What is a CountryBred Encounter?
Every CountryBred Encounter is a rich cultural travel experience, whether you’re a couple or a small organization. We don’t believe in racing you around on a non-stop dash without stopping to enjoy the view and some extraordinary experiences along the way. For your custom Encounter, you will select your own travel dates, trip length and travel style, while we tailor your itinerary around your personal travel passions. Each Encounter includes private luxury transportation with driver, privately guided days, immersive cultural activities, and exceptional dining experiences, all designed exclusively for you and your chosen few.
Why is CountryBred a leader in experiential travel?
CountryBred was founded upon the idea that travel should be as enriching as it is enjoyable. As an innovator within the experiential travel space, we have been dedicated to providing discerning travelers with only the finest in tailor-made, private travel experiences, but always rooted in the authenticity of culture in its many forms. For us “experiential” is not an industry buzzword, but rather, the foundation on which we built our brand of travel – a true sense of place, discovered from the inside out, and made meaningful through local perspective. It is for this reason that we have chosen to not offer set tour departures, large group bus tours, or mass tourism products, but instead have chosen to celebrate the hands-on, exclusive nature of a private, custom travel experience. With quality and a personalized touch at the center of our trips, we have chosen to remain a boutique provider, enabling us to focus all of our attention and know-how on a limited number of clients per year.
Is CountryBred a travel agency?
No. CountryBred is an experiential travel company reinventing the notion of travel to Europe by designing our own brand of specialty touring experiences. We believe that beyond planning and executing exceptional trips, we are vanguards of an entirely new philosophy on what travel is and what travel should be. Personal experience, a commitment to authenticity, on the ground expertise, and direct access, enable us to deliver our personalized brand of travel experiences within a private luxury tour framework. We do not offer anything but the CountryBred experience through and through. As such, we do not solely book hotels, facilitate car rentals, offer one-off activities, day tours or a la carte travel services. Instead what we do offer is a seamless touring experience designed by us, executed by us, and serviced by us.
Do you arrange and book airfare?
No. We live in an exciting time for travel where there are many resources available for booking airfare. As such, we encourage you to explore your options, such as booking your airfare through a trusted ticketing agent, an online airline resource or using your frequent flier miles or credit card rewards points. We do however consult on the airports you should fly in and out of, and provide insights on optimal flight paths, etc. specific to your custom itinerary.
What are your Encounter Collections & Sample Encounters?
Our Encounter Collections are thematic collections of regionally focused Sample Encounters. Our Sample Encounters are sample itineraries meant to perhaps be the inspired start for your CountryBred adventure. A thoughtfully curated selection of suggestions, if you will, our Sample Encounters are intended to give you a taste of what each unique region has to offer, and the intriguing types of activities, locales, and accommodations that characterize every region. It is important to note that our Sample Encounters are not scheduled departures, and are not intended to be “booked” as is. Rather, you can think of our Sample Encounters as the ingredient list, while your Encounter will ultimately be the special recipe and delectable dish handmade just for you to enjoy.
How much notice is required for the designing of a CountryBred Encounter?
We believe a quality travel experience requires ample time and refinement to be truly exceptional. As such, you can book a CountryBred Encounter anywhere from 12 months in advance to 4 weeks prior to departure. Given the amount of design, planning, and coordination involved with each handcrafted Encounter, ultimately the amount of notice required will be based upon whether your trip can be executed keeping in mind seasonal factors, such as time of year, availability, and the current number of clients we are servicing.
How do I inquire about booking a trip with CountryBred?
You can submit an online inquiry form, give us a call or send us an email.
Who are typical CountryBred travelers?
CountryBred travelers are global citizens typically over 15 years of age who value unique cultural experiences. Generally speaking, our travelers are a little more seasoned than the average tourist but that doesn’t mean we don’t have our share of first time travelers to Europe. What is most important to keep in mind is that the CountryBred traveler is someone who feels at home getting “ingrained” in the local culture, food and traditions of the places they visit. As long as you share that same philosophy, we’re here to give you the trip of a lifetime. We only provide personalized, handcrafted experiences for our travelers. Our travelers are those who enjoy a private experience that has been crafted uniquely around their desired dates, interests, amount of guided time versus free time and their particular travel style.
Who are CountryBred’s Regional Ambassadors?
Our local guides are passionate, licensed professionals with an average of 15 years experience. Each of them are born and raised in the regions they guide and most are experts in a range of disciplines including Art History, Archaeology, Gastronomy, Wine, Linguistics and Music. Our guides will never treat you like a tourist because you are part of the CountryBred family. They work hard to share authentic and culturally rich experiences with you, that not only represent their individual region, but follow the CountryBred philosophy that authentic is premium.
What does a custom CountryBred Encounter “beginning at” price mean?
The custom CountryBred Encounter “beginning” price is a starting point for the Enriched Booking process. We have put together a series of inspired itineraries featuring recommended trip lengths and signature activities to help get you started. During the Enriched Booking process, we will work with you to understand your personal interests and travel motivations. As part of the process, we will then craft an itinerary that is uniquely yours while recommending signature CountryBred activities and excursions that we believe further capture the spirit of the region(s) you’ve selected. The price of your finalized custom CountryBred Encounter will depend upon your departure dates, trip length, party size, amount of meals included, percentage of guided time selected, cities chosen in your itinerary and signature CountryBred excursions selected. Your finalized CountryBred Encounter will not be confirmed until you approve the final itinerary and your closing payment has been received.
Can the price of a CountryBred Encounter change?
The price of a CountryBred Encounter trip is based on current foreign exchange rates and tariffs. CountryBred strives to maintain the published price of a given trip but in the unlikely circumstance that the final trip price would be subject to change, travelers will be advised of potentially increased costs in advance of departure.
Can I experience a CountryBred Encounter as a solo traveler?
There is no problem should you decide to experience a CountryBred Encounter on your own. In fact, we applaud our travelers that have the chutzpah to traverse the globe solo! All starting prices for CountryBred Encounters are based on double occupancy. Itineraries specially designed for solo travelers may vary in price depending on hotel room preference, trip duration, travel dates, cities, activities and excursions selected. Please call or email us if you have any questions regarding our solo traveler custom trips.
What services are included in the price of a CountryBred Encounter?
Every Encounter is crafted to be a holistic travel experience including:
- Stays at deluxe, boutique accommodations hand-selected by CountryBred.
- Private airport/train station transfers and baggage assistance via private transport, as indicated in the approved customized trip itinerary.
- Private luxury transport with driver for all intercity travel, day trips and excursions, as indicated in the approved customized trip itinerary.
- Private touring with professionally licensed local guides and cultural experts.
- Signature excursions and all associated entrance fees exclusively organized by CountryBred, as indicated in the approved customized trip itinerary.
- Taxes and base gratuities.
- Specially organized, regionally authentic dining experiences crafted around you.
- Exclusive gourmand experiences.
- Daily breakfasts.
- Traveler welcome package including customized Culture Guide.
What services are not included in the price of a CountryBred Encounter?
CountryBred Encounters do not include:
- International or regional airfare.
- Airport taxes and charges, airport parking or excess baggage charges.
- Expenses for activities/excursions not included in the approved CountryBred itinerary.
- Personal expenditures during free time.
- Transportation expenses incurred during free time.
- Travel insurance including health, accidents, lost baggage and trip cancellation.
- Passport and Visa expenses.
- Hotel incidentals including room service, laundry services and hotel bar tabs.
- Hotel room upgrade requests and/or fees/supplements incurred from any room changes.
- À la carte food orders, alcoholic beverages, and wines outside of pre-arranged menus during organized meals.
- Any meals or beverages during free time.
- All other items that are not mentioned or included in your final CountryBred itinerary.
What kind of hotels are included in a CountryBred Encounter?
Every accommodation that you will experience on a CountryBred Encounter has been personally experienced by us and meets our rigorous criteria of premium comfort, attentive staff, boutique size and regional identity. We strongly believe that where you stay is as important as what you do during your CountryBred Encounter. If one of the hotels in our CountryBred portfolio is unexpectedly made unavailable, we will recommend an alternative accommodation that meets our rigorous criteria. We will never reserve an alternate accommodation without first showing you what we have in mind and receiving your approval.
Are tips and gratuities included in a CountryBred Encounter?
Base gratuities are included for all chauffeurs, guides and restaurants during your CountryBred Encounter. If you feel however that service has been above and beyond what you expected, you can certainly tip a nominal amount at your discretion.
Are you a fully licensed travel company?
CountryBred is a fully registered, insured, and bonded seller of traveler, and accredited by IATAN as well as a member of ASTA. Our Encounters are available for purchase by residents of the United States (excluding Hawaii), and Canada.
How do I book my CountryBred Encounter?
It begins with you sharing your travel inspirations with us either via our online “Inquiry” form or by phone or email. Once we hear from you, we will schedule an initial consultation by phone to discuss your particular interests, potential destinations, and travel preferences, while running a few trip ideas by you. If you are ready to proceed with CountryBred designing a custom Encounter for you, we will ask you to submit a completed Traveler Agreement Form, Enriched Booking Form, and the required Deposit per traveler. Once all have been received, your CountryBred Encounter is booked, and the design and customization phase, known as our “Enriched Booking” process, will begin.
What is the “Enriched Booking” process?
Enriched Booking is the process by which we craft your very own custom CountryBred Encounter. The custom trip design process begins with a thorough review of your Enriched Booking Form, submitted as part of your booking. During the custom trip design process your itinerary will be crafted around your preferred interests, travel style, desired pace and other preferences identified on your Enriched Booking Form, as well as details previously shared with us. You will receive your first CountryBred Itinerary approximately 8 weeks after booking, which we will send to you for your review and approval. If there is something you would like to add or change just let us know and we will continue to work on it until we get it just right!
What payment methods do you accept?
We accept all major forms of credit card payment, inclusive of American Express, Visa and MasterCard. Payments may also be made by Check or Money Order.
What travel information will I receive from CountryBred when I complete my booking?
After the closing payment for your CountryBred Encounter is received, we will send you a Traveler Welcome Package. Your welcome package will include a custom CountryBred Culture Guide, which includes your final, detailed itinerary, important trip and contact information, weather information, our regional insights, recommendations for eating locally and ideas for exploring authentically. Your welcome package will also contain supplemental information, such as maps and other pertinent documents, as related to your custom Encounter.
What is your cancellation policy?
In the unfortunate event that you need to cancel your CountryBred Encounter, we require a written notice of your requested cancellation. At the time we receive written notice that you wish to cancel your Encounter, the following fees will apply (all dates are from the start date of your CountryBred Encounter). Please note that a no show passenger forfeits all deposits and payments made to CountryBred.*
*All deposits will be applied to the final trip price unless the trip is canceled by the traveler in which case the deposit becomes non-refundable and non-transferable.
Can I purchase travel insurance through CountryBred?
Optional travel insurance is available to provide peace of mind during your travels in the event of accident, sickness or unexpected cancellation. In evaluating travel insurance options you may want to review all forms of insurance coverage for your upcoming trip, such as your credit card or medical and homeowner’s insurance company benefits, in addition to other third party insurance providers. Trip insurance can also be purchased through CountryBred’s preferred provider Travel Guard®, the nation’s leading carrier. If you are interested in obtaining a travel insurance quote or purchasing a Travel Guard policy, you can call us at 1-800-615-3543 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Does CountryBred offer Encounters in regions not featured on the website?
We take research and development very seriously here at CountryBred. Being experts rather than generalists is at the heart of what we do, and the type of travel experiences we deliver. With this core philosophy in mind, not until our team has been able to delve deep into a place to uncover all of the hidden treasures and nuances that make a particular locale fascinating, do we launch a new region or area. For our travelers, we want to be the litmus test by taking the guesswork out of the equation, finding the best there is, vetting everything first hand for quality, and smoothing out all of the details, so that you don’t have to. Just as a chef copiously experiments with ingredients and tastes every concoction before placing their signature dish on the menu, we too refine our offerings until they are just right.