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Andrea Szyper's blog

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From the Vault: Untours pics from the 70s - early 90s

on Tue, 08/18/2015 - 11:14
untours throwback pictures

In celebration of our 40th anniversary, we've busted out the old photo albums and are scanning our hearts out to bring you some of our favorite photo memories from the early days here at Untours. Take a peek at some of the gems we've found in the backs of our closets and file cabinets. It is fun the think back to simpler times for travel, business, and the world.

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40th Anniversary Memories: 20 pivotal moments in the making of Untours

on Tue, 08/18/2015 - 10:52
2002 Untours staff photo

Untours has always been a mom and pop shop, and we pride ourselves on our by-the-seat-of-our-pants successes over the years. It is a proud part of our founder Hal Taussig's approach to life, travel, and business. As we've tightened up our operations and gone professional, we have never lost our sense of wonder or fun.

As the author of this post, I take full blame and responsibility for all that is included, omitted, or forgotten in this unofficial, off-the-cuff, incomplete, tongue-in-cheek history of a fun but complex family business. So with that caveat, here are some of our best and proudest moments at Untours, in rough chronological order.

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Remembering Norma Taussig (1923-2015)

on Thu, 07/23/2015 - 12:14
Norma Taussig, Untours co-founder

It is with great sadness that we report our co-founder, Norma Lee Taussig (Black) has passed away. She died July 22, 2015. She was 92.

Norma helped found Untours with her husband Hal 40 years ago, and they blazed a trail as pioneers in the industry with their apartment-based, cultural immersion travel. Norma also helped found the Untours Foundation, which invests company profits in the community, providing low-interest loans to help create jobs and opportunities in economically challenged communities abroad and at home.

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The Ring of Kerry, Made More Fun and Less Scary

on Mon, 07/20/2015 - 14:28
Driving the Ring of Kerry on an Ireland Untour

The Ring of Kerry drive on the Iveragh Peninsula is one of the best known scenic drives in Ireland, if not the world. And for good reason! The views it offers--of the sea, rugged mountains, cliffs, lakes and farmlands--will stay with you for a lifetime.

So it only stands to reason that it is a popular drive. That means traffic and tour buses. Factor in driving on the left, narrow roads, and your understandable desire to gape at each vista, and you can have a stressful driving situation. Here are some ideas to help you get the most out of your visit to the Ring of Kerry.

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7 Ways to Beat the Post-Vacation Blues

on Fri, 07/17/2015 - 08:31
Sketched memories of a European vacation

It is never easy to return home from a vacation, at least not when you've had a good trip! Here's a little wisdom to help you keep your post-travel blues at bay, from tips for self care to ideas that will help you share your experience and keep that buzz going.

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Keep Left! Tips for driving on the other side

on Wed, 07/15/2015 - 10:53
Keep Left! Driving in Ireland

Repeat after me: Keep left. Good. Now a few more words about driving on the left side of the road. Travelers to Ireland and the UK may dread the idea as they plan their vacations, but it doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. After all, the driver side of the car is reversed as well. And if you ease into it, it will come more naturally than you fear. As people return from Ireland, the consensus around here is that it wasn't really that hard. Here are some tips to help you acclimate and stay safe on your left-driving vacation.

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Amsterdam or Bust: Shake the chill with the Winter Light Festival!

on Thu, 06/04/2015 - 18:23
Amsterdam, Holland on the Dutch Untour

Holland is magical year round, but it may well be at its best in the short, chilly days of winter. No culture on earth does cozy quite like the Dutch, from the inviting interiors you'll glimpse through open curtains to the warmth of candle-lit brown cafes. The Dutch bundle up and bike in the snow. The canals glow in the moonlight. And Christmas markets light up the evenings in December.

Best of all, Amsterdam is a paradise in the off season. Just a 30-minute train ride from the Dutch Untour homebase of Leiden, you'll find Amsterdam even more enticing in the off season. This year the Amsterdam Light Festival will light up Amsterdam's town squares and canals with art installations that glow. It's the perfect merging of Dutch art, design and innovation! What a spectacle. Check out this video for more!

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Your Italian Bucket List: See These 12 Places Before You Die

on Tue, 06/02/2015 - 21:27
Montalcino on the Tuscany Untour

So much to see and do in Italy. Of course you will likely start with Venice, Florence and Rome, what we knowlingly call The Big Three. (Wink. Nudge.) You may have gotten to Tuscany or the Amalfi Coast. If you're lucky (and/or savvy), you've dug more deeply into these places. Or you've ventured a little further afield. Check out our Italian Bucket List, places you really shouldn't miss. Some are little towns that might not make the main itinerary. Some are special neighborhoods in our favorite popular cities. Others are big cities in their own right, but ones that tourists tent to overlook. Either way, we hope there are some wonderful places on our list that you might not have considered or even heard of.

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6 Old School "Devices" You'll Need for Europe

on Tue, 05/19/2015 - 09:17
Old school devices for your Untour vacation in Europe

Internet is like oxygen for many of us, it is that essential and taken for granted. But when you travel to Europe, a lot of things leave your control. Internet can be spotty. The tools we take for granted, like GPS and e-pay, can fail us. While new technology is an indispensable tool for today's traveler, we encourage you to pack some common sense, hone some legacy skills, and employ some old school wisdom when you travel abroad. Here are six low-tech tools you should be able to access and understand for your travel!

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Life Hack: 10 Tips to Make Your Life Like a European Vacation

on Fri, 05/15/2015 - 09:16

Stuck at home this summer? Yearning for the rich life of Europe? A little of that joie de vivre you felt last year in Paris or the dolce vita of past vacations in Italy? Upgrade your staycation or day-to-day life with these simple life hacks. 

Shop small. Shop local. Buy fresh bread at the bakery. Visit the little neighborhood hardware store. Go to a local butcher or cheese shop. See if you can avoid malls and big box stores for a whole week.

Crowd source info on your own town. Hit TripAdvisor, UrbanSpoon and all the others.