Jeff Gayduk

Jeff Gayduk

Baseball players have spring training. Farmers plant crops. Birds build nests. Expectant mothers paint bedrooms bright colors. Everybody has their “pre-season,” including tour planners.

Many of you, I suppose, are constantly filing ideas, scouting new trips and saving random emails that fly into your inbox. But this time of year, things start to intensify.

While both feet are firmly planted in 2013, you start sneaking a peak into 2014’s calendar. If you’re doing international trips, you probably already have those big items reserved for next year. But for domestic trips, that time is now. And there’s still time to put plenty of new ideas to work. That’s the purpose of this edition.

The 6th annual Group Itinerary Planning Guide from Leisure Group Travel features over three dozen sample itineraries, brought to you by some of North America’s leading group travel destinations. It’s your chance to cherry-pick new tours, add a day to an existing itinerary or revamp something that’s grown stale over time.

A lot of hard work goes into putting itineraries together, so use this guide to your advantage in identifying “hot” destinations that will appeal to your travelers. Also in this edition, we provide  planning advice and some robust destination features – see this month’s cover feature on Alberta, along with enticing articles on hometown heroes in Iowa, a tale of two Washingtons – DC and Seattle, plus the scenic beauty of West Virginia and Montana. We also have a run on N destinations – North Dakota’s oil boom rocketing tourism, New Zealand and North Carolina.

At the same time we are rolling out this print edition, we are adding trips daily to our latest web property, If you haven’t been to this site lately, you’ll see an entirely new look and some neat features as well. There’s an interactive Google map smack dab in the middle of the home page where itineraries are pinned by location. Just below, you can filter your choices by theme (like adventure, art, culinary) or market (religious, student, girlfriends). Once you open up an itinerary page, there are oversized photos that illustrate key attractions, easy links to contact suppliers and a neat little PDF button that turns each itinerary to a handy little PDF document that can be saved on your computer or printed out.

If I were a public official, I would declare June as National Itinerary Planning Month. Since I’m a publisher, I’ll wish you happy trails ahead – I’m glad we can help guide your journey.

Happy Travels,

Jeff Gayduk, Publisher