How It Works

What can I expect on an Explore Up Close trip?

Our travel style is characterized by backroads exploration, boutique lodging, audiences with local experts, private site visits, and a focus on discovering the local.

Learn more about our immersive travel experience here!

Who travels with Explore Up Close?
Explore Up Close is a natural fit for curious and adventurous travelers, and for organizations – located anywhere – that seek a deeply engaging travel experience. 

Though we believe age is just a number, our signature small group trips are designed for adults! Our typical traveler is 55+. The majority of our clients are active retirees, who are looking for an immersive travel experience that melds a high standard of comfort with the warmth and fun of small group travel.

We also specialize in guided educational travel for all ages: private organizations, universities, and schools. Learn more about our private trips here!

Where does an Explore Up Close trip begin?
For our Southeastern trips, your trip may begin at your front door!  Due to the small group size of our trips, we are often able to arrange to pick you up from your home, or from another convenient meeting place, if you live in Greenville or Spartanburg, South Carolina, or in Asheville, North Carolina. This service ultimately depends on our group size and destination. If you have any questions, please contact us!

Not a western North Carolina or South Carolina Upstate local? Not a problem! We are always happy to assist you in planning an overnight stay before our trip departure, and we will then pick you up from your hotel on the morning of our trip.

For travel to other parts of the United States or abroad, our group will convene at our destination airport, and begin our adventure together! For more information about airfare and flights, please see below.

For private trips, we will customize group departure plans according to your preference.


Does Explore Up Close book my flight?

While we handle group airfare for private groups upon request, airfare is not included in our small group trips. We find that this allows our travelers more flexibility, by allowing the option to use points or select their preferred airline.

After you’ve registered for a trip, Explore Up Close will provide a recommended flight itinerary for your consideration, which is intended as a helpful suggestion. We do encourage travelers to choose airfare depending on their personal preferences, as some travelers may prefer to travel independently and meet at our destination, or may wish to extend their travels at the beginning or end of the trip.

We can also gladly connect you with our travel agent, who is available to assist you with booking flights and trip insurance.

Please note, all trip participants should wait for confirmation from Explore Up Close that your trip has the minimum sign-up required for travel before purchasing airline tickets, trip insurance, or making any other non-refundable travel plans. 

What about trip insurance?

Trip insurance safeguards your travel investment, your belongings, and most importantly, you. Though trip insurance is optional, we strongly encourage travelers to purchase trip insurance in the event you have to cancel or leave a trip for any reason. Please note, all trip participants should wait for confirmation from Explore Up Close that the trip has the minimum sign-up required to be a “go” before purchasing travel insurance. Please confirm with Explore Up Close before making any additional travel arrangements. 

Once you have received confirmation from Explore Up Close, we recommend contacting a travel insurance provider directly to request a quote and compare pricing and features. You can find other providers that may fit your needs at, or we can gladly connect you with our travel agent.

I am a solo traveler, is it possible to share a room with another traveler of my gender?

Yes!  If another solo traveler is interested in sharing a room, we are happy to connect you with them. When completing your trip registration, please make a note of this preference, or contact us directly to inquire about this possibility.