Travel Beyond Celebrates 40 Years!

Posted February 26th, 2015 by Molly Demmer

Looking Back, Looking Forward

In January of 2015, Travel Beyond celebrated our 40th anniversary in business. As we reflect upon the last 40 years, we are especially grateful for you, our incredibly loyal clients, our dedicated team members and our industry partners. On behalf of the entire Travel Beyond family, thank you for traveling with us for 40 years.

1975

1975: Our Foundation

Founded in 1975 as TravelWays (after which our magazine is named), our first trips were group tours within Africa led by our founders, South African-born Audrey and Minnesota-born David Beal. In fact, we were the first U.S. company to plan leisure travel within southern Africa still in business today! In the early days, travel planning was a very different business. We composed itineraries on typewriters and developed trip photos from film. Airline tickets were issued and printed in-house at our many offices in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. South Africa was under Apartheid. Travelers dressed in business attire for flights, and smoking on airplanes was the norm.

2005

2005: A New Generation

In 2005, after a ten-year career as a submarine officer in the United States Navy, Audrey and David’s youngest son Craig Beal took over the helm of the company, now called Travel Beyond. Craig and his wife Kay, Travel Beyond’s co-owner and controller, have spent the past ten years building the business into a leader in the luxury travel industry. This era included hiring our first employees outside of Minnesota while growing our business in the midst of an economic recession. Travel Beyond has become a nationally recognized, award-winning travel agency and tour operator by keeping focused on providing excellent travel planning service and building upon our expertise in an evolving marketplace.

2015

2015: Travel Beyond Today

Today, Travel Beyond’s 27-person team is located in our Wayzata, Minnesota headquarters and homebased offices in California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, Colorado, Missouri and South Africa. Our team has traveled extensively within (or even lived in!) southern and East Africa, South and Central America, India, the Caribbean, Australia, the Society Islands, France and Italy, to name a few. In addition, our consultants are experts in many different types of travel, from the world’s leading luxury cruise lines, river cruises and expedition cruises to iconic trains, private jets and yachts. Our consultants pride themselves on staying abreast of the latest trends, properties and destinations within the travel industry, continually building knowledge.

BeyondMap

Beyond 2015: Where We’re Going

Whether we meet clients over a cup of coffee in our Wayzata office or via international Skype calls, the pride and passion of Travel Beyond will continue to be rooted in planning unique and memorable trips for our clients for years to come. As we look to the future of our company and industry, we will continue to focus on providing excellent customer service and maintaining our position in the market as “most knowledgeable” within our core areas of expertise, outlined on the map above. Additionally, we will continue to expand our knowledge of new and emerging destinations and unique travel experiences across the globe. In 2015 and beyond, our consultants will spend thousands of hours traveling to ensure our knowledge is current and first-hand. We are eager to share this knowledge through trip reports, photos and videos on our website (TravelBeyond.com), here on our blog, in our monthly e-newsletter, in TripAdvisor forums and and in future issues of TravelWays Magazine. Most importantly, we look forward to exceeding each client’s expectations in 2015 and years to come.

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Wild Zambia

Posted February 26th, 2015 by Molly Demmer

Elephant in Zambia

Wild and untamed, Zambia’s diverse landscapes, abundant wildlife and diverse ecosystems offer a safari experience that feels distinctly personal.

Zambia’s national parks span a variety of ecosystems and landscapes, giving guests a unique opportunity for a comprehensive and diverse circuit within the same country. At each of Zambia’s three largest national parks, a different characteristic of a uniquely Zambian safari shines forth.

As one of the most game-rich parks in southern Africa, Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park boasts some of the highest populations of hippo, fish and crocodile due to the undisturbed Luangwa River and rich, fertile flood plains of the Luangwa Valley. South Luangwa is best known as the original location of another Zambia highlight: walking safaris.

“Walking is king here,” notes Travel Beyond consultant Marguerite Smit, who traveled extensively in Zambia in 2014. “In Zambia, you can track lion on foot every day, canoe among hippos and crocodiles (if you are brave enough!) and discover the unforgettable birds of Southern Africa in abundance as they cover the skies.”

In addition to walking safaris and exploring the parks from a traditional Land Rover vehicle, travelers to Zambia are given another option in Lower Zambezi National Park. The park is one of only a few spots in southern Africa where visitors can enjoy their safari along the banks of a major river, the Zambezi.

Massive herds of elephants and other animals congregate along the famed Zambezi. Camps and lodges in Lower Zambezi National Park overlook the water as well, giving guests stunning views while dining or relaxing during their daily siesta.

Zambia Sunset

In Kafue National Park, the largest park in Zambia and second largest park on the continent of Africa, guests are treated to a variety of landscapes from wide rivers, open plains and savanna grasslands to woodlands, rocky outcrops and floodplains. Large herds of prey gather along the water sources, drawing predators for classic “circle of life” wildlife clashes. The floodplains are also known for excellent birdlife, perfect for checking off wildlife from any traveler’s “must see” viewing list.

Any visit to Zambia would be incomplete without a stop in Livingstone to witness the majesty of Victoria Falls, the point where the wide Zambezi River tumbles more than 350 feet to create the largest sheet of falling water in the world.

Regardless of what circuit a traveler to Zambia takes, Kota Tabuchi, Travel Beyond’s managing director for Africa, likes to make sure his clients know another distinction of Zambia.

“As one of the very few ‘wild’ places remaining in southern Africa, the focus in Zambia tends to be more on the experience than the accommodations,” explains Kota. “Accommodations vary greatly from super luxury to basic camping, but the charm of Zambia is really in the intimate camps offering superb guiding and hosting.”

Unlike other countries in Southern Africa, Zambia is extremely seasonal, so it’s important to work with an expert before booking your safari. Many safari camps close between mid-November and April. Marguerite and Kota recommend traveling between June and November for the best game viewing opportunities.

Zambia Property Spotlights

Lion Camp

Lion Camp

“The stylish, uniquely decorated lodge in South Luangwa is vibrant in color and experience. During the day, the land in front of the lodge is frequented by grazing mammals, and while guests are safely sleeping inside at night, it becomes a hunting ground for lions. ”

-Marguerite Smit

Anabezi

Anabezi Luxury Tented Camp

“The best way to describe this camp is ‘luxury hotel in the bush’—a 5-star feeling with genuine African hospitality. As the last stop in the Lower Zambezi, this camp has a very private feel.”

-Marguerite Smit

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A Fresh Look at Patagonia

Posted February 26th, 2015 by Molly Demmer

Patagonia Scenic

After 35 trips on safari in Africa, Travel Beyond owner Craig Beal surrendered his passport to our South America experts Jennifer Gillmore and Jenny Mikkelson, who eagerly designed an itinerary for Craig to Chile and Argentina. One of the many highlights of Craig’s fall 2014 trip was a visit to breathtaking Patagonia, where he toured Travel Beyond’s favorite properties, hiked through the iconic mountain range and learned invaluable lessons to share with our team and clients.

WHAT TO DO:

Patagonia, a region spanning both Chile and Argentina, boasts 400,000 square miles of endless adventure. Travelers visit Patagonia to hike, sail, ski, golf, boat, climb, rappel, raft, bike, horseback ride, fish, drink, eat, photograph or simply enjoy the fresh mountain air. Those looking for a less remote experience will enjoy the restaurants, cafes and activities of Bariloche, a lakeside German and Swiss-inspired town.

WHERE TO STAY:

In Argentina, Craig recommends Llao Llao Hotel and Resort, a lakeside property flanked by scenic mountain peaks and located only 15 miles west of Bariloche.

In Chile’s Torres del Paine, stay at Awasi Patagonia, a luxury lodge where each villa is assigned its own guide and vehicle, giving guests completely private excursions designed with their tastes and preferences in mind.

NEED TO KNOW:

Due to weather patterns, the peak season and best time to travel to Patagonia is November through March.

While Patagonia is best for active travelers, many of the hotels have options for guests looking to relax. Spa treatments, wine-tasting classes, scenic boat rides and visits to local towns are just a few options for companions of active travelers.

Craig Jennifer Patagonia

ABOVE: South America consultant Jennifer Gillmore (middle left) and owner Craig Beal (middle right) enjoy a wine tasting in Argentina.

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