By Cassie Hurwitz
Wanderlust never ceases and even in the go-go digital age, you can relax sooner if you put your itinerary in someone else’s knowledgeable hands. With guided tours, experts curate a trip that will give you the time of your life—without the logistics headaches. Several local companies and organizations offer guided tours of all kinds, from Milwaukee day trips to two-week trips abroad. Wherever the travel bug is telling you to go, Wisconsin provides a launching pad.
For a short but satisfying outing, VanGalder offers one-day tours to a number of fun nearby destinations, such as seeing the Cubs play at Wrigley Field or the Brewers at Miller Park. See the Lincoln Park Conservatory or the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago without having to navigate traffic. If you’re feeling spontaneous, take the mystery tour for an adventure to an unknown destination!
Another local option is Badger Bus Tours, which brings travelers on short excursions to both Wisconsin hotspots and farther afield, including the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin; Louisville, Kentucky; Memphis, Tennessee and St. Louis. According to Director of Product Kris Hoff, the company’s goal is to provide a unique experience, which usually means surrounding each trip with a specific theme. Beyond the Midwest, Hoff describes trips to the Big Apple and Alaska, as well as a new line of trips, Purely Wisconsin, which will focus on genuine local experiences.
With the Wisconsin Alumni Association, globe-trotters can hit Iceland, the Canadian Rockies, Scandinavia, along with nearly every other world destination. You don’t need to be a member of the WAA, but someone in your party should be—and membership is not limited solely to UW grads. Locals with Badger connections and lectures from UW faculty enrich the experience. “All of our tours do have an educational component built in,” says Amy Klus, director of alumni travel.
Oshkosh-headquartered group Fox World Travel pairs trips with a local radio host or TV personality. Cruise down the Danube with TV host John McGivern, visiting Prague, Budapest and various German and Austrian cities. Traverse Alaska with WTMJ host Rose Gray. Sail through Amsterdam and on the Rhine alongside Milwaukee Radio host Jeff Wagner. For an international adventure with hotels picked, tour guides arranged and transportation secured, all you have to do is sit back and relax.
Eau Claire-based company Holiday Vacations has also offered trips teamed up with radio personalities, such as Wisconsin Public Radio’s Zorba Paster in Italy. Their options include trips by train and extended stays in sunny destinations. Choose from half a dozen different ways to see Alaska, all with airfare included.
Between Midwest voyages and worldwide holidays, the Wisconsin guided tour community ensures that a vacation can be what it’s supposed to be—relaxing and rejuvenating.