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Dear Vacations To Go Customer,
Vacations To Go is celebrating its 35th anniversary this month.
Read on for a bit of the company's history, or scroll down for this
week's best tour deals.
Thirty-five years ago this week, we strung a hand-painted "Grand
Opening" banner above the door in a small shopping center in Houston and
Vacations To Go was born.
My business partner (Bob Carney) and I opened our two-room travel agency
on a Sunday because the travel editor of the Houston Chronicle, Mary Lu
Abbott, ran a story about us that day. With my meager life savings on
the line, I wanted to be in the office just in case the phone rang, and
We were a new breed of travel agency with a unique mission: to convince
cruise lines, airlines, tour operators and hotels that they should
deeply discount the price of unsold cabins, seats and rooms near
departure date, that making anything on the inventory was better than
If we could do that, we would have a viable business and open up the
world to people who could not have afforded international travel
I set out to convince major travel companies to give us deals they did
not offer to other travel agencies. This was not made easier by the fact
that we had no customers.
Finding customers, on the other hand, was not aided by the fact that we
had no deals.
Eventually, a dozen airlines, cruise lines and tour operators agreed to
test our concept. Riding what turned into a huge wave of publicity due
to our record-low prices, we were off and running on that day in May
In 1986, we took the company public, and in 1987, we launched our
publishing division with the first of our three magazines,
which was later joined by
Travel 50 & Beyond
Where to Retire
I coaxed Mary Lu away from the Houston Chronicle
and she became
the founding editor of Where to Retire,
where she called the
shots until her own retirement in 2012.
We grew out of that shopping center space and opened an airline-style
reservation center, and added travel and retirement books to our list of
publications. After several years as a public company, we bought out the
outside shareholders and took the company private.
In 1999, we launched our
website and within a few years, we launched sites for
air & hotel packages
We bought our own office building, translated our cruise site into
Spanish and Portuguese and French, launched group cruise and hosted
singles departments and the industry's first department dedicated solely
to cruise passengers with special needs.
Somewhere along the way, we became the world's largest seller of cruises
and river cruises.
So many people have contributed to the growth and success of Vacations
To Go that it would be impossible to name them all. Three who stand out
are Emerson Hankamer, our CEO; Troy Bringle, our President; and
Elizabeth Armstrong, our VP & Editor of Travel Media.
Today, we represent every significant cruise line, river cruise company,
tour operator and hotel chain in the world. True to our roots, we are
still the very best at finding last-minute discounts for our customers.
is the standard by which all last-minute cruise lists are measured.
Every week, we sell hundreds of cruise cabins at the last minute, at
rates that other travel agencies never even hear about. And we offer
deep early bird discounts and shipboard credits for people who simply
have to make plans in advance.
Some tour operators and hotel companies also offer last-minute
discounts. When they do, we rush the deals to our customers. However,
the biggest discounts on tours frequently are offered many months in
advance of departure.
When I look back at what has been accomplished in the last 35 years, I
am most proud of the group we have built here, the more than 800 men and
women of Vacations To Go. They are the kind of people you want to go to
work with every day, dedicated to being the best and providing the best
service and advice in the travel industry.
I am grateful to be on the same team.
In our three and a half decades, the travel industry has survived more
epidemics, hurricanes, wars and recessions than I can remember. The
instant, global dissemination of bad news sometimes makes it seem like
the world is a dangerous place, but I don't believe there are any new
threats in the world, just new strains of old threats.
International travel today is safer than it has ever been, and there are
more amazing trips to more fascinating places than ever before.
What new adventures await travelers in the next 35 years? I can hardly
wait to find out!
You can be sure that Vacations To Go will be here to bring you the very
best the world has to offer -- at a discount, of course.
Vacations To Go
Here are this week's Top 10 Tours
. All prices are per person,
based on double occupancy, and subject to availability.
Spanish Wonder, 9 days with Trafalgar. Begins in Madrid and ends in
Madrid or Barcelona. Save $300 per couple off the air-inclusive
price. Starting at $2,125. Departures from June 8 through October
Costa Rica Experience,
9 days with Intrepid Travel. Begins and ends in San Jose. Starting at
$1,035. Departures from June 8, 2019
through December 28, 2020.
Best of Ireland South, 7 days with CIE Tours. Begins in Dublin and ends in
Shannon. Save up to 15%. Starting at $1,639. Departures from June
22 through October 17, 2019.
Italian Intermezzo, 8 days with Insight Vacations. Begins in Milan and
ends in Rome. Save $400 per couple. Starting at $2,064.
Departures from May 26 through October 13, 2019.
Rhine Getaway, 8 days with Viking River Cruises. Travels between
Amsterdam and Basel. Fly from $499 to $599 per person, plus save
$1,000 per couple. Starting at $2,499. Departures from September 1
through December 17, 2019.
Germany's Southern Highlights, 12 days with SITA Tours. Begins and ends in
Frankfurt. Save $200 per couple. Starting at $2,870. Departures
from June 22 through September 21, 2019.
Mysteries of India (Explorations), 15 days with Collette. Begins and ends in Delhi.
Save 15%. Starting at $2,999. Departures from September 26, 2019
through March 19, 2020.
Iceland Adventure, 8 days with Globus. Begins and ends in Reykjavik.
Save $800 per couple. Starting at $4,129. Departures from June 9
through September 29, 2019.
Journey through the Clouds Outdoor Adventures, 11 days with Rocky Mountaineer. Travels between
Calgary and Vancouver. Receive one free pre- or post-tour hotel
night. Starting at $4,265. Departures from June 2 through September
Chilean Fjords, Antarctica and Falklands - Great Explorers and Wildlife, 18 days with Hurtigruten. Begins and ends in
Santiago. Fly for free from select gateways or receive a $2,000 per
cabin air credit. Starting at $14,996. Departs November 11 & 27 and
December 26, 2019.
Customers in the US and Canada can call us toll-free at 800-680-2858.
For a list of our other toll-free numbers worldwide, click
For savings of up to 82% on ocean cruises, click
For river cruises up to 50% off, click
For discounts of up to 50% at hotels and all-inclusive resorts, click
For the lowest rates on Africa safaris from budget to luxury in quality,
Please email me your comments, suggestions and questions at
and I will respond the same day.
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Vacations To Go