Meet the VBT Family
The personal touch, at home and abroadAn honest-to-goodness human being on the other end of the toll-free line… a skillful mechanic to adjust your handlebars, just right … a savvy trip planner who arranges the best Dalmatian seafood dinner in Hvar … a patient Tour Consultant who helps you smoothly combine Italy trips, and save money in the process. Our VBT staff is a special breed. We live, eat, and breathe travel. We dream about it at night. And every day, we get to do what we love: turn your travel dreams into reality – with passion, expertise, and pleasure.
“Puglia was our family’s first trip with VBT and all six of us are planning to use VBT again….Our guides, Marco and Edo, were personable, funny, and very helpful. They, as well as the 14 other travelers on our tour, felt like family by the end of the trip.”
- Diane S., Puglia: Italy’s Undiscovered Coast
Forty two years of travel expertise
In 1971, a Middlebury College professor decided to turn his private passion for cycling Vermont’s back roads into something others could share: America’s first organized bicycle tours. He set up shop in Bristol, Vermont, and soon afterwards the growing Vermont Bicycle Touring began offering bicycle tours in Europe.
Today Bristol is still our home, but we now offer a full active vacation repertoire that includes 48 VBT Bicycling, Bike & Barge, Walking and Cross-Country Skiing Vacations on five continents. But no matter how far afield we roam, we never stray too far from our Vermont roots. These include a reverence for the great outdoors, a tradition of neighborliness (extended around the world), and a commitment to honest value.
It’s all about the people
We know you have other choices when it comes to active vacation providers, and we know that you will come back to the one that understands your individual needs and delivers on them. For us, it’s all about the people: we are staffed by dedicated and talented individuals who are fully invested in making this your own personal dream trip. So while your VBT vacation may be a group tour, nothing about it will feel “packaged.”
It starts with our seasoned trip planners, who carefully design unique itineraries in the world’s most interesting places. They work with our Trip Leaders to map out the most scenic and exhilarating routes. Then, they leverage our long-term group buying power with suppliers around the world, securing wonderful lodgings in top quality hotels where charm and character are complemented by comfort and convenience. Our air specialists do the same, working with major carriers to provide the best flight options at prices you could never match on your own.
When you call VBT to inquire about a trip, you won’t have endless automated phone menus but will be answered courteously by an expert Tour Consultant. He or she will explain every detail of your trip—including air travel, available optional pre- or post-trip extensions, and our optional Travel Protection Plan. Curious about the altitude on our new Colorado Rockies bike tour? Interested in detouring to your family’s Hungarian home town? Just ask your Tour Consultant. Their job is not just to take a reservation, but to make sure that the trip you reserve is the ideal one for you. And after you’ve booked, they’ll be standing by to help with any questions, right up to your departure date.
Social responsibility around the world: a VBT tradition
VBT practices socially and environmentally responsible travel, and is committed to treading lightly, respecting local cultures, and giving back to the communities that welcome us. One way we do this is by patronizing small businesses and local establishments everywhere we go. We avoid the big hotel chains in favor of smaller, more authentic lodgings where you have the opportunity to know your hosts. We patronize many family-run businesses or neighborhood cooperatives that help provide opportunities for the local population. And we partner with local experts—historians, resident artists, and community leaders—to help you get an insider’s view of the culture. In this way our host communities can be self-sustaining, while helping you sustain memories for a lifetime.
Announcing the Shake Hands with the World™ Foundation
For many years VBT has supported charitable, educational, and cultural programs that impact our community. Some of these are related to bike safety, health, and wellness, such as the Alliance for Biking & Walking, Local Motion, The Prouty (a ride and walk in support of cancer research), and the Kelly Brush Foundation, a Vermont initiative to raise funds for spinal cord injury research. This year Gregg and Caroline Marston decided to formalize their charitable giving by establishing the Shake Hands with the World™ Foundation.
The goal is to give back (through twice yearly grants) to the places we visit, and to support charitable and humanitarian efforts that improve life for our travelers, our worldwide hosts, our associates, and our families. For more information on VBT’s corporate philanthropy efforts, stay tuned to our website.