Travel Expert Certification Program

We created the Travel Expert Certification Program to help travelers take better trips, informed by local expertise, customized to their needs. Our Certified Travel Experts (CTEs™) are destination experts who consistently deliver high quality custom trips.

We certify two levels of travel planners, Silver and Gold. 

A Silver Certification is for CTEs who meet our standards but may not have a long track record of successful trips. Because a Silver Certification is for a travel expert just starting their business, we bundle it with our Travel Expert Training Program in an Essentials Bundle to make sure they are set up to succeed. In the future we may offer the Silver Certification as a separate service, but for now we have found that starting travel planners appreciate the coaching and training they receive in the Essentials Bundle.

Silver Certification Tests:

Implementation Assessment: Is the business set up to provide custom trips for travelers, with a transparent fee model? Is their marketing consistent with the business? Do they use best practices contracts, trip policies, on-trip support, itinerary creation, and data handling?

Expertise Assessment: Are they experts in their destination? Have they traveled there extensively, with enough local knowledge to create detailed itineraries of activities custom-tailored to their customers? This is represented by far more than one or two trips to the location – typically our experts have lived there for years.

Business Practices Assessment: Do they run their business in a way that matches current “best practices” for reliable, trustworthy and safe businesses.

A Gold Certification is for CTEs who meet our standards and show they have been planning successful trips for a minimum of a year. It’s a balance of time in business vs. number of trips, but in every case they are proven experts who have planned many trips for many travelers with great, verified, results.

Gold Certification Tests:

All Silver Certification Assessents

Engagement Assessment: Have they been doing it for years? Do they have a track record of at least a year successful trips planned in the location? Can they share itineraries, details of the trips, customer reviews?

What does this mean to travelers?
When you see a Travel Beyond the Obvious certification badge next to a travel expert’s name anywhere on the web, you can be sure of this:


CTEs are real people. Our Silver and Gold assessments include over three hours of face-to-face videoconferencing. We’ve met every one of our CTEs personally.

CTEs are legit. We take a close look at how they do business, reviewing their business practices, web site and privacy policies for customer information. Our standard here is “If we were a traveler, would we want to do business with them?”

CTEs are experts. We’re talking months or years spent living in a destination, traveling, exploring, finding the best out-of-the-way sites as well as smart ways to do the big tourist items.

CTEs use their expertise for you. They craft a trip that fits to your needs, from solo wanderers to multi-generational reunions. They choose from a wide range of activities based on whether it fits your trip. They are typically fee-based, and don’t make money from commissions. This means they are not limited to offering you only those activities supported by a commission or affiliate network. Which means they can create the perfect trip for you!