What do you value most when you travel? Affordability or unique hands-on experiences? I've always known that the trips we arrange in South America are similar if not the same as the trips offered by well-known companies like Road Scholar, G Adventures, REI, and Intrepid. But it wasn't until an agent from Abercrombie and Kent booked her personal trip with Adios Adventure Travel that the value of what we offer really hit me. 

She and I had exchanged several emails in the process of revising and refining her itinerary. She was bringing her Mom and she wanted to have the flexibility to hike the easy 1-day Inca Trail and explore off the beaten path. But she wanted to make sure her Mom could truly enjoy the activities. So we cooked up a plan to get the permits for the Inca Trail and when they showed up in Peru, our guide would let her know if he thought the hike might be too much for her Mom. And we had a Plan B. 

We also set up an off the grid activity that everyone could enjoy regardless of their fitness. Being a small company, we don't have every tour and activity open for bookings every day. We let all our groups choose their own travel dates and if we have overlap, we may combine 2 groups for the same activity. But we never use big buses and guides with microphones! We want our groups to have experiences that we would give ourselves and our own families. 

The cost for a private trip was so cheap that this woman kept emailing me to confirm that the rate was accurate. And she readily booked the private departure. It wasn't until she called to pay her deposit that we talked on the phone and I got her perspecitive on what we offer.  

Exclusivity. Hands-on experiences. Accurate up-to-date insider information. Flexibility to meet the needs of members of her group with different abilities. And the hidden bonus? Affordability!

Why on earth would we do this?

If you follow my story, you know that my co-founder and equity business partner is a native Peruvian man, Vidal Jaquehua. He was my private guide in 2007 on my first trip to Peru with a group of high school students. And we stayed in touch while I continued to bring more groups to Peru. Then Vidal and I threw our sombreros into the adventure travel ring with Adios Adventure Travel. We ventured in to Ecuador and Bolivia, and eventually Chile, where we met other small tour operators who shared the same philosophy. "Do your best, and keep everything person to person." The satisfaction of helping people book amazing adventures of a lifetime is the reward. If we can support ourselves doing it, that's the bonus for us. We're not expecting to get rich, but when it comes to job satisfaction, this job ranks up there with the best!

Trip Advisor has been calling me trying to get us to use their booking platform to scale our business. Agents have called me on the phone (yes, imagine that. There are actually real people at Trip Advisor!) to discuss how we can "get more business." But after reviewing the software and discussing the plans, I realized that in order to offer those kinds of experiences, Adios Adventure Travel would have to change our style of doing business. That is something we are not going to do.