Welcome to Great Trip Guide – a site for both experienced and aspiring travelers who want to learn more about how to travel overseas independently — with confidence! This is a great place for you to launch into your own next travel adventure.

Who Are We?

We’re Carolee Duckworth and Brian Lane, a mother and son team of passionate travel enthusiasts who have experienced both the best and the worst of travel. Our experiences have ranged from structured group tours to completely independent travel ventures.

Fed up with the current travel guide market’s absence of pre-planned trips for independent travelers, we started collaborating back and forth to discover what worked and what didn’t to help us have better travel experiences.

What evolved was a total approach for making our own trips remarkable, yet free from the bus. Then we started to pass on what we had discovered to help others with similar travel goals. Our notes grew into a book, then a series of books.

Our unique travel approach is designed to remove some of the everyday challenges of traveling independently and fill in logistics and planning gaps that other guidebooks leave behind for their readers to figure out on their own.

On a budget? So are we, . . . so we’ve figured out all sorts of ways to help save you money before and during your trip. The end result is a better overall travel experience that costs you less money, . . . leaving you eager to plan your next exciting “Great” Trip!

We hope you find our blend of practical tips, advice, key logistical info, suggested destinations and cultural context as useful as we have as you plan your next exciting travel adventure!

Where To Go

Even a short visit to Europe will enrich you through experiences of diverse countries, languages, cultures and history, architecture and cuisine. On your first trip to Europe, you will have so many options it will be easy to be overwhelmed. Start with these five trips as you venture into the magical world across the sea, possibly in a different order: Paris, Florence, Loire Chateaux, London, Amsterdam.

Finding Travel Gear

Now this is VERY important. You will be totally dependent on what your pack for your comfort and enjoyment throughout your trip. Let’s get this right!! First of all, don’t skimp on your luggage. Go for a light-weight, 4-wheel, 360-degree spinner bag. This will make your travel days manageable. Then there are the packing sleeves and pouches so you can live out of a suitcase without confusion.

Trip Budgeting

A 5-Day Trip will cost you around $4800 for two ($2400 each). If you decide to put two 5-Day Trips together, your costs per travel day will come down since you already will be there. These costs can be reduced significantly by using airline points for the highest ticket item, your plane fare. Once you are there, your trip days will cost the same, or possibly less, than you would spend in the US. 

Your Travel Style

This is where we have some very important suggestions to make. For starters, don’t travel with a group or on a bus. If you do, you will hop around so fast that you will barely remember where you have been or what you have done during your trip. What is absolutely essential is that you have the opportunity to actually experience where you are. BE one of those comfortable-looking people who are SITTING in the cafe. Don’t race by in a desperate attempt to keep up with your tour guide.

Arranging Your Trip

When making your arrangements, understand that one of your most important decisions will be the location of your accommodations. The goal is to “stay in the heart of it all” so when you walk out the door each morning you “are already there.” Let us take you through the steps to accomplish this for your next trip, and every trip thereafter.

Travel Tips

Would you travel more, and have more confidence if you knew more about what to do and what to avoid while traveling? As you might suspect, having a “guide at your side” can protect you from potential problems, ease you through challenging situations and give you the sense that you are enough of a travel expert to take in all that lies before you, know what it’s all about, and enjoy yourself fully. We’ll be that guide. And you’ll still have your freedom–to explore, to linger, to change the plan…

Seek Out Experiences that Excite You

Seek Out Experiences that Excite You

Take charge of your own trip to ensure it will be a full and enjoyable experience. Adapt your trip to your own unique interests and enthusiasms. If you are a music lover, plan for more music…  Organ concerts in cathedrals. Jazz groups on boat bars. Singers sitting atop pianosbelting out love songs…

Traveling in France: How to Have the Full Experience

Traveling in France: How to Have the Full Experience

Reason #1: Cultural Discovery A trip to France is endlessly entertaining and fascinating. France is proud of its heritage and celebrates its history. Everywhere you go you will find atmosphere and old-world charm and historic buildings with stories to tell. You will...

Travel Against the Crowds & Skip the Lines

Travel Against the Crowds & Skip the Lines

By traveling independently, you will be free to enter crowd-avoidance mode, moving against the crowds, not with them. When a tour group swarms in, traveling in its “crowd bubble,” use your flexibility to go somewhere else for now. Then return later when the crowds...

Travel Gallery

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Find Your Next Trip

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Switzerland
Zermatt

Austria
Salzburg

United States
Yosemite, CA

Who We Are:

Welcome to Great Trip Guide – a site for both experienced and aspiring travelers that want to learn more about how to travel overseas independently — with confidence! We’re Dr. Carolee Duckworth, and Brian Lane, a mother and son team that became passionate travel enthusiasts after experiencing both the best and the worst of structured group tours and completely independent travel.

Fed up with the current travel guide market’s lack of good information about traveling independently, we started collaborating back and forth about what worked and what didn’t when each of us traveled to help us both be able to have better travel experiences. Our notes grew into a book — a total approach to helping other people that have similar travel goals.

Our unique travel approach is designed to remove some of the everyday challenges of traveling independently and fill in logistics and planning gaps that other guidebooks leave behind for their readers to figure out on their own. On a budget? So are we, . . . so we’ve figured out all sorts of ways to help save you money before and during your trip, as well. The end result is a better overall travel experience that costs you less money, . . . leaving you eager to plan your next exciting “Great” Trip!

We hope you find our blend of practical tips, advice, key logistical info, suggested destinations and cultural context as useful as we have as you plan your next exciting travel adventure!