The Power of Knowledge–Our Gift to You!

By Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & Europe River Cruise Expert

Knowledge is critical for successful travel.  A great trip requires knowledge of the destinations, great places to stay, awesome food and drink and cultural experiences.

We must always keep learning more about travel opportunities to help you get the best available trip, so we don’t miss anything that could make your trip the best possible.  I usually begin each day by reading an hour or so about travel.  The travel scene is constantly changing and requires us to work hard to stay at the forefront of our industry.

So, let’s talk about how our knowledge of where you want to go can enhance your travels.

What is Knowledge?

Knowledge is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as follows:  Facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

While I’m no expert in the study of knowledge, I do think there are 3 types of knowledge that are important to successful trips.  They are objective knowledge, subjective knowledge and experience knowledge.

An explanation of the 3 types of Travel Knowledge

Objective knowledge is the facts that we can observe and document.  A great example of this is there are iconic sights in Paris such as the Louvre—you can see the building and its contents. 

Louve 2010 1403 (74)
Courtyard of the Louvre

Subjective knowledge is the feelings and experiences that come from visiting a place or event.  Using the Louvre example, it is the emotion of how you feel when you visit this art museum—are you thrilled with the art, or are not interest or is it somewhere in between? 

Winged Victory
Winged Victory–how does it make you feel?

Experience knowledge is the result of how prior knowledge effects your perception of a place.  Using the Louvre example, if it was overly crowded or almost deserted, effects your perception of the experience. 

Entrance to the Lourve
Entrance to the Lourve–the crowds certainly change the experience!

How the 3 Types of Knowledge Can Change Your Trip

On almost every trip we plan, we have to balance all three types of knowledge to get the best type of trip for you.  Most folks, even if they have studied a destination, will not make a travel decision based only on objective data.  While this is generally a good thing, sometimes the subjective or emotional part of travel causes folks to miss great trip opportunities due to not being able to stretch their personal boundaries.  Let me explain—fear of a bad experience or untrue facts often scare folks away from an event, place or country.  Now there are some real threats out there that should be avoided, but most fears are concerns are overblown. 

I think that is where we come in.  I like to say that one of our jobs is to “save you from yourselves.”  That means we try and find the right balance—eliminate or reduce fears, keep you from trying to do too much or too little.  And, perhaps most important, make sure you don’t miss a chance to see something you didn’t even know existed or was possible.  Sure is a bummer to miss the sold out event or cabin or cruise by not acting fast enough!

Some Examples of How our Experience Knowledge Enhances Your Trip

Just this week, two phone calls with clients made me realize how important our knowledge about destinations and ports are.  First, I listened on speaker phone as Anne told a client about the ins and outs of London.  Without any notes or references, she explained transportation operations, and provided theater hints.  I guess when you study this information all the time and have experienced first-hand London as many times as we have, it wasn’t such a big deal—except it was!  She articulate, funny and precise—as I listened, I realized she was just the right person to help our client.  Quite impressive, my dear!

London Black Cab and Bellman
London Black Cab and Bellman–one of the options Anne explained

The other experience was helping a client on a 12 night Mediterranean cruise.  I spoke for about 40 minutes to the client, explaining the ports of call, evaluating the various cruise line tours and offering advice.  Again, no notes, just an in-depth understanding of the sights.  This was no novice client—she had been to some of these sights and had done her homework.  The point is, we just know our facts and destinations.  As I told her, I believe she had selected the best possible tours based on her family’s desires and the offerings of the cruise line.  Affirmation is important—a great guide book or website may have the facts but they can never explain in-depth or answer questions (not even chat rooms).  But it takes folks like us to deep dive into the trip to make it more successful.

The Walled City of Kotor
The Walled City of Kotor–we talked about what to see here!

Our Knowledge Base

There is a lot to learn about travel.  Not only destinations, but also the vendors.  Again, it comes down to who has the most knowledge—does your travel advisor know enough from experience, training and personal study?  The industry is changing so rapidly—new ships, new itineraries, and new vendors are constantly changing the travel scene.

We have made some great industry contacts and use these strategic partnerships benefit you. We have written 50 guides to the major cities of Europe.  We have planned dozens of trips.  Precise, accurate advice about how to improve your trip is priceless and always results in better trips—more value for your money!

I also think it is so important to have first-hand experience.  14 river cruise and over 21 ocean cruises on various lines helps us explain what you will experience on your cruise.  Personally traveling to around 81 countries or so makes the world just a tad smaller and we often can relate from personal experience what a place is really like.  Since I have been traveling to Europe since 1971 and we try to go to Europe at least twice a year for the last 20 years, it would be hard to find a travel advisor with as much first-hand experience as we have.

Yes, knowledge is power and we use ours to benefit you!

My Final Thoughts

I think we have unique qualifications as travel advisors and these qualifications truly make us experts.  Our knowledge base is excellent and we constantly are learning and experiencing more.  Time during travel is precious.  Trip planning is not easy.  Time and money issues are complex—we all want the best at the least possible price.  We help you solve those complex issues, saving you hassles, time and worry.  We are travel experts, ocean and river cruise experts, and Europe destination experts.  We have first-hand knowledge of almost anywhere you want to visit in Europe.  We know our products and the vendors who sell them to you.  We have designed special tours for dozens of clients, led several and will continue to find just the right vacation that will exceed your expectations.

When you are spending your hard earned money for a vacation, you want an advisor who can match you with the right trip.  You want someone who will understand your expectations and fuel your anticipation (or excitement) to get you the best possible trip experience.

Whatever your Dream Destinations are, we are here to help you get the best possible vacation based on what is important to you!  We will provide you high quality, expertly planned travel.  Please give me a call 713-397-0188 (Hank) or email me at  We want to help you:  Savor life…make memories…Visit Dream Destinations!  Your journey begins here!

Hank Schrader
Hank Schrader

HANK is a certified Western European Destination Specialist (DS) who has been traveling to Europe for 45 years.  He is also an Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC), conferred by the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA).  This recognized expert in cruise and leisure travel is a retired Army Officer, and taught World Geography for 8 years.  He is a `71 graduate of West Point and has earned 2 master’s degrees.   His other Certifications:

  • AmaWaterways River Cruise Specialist
  • Viking River Cruise Specialist
  • Scenic River Cruise Specialist
  • Emerald Waterways  Specialist
  • Avalon Waterways Specialist
  • Brit Agent

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