Our trip to the 5 national parks in Utah in 10 days went very well. The guides in each of the parks were exceptional. The accommodations were good to excellent and the recommendations for places to eat were also very good. The only thing we didn’t care for was the tour of Indian art outside of Moab. There wasn’t much to see and it seemed to be an add-on for no good reason. The cost of the trip was quite expensive but since we were on a fairly tight schedule it was what we needed to do. The accommodations at Cougar Ridge Lodge in Torrey was exceptional. We visited at the end of April, the first week of May 2018.
I have used Wendy’s recommended travel specialists for many years, for many trips, and so I had high hopes for my trip arranged by Marty and his team at Revealed America. Sadly, it was a big disappointment and not at all what one would expect from a Trusted Travel Expert on Wendy’s List.
The timing of our trip was a disaster. My husband and I are free to travel at any time, and our biggest goal is to avoid the crowds, so we rely on Wendy’s Trusted Travel Experts to tell us when is the best time to go. As I know from experience, and as Wendy pointed out in her article dated March 14, 2018, “These TTEs can arrange an entire trip that spares you from every line.” Yet Revealed America sent us to Big Bend National Park, and to the Lajitas Resort there, during what the locals call “Hell Week.”
March is the best month to visit Big Bend, but only if you choose the right week and avoid the spring-break crowds. Our initial plan was to go the week of March 23, but Jessica on Marty’s team told us that “spring breaks in the southwest start the week of March 19th and run through Sunday, April 1st.” So, on her advice, we changed our dates to the week of March 13, which is the most expensive week in March to stay at the Lajitas Resort. The crowds were horrible. The receptionist at the Lajitas, as well as our guides, all asked why we had chosen that week to visit. Only if you were lucky and could find a parking spot could you hike the crowded trails; if you couldn’t park, you couldn’t hike. We waited in line to get into the trailhead, but we never could get in. So, even though we had gone to Big Bend to hike, we ended up with a driving tour of the park. Another Hell Week frustration: The Starlight Diner was the only dining option outside the resort. People started lining up at 4 pm because otherwise, at 5 pm when it opened, there was a two-hour wait. So we ended up eating at the resort every night.
I felt we were overcharged so, after we got back, I called the resort and Marty’s local suppliers to find out how much the individual trip components actually cost. We paid Marty $4,350 for our trip (that price included a $250 food allowance built into the room rate). By my calculations, the actual cost of the components (a half-day rafting trip, a full-day guided hike, an hour-long flightseeing plane ride, and the hotel room) was $2,766. Factoring in taxes and the food allowance, I believe I overpaid by $752. Also, if I had stuck with my original travel date, rather than switching at Jessica’s recommendation to “Hell Week,” I would have saved $362.
I am so glad Wendy encourages us to review the travel specialists on her WOW List, so that other travelers can learn from these reviews. My advice to anyone considering traveling with Revealed America is to follow Wendy’s advice and speak with Marty, who has by far the most knowledge, at the start of your trip-planning process. Marty and I never spoke or corresponded until after the trip was over; I worked only with others in his office. I also advise costing out the components of your trip ahead of time, to ensure you get your money’s worth.
Note from Wendy:
I have known Marty for many years, and he has by far the most knowledge of anyone in his office. Sadly, Marty and Jeanne never spoke during the trip-planning process. I have tried my best to ensure, via a pledge that is signed by every Trusted Travel Expert (TTE) on The WOW List, that each TTE will have an in-depth conversation with every traveler sent by me. I’ve established this rule because I’ve learned, over the past two decades, that such a conversation is the single most important factor determining the success of a trip. Marty has signed this pledge. (So, if you are unable to speak with him, by all means, let me know at email@example.com.) Another big reason I see for why this trip did not end well is that Marty’s trips normally have a $5,000 minimum. Look on Marty’s trip request page (below his photo), and you’ll see where it states that his trips start at $5,000. Marty is best used for elaborate trips that are impossible to arrange on your own. If your trip has only a few components and will cost less than $5,000, I don’t recommend reaching out to Marty in the first place; you will get more value for your dollar if your trip involves a group and/or is more complicated. If you believe your trip will cost less than $5,000, feel free to write to me personally at Ask Wendy for a different recommendation.
We just returned from a trip to Zion, Bryce and Capitol Reef Parks in Utah, planned by Marty and his team. My husband and I traveled with our three daughters in their 20s, and everyone loved the trip. The planned itinerary saved us a lot of time discussing what to do, and the chosen accommodations were absolutely perfect for our family. There were at least two that I wouldn’t have found on my own. The only change I would make in the future would be to have fewer private guides within the parks.
Our trip was well organized and followed our requests and requirements closely. Our guides were well chosen, friendly, knowledgeable and performed extremely well. We had an absolutely delightful experience.
We had an amazing trip! This was our first experience using a Wendy Perrin WOW list travel agency. It was too logistically challenging to plan on our own. Marty, Mark, and Mindy did an outstanding job with routing, planning, private guides/experiences that we would not have figure out on our own. It was worth the fees to have experts plan this trip for our family. I highly recommend using them, especially after we had a bad fly fishing experience. When I emailed them, their response was immediate and included a full refund for the fishing. That alone made using them completely worthwhile knowing they stand behind what they book and have a certain level of expectation from their vendors.
Marty Behr, Mark Campbell, and their team did a wonderful job with the accommodations, suggestions, prompt responses and keeping us informed. The private guides Sullivan used for us were beyond excellent. Vern in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons was outstanding as were Will and Maureen (Mo) for the horseback ride in Yellowstone. We have never been treated so royally! The trip was worth every penny, and we’d use them again in a minute!
We used Marty Behr and Mark Campbell to help us plan a wonderful road trip covering a large part of the Pacific Coast Highway from Mendocino down to San Diego. They did a fabulous job working with us and suggesting a number of curated visits that were amazing. We especially liked a fabulous canoe trip down the Big River in Mendocino, a bike and wine tour through Sonoma, and a guided tour through Point Lobos (one of the most beautiful spots on earth). One of the best benefits from using them was their knowledge of the best rooms to stay in – we had some unbelievable views of the ocean from our hotels. They also worked well with us when we needed to make a last minute course correction and modify our plans. Their choice of guides and their detailed instructions were top notch. We would recommend them to anyone looking for a great road trip experience like ours. All you need to do is tell them a little about your preferences, your budget and what you are looking for and they are off and running to deliver some fantastic options. It was one of our best trips ever – we look forward to using them again. A definite WOW!
We had multiple iterations of the trip and Mark was patient and guided us well through the plusses and minuses of the changes. All of his recommendations for guides and the hotel were spot on.