Now that our 2013 June Signature Cruise from Reykjavik to Copenhagen is sold out, we have set our sights on an early announcement for all of our VRVIP Guests announcing our personally escorted trip in 2014. In celebration of our 25th Year in this patently absurd business of ours, (absurd because your competence is dependent on the competence of suppliers thousands of miles across the the oceans), we are looking at the possibility of doing both a Spring and a Fall trip. The Spring trip is going to take us to somewhere where we can find really good spring rolls. This has something to do with the total lack of even adequate Chinese food in Naples, Florida.


We suppose our biggest ersonal business update has to do with our selection,  for the first time anywhere, as “The World’s Top European River Boat Specialists.” Two years ago, we noticed a news story in Travel Weekly that seemed to quantify the fact that the River Boat segment was, quite literally, the fastest growing segment of the entire travel industry. So, for the past two years, everyone at C&T, our entire staff, has been studying and prepping to know as much as possible about river boats and we have expanded our reach way beyond Europe. It was sheer coincidence that the Editors of Conde Nast Traveler were having difficulty finding a firm with true expertise in this area. When the coveted Conde Nast list came out in December, 2012, there we were listed for European River Boats, the first firm in the United States to earn this distinction. If you would like to see some of what we’ve been up to, please visit the Beta portion of our new web site totally devoted to River Boats,


A couple with countryside behindThis will, of course, produce more business and more work but we are have learned to be selective in what we take on. People who know us well would not call us arrogant, but saying you have a waiting list for clients certainly comes across as arrogant. As a special friend of our firm, we want to offer just a quick profile of why we need to be selective and only accept new clients by personal referral from our existing clients and by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure who come come to us because of the kind words they read about our services. So here is a bit of background:  The average full-time travel agent with a few years of experience produces about $500,000 in annual sales. Last year, Angela personally booked two and a half million dollars and Richard about the same. That is the primary reason we have to be so careful about taking on new clients.


You should know the name Gary Leff. Gary is, per the Conde Nast 2013 List, the “World’s Top Airline Mileage Expert.”.  We don;t know why anyone would voluntarily choose a career working with the various airline mileage desks, but Gary, bless him, actually sees it all as a game. And Gary doesn’t like to lose. If you have miles and you want to get the biggest bang for your miles, contact Gary and let him know we recommended you. He prefers first contact at:  We should point out that Gary also has a day job. He charges about $350 per “case”. Every single person we have referred to him has thanked us.


There is a new online site for finding the best airline routing and pricing. It is called  Much better than Expedia, Travelocity, and Priceline. After you get the flight information, it is generally best to book directly with the airline, never through a third party. (Talking coach here exclusively) The primary reason is that online travel sites issue tickets that other airlines usually refuse to accept. In a crunch that is not the kind of ticket you want. The other reason is that airlines do not permit any web site to undercut the prices listed on their own sites. Approximately 50% of our clients fly internationally in Business or First Class. If you are not going to be using miles but wish to purchase these tickets at the best possible price you will want to book through us using Virtuoso Air. We now have special contracted rates with 54 of the world’s top airlines. We also have special Air/Sea rates for Business and First Class cruisers with Lufthansa, Qantas, Emirates,  SAS, and Cathy Pacific.


You will note that we have removed Residensea from its # 1 position on our nationally-recognized list of “The World’s Top Ten Cruise Lines”. Why would they go from # 1 to “Special Mention”?  The owners have adopted a new policy restricting guests to “potential buyers”. They view a potential buyer as someone with the  proper references and “at least ten million in liquid assets”.  That’s a bit too snooty for us.


The Current “Really Hot Destinations” List Includes: Cuba, Vietnam’s Beaches, Amazon cruising on Aria, Myanmar, the Christmas Markets in Germany via River Boat, the return to Hawaii, particularly Lanai and the Big Island, Mongolia, Peru, and Safaris in southern Africa that include Botswana.Lake-Como-2









The best time to book international flights – Tuesday’s and Wednesdays. The best days to depart are Wednesday’s or Saturdays. The best days to return are the same. You cannot book any international flight until exactly eleven months prior to the time/date of departure.


Angela has been named a double award winner, in the latest Conde Nast list of the World’s Top Travel Specialists. She was named “World’s Best” for Honeymoons and Spas. Angela is one of only three consultants in the United States to win multiple awards.


Richard attended the Conde Nast Summit on Grand Cayman in January. He spoke to an audience of the best travel consultants and suppliers on  the subject of “Delivering the Best Possible Service to Today’s Upscale Travelers.”


Kiersten Liedberg, Sara Gerlach, and Richard attended the Annual Virtuoso Travel Week gathering at the Bellagio Hotel in August. The trio held one-on-one meetings with top Virtuoso global Hotel Managers, On-Site Offices, and travel product suppliers. Frances Ford Coppola, the great filmmaker and Napa wine producer talked to the group about his new hotel business and the Director of Tourism for the Kingdom of Bhutan took the stage to discuss the country’s dedication to the “Happiness” metric and how it affects every government decision.


Richard continues to write for Travel Weekly, the industry’s most respected publication. You might be interested in checking out some of his latest articles including a two-part series entitled “Facebore: Is It Really for All of Us”? To see some of Richard’s most recent articles just Google his name and the words “Reality Check”.


Did you know that Churchill & Turen offers our VRVIP Guests a complete Five Year Travel Plan Assessement? There is no charge for this service.


A client asked us “where are you actually” the other day.  We actually have four full-time functioning offices in Naperville, Dallas, and two separate offices for Angela and Richard in Naples. We are all connected by internet phone, computer, and internal live voice.


Another client asked us how many outside sales people are on our staff? We are proud to say “none”. We do not employ outsdie, commissioned-based sales people at Churchill & Turen. Every member of our staff is on salary and we are all free to advise you on the best possible vaaction options without concern for sales quotas, commissions, opr any of the other high pressure sales tactics that characterize our industry.