Cultural travel, your way
Hi, my name is Carolina Ayerbe and I’m here because I’m passionate about helping you, the independent traveler, make your cultural travel dreams come true, avoiding the overwhelm of the massive amounts of information online and the time-consuming process of trip planning.
I know what it’s like to have this big idea of your life-changing trip that you’ve been dreaming about for the longest time, and going the obvious route of calling a travel agent, only to see that they don’t really care.
Or deciding you’re going to plan your trip yourself and then finding you don’t even know where to start and what the right information is, and what to do with the millions of hits Google brings you back when doing a search. How long is reading all this going to take? How am I going to make sense of it?
With an industrial design college degree under my belt, I started working for a Swedish multinational company back in 1999 that got me traveling to many different places. My first trip was to Lima, Perú and it was only the second time I’d been abroad. I’d only gone to Ecuador when I was eight years old.
I was lucky enough to work for a company where asking for a few days extra after your business trip to do some sightseeing was allowed.
So of course, I was filled with all sorts of questions like:
- What are the main sites I should visit to get to know this culture?
- How long will it take to visit them? Can I do all of them in just a couple of days? Will there be enough time?
- Where do I buy tickets? Actually, what’s the currency? What’s the exchange rate?
- Will my budget cover everything I want to see and do?
- How do I go from point A to point B?
- What is the most effective area in town to stay?
- Will I be safe?
And then the more specific questions of the actual places that caught my attention and that I was interested in visiting and learning more about.
What a fantastic opportunity to know the history of Perú, the Incas, the Spanish conquest, their heritage! It was all so interesting!
My first thought was, obviously, to call a travel agent. And how frustrating and disappointing that I didn’t get the service I needed. They were all trying to make me fit their cookie-cutter tours and services.
I noticed right away how they were striving to make that commission, to push this hotel, or this tour package on me, without really trying to get to know me.
They didn’t listen to what I wanted and kept offering me things I wasn’t interested in, things I didn’t have the energy for or things I couldn’t afford.
I wanted them to give me options of attractions to choose from, to let me decide how long I wanted to stay in a certain place, to give me relevant information about the sites, to put me at ease by explaining how to navigate the cities and be safe.
I didn’t want to do everything the brochure offered. I wanted to see what I was interested in and some other things that were not included. I wanted to go at my own pace. Why would I want to pay for something that doesn’t meet my needs? How aggravating.
I ended up planning the trip myself.
I gave up on travel agents
For a few years I gave travel agents a chance, and every time I had a new destination coming up, I’d call a few to see what they had to offer.
I never got the experience I expected and I would always have to do the planning myself (Which I quite enjoyed!). When I had three weeks to go to Europe and the travel agent suggested I visit twelve different cities, I said no more.
I didn’t want to get into a bus full of people being herded around all over Europe. I didn’t want to be told when I should go visit a site and when I should be back to hop back on the bus. I wanted to go at my own pace and see what I wanted to see, not what the tour included.
Plus, they got increasingly annoyed with my questions and my requests.
In the end I realized I loved planning trips with minute (but oh, so satisfying) detail while learning so much in the process. I didn’t intend to become an expert about everything, but I did want to understand how history, culture, art and even science shaped the societies I was visiting. I loved doing the research!
This is why I am here: to help you not waste time, money and energy when you’re planning your next cultural getaway. I am here to help you make it an eye-opening, unforgettable and fun experience!
Planning for others
Eventually, friends and family started requesting my “itinerary design” services, which I provided just for fun. But every time they came back raving about how the trip was so much more enriching because of the itinerary I had designed for them and the packet I had given them with maps, tips and recommendations.
Then I started to refine my method, learning how to work with people so that the itinerary I’m designing for them is a reflection of their interests, passions, their pace and their energy, and I learned to streamline the process to glean the most important and relevant information for each trip.
Streamlining my method has been instrumental in making the entire planning process effective. Let’s face it, planning a trip can take from six to eight hours per travel day, hours that you should be spending with your family and/or being productive at work. How much is your time worth?
Planning is not always perfect, sometimes things don’t go according to plan and you need to regroup and renegotiate the itinerary, but that’s part of the fun! Many times the little mishaps bring you unexpected and amazing new opportunities. Having a clear knowledge of all the things I’ve planned for you in this trip will make it easier to make a few decisions on the go.
My soap box
I decided I wanted to use my (otherwise criticized) detail-oriented mind to help others have the life-changing experiences I had had during my travels and make the connections in their minds that explain the reality of today and can potentially put an end to ignorance and intolerance in the world.
I work with cultural travel because it is the kind of travel I find most fulfilling and inspiring. It is one thing to go to the Roman Forum and see piles of rubble everywhere. It’s quite a different experience to learn about the temples and the buildings and how these very stones you’re stepping on have been there for thousands of years and were witnesses to people like Julius Caesar rising to power.
My goal is to help you live it for yourself. I am not a travel agent, I am an independent travel advisor who offers a personalized service; visit my consultancy page and learn about how you can have a unique cultural travel experience designed just for you.
I also create pre-designed cultural itineraries for some of the most popular cities in the world, organized by days of stay. They reflect my concept of cultural travel and you can execute them at your own pace and swap things around to meet your desires. These itineraries are the perfect companion if you want a quick and easy to use plan on the go.
If you’d like to contact me, ask questions or give me some feedback, I’ll be thrilled to respond!
I look forward to hearing from you soon!
PS: English is not my native language (Spanish is), so I apologize for any grammar and writing errors you may find. I am still learning.
Find me here also:
A note about images: I borrow images (especially from Wikipedia) to illustrate my articles, if I don’t have images of my own. Whenever I use a borrowed image, said image is linked to the original source from where I took it and the original credits are displayed in its caption text. If an image does not mention credits, it means one of two things: Either I am the owner of it, or the image is in the public domain.
Disclaimer about content: I am not a historian and I am not an expert in art or any academic field (My background is in design). However I am a geeky girl who loves art, history, culture and science and I am passionate about researching and planning trips. From my own experience with my travels and the trips I’ve planned for others I can say that my methodology is successful and that it guarantees memorable and meaningful cultural travels.