Friendly Planet Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Disaster’

Customer Testimonial: Coordinating care abroad

Here at Friendly Planet Travel, we work with groups of all shapes, sizes, and causes. And one group in particular that we’ll be focusing on in the weeks to come is religious groups.
There are a number of Friendly Planet Travel tours that cater specifically to religious pilgrimages, excursions, and fundraising trips, such as our Classic Israel – Land of the Bible tour. Our decades spent working with different groups of all faiths has given us the experience to know and understand the interests, sensitivities, and even diets of different religions.
But I’ll expand more on that soon. Because besides giving us our strong religious knowledge, our 30 years of experience has also made us experts in reacting to an emergency. Now, I’m not saying that emergencies happen often, but when they do, we know how to handle it. As I said in one of our previous customer testimonials, when you’re abroad, anything from someone getting sick on the trip, to losing a wallet or passport, to a snafu in the itinerary, could turn into an emergency. And if it does, rest assured that we are going to take care of you.
We recently received a testimonial from a Friendly Planet Travel vacationer who was on a religious group tour with his pastor in Israel, when something no one had planned for happened: He broke his ankle. Here’s what he had to say about that experience, (as always, unedited).
FP_DeadSea.jpg

Excellent trip. Over two years ago I went with a pastor and his wife on a Friendly Planet tour of Israel. About half way through the tour, I fell and broke my ankle. Friendly Planet and their associates really went out of their way to take care of me and to coordinate my care in Israel and to orchestrate my trip home. I highly recommend taking any tour arranged by Friendly Planet and, also, purchasing the very reasonable trip insurance.
– Gene Haury, Simi Valley, CA

If Gene broke his ankle and still calls his Classic Israel vacation an “excellent trip,” then I’d say we did our jobs well!

Averting disaster in China

There’s nothing that illustrates the difference between a Friendly Planet
Travel tour and our competitors than how travelers experience a travel disaster.

Now, let’s define disaster. That can be anything from someone getting sick
on the trip to losing a wallet or passport, to a snafu in the itinerary.

Here’s a story, just in from a customer letter (pasted below) that falls into
the snafu category. As you read it, ask yourself how you would feel were you
in the same situation.

This happened recently during our Best
of China
tour. Not even the weather man can always predict the
weather, right? Well, that was the case this winter in China.

Flights were grounded, and passengers (ours and others) were at risk for not
making the boarding of the Yangtze
River
cruise. This is one of the most spectacular legs of the entire trip,
and you don’t want to miss it.

Our Friendly Planet Travel tour guides quickly figured out an alternative
route, bought new tickets (without penalty to our passengers), corralled our
tourists, and set off on the new route. The day was saved.

While Friendly Planet’s travelers boarded their cruise ship, hundreds of other
travelers were left stranded. They missed one of the most dramatic and exciting
parts of the trip.

Needless
to say, everyone on the Friendly Planet Travel tour was thrilled with our course
of action. Many have written to express their gratitude. Here’s a copy of the
letter I just received, which sparked this blog post.

This is the actual letter, verbatim, without any editing.

“Meena and I had a wonderful time in China, especially making friendship with
fellow tourists. Each day was a great vacation with all kinds of relaxation
and plenty of food. Too much beer… breakfast, lunch and dinner. Overall our
last year China trip was memorable with the wonderful organization and planning
by Friendly Planet to make our stay very comfortable and enjoyable. Taking
care of our needs and requirements (Vegetarian meals) and responding to various
emergencies were the commendable services of Friendly Planet and the tour guide.
We could have missed our joy of the Cruise if they have not administered the
alternate mode of flights and the bus ride to reach the destination when the
original flight was canceled due to weather condition.

In short, we had a ball each and every day with varieties of excursions, tours,
and high quality top rated hotels, restaurants and shows — we all got the
real value for the price. The openness and good communication of our tour guide,
Sim Liu, is greatly appreciated. The finale episode highlight in Beijing was
an important event with Riksha rides, kindergarten tour and visiting a Chinese
family. Friendly Planet is the way if you want to leave the worries of planning,
touring and eating, this being my second time experience with their services.
Last year we had a vacation to South America with their group.

Meena and Ram”             

Have you had a Friendly Planet Travel experience? Have you had a bad experience
elsewhere? Share your story with me at PMGoldman@FriendlyPlanet.com,
or post it as a comment here.

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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