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Flash-Packing through Europe

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Exactly one generation ago, I was giving talks all over town for free to let people dreaming about European travel know how to travel smart...and to talk up my guidebooks and tours. Today, my son Andy is doing much the same thing.

For 20 years we took Andy to Europe every year for a family vacation and to break up the time I was away from the family while working. I didn't think Andy was paying attention. Now, just a few years out of Notre Dame, Andy is essentially living in Europe and running his own tour program (and I'm keeping a wary eye on what could become a formidable competitor).

Actually, as his dad, I am really proud of what Andy's doing as he teaches college kids how to get the most travel experience out of their foreign-study semesters abroad. Andy spends the early part of each semester on a blitz tour of European campuses that host Americans, giving his student travel talks to new arrivals. School administrators welcome Andy onto their campuses because they understand that there's a huge educational potential in their students taking full advantage of the three-day weekends (there's no class on Fridays) by traveling--and Andy can teach them how. With discount airlines these days, a cheap, three-day weekend anywhere in Europe is simply a matter of going online and booking a discount flight and a youth hostel.

Of course, like me, Andy's teaching has an ulterior motive--to let potential tour members know about the tours he offers: three-day "Weekend Student Adventures" to cities like Barcelona, Budapest, Paris, Rome, and Krakow (for around $250 each). Andy and his band of student guides have enriched the study-abroad experiences of literally thousands of American students who have signed up on his WSA tours.

If I may be a proud dad, check out this video clip of my son teaching at a campus in London.