HTP Travel Directors make all the difference

My first job out of college was as a Travel Director, leading groups of U.S. students around Spain and Portugal. It was an amazing experience.

I got my start as a Travel Director while studying at the University of Bristol in England many years ago, working mostly over holiday breaks. After I graduated, it became my “full-time” job, and I loved it. Although I initially specialized in Spain and Portugal, I gradually expanded my expertise to other countries throughout Europe.

That first job led to a career in educational travel. While moving into other roles, I always relished the opportunity to return to travel directing, and I’ve been fortunate to lead groups on countless tours across Europe and even Cuba.

As a former Travel Director, I know firsthand how important a Travel Director is to the overall experience of a trip, and now as the founder of Hart Travel Partners, I make sure that we have fantastic Travel Directors who play a huge role in the success of our travel programs.

Our Travel Directors travel with our groups from Day 1 when they arrive at the airport to the very last day of the trip. Not only do our Travel Directors provide local knowledge, but they also manage all the travel logistics while on tour, so that our faculty, teachers and educators don’t have to worry about that and can focus on traveling and learning.

As a Travel Director, I loved sharing my knowledge about history, local traditions and even food to my groups. It was especially fun to stroll around Toledo, Spain, at night, and I remember my students’ amazement at seeing a bridge that is 2,000 years old still being used! I loved taking a boat ride along the Seine River in Paris at night, and it always was a thrill to cross the Straits of Gibraltar from Spain to Africa. It was a true privilege to be sharing these experiences with my groups. Many of these students had never left their own home states let alone the United States.

While it always was interesting and a lot of fun, it also was hard work! As a Travel Director, you always have to be thinking at least three days ahead. You are managing the group’s transportation and hotel check-ins, getting the group to restaurants and academic meetings on time and a whole lot more. And, of course, emergencies sometimes arise. If a student is sick, you work with the local office to make sure that he/she is seen to and treated.

A Travel Director also can provide so much more to a group. Of one of our top Travel Directors, one of our recent faculty leaders recently wrote: “Fabiana was not just a tour guide. She turned out to be an instrumental part of our trip. She participated in our group conversations, nightly debriefings, and helped our students to become more confident and worldlier.”

To be a good Travel Director, you have to be passionate about local cultures and history and you have to be able to present it in interesting ways. You also have to be a manager, a problem solver, a diplomat, a “people person,” patient, calm under pressure and, of course, a linguist.

While all of our Travel Directors each possess their own unique traits and personalities, they also all have all of those qualities. Here are some terrific examples:

• Jasmina is from Slovenia, and her expertise is the Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe. She can present the complicated history of this area in ways that spark curiosity and interest in her groups. I have lost count of how many languages she can speak, but I think it is six (or maybe even eight)!


• No one is more passionate about Italy than Raffaella. After a week in Italy with her, you will feel like you really know the country. And you might even be speaking Italian!



• Daniel will make you fall in love with Spain and inspire you to travel more.



• Herson, with his eagle eyes, will point out aspects of nature in the Cloud Forest in Monteverde, Costa Rica, that you would never have spotted without him!



• Jon is one of the best there is in the United Kingdom. Spend a few days with him in London, and you will know the city like a local!



• Richard is an expert in Ancient Rome. He has traveled with a very experienced Latin teacher and his students from a school in Connecticut a few times now. Together, they create wonderful educational experiences for the students.



In fact, it is common that our Travel Directors develop lasting partnerships — and even friendships — with our faculty, teachers, educators and group leaders and end up doing several trips together. This makes for even more rewarding and wonderful educational experiences.

No matter who the Travel Director is on your next Hart Travel Partners trip, you’ll surely treasure his or her expertise. Please call or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to start planning your own group trip with one of our fabulous Travel Directors!


Steve Hart
Hart Travel Partners