Posts Tagged ‘Customer testimonial’

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Why one traveler keeps coming back to Friendly Planet Travel

It’s the shout-outs of travelers like Sue Phillips of Solana Beach, Calif., who provide the motivation for me to continue to do my day job — designing extraordinary group tours to exotic destinations for adventue-seeking travelers like you.

She’s already been on three Friendly Planet Travel tours and has two more booked. Sue, I hope you’re taking advantage of our Refer-a-Friend program!

Sue came to my attention when she sent me an e-mail after returning from Friendly Planet Travel’s Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands tour. I copied it (verbatim) below.

“Fabulous trip! Can’t say enough for Friendly Planet tours. Everything is a shiny 5 stars! We’ve also been to China and Vietnam previously and they were amazing trips. We will be going to India with Friendly Planet in February and really looking forward to it. We are taking our 8 year old grandson in July to Mediterranean 3 Continents trip with Friendly Planet. He is very interested in Greek Mythology, so this will be a special trip!” — Sue Phillips, Solana Beach, Calif.

Sue, I’m delighted to hear that you keep returning to Friendly Planet Travel again and again! We work very hard to earn your trust, and everyone in the office sends you a huge thank you for your loyalty, and we promise to keep working hard every day to make your vacations special.

And be assured your grandson is going to be the star of his class when he returns to school in September. We’ll make sure of that. Thank you for your note, it certainly made my day.

Disability, wheelchair doesn’t stop traveler from experiencing a Taste of China

I can’t imagine a more glum situation than sustaining an injury, especially one that hinders you from walking, right before a vacation.

But that’s what happened to Dorothy Kellher from Palm Beach, Fla. right before she went on Friendly Planet Travel’s Taste of China tour.

However, two fractures in Dorothy’s hip didn’t slow her down. After weighing her options, she decided to use a wheelchair and go on the tour. And she doesn’t regret her decision for a second.

Friendly Planet Travel’s tour guides took excellent care of Dorothy and made sure she had just as great of an experience as everyone else in her group.

But enough of me telling you why Dorothy enjoyed Friendly Planet Travel’s Taste of China tour so much. I pasted the e-mail below (verbatim) she sent to me when she returned to tell you all about it herself.

“I was planning to cancel my participation in the tour, having recently sustained two fractures in my right hip. At the last minute, hoping I would not be a drag on the rest of the group, and being assured that a wheelchair would be made available, I made the trip. The accommodations, food and service at all the hotels were first-class. The optional tours were too good to miss. The guides did a fantastic job in keeping us informed as to what we were visiting, and, more importantly, in continually checking that we were enjoying every experience to the max. We were given excellent opportunities to indulge in shopping, but were never pressured to buy. All our guides made sure I was part of the group at all times, and my temporary disability proved no drawback. My use of the wheechair was discarded after I reached the top of the Great Wall with the help of my cane. You are fortunate to have Peter Pi as a national guide. Both he and Jon Wang went way beyond their duties to befriend every tour guest. For me the tour gave new meaning to ‘The Experience of a Lifetime!’ Thanks Friendly Planet.” — Dorothy Kelleher, Palm Beach, Fla.

Dorothy, I’m so happy that you had a wonderful time on your trip! I hope you recover quickly from your injuries and are able to join us on another tour in full health.

First-time Friendly Planet traveler reviews our Best of Turkey tour

It’s been almost a year since we introduced Friendly Planet Travel’s Best of Turkey tour. And every Friendly Planeteer I’ve spoken to who has taken this tour tells me how much they loved exploring the country known as the crossroads of Asia and Europe.

I wanted to share with you what Ann Ott from Cedar City, Utah had to say about her trip to Turkey. She sent me an e-mail that I’ve pasted below verbatim.

“Just returned from my first trip with Friendly Planet and was so impressed that I had to write this note. You have a lot of choices in travel and I have found my tour company at last. Everything about my trip was amazing- our guide, Ibrahim, was not only extremely knowledgeable, but also patient and very funny.

Hotels, transportation, meals, added excursions were all superb. Everything went off without a hitch- I felt safe and cared for every minute and could spend ALL of my time enjoying the trip instead of worrying about the travel details. Turkey, its people, scenery, food, monuments and parks are just wonderful. I can’t wait for my next trip. So little time, so much to see.” — Ann Ott, Cedar City, Utah

Ann, it brightens my day to find out how pleased you were with your first Friendly Planet Travel tour! Let us know which tour you pick as your second trip. And thanks again for your note!

Farihah Ali searches for the perfect dumpling on Friendly Planet Travel’s Taste of China tour

Spiced beef dumplings in Shanghai

Food and travel — they’re like two peas in a pod. I always enjoy trying the exotic foods native to the country I’m visiting.

In fact, I’ve told you plenty of times that Vietnam tops my list of countries to go to for the food. But it’s not the only country in Asia that foodies adore.

Let’s head north to China. Farihah Ali, from Atlanta, went on Friendly Planet Travel’s Taste of China tour in November and wrote about her time in the country on her own blog, Spice Bites. When I stumbled upon her blog posts, I asked one of our Friendly Planet Travel bloggers, Melissa, to get to know what mouth-watering food Farihah discovered in China.

In our podcast Farihah dives into what she saw and ate in the three cities she visited in China, ShanghaiXi’an, and Beijing. Dumplings where on the top of Farihah’s list to find. She tells us about her adventures to find the best ones in each city, as well as the other food she tasted along the way thanks to help of her tour guides.

Farihah breaks down what the hotels, escorted tours, tour guides, and transportation was like in each city. She also tells Melissa how it was easy to get around the cities when she only knew one or two phrases in Chinese, and much more.

After you listen to the podcast, I encourage you to flip over to her blog to read her posts about China and look at all the beautiful photos she took. If you’ve been to China and ate some amazing food, please tell me about it in a comment on this post.

Farihah in Suzhou, China

Friendly Planet Travel’s Exotic Ecuador reviewed: How tour guides make the difference

Our most recent Exotic Ecuador tour just returned and I’ve received a lot of e-mails from travelers raving about it. I was thrilled that everyone had a great time, and I can understand why. This tour took travelers through the capital of Ecuador and UNESCO World Heritage Center of Quito, the bustling Otavalo market, the natural springs in Baños, the volcanic peaks of Cotopaxi National Park, the Amazon rainforest, and more.

I thought I would share with you two of the e-mails I received from Friendly Planeteers. Give them a gander. If you’re thinking about traveling to Ecuador, these reviews might help you make up your mind. Plus, departure dates are still available for only $1,199 when you book by Nov. 3.

“What a wonderful experience on this tour! Patricio, our guide was outstanding. His knowledge and love of Ecuador gave us a special insight into the country and its people. Edwin, our driver made the bus go places that looked impossible and did it in a way that we were always at ease. Patricio helped us and others with small things that came up during the trip. Patricio always did more than was expected and was a perfect gentleman. All the places were fantastic, just wish we had more time at each one. We would tour with Friendly Planet again without hesitation.” – Leslie and Dwight Adams, New Brockton, Ala.

“By far this has been the best trip ever!!! Our tour guide Patricio and bus driver Ewin made our stay as pleasant as possible. They were courteous and attentative to everyone’s needs and made us feel safe at all times. I highly recommend this trip to anyone who has never dared to venture to South America – you will not be disappointed.!! The canoe ride up the Amazon river and the scenic panoramic view of the mountains will leave you breathless!!! Pictures to come soon for your enjoyment!!” – Ivonne Davila and Lucia Morales, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Four-time Friendly Planet traveler reviews our Egypt and China tours

Customer loyalty is what makes the Friendly Planet go round, and this review from Margaret Bernarding put an extra pep in my step today. She’s gone on four Friendly Planet Travel tours! She sent us an e-mail telling us about her favorite parts on her most recent adventures — Treasures of Egypt and Best of China. I pasted it below (verbatim) to give you some first-hand feedback.

Funery mask in Egyptian museum

“I went on two of your tours this year, Treasures of Egypt and Best of China, as well as two other tours (Athens/ Istanbul with optional Classical Greek extension; Croatia/Slovenia/Montenegro) in previous years. I don’t know how friendly planet puts together such amazing trips so reasonably, as I couldn’t book things separately for double the price.

Treasures of Egypt, my last tour, was lead by a fantastic tour guide with an advanced degree in Egyptology! The accommodations on the cruise ship were top notch with all the amenities and great food breakfast, lunch and dinner, helpful and friendly crew. We also stayed in a luxurious hotel in Cairo (breakfast included). All the admissions to the various temples / pyramids were included. They even provide extra security guards, though we always felt completely safe and well taken care of.

Wild Goose Pagoda in China

Best of China was wonderful! We had our guide, Sam, plus a local guide in each area we went to. The trip included a 4 day cruise on the Yangtze River (a highlight) with very nice cabins with private decks, a 4 hour cruise up the Li River through some of the most beautiful sites in China, many flights within China, which allowed us to see more of the country, 5 star hotels, clean and modern buses to transport us to the sites of interest, such as the spectacular Great Wall.

My favorite parts were where we saw the mountains and other natural wonders of China. One of things I will never forget was an optional excursion out in the countryside up river from Guilin where we were able to meet a family and visit their 400 year old home, walk in the rice fields, etc. I would wholeheartedly recommend this travel company.” – Margaret Bernarding, Forest Knolls, Calif.

Margaret, I’m beaming hearing all of these wonderful things. I’m glad you had a great time, and please share with us when and where you book your fifth tour. 😉

Tour guide puts Exotic Ecuador a cut above the rest for first-time Friendly Planeteer

I told you about a new Friendly Planet tour almost every week in June. So I thought I would take a break and let one of our customers do the talking.

Dianne Jernigan of Victoria, Texas went on the Exotic Ecuador tour in late May. I won’t step on her toes, I’ll just paste her e-mail below (verbatim) and let Dianne take it from here.

“I wanted to let you know personally how very much I enjoyed my recent tour with Friendly Planet. This is the first time I have toured with Friendly Planet and my first trip to Ecuador. The experience was everything I’d hoped for….and more! Our Tour Guide was outstanding. He was very informative, and we were able to learn much about the history of the country from him. He handled an unexpected change in plans (because of the volcano eruption) flawlessly and very professionally. I would definitely travel with Friendly Planet again….especially if Patricio is the Tour Guide!”

Dianne, I look forward to planning another trip for you soon!

A first-hand account of Friendly Planet Travel’s Best of China tour

In case you’d rather read my interview with Ron Beller about his Best of China trip, I’m posting the transcript here. Don’t forget to take a look at his photos too.

Friendly Planet review: A snapshot of the Best of China tour

It’s nice to have a friend recommend a city, a hotel, and even a restaurant when you’re deciding where to travel. I know it makes me feel more comfortable knowing that someone else has been there and liked it.

Ron with his wife Jan and trusty camera in China 

So when Ron Beller was deciding to travel to China, one of his friends recommended Friendly Planet Travel’s Best of China tour. His friend just returned from the tour and was raving about it. That was enough to sell Ron on the trip.

Ron and his wife Jan booked the tour for October 2009. They had an equally amazing time in China traveling to Shanghai, Yichang, Three Gorges, Guilin, Xi’an, and Beijing.

When he returned, Ron e-mailed us some fantastic photos he took in China. If a picture says a thousand words, these pictures said all that and more.

I had to give him a call to get the stories behind the photos. He told me he was a nature photographer, so he was practically born with a camera in his hand. He was always lagging behind the group trying to capture just a few more photos. He had taken 1,600 by the end of the trip!

We talked about what it was like traveling to China in late October, seeing the 2,200-year-old terra-cotta soliders, the Yangtze River cruise, the camera he used, and more. So if you’re considering traveling to China, listen to my podcast with Ron and then view his photos. He’ll give you a first-hand look into Friendly Planet Travel’s Best of China tour.

Friendly Planet review: If you’re going to Vietnam, go with a group

The other day I wrote about an article in Redbook that talked about making the most out of group travel. No sooner did I post it, I read this unsolicited e-mail from Bruce Partridge about his group tour experience.

Bruce and wife traveled on Friendly Planet’s Best of Vietnam tour and opted for the Angkor Wat extension. Read on to hear why they believe they’ve been missing out by not traveling with groups more often. And as always, this e-mail is verbatim. My fingers didn’t touch a word. 🙂

“My wife and I usually travel on our own — in all to more than 60 different countries. So, this tour was one of the few we have ever taken with a group. It was so good, we have decided that we’ve been missing something. Tour guides were knowledgeable and pleasant; accommodation and arrangements were excellent, our fellow travelers engaging — and in the long run, a lot less hassle at less cost than if we had traveled on our own. We tell our friends — Friendly Planet is the only tour company we will even consider, and is even better than travel on our own.” – Dr. Bruce Partridge, British Columbia

Bruce, I’m delighted to hear that you’re a group travel convert. Let us know what tour you plan to book next!

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