Author Archive


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…


Brian Jewell

Unlikely inspiration

Posted by Brian Jewell in Travel Thoughts on January 29, 2014


I’ve toured hundreds — maybe thousands — of places during my 10-year career in travel journalism. But a short visit to Memphis this spring led to a tour experience like no other I had ever had: a visit to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I spent two days in Memphis to attend a tourism conference…


Brian Jewell

A source of hope and peace

Posted by Brian Jewell in Travel Thoughts on November 20, 2013


  In my 10 years of working in the world of travel journalism, I’ve been incredibly blessed to see some of the most amazing places on earth. And I’m happy to report that many of those places are right here in the United States. One of my great joys in traveling this country from coast…

Brian Jewell

Elegance is outdated

Posted by Brian Jewell in Travel Thoughts on September 23, 2013


I rarely use this column as a soapbox, but one particular element of traditional travel has been getting under my skin lately. So I hope you’ll indulge me for a few minutes while I make my case for this idea: “Elegance” is outdated. You may not realize how prevalent the idea of elegance is in…