Author Archive


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Elegance is outdated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…


Why does international travel matter? We have such a wealth of great places to see here in the United States. Our country enjoys a diversity of cultures, histories and natural landscapes that is rivaled by few other places on earth. The old domestic tourism mantra “See America First” encourages us to spend our free time…

Brian Jewell

Change is in the air

Posted by Brian Jewell in Travel Thoughts on May 21, 2013


Change is in the air this spring. It’s not just the flipping of calendar pages that lets us know that life is changing. Examine the group travel landscape around you, and you might notice that it looks remarkably different from the industry you remember of 10 or even five years ago. The passing of the…

Brian Jewell

Two days on the Breakaway

Posted by Brian Jewell in Cruising on May 11, 2013


I remember my first cruise well. It was a seven-day spin on a classic ship that was certainly stately but also somewhat stuffy. I left with a respect for the heritage of cruising, but also wondering if this form of travel was best suited for me. This weekend’s experience on the Norwgian Breakaway has allayed…