About Us


Why the Custom Travel Planner Network?

Custom Travel Planners Network a bit of a labor of love, a long-time vision that I have finally put into action and the response to years of inquiries from friends and clients for a source to find other companies like the one I run.  The name is primarily because I got this URL years ago with the intent to develop something like this.

CTPN (my abbreviation since it sure is a mouthful!)  is a listing website whose goal is to provide you with a carefully selected, curated list of trip planners for custom independent touring all over the world.

Custom tour planners base their recommendations on your interests, needs, budget and their in-depth knowledge of the destination. Their services range from simple itineraries to fully-planned out custom tours with private introductions, cultural experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.   Good ones will make your trip remarkable — the most common accolade is “it was the best trip we’ve ever done!”

I have been in the travel industry for over 25 years and, during that time, have come to understand a great deal about how custom travel can meet the needs of discerning travelers.  My primary job is creating tours for travelers going to Japan, with a focus on arts and families.

How the Lists are Compiled

There are a few criteria that I look for in selecting custom travel planners for this site.

The first, and most critical, is expertise. In addition to assembling, in one place, the recommendations from travel experts (Conde Nast, Travel & Leisure, Wendy Perrin), I have also gathered references for a number of tour operators for specific destinations over the years.  That is because, as a Japan specialist, I do not sent clients to areas other than the ones with which I am familiar.  If they want to go someplace else, I send them to an expert or specialty company for that area.

The second criteria that I use, in searching the internet in general, is accessibility.  I think it’s important that websites for travel be clean, complete and evocative of the destination.   We’re looking for a great experience and it starts right at the beginning.

If possible, I prefer to have the specific name of a person at a company that is listed.  This means you know who is responsible for your final product and I usually think that it creates a more personal experience (a picture is even better).

Finally, I make an assessment, based on years of experience, of how grounded the company is in their operations and their level of professionalism as it is experienced by a typical custom independent traveler.   I work with travelers all day long and have learned to see the world through their eyes.

I hope that you find this website useful and return to it every time you have a new destination to explore and refer it to your friends and colleagues.

Happy Traveling,

Elaine Baran

 

 

A listing on this site does not constitute an endorsement nor guarantee for any service. Please shop wisely and always secure travel insurance for your trips.