OUR STORY

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Handcrafting trips of a lifetime.

That’s what motivates me and our team — in our La Jolla HQ and around the world — every day. We fundamentally believe that every guest on every departure of every trip should have a trip of a lifetime. And if you’ve traveled with us 15 times, then lucky you… you’ve had 15 trips of a lifetime.

It was a love of all things travel that motivated me to stow my banker’s briefcase and exchange it for a carry-on bag. But that wasn’t the original plan. The career path was finance, right up through the MBA from Northwestern. But I had no heart for banking. My passion is in connecting with people of different cultures, and immersing myself and others in a region—while still enjoying the creature comforts. It drove me to start Classic Journeys when we saw an unserved niche—cultural walking adventures.

From the first year’s offerings of six regions in three countries in 1995, we now offer more than 90 itineraries in 42 countries on six continents. One style of travel has grown to seven—culture, walking, culinary, family, multisport, alumni and incentive. And set departures have been complimented by all manner of private and custom trips—all the while following that one single guiding principal—handcrafting trips of a lifetime.

Along the way, we realized that we had a knack for helping fellow travelers explore iconic places in new, better or more immersive ways. As an example, we noticed that every visitor to the Galapagos from Darwin on The Beagle explored on a ship. But not everyone wants to be or can be on a ship for a week. So we helped to pioneer island-based travel there. Since 1987, when I met my mother-in-law, I heard her stories of fantastic long weekends in Cuba. So in 2003, we began working with the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department to secure a license to legally bring Americans to Cuba. Ten years later, we were among the first companies to receive a license. I’ve made innumerable trips to the island since and we are now considered one of the foremost experts of cultural and family programs in Cuba. You’d find similar stories for every one of our other trip regions.

We’ve been honored and humbled that others have seen the merit in what we do. Among other awards, our company has been named a World’s Best Tour Operator by Travel + Leisure magazine 11 years in a row and counting. Personally, it’s meant that our sons, Jack and Matthew, now both in university, have explored 31 and 30 countries, respectively.

At the end of the day, our team is fortunate to play the role of well-connected friend, linking our guests with our friends around the world… amazing guides, artisans, winemakers, hoteliers, restauranteurs, naturalists, and too many others to list here. I invite you to join us to explore the world in Classic Journeys style. Make this the year you enjoy a handcrafted trip of a lifetime.

Best regards,

Edward Piegza, Founder & President

Edward Piegza, Founder & President, Classic Journeys

Our Milestones

  • Multi-adventure trips make their zip-lining, camel-riding, whitewater-rafting, glacier-hiking debut.

  • NatGeo Traveler calls our Cuba trips one of their “50 Tours of a Lifetime”.

  • Classic Journeys named World’s Best Tour Operator in the Travel + Leisure readers’ poll.

  • The Treasury Department grants us one of the first license s to legally bring Americans to Cuba.

  • Saveur Magazine’s expert panel names Classic Journeys the #1 culinary trips.

  • Darwin evolved! Skipping the ship becomes possible when we create island-based trips in the Galápagos.

  • Company co-founder, Susan Piegza, leads our program to help women and children in third world countries.

  • National Geographic Adventure names us one of the “Best Outfitters on Earth”.

  • Travel + Leisure names Classic Journeys one of the World’s Best Tour Operators, leading to an unbroken string that continues to this day.

  • Bespoke private and custom departures now count for 40% of all trips.

  • Family trips debut and hit home with travelers ages 8, 18, 48 and 80.

  • “Rediscover the New World” is the rallying cry as we introduce trips in the US and Canada.

  • A casual cooking instruction in a friend’s kitchen in Provence inspires us to create culinary trips focusing on the food and wine of our regions.

  • With a dream of showing travelers a more immersive tour experience, Edward places an order with Gateway and converts his garage into HQ1. Spotted boxes that look like cows litter the office.

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