The VBT Family Welcomes You
Throughout your journey, the personal touch
From your first enquiring phone call to your return home, all of us at VBT are dedicated to smoothing your path, providing life-changing cultural immersion, and making your active travel dreams a deeply satisfying reality. We’re with you on every step of your journey: a helpful voice on the other end of the toll-free line … a deft touch to adjust your bike’s gear shifts by our bike mechanic in Vermont … a Trip Leader with insider’s knowledge of the best bistros and cafés in France. At VBT we are devoted to you and to our shared joy in travel and discovery.
44 years of travel experience
In 1971, VBT was established as America’s first organized bicycle tour company, providing guided cycling adventures in the scenic area surrounding the quiet town of Bristol, Vermont, in the foothills of the Green Mountains. As popularity increased, the growing Vermont Bicycle Touring expanded our vacation destinations to include more of the U.S. and Europe.
Today, with Bristol still our home, we now offer a full active-vacation repertoire that includes 50 VBT Bicycling, Bike & Barge, and Walking Vacations on five continents. But no matter how far afield we roam, we never stray 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 unbeatable value and quality.
Our people make the difference
How does your experience on a VBT vacation affect travelers who follow in your footsteps? How do you know that your feedback—both suggestions and criticisms—are reaching the people best equipped to make the necessary changes to our itineraries?
At VBT, we are dedicated to listening to our travelers and making sure that every observation is addressed. This principle guides our approach to product improvement, as well as how we develop new vacations for you. That proved important for 2015, as we introduce four new bicycling vacations and two new walking vacations, including our historic first encounter with China.
“The primary consideration is a location that has a lot to offer the inquisitive traveler,” said Chris Skilling, VBT’s Vice President of Worldwide Product. “We want our travelers to have opportunities for unique and incredible local discoveries. It also has to be a good value—that’s essential.”
Working with an international team of four Product Directors, Skilling carefully studies the ingredients that make successful vacations popular and effective year after year, including VBT’s signature cultural-immersion experiences, memorable accommodations, included restaurant meals, pacing, and many other factors. These help form the guidelines by which success is judged and improvements are made.
“Our traveler evaluations are central to how we make changes to our vacations,” Skilling said. “Every Trip Leader makes a full evaluation, too, after each departure. We study all of these very carefully.”
You’ll notice on the Traveler Reviews section of each vacation on our website that frank complaints and suggestions for improvement from our travelers are addressed by VBT’s marketing associates, who work closely with Skilling and his team.
“No one in the active-travel business does a better job than VBT at listening to our travelers,” Skilling said. “It’s very rewarding to make our vacations authentic and exciting in that unique VBT way.”
Shake Hands with the World™ Foundation
By establishing the Shake Hands with the World™ foundation, Gregg and Caroline Marston give back to the places VBT visits by supporting humanitarian and charitable initiatives, including the Alliance for Biking & Walking, Local Motion, The Prouty (a ride and walk to support cancer research), and the Vermont-based Kelly Brush Foundation, which raises money for spinal-cord injury research. VBT is a founding sponsor of the Vermont Gran Fondo, an exciting bike race of up to 104 miles through a series of spectacular gaps among the Green Mountains. Proceeds from this beloved annual event enhance bicycling in Addison County (VBT’s home) through programs, education, infrastructure, and equipment. VBT’s new partnership with Xanterra Parks & Resorts® has enhanced our commitment to slowing global warming, preserving natural resources, and protecting our environment.
Keeping it “green” at home & around the world: a way of life at VBT
The mountains are not the only thing green about VBT’s home base in Vermont. Every day we are working to reduce our impact on the environment. Whether we are composting an apple core or looking for new ways to reduce gasoline usage, we are always cognizant of the size of our footprint.