Author Archive

Brian Jewell

The Magic of Fall

Posted by Brian Jewell in Travel Thoughts on October 07, 2015


Sometimes, you don’t know how special something is until you miss it. In the fall of 2000, I was beginning my sophomore year in college and kicked things off by spending a semester on a study-abroad program in Morelia, a gem of a colonial town in the mountains of central Mexico. I spent three months…


Brian Jewell

Team Luxury or Team Local

Posted by Brian Jewell in Travel Thoughts on September 02, 2015


Are you on Team Local or Team Luxury? There are two competing ideas in tourism that attempt to dictate the way Americans travel. In one corner, Team Local is all about immersion. They say that the greatest reward of travel is to see how the locals live and to join them in their lifestyle. In…



“I’ve been with the company for 25 years now, but I’ve never seen it change so much as it has in the past two years.” When Tony Etienne, vice president of affinity market sales for Collette, made this statement to the delegates at the Select Traveler Conference in February, it got my attention. The 97-year-old…



If the taxi industry had innovated when it had the chance, it wouldn’t be shaking in its boots over Uber. If you haven’t heard of Uber yet, you soon will. This technology-based ride-sharing company enables people who need transportation to open an app on their smartphones, input their location and destination, and then wait just…



If there were one thing about group travel that you could change, what would it be? Our industry is in the middle of an important transition period. Tour operators and travel suppliers understood the previous generation of travelers well and tailored group trips to fit their tastes. But as the Greatest Generation ages out of…


Brian Jewell

Group Travel Resolutions

Posted by Brian Jewell in Travel Thoughts on February 18, 2015


It’s mid-February, which means that most of us who made New Year’s resolutions have already given up on them. I’m not here to make you feel guilty; instead, I’d like to offer an alternative set of resolutions that you can still achieve this year. Unless you’re taking a group to some wintery destination, chances are…

Garden stone path


Here’s a secret about youth group travel: It isn’t all about the destination. Don’t get me wrong — the destination matters. There’s a reason that student groups flock to Washington, D.C., and that church youth groups head to camp at the beach every summer. A trip destination with a lot of sizzle will probably help…



In more than a decade of professional travel journalism, I’ve attended dozens if not 100 or more familiarization (FAM) tours of many varieties. In addition to individual FAMs, I’ve joined organized tours with other writers, as well as group leaders, tour operators, travel agents and other industry professionals. And although each tour is different, FAM…



Are there certain amenities that should be included on any group tour that happens anywhere in the world? I spent a lot of time on tours this summer and fall, and noticed some trends and amenities that I really enjoyed — and others that I missed. It made me wonder if it’s time for some…


Brian Jewell

Reason for optimism

Posted by Brian Jewell in Travel Thoughts on March 20, 2014


If you ask me, tourism is getting better. This summer, I celebrated 10 years of writing about the group tourism industry. My professional introduction to the business started with a five-day tour of Arkansas in 2003, followed shortly thereafter by a lengthy familiarization tour in Australia and New Zealand. I had a blast, to be…