Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

A lifetime memory for which we will always be grateful
Sherri Johnson | November 3, 2018

When I reached out to Claudia and Mirium to help plan a once-in-a-lifetime trip for my Mother, I had high expectations. Not only did they knock it out of the park, but they made this trip to Austria and northern Italy truly a lifetime memory for which we will always be grateful. The hotels were hand-picked and exceptional, the guides were knowledgeable and personable, and the activities were well-timed and exactly what we asked for. We were working with specific cruise dates and were looking for a 10-day pre-cruise trip that would give us mountains, water, beautiful scenery and culture in destinations that were easy to get around. When I contacted them two weeks prior to the departure to let them know that Mom had a medical issue that could limit some of her mobility, they were immediately responsive. They discretely shared this information with the guides such that they were able to route the day trips and tours for routes requiring less walking without sacrificing the original itinerary and plan (and without Mom knowing!). The hotel in Lago d’Iseo was a hidden gem, literally. The apple strudel cooking class in Salzburg was super fun and engaging. The Piglet they provided was a thoroughly detailed day to day guide that covered every potential question. Mom is still smiling from ear to ear and already talking about planning her next adventure. I cannot say enough great things about Claudia and her team and would hire them again. Not only because they are clearly experts in this region, but because they cared about our experience from the minute I sent them the email to initiate the trip to the minute Mom returned home where she found a beautiful floral arrangement thanking her for letting them be part of her trip. 10-star service every step of the way.

We got a quintessential Bavarian experience and so much more
Tai Chang | July 30, 2018

Claudia and her team created an amazing vacation for myself, my husband and our 12-year-old son. We contacted Claudia to help us create an itinerary for our trip to Germany. This would be the tail end of our vacation; we began our time in Provence, France with friends. We were impressed with Claudia’s ability to hone in on what we wanted to do and see in Germany, the pace we wanted to set for our daily itineraries and provide excellent choices for accommodations, restaurants, tour guides, and drivers.

Claudia reached out to her colleagues in France and was able to find the perfect hotel for one night in Paris as well as provide transportation (drivers and trains) to our Provence destination. Leaving Provence, she also arranged a driver to take us to the airport. Upon arrival in Munich, we were so pleased with the Cortina Hotel. The size of the suite was impressive and the location was ideal for us. It was centrally located yet never felt like we were in the middle of a big city. We enjoyed our morning breakfast buffets and the hotel staff couldn’t have been more friendly and professional. We were delighted with our private guides showing us Munich, Nuremberg, and Bavaria. They were able to balance my need to see and understand the history of the city and cater to our 12-year-olds attention span. He is interested in World War II history, and the guides were able to really help him see so much of that history.

Our day in Bavaria was scheduled to be our WOW moment. And WOW it was. Our guide tailored a day that was perfect for us. We got a quintessential Bavarian experience and so much more. We took the cable car to the top of Zugspitze, Germanys highest peak. Our son was happy to say that he ate a Bratwurst in the clouds. And then to snow sled – an unexpected treat in June! Our lunch spot in Garmish-Parkenkirchen was a great find. I loved my raspberry cake. We had a great time racing down the mountain on the Alpine slide. By touring Linderhof Palace we were able to check off a Ludwig castle from our bucket list. The final stop in Ettal to see the monastery was icing on the cake.

Claudia arranged our transportation to Berlin. Here we enjoyed another great hotel choice – The Mandala Suites. Again, a very comfortable suite, excellent breakfast buffets, and wonderful staff. Our guides for the city were top notch. We did a tour of East Berlin seeing how life was before the Wall came down. Another day we toured Berlins South and Potsdam. We really enjoyed the variety of restaurants in Berlin. We spent much of our time walking the city. There is so much to see!

We were so impressed with all that Claudia and her team provided for us. It is a vacation we will never forget.

She got us a tour of the International Court of Justice
Dorian Denburg | June 30, 2018

We traveled to Amsterdam, The Hague, Antwerp, and Brussels. Claudia and her assistant Merium were lovely to deal and booked us on some terrific experiences: we went on a surprising wide-ranging food tour and an absolutely fabulous bike tour in Amsterdam and a fun, educational chocolate and beer tour in Brussels. She got us a tour of the International Court of Justice/Peace Palace which was a highlight of our trip and which we learned occurs one weekend a month.

I also found that her suggestions required a lot of scrutinizing, e.g., said museums are closed Monday but said the best time to go to a certain museum was Monday; some unrealistic time frames so we had to forfeit tickets to a concert we booked; suggested a restaurant one night adjacent to a museum but suggested a restaurant across town the day we were going to be at the museum; and we found her itinerary required a lot of page flipping. She checked in while we were away to offer help.


Response from Trusted Travel Expert Claudia Schwenger:

In my experience, most travelers prefer an in-depth and detailed itinerary; I’m sorry that Dorian apparently found it to be too much. Allow me to address her points:

First, regarding the days when museums are open: In the very first itinerary draft I sent Dorian, while I was still getting to know her and her son, I included a variety of museum suggestions in Antwerp, to find out which ones appealed to them most and thus should be included in the final itinerary. Since most museums are closed on Mondays, I originally listed those possible museum visits for a Sunday. The itinerary had to be rejiggered a few times to accommodate experiences that became available only shortly before the travelers departed (the tour of the Peace Palace, as one example). At that point, I moved every museum visit in the itinerary to the best day for it. Since Mauritshuis is open on Monday afternoons, I moved that visit to Monday, so they’d have more time for the other museums on Sunday. Dorian’s final itinerary suggested the best day for visiting each museum that interested her.

Second, regarding the concert time: Dorian had indicated she wanted a lot of activity and walking. I made a 6:30 pm dinner reservation at a restaurant that is a 20-minute walk from their hotel, en route to the concert venue that was another 25-minute walk from the restaurant. The concert was at 8:30 pm, and 1 hour 15 minutes is more than enough time for the restaurant I sent them to. It’s not clear to me why they had to miss the concert. We spoke frequently while she was on the road, and this is the first I’ve heard of this.

Third, regarding the restaurant adjacent to a museum: The only restaurant on the itinerary that was adjacent to a museum is Brasserie Berlage at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague. I did indeed book Dorian a table at that restaurant for the day of that museum visit.

I’m sorry if the itinerary was so long as to require “page flipping.” Again, I’ve found that most of the travelers who contact me prefer more detail rather than less.

It was a memorable trip planned easily and flawlessly
Linda Uhler | December 1, 2017

We wanted to extend a trip to Germany after attending a meeting in Mainz in August. Claudia proposed two interesting itineraries. We chose to explore the Moselle Valley and had a delightful week in that region. Claudia arranged for a guide/driver who was most knowledgeable about this area. Through his eyes, we learned about the history, culture and food and wine of the valley. He was responsive to our interests and planned each day accordingly. The hotels that Claudia suggested were wonderful. We were especially surprised to find some special touches to help us celebrate our wedding anniversary at one of them. And her restaurant recommendations were also perfect. In fact, one meal tops our list of best meals this year. Claudia introduced us to an area we would not have considered on our own but that we enjoyed immensely. It was a memorable trip planned easily and flawlessly.

Most memorable was our private breakfast cruise on the canals
Jennifer Williams | November 28, 2017

Claudia and her team arranged a wonderful weekend in Amsterdam for us! First off, her hotel recommendation was right on point for our travel preferences. A small boutique hotel with a memorable dining experience and within walking distance of everything. Most memorable was our private breakfast cruise on the canals, a private tour of the tulip gardens and a great group bike ride! We loved it and Claudia and her team made everything so simple and carefree.

Very pleased with Claudia's services
Dana Perry | March 27, 2017

We were very pleased with Claudia’s services all the way around. The hotel was excellent and we were upgraded on our room. We liked our guides, and all the arrangements worked out fine. We liked the booklet they sent of all arrangements. Thanks so much–we had a wonderful trip and loved Amsterdam!

We experienced more than we asked for
Brenda Osborne | March 20, 2017

In February/ March of 2017 my husband and I had 6 days to explore some highlights of southern Germany. We were interested in seeing historical areas, castles, palaces and many of the quaint half-timbered small towns and villages. I also asked that our hotels have charm and character. Our agent Claudia set us up with a fantastic driver/guide who was very knowledgeable and accommodating and made sure we experienced more than we asked for. Our hotels included a castle, a 900 year old home, a riverfront small inn, all very lovely. I felt comfortable and had great correspondence with the Claudia all along.

Excellent recommendations
Regina Kornfield | August 22, 2016

Claudia Schwenger helped us plan our 2.5 week long trip to Prague, Croatia, and Amsterdam. She was extremely responsive during the planning process. There were a few days where we just couldn’t decide from the options Claudia presented for where to stay, what to do, or where to eat, but Claudia really came through for us and provided excellent recommendations that ended up working out quite well. The trip went very smoothly, and during our travels Claudia checked in with us to make sure that was the case.

Our private tour of Neuschwanstein Castle was exceptional
James & Anthi Michaloutsos | June 30, 2016

My wife and I were very pleased with Claudia Schwenger’s planning of our recent trip to Germany (June 2016). We enjoyed our stay in Berlin, Bavaria, the Bavarian Alps and the Black Forest region. The personal guides Ms. Schwenger set us up with were excellent, They were most accommodating, exceptionally knowledgeable and patient. The hotel accommodations, restaurant reservations she had arranged for us were excellent and she was always available by email, phone when ever the need arose. Overall, our trip was more than we hoped for; we had seen more castles than the Neuschwanstein Castle my wife wanted to see. Our private tour of Neuschwanstein Castle arranged by Ms. Schwenger was exceptional. The only way one should see it. We purchased cuckoo clocks from the shop, (Robert Herr Kuckucksuhren-Unikate) she suggested we stop at in Schonach. And our appointments at the Caracalla Spa in Baden-Baden were the perfect ending before heading back home the following day. Next time in Germany, we would consider staying longer in some places and less time in others. Thank you so much.

She provided extraordinary service
Karen Whistler | May 4, 2016

I was looking for tickets and transportation/day-trip support from Amsterdam to the sold-out Bosch 500 exhibit in Den Bosch, Netherlands, in April 2016, and Wendy sent me to Claudia. We wanted three different days of touring with an expert guide.  One of the days we wanted to go was King’s Day, a national holiday in the Netherlands, and the cost of a driver and guide on that day were exorbitant.  Claudia looked into alternatives—trains, rental cars, overnighting outside Amsterdam…Ultimately she was able to confirm a driver/guide (one person) she had worked with before who could do the two days for $2,900. The driver/guide was excellent, and we had two wonderful days of touring. I would definitely use Claudia again. She provided extraordinary service and worked hard to give us a great travel experience. Thank you for the referral.

Travel Tips

Don’t Shoot: Social Media Photos Could Be Helping Poachers Track Animals

by Billie Cohen | August 13, 2015

Family Travel

Adventurous, Exotic Travel with Young Kids: It Is Possible

by Brook Wilkinson | February 11, 2016


Photo Tour of the 9/11 Memorial Museum

by Wendy Perrin | June 23, 2014

  • Have you returned from a trip arranged by this Trusted Travel Expert?

    If so, please leave a review of your experience so your fellow travelers can decide whether this travel planner is right for them. Include your name (because anonymous reviews are not fair), the month/year of your trip, the destination(s) you traveled to, and your advice for anyone who is considering hiring this travel planner. If you’d prefer to share your review privately, email Wendy.