WE ARE AND HOW WE GOT HERE
Ken Ostrand and Linda Klein Ostrand created International
Horizons (IH). Together they had more than three decades
in educating adult learners, through continuing education,
overseas studies and international education programs. They
combined Linda's 'real world' experience in running a variety
of companies with Ken's academic credentials -- a doctorate
in Ancient History and a former Fulbright scholar. Ken had
also run a major university's overseas travel program (and
has been asked by the Smithsonian program to lead trips for
them). The result is extensive, practical experience in travel-related
matters. Together, Linda and Ken combine the highest educational
quality with a fair price.
"Educational travel programs like
the Smithsonian's are wonderful," explains Linda, "but not everyone
can afford them. We want to make truly educational programs for
the traveler who really wants to learn something when they travel,
and not subject them to commercial groups who use 'educational'
titles without any real content substantiating it."
For more than a decade now, Ken and
Linda have followed this basic philosophical plan.
International Horizons offers educationally
oriented, moderately priced overseas trips for individuals and
educational institutions who want to learn more on their overseas
ventures than is commercially available. IH wants to excite and
inform people about the world around us in an educational and fun
WHAT'S DIFFERENT ABOUT IH?
Quality educational travel. Our trip
leaders only do trips in the areas of the world they truly know.
Our strengths are in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
We've been there before -- and amazingly, not all trip leaders
with other companies can say that! Our leaders have intimate knowledge
of the area, and the plans for each day's journey. Their experience
allows them to give an almost 'local' viewpoint, suggesting certain
restaurants or local shops for the first-time visitors. Our leaders
also have solid academic credentials, along with a passion for
their subject. This results in tours that are educational as well
Granted, our leaders don't know everything.
But because of their training, they do know the difference between
an educated guess and simply a made up answer that may not be accurate.
When the guide has answers to everything, be nervous!
We speak English fluently. Many educational
companies do not, and rely on foreign guides. This may or may not
be good: do you know their credentials? their English language
abilities? Many a trip is frustrating because you can not understand
the guide's English.
Obviously, it costs more to bring
our guides from the U.S., but you'll always know what you're getting
for a leader.
We keep our group size small. Most
companies will take as many participants as possible. That means
any attempt at educational quality can be easily lost. We cap our
groups at 26, period. We found that number to be small enough to
bind cohesively yet large enough to be cost-effective for the traveler.
One of our competitors brags, "Our trip size average is 14 people." However,
they also take as few as two for 'guaranteed departure.' Travelers
should realize 1) any company that can take just two people on
a trip is overcharging tremendously; and 2) three trips with no
participants and one with 56 works out to an 'average' group of
We create our own itineraries. Most
companies buy a travel package from an overseas provider, add their
own administrative and marketing components, and there's the trip.
At IH, we reverse the process. We set up our itinerary first. Then
we go to the various providers and get the costs. The result is
a unique, educationally sound venture. Sometimes it may cost a
bit more, but we think it's worth the extra cost to visit the Cairo
Museum twice, rather than see the 150,000 piece collection all
at one time. Similarly, we feel it's worth the extra time and money
to actually go inside the pyramids, rather than have a tired and
bored local guide recite 'facts' from a mile away, while you're
sitting on a bus. As the TV news often says, "It's your money."
Our hotels and meals are local. Of
course, we have standard amenities, (all rooms have a bathroom
and phone), but we prefer small hotels with local flavor, and we
don't think "Italian Night" on an Egyptian cruise is anything special
to brag about.
Our trips are textured. That means
on an IH trip, we see some archaeological sites, some famous ones,
some cultural ones all on the same trip. If you're looking for
'Birds of Western New Guinea' or 'Culinary Investigation of Sicily'
then we're not for you. But if you want an in-depth investigation
of the history, art, and modern living of a location, if you're
really interested in learning about all of it, then we may be what
AN INTERNATIONAL HORIZONS TRIP THE RIGHT ONE FOR YOU?
Before signing up for the next trip,
consider the following points. IH works hard to maintain quality
tours, and part of that effort is making certain that our trips
are well suited to your interests. You do not need to have any
particular level of education to enjoy an IH tour, just an active
mind and curiosity about the world around us.
- Emphasis on education. Our group leaders
are specialists in their respective fields and are enthusiastic
about sharing their knowledge.
- Texture. Our tours teach history, culture
and art while allowing you to experience the present. You'll
experience all aspects of life in that particular country.
- Mood. We design our tours to allow enough
time to let you enjoy the mood and flavor of each location.
- Lodgings. Our lodgings are carefully
chosen to represent quaint, native charm. All have the necessary
amenities, including private baths, but we do NOT stay in American-style
- Custom designed tours. Each trip is different
from year to year. Our group leaders plan each trip to create
a unique and informative experience. Through personal contacts
we can often offer private visits to sites not seen by commercial
- Group size. To maintain the quality of
our tours, group size is limited to 26 people.
- Again and again. Over 50% of our customers
become repeat travelers with IH.
If a tour with IH sounds like something you'd enjoy, please contact
us for more information. We'd be happy to forward to you itineraries
for future trips and answer any questions you may have.