The Explore Up Close Travel Experience

We're passionate about great small group travel...and we think you will be, too. 

We believe that several elements are key in creating our small group travel experience. High on the list: our friendly, knowledgeable guides; our relaxed pace and convivial travel atmosphere; intriguing and inspiring site visits; audiences with local experts; exellent dining and lodging; and discovery of the special stories and culture that make a place tick. 

Our Travel Style

Explore Up Close is more than just our name - it's our travel style. It means we like taking the backroads, discovering what's around the next bend, and immersing ourselves in local culture. It means we love exploring places - and meeting people - with stories to tell.

Our trips always strive to feature the local . . . the cuisine, inns, cultural offerings, natural features, and people that define a given place.

Most importantly, we value creating a safe and comfortable travel experience that will become wonderful, lasting memories for each traveler.

Distinctive elements of our travel style:

The Inns have it.  Many of our trips feature boutique lodging that are a trip highlight for our travelers – they are often full of character and history, and located in places of special beauty. We also find that family-owned inns and boutique hotels feature a special level of hospitality between our hosts and our travelers.  Breakfast and afternoon tea are often social events; exploring a hotel’s lovely grounds, relaxing in its cozy spaces, and sharing conversations with our innkeepers give us a sense of home in a new place.

Meet the locals. Our intentional, relaxed travel pace brings us face to face with “friendly natives” along the way.  From planned visits with local experts – historians, artisans, farmers, and naturalists . . . to casual encounters, the human side of our adventures enriches our experience. 

Backroads Bliss. The backroads are our window into the world of people and nature; they let us “see how people live.”  From Kentucky horse farms and Old Florida estates to farming crossroads and splendid rural drives, we encounter the diversity of place.  These smaller roads hold a great proportion of interesting stories and palpable connections to the past and to the natural world.  We look forward to the fun of discovering what lies around the next curve, and there’s plenty of serendipity to be found along the way.

The right pace.  Travel should be invigorating and refreshing, not exhausting.  We try to plan for a daily mix of organized group activities and touring; with time to relax and recharge, or explore on your own.  Longer trips typically feature multi-night stays in each hotel.  This adds to our sense of “getting to know” a place, and allows our travelers to relax as we go. .

A safe, welcoming travel experience.  The safety and comfort of our travelers is always our top priority. We will always try to accommodate the needs of our travelers, and our experienced team is prepared to assist to you however possible. Our travelers find that our small group experience offers plenty of flexibility to accomodate your preferred activity and comfort levels. 

Comfortable group transportation:  Our small group trips include comfortable travel by mini-van or high-roofed van (in the U.S.); and by 9-passenger mini-bus when abroad. We find that smaller vehicles allow us to travel where the buses and the crowds don’t go - a vital part of our small group experience.  




(864) 384 - 6947

Mailing Address

Explore Up Close
613 Poplar Street
Spartanburg, SC 29302