What is Hand Crafted Travel?

Most of our business comes from word of mouth. Each year the vast majority of our clients are repeats, or are people who were directly referred by someone who has worked with us in the past.

Here's what others say about working with Hand Crafted Travel

"Bryan is friendly, knowledgeable, attentive, an excellent planner…and outstanding private tour guide!"

Larry A (Conroe, TX)

“Thank you for planning the perfect trip for us. We loved each of your walking tours and both of our wine and the cheese tasting tours were so much fun. We both enjoyed the balance between visiting the Italian cities and the Italian countryside. Again, thank you for the perfect vacation.”

Sally G (Fresno, CA)

"Thank you for an incredible trip in Switzerland! Your information was amazingly detailed, helpful, thorough, and accurate. We truly appreciate all your help in planning this adventure. Your sketch trip plan was like a Bible to us as we journeyed all around Switzerland - Thank you for that and making our trip so spectacular!"

Lisa P (San Diego, CA)

"This was our second trip with your assistance, and you did a great job of steering us in the right directions. Thank you for suggesting the Swiss Alps, even with the rain they were a highlight of the trip. I will continue to recommend you to our friends. Thanks for your help planning a memorable trip."

Kathy W (Champlin, MN)

"Bryan, your knowledge of Germany, familiarity with the customs, and dedication to making this the absolute best tour we've been on since we started visiting Europe in 2000 was exceptional. We will definitely tour with you again in the future!"

John W (Bakersfield, CA)

"I don't even know where to begin. We went to a ton of the restaurants you recommended and each and every one was amazing. We had an absolutely amazing time and I don't think the trip could possibly have been planned better. The self-guided walks were the perfect way to tour each of the bigger cities."

Alex H (Chicago, IL)

"You and your advice always ROCK! There was so much about the trip that was just awesome."

Myna Y (Fresno, CA)

"...the best of the best was our Tour Guide! Thanks so much for all the time, information and attention you gave us......you made all the difference! Can't wait for Spain!!"

Linda L (Atlanta, GA)

"We want to thank you again for your amazing planning and explanations. We learned so much and had such wonderful experiences. Everyone asks us what our favorite part of the trip was. We cannot answer. We loved it all. The cities, the countryside, the seaside - all were special for different reasons."

Jean R (Oakhurst, CA)

"My group still has fond memories of our trip to London. Your itinerary was perfectly done. We are still talking about that trip."

Connie H (Fresno, CA)

“I have praised the trip and Bryan in just about every conversation since I got back. It was a great trip.”

Art C (Stillwater, OK)

"Thanks so much, Bryan. Your Sketch Trip Plan is AMAZING! We will definitely be recommending Hand Crafted Travel to others."

Lisa W (San Diego, CA)

"Once again you hit a home run with our vacation planning and we thank you!!! It was so time saving to have advanced reservations and just be able to walk into the Accademia and the Uffizi and avoid the long lines! It was a great vacation, Bryan, and we thank you for helping make it so!!!"

Beverly C (Dallas, TX)

"I just wanted to shoot you an e-mail and thank you for making our trip a once in a lifetime experience. The hotels, food recommendations, suggested itinerary and train travels that you provided really helped to make our trip such a wonderful experience! We really were able to do everything at our pace, and we strongly feel that we could not have gotten what we got out of our trip without your help."

Tarin W (Fresno, CA)

"This was a trip of a lifetime. The most fabulous birthday celebration that I was hoping for. Thank you so much for your guidance and help."

Phyllis N (Goshen, IN)

"Thank you, Bryan, for another wonderful adventure! We loved every minute and will look forward to our next trip!"

Claire H (Midland, TX)

"I heartily recommend Hand Crafted Travel. Bryan planned for us an experience of a lifetime and then delivered it (along with a few painters, sculptors, vintners, etc.). Everything went flawlessly and he even got us out of Naples alive! Thanks Bryan for a wonderful vacation! "

Paul N (Woodland, CA)

"Thanks again for another amazing trip. We had a fabulous time. Looking forward to our next adventure."

Rose S (Houston, TX)

"I loved the balance of small cities/villages and big cities. One of your best talents in itinerary planning is the constant building to the next surprise. The charming village or restaurant or event we weren't expecting...”

Debbie G (Ashland, OR)

"As always, everything was perfect that you planned! We love the hotels you suggest."

Carol H (Plano, TX)

"The walking tours were outstanding. They provided wonderful opportunities to experience a variety of different aspects to each city. The directions were easy to follow and you provided the right amount information and allocated time to truly enjoy each walk."

Fred & Leslie D (Fresno, CA)

"We would never have come up with such a perfect itinerary on our own. Many thanks!"

Laurie K (Plano, TX)

"You were great. Everything you said was helpful and accurate. Thanks very much. I wouldn't hesitate to ask for your help on our next trip."

Pam T (Eugene, OR)

"All of the travel arrangements that you provided for us (rental car, trains) worked perfectly, and we were grateful for your help. We hope to use you again, Bryan, and thank you so much for all of your help!"

Beth T (Dallas, TX)

"We wanted to send you our heartfelt appreciation for the amazing Switzerland trip. We had such a great time and are already looking ahead to future trips we can hopefully take with you. Thanks again for everything."

Andy & Carol B (Bakersfield, CA)

"We loved your walking tour of Westminster--laughed at your descriptions! Your trip planning was just what we needed and above expectations."

Susan R (Canyon Lake, TX)

"All your advice was sound. We had a terrific time and look forward to our next trip to Europe with your assistance Thank you."

Art & Jane C (Fresno, CA)

"We had an absolutely wonderful time in Italy. Your planning assistance was invaluable to us. We will recommend you to everyone we know that is planning a trip to Europe."

Ken H (Fitchburg, WI)

"The itinerary was excellent. I loved the pace of planned activity and downtime. Some of the planned stops were not surprises...but others were unexpected delights, such as the family owned cheese farm where we were treated to a beautiful view of a Tuscan valley while we sat at a big table under the trees and sampled cheeses produced on the farm. Another unexpected surprise was the family owned farm that produced balsamic vinegar, and the totally delicious lunch served to us in a private room by the owner and his Italian speaking father. A total delight!"

Larry A (Conroe, TX)

"We would never have been able to see all that we saw without your guidance. It was a lot to see in a short period of time but you made it possible. We would recommend your trip planning services to anyone. Thank you...thank you."

Toni M (Cayucos, CA)

"We got back from Italy last week and wanted to say GRAZIE for the wonderful travel advice! We had such an amazing time. Your booklet and travel tips were spot on."

Nancy E (Fresno, CA)

"Thank you for our wonderful trip to France. Every trip with you is the “best ever.” We feel certainly blessed to have you as our guide. Trips with you are relaxing, informative, and just plain fun."

Robert C (Odessa, TX)

"This trip was truly life changing. I feel like I know so much more about several other cultures and their lives and countries from this one trip. Bryan was awesome! I feel so educated because of him."

Cayla C (Fresno, CA)

"Thank you for arranging our trip to Germany. I appreciate your ability to tailor the trip to our unique interests and circumstances."

Susan C (Plano, TX)

"You did a fantastic job of planning this trip! The sights you recommended were fabulous and covered the history we were wanting to experience. Thank you for planning such a memorable trip for us. I am so appreciative of your knowledge and will highly recommend you to others!!!"

Carolyn F (Fresno, CA)

"You did a great job with outlining our trip for us. We liked seeing both the larger cities and the smaller towns. The trains were great and your information about the museums (timing and tickets) was great. Thank you for all that you did to make our trip to Spain memorable."

Stacy C (Rocklin, CA)

"Thank you for our wonderful trip to Italy in March. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip and you made traveling so easy for us! "

Marie D (Fresno, CA)

"Hi Bryan: our trip to France was stupendous! We had a wonderful 2 weeks; words can't describe it. I fell in love with France and hope I can someday return. Thanks for all you did to make our itinerary (which was great) as well as our hotel and train reservations. You made our time there run more smoothly."

Edy C (Fresno, CA)

"I cannot recommend Hand Crafted Travel more highly. Traveling with Bryan is a unique experience. His knowledge about the areas we visited made each experience more meaningful and enjoyable than I would have ever imagined. I will forever cherish our tour of Italy. Thanks for the experience of a lifetime."

Tim B (Woodland, CA)

"We really enjoyed your guide books and sense of humor. Is YOUR audio-tour in the making? Looking forward to working with you again."

Don S (The Woodlands, TX)

"We had a great trip....The only downside was it had to end!! Thank you for your help. We especially enjoyed the information in your guided walks - Very interesting and brought the places to life! The directions were very easy to follow and allowed us to focus on having a good time."

Brian & Jodie H (Fresno, CA)

"We want to thank you again for putting together such an incredible trip. Your knowledge of the areas we visited and places we saw added to our understanding and appreciation of Italy and its history. We enjoyed your company and look forward to traveling with you again."

Tom & Jan W (San Gabriel, CA)

"Janice & I want to express our thanks and gratitude for your Italian Antipasto tour. We were overwhelmed by the history, architecture, art, people, food and wine. It was astounding to see the birth and development of our Western Civilization.
Your planning, knowledge, professionalism, and personal concern were beyond reproach. It was truly a trip of a lifetime — thanks to you."

Paul L (Auburn, CA)

"We are so grateful for your help, we would have been lost if we tried to visit that many cities on our own. You made the entire trip a breeze. THANKS!"

Steve A (Houston, TX)

"Well we made it back all in one piece and we all agree that this was the best vacation ever. Your ears had to be burning (with praise) as we over and over said, “Just when you think it can’t get any better…. It does!”  The four cities (areas) visited made it seem like four separate vacations. The food, the wine, the people, the culture and all of the adventures were excellent. Thank you again for setting it all up for us. I’m sure we will call upon you in the future and we will continue to recommend you to all who are planning a trip."

John P (Eugene, OR)

"We wish to express our sincere thanks for imparting your invaluable expertise and knowledge of France. We greatly appreciated all of your driving, patience with us, and assistance with luggage. Bryan, you created memories to last a life time! Thank you again, and au revoir until the next trip."

Nona S (Fresno, CA)

"The information you provided was fantastic, up-to-date and so very helpful. We kept your little booklet with us and referred to it often. You are a rock star, and you can never stop helping us, because we don't know what we would do without you. Just knowing that we had your input enabled us to travel without worries. Especially with the train tickets, we knew they were all accurate and had no hesitation with any of it. Thank you, thank you! It was truly a memorable trip."

Alison J (Novato, CA)

Hand Crafted Travel LLC started out as Bon Voyage! Travel Books and Maps in Fresno, California. Building on a love of travel, and his own experiences living overseas, owner Bryan Smith opened his small travel specialty store in 1992 – chucking a sure-but-boring future in the corporate world for adventure and insecurity as an entrepreneur.

Initially Bon Voyage! was just a retail store, providing travel guidebooks, maps, luggage, and other essentials to travelers. Bryan quickly developed a local reputation as the European travel expert, someone who had actually been there…done that. Questions from customers about where to go, where to stay, and what to see soon blossomed into other travel services, including travel seminars, Eurail passes, and preparing independent trip plans for Europe-bound travelers. From there it was a short hop to actually organizing and leading his own tours.

By 1999 the travel services business had overtaken the retail store. On January 1, 2000 the tour business split off from the retail store as its own company – Hand Crafted Travel LLC. Late in 2003 Bryan decided to close the retail store, allowing him time to actually see his family. Bryan now spends over three months of each year leading his own small group tours in Europe, and the rest of the time at home in California, writing Hand Crafted Travel guidebooks and helping others plan their own adventures.

Bryan Smith

I was born and raised in California, but for most of my life I’ve been hooked on Europe. In 1981 I made my first trip to Europe with a group of my fellow high school students. Initially I was just like every other tourist: wide-eyed with wonder, confused by cultural differences, and trying to understand how a cup of coffee in Italy could cost 10,000 lire. In 1983 I returned to Europe as an exchange student, living with a German family for more than a year. Eventually I decided that travel was going to be my life – I just had to figure out how to get other people to pay for it.

Over the years my role has changed as I've gone from tourist to tour guide. I love teaching travelers about the art and history of the places they are visiting, and enjoy the wonder of seeing sights again (…and again and again…), each time as if for the first time, through the eyes of my tour group. Thankfully Italy has switched from the lira to the Euro, and I no longer have to deal with all those zeros (but I miss being a billionaire).

I speak fluent German, decent French and Italian, and enough Spanish to get into trouble. I can successfully order a beer and find the bathroom, usually in that order, in seven languages.

I also have a strong interest in the food, wine, art, and history of Europe. While I don’t have any formal training as an art historian, I have spent over a quarter of a century satisfying my own rampant curiosity, and I've learned a few things along the way.

Friends in Europe joke that I know their countries better than they do. Only it's no joke, I really do. After 35 years of living and traveling in Europe, there are very few places I haven’t been – from Ireland to Poland, from Scotland to Sicily, and everywhere in between.

If you are planning a trip to Europe, either on your own or as part of a guided tour, I'd be happy to help you have the best experience possible.


Contact

Hand Crafted Travel LLC
5730 N 1st Street
Ste 105 PMB 145
Fresno CA 93710
Tel: +1 559 447 8441
E-mail
CST #2094789-40

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