Do It Yourself FAQs !

General Questions
Books are a wealth of information but they’re 250 pages long! By chapter 5 you’ve gone from excited, to feeling a little “deer in the headlights”. Right? My report gives you all the different pieces you need– lodging, transportation, day adventures, guides– but in about 15 concise bulleted pages! It’s a snap to take my report, consider the select choices I present, and follow the clear links to make your reservations. We call it plug-and-play!
It’s sometimes rustic, often luxurious, but always unique! There are NO Marriotts here! Instead, there’re cave hotels and castles, lighthouses and treehouses, and all kinds of boats – houseboats, gulets, barges and dahaybiehs. You might stay in an historic guesthouse or a private cabins, sleeper trains and seaside villas, and private apartments too- even homestays, like with a Quechuan village high in the Andes. Some are 2*. Other’s 5*. So there’s something for every budget. We help with AirBnB stays too.
I include ALL my favorites that, in my opinion, reveal what’s most special in an area– truffle hunting in Umbria with a farmer and his dog, a morning with a lobsterman in Maine, bike riding through hidden gardens of Key West, meeting the master glassblowers of Venice, driving a dogsled through the snowy Vermont woods, or hiking with my waterfall guru around Maui. Or what about this — meeting my lobster diver in Belize for a day that will make you feel like Robinson Crusoe!

You mean London’s Eye or Rome’s Colosseum?

I’ll show you how to pre-purchase timed-entry tickets so you can skip the lines! Want to see the Grand Canyon- ride the train there then sleep in a cabin on the rim? Need to figure out the fastest way to get from Charles de Gaulle airport to the Seine? I can help you negotiate mainstream travel, too!

And sometimes the most fun is seeing a typical site in an a-typical way, like boating around Capri in an old-fashioned gozzo boat!

My reports suggest a broad range– from special treats, like hot air ballooning over Tuscany or a privately guided day into bear country, …to inexpensive stuff like audio-tours to see David at the Florence Accademia and small-group cooking classes in Morocco…to even free stuff like a FreeOnFoot tours of NYC. You’re sure to find options, no matter what your budget is. And most of my clients? They like to do a little of both – save on some things and splurge on others

I’m a Foodie too! My motto is “if it doesn’t walk off my plate, I eat it! Not only do I love to eat (and cook!) but I also believe passionately in the cultural value of food! All reports include suggestions to my favorite restaurants- some are swanky rooftop dining rooms, others are pub rooms from the 1600’s or 1-room trattorias– one place i know has just a single table! I also offer dinner parties in the home of a local! There’s one program with the “Cesarines” of Italy, and another one called Meeting The French in Paris. With Rare Finds Travel, you can follow local Farmers’ Markets from Cusco to Seward …join organized restaurant “crawls” from Rome to San Francisco …enjoy street food from Istanbul to Saigon …take a cooking classes! There’s a tiny school in the mountains of Thailand, a community program in Cape Town, a tortolloni Class in a Tuscan kitchen, and a private woman in Fez. Did I say I love food?!

Just check out my Instagram page – swimming with sea lions, a day in the grizzly outback! And what about those giant 22’manta rays in Hawaii?!
There’s a board on Bears, Awed By The Claws!, and another on Nature from the Road!

One client who traveled to London compared her trip planned by RFTD to the offerings in the Rick Steves’ guidebook. She said “8 or the 10 things that we did with Rare Finds were not even in the Rick Steves book”. Yes, it’s true. Rare Finds digs deeper and shares truly unique lodges and activities. And one more big difference? RFTD accepts no advertises or endorsements who “buy” our favor. We promote lodges or guides simply because we love them and the superior experience that we had with them.
YES! Are you wondering if you need 1 or 3 nights in Cinque Terre… If its worth stopping in Quito for just a single overnight… Why it takes 4 hours to drive the 40-mile Hana Highway… Or if there’s enough to do on Eastsr Island to justify a 5-night’ stay? I understand that timing is a confusing issue for DIY travel planners, but I take that worry out of the equation! I include suggested itineraries in every report at no extra charge!
YES I have! When you choose one of my suggestions, you can rest easy, knowing that I have explored with this guide, ridden on this vaporetto, kneaded dough in this kitchen, slept at this fondouk, and trusted this outfitter to take care of me out in the Alaskan Bush!
For hotels, I’ll give you the innkeepers name and email, and sometimes even her personal cell phone number. For a guide, I’ll give you his credentials, prices, email and phone info, and even testimonials from previous clients who have used him. For tours, I’ll give you the outfitter’s website, email, and usually the name of a person to help you.
Wonder what’s the best time of year to go to a certain place? DON’T go to Thailand in monsoon season…. DO go to Belize in lobster season in Belize Have questions about money, from tipping guidelines to where to get the most efficient money exchange? Would you like recommendations for books to read and movies to watch to get you psyched for this trip? It’s ALL Included, NO EXTRA CHARGE!
You can always upgrade to the next level if you decide you’d like more support. At Rare Finds Travel Design, I offer hourly consult ($125/hour with a 3 hour minimum) as well as full custom travel design. So if you start with the DIY Guide and decide you’d like more support or have more customized requests, you’ll get a full credit for the price of your original report, to apply to your upgraded service!
Just email your request to me: I continue to create new reports all the time and would be happy to accommodate your request.
DIY Guides are available for immediate download.
You can use any major credit card to pay via our secure online account.
Here are a couple of testimonials from past clients: Renee, from Manalapan, NJ, wrote: “The information that you gathered for me in a few weeks would have taken me months of research! You have truly taken travel consulting to a new higher level” Barbara, from Princeton, NJ, wrote: “The day at the quarry – not found in ANY guidebook!” Crystal, from San Diego, CA, wrote: ”The most helpful thing was giving us our options and helping us narrow things down… we were overwhelmed with options when we started looking and it was helpful to have someone with experience giving us guidance” To read more, go here.
How about a worry-free, all-the-risk-is-on-me 100% Guarantee? We have thrown all our knowledge, experience, and love into these guides. We are so confident that they will be the perfect solution to your planning problem, that we offer a full refund within 7 days of purchase if you are not 100% happy.
Try a free 20-min session with Melanie. You can ask questions about these reports, learn about my unique travel philosophy at RFTD, or just talk about your dream trip. Appointments are easy – we can meet by phone or skype, and even in person if you’re near central NJ. Grab your appointment here!