group requested. With the number of inner city flights and hotel transfers on this trip, the national tour guide made sure it did not eat into our time to enjoy the marvels of history that we were about to see. The daily planning, the food, hotels, the shows, and the ease of getting around made this package one of the exceptional values for a once in a lifetime vacation.

- Susan Razenson, Nanuet, N.Y.

A taste of the sentiment from the Taste of China tour

FP_ChinaPagoda.jpg

"This is on of the best of the many tours I have taken over the years, notable the quality of the accommoations, excellent quides in all cities, specially, SAM, who patiently stayed with us to the ending. I have and will continue to highly recommd Friendly Planet, Very much a high-end budget package which was very flexible. Thanks to your hospitaly from you as well as the Chinese — so accommodating with a smile. — Shirley Bell"

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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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