Select Traveler

JUL-AUG 2016

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6 J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6 W hat makes a good tour director? Who are these people who enjoy the challenge of ìherding catsî for a week in a foreign country? While some of us can barely manage the human dynamics of traveling with our spouse, how can others be up for the challenge of handling two dozen strangers who meet each other in a foreign airport? On my recent trip to the French Riviera with Collette, I met a very good tour director named Becky Regan, a young woman who fi elded endless questions, used the native language without a trace of superiority, and who never let us see her sweat. Colletteís Spotlight of Nice tour offered a more in-depth look into a single destination than traditional tours that move from city to city in Europe. I asked Becky if it drew a dif- ferent crowd as a result. ìAbsolutely,î she said. ìThese Spotlight trips are perfect for people who want more free time. You wonít get this much time in one place on a traditional tour. ìThe travelers who do these are generally more experienced and may be returning to a place they want more time in. Theyíve been to Europe before ó probably several times. ìWe have people on this trip who have done a lot of preparation and have an itinerary planned for all their free time,î she said. ìWhile this probably appeals to younger travel- ers, I think itís actually more personality-driven than age-driven.î Regan guides domestic trips as well, but she has a weak spot for France. ìIíve always loved France,î she said. ìIt begins with the language. I could swear at you in French and it would sound beautiful!î Regan came of age as a tour director this past November when Paris suffered terror- ist attacks that killed dozens. ìI was in Paris with a group at the time,î she said. ìOur offi ce at home was in constant touch and let me make my best decisions on behalf of our travelers. I reassured them that we were going to be fi ne, and not one person left that trip.î At the companyís request, Regan shared her experience at a staff gathering afterward. ìIíve gained a lot of confi dence in myself as a result, and Iíve always been supported by our company no matter where I am,î she said. Then she smiled and said what you want to hear from your tour director: ìThere isnít much that fazes me now.î Email me anytime with your thoughts at perspective P U B L I S H E R ' S Mac Lacy

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