When working in Barcelona during the 1992 Olympic Games, some Portuguese athletes invited me to Lisbon before returning to Los Angeles. Fast forward to 1997, I decided to spend year long sabbatical living abroad and return to LA and continue with my career in Physical Therapy.
There were four criteria in choosing where to live; in Europe, a country where English wasn´t the mother tongue, near the sea and somewhere with warm weather, southern California or Maui style; both places I had lived since leaving Michigan. Portugal was chosen by having met all the criteria and aided immensely by the fond memories of the hospitality of the people in Lisbon who I met in 1992.
Finding myself living in Europe, I had no idea of what my next year was going to be like. Fortunately, soon after arriving in Lisbon, a former GM of the Four Seasons Hotel in Lisbon asked me to accompany his "VIP guests" during their tours, and soon after to arrange their leisure itineraries in Lisbon and throughout Portugal.
In true American fashion of not allowing obstacles to limit my options (I didn´t speak Portuguese or have travel industry experience), I jumped at the opportunity. It was through him that I was taught the single most important aspect of preparing exceptional travel experiences; “guest centered customer service", which means listening to your guests interests, learn their style of travel and always go beyond what is expected to provide the best guest experiences and always treat everyone as you would a guest in your home.
After two decades of living in Portugal and spending amounts of time traveling extensively throughout both Portugal and Spain, where I also lived for periods of time in Barcelona, Seville and San Sebastien, starting a travel agency called Discover Portugal Travel ® and arranging sophisticated travel experiences for discerning international travelers to Spain and Portugal, we remain dedicated to our guests by providing a personal travel service which has been missing in the travel world with the advent of the internet age.
Photo: Greg Edward in Coimbra, Portugal
We are at our best when identifying services and experiences that are important for our guests. No matter how much you prepare, when a place is new you’re often at the mercy of apps that don´t work, out dated guidebooks, wrong advice when asking for information or steered towards places which pay commissions to your guide or the travel agency who prepared your vacation.
Our goal is not just meeting your expectations but surpassing them. To anticipate your needs and handle the details allowing you experience where you visit by expanding your horizons and introducing you to a different culture without being concerning yourself with the planning details.
When designing your exclusive experience the details are taken care of, allowing everyone the opportunity to enjoy every hour of their vacation. It´s usually the small things which seem insignificant at the time which some day after you´ve returned home will make you say this was all worth while.
Maybe you´ll recall one special situation aspect from your trip; a romantic dinner, some really outstanding place you visited, an experience that left you in awe or someone you met during your journey that shared your interests.
When this happens, we consider that the ultimate accolade.
We support "NO KID HUNGRY" with donations, up to $100.00, from every Portugal and Spain Custom Vacation we design.
Helping to fight childhood hunger in America. For every $500.00 spent on your Portugal and Spain Custom Itinerary, we’ll donate $5 to No Kid Hungry – up to $100.00 - which can help provide 100 healthy meals for kids in need.
Learn more about No Kid Hungry by visiting their website.
We are now trying to help get assistance to the people who have suffered most due to Hurricane Harvey by getting donations to Team Rubicon.
I suggest and endorse the owner, Greg, to anyone from the USA that wants to visit both Portugal and Spain without joining a big tour group. It´s a great way to visit in private, with all the arrangements made, by someone who is knowledgeable about and loves his adopted country.
Kenneth Olson, Manitou Springs, Colorado
To start planning your trip to Portugal and Spain » contact us here «
or call Los Angeles: 1-323-375-8574 or Denver: 1-719-646-1943