My Beijing Olympic Preview Tour

I have just returned from a week long preview trip of Beijing for the upcoming Olympic Games. It was truly the best trip of my life – and trust me, I have been on a lot of trips. But Beijing is by far the most interesting place I’ve seen. I wanted to take a moment to write on our Sports Traveler Blog to let everyone know about some of the great sights that I saw as I previewed our tours for the upcoming Olympics in August.

Our onsite partners for this event are fantastic. Already, they have everything planned and are ready for our Sports Traveler clients to arrive. I previewed our tours to the Great Wall and I took a tour of the Forbidden City. I even took a Hutong Tour and had tea with an older Chinese couple in their home – something that I think everyone should make time to go do.

The scene in Beijing is something special. It’s modern and old world. Crowded yet you will find peaceful parks to sit and relax. The food is excellent. I have many restaurant selections that I will list on our site in the coming days. I’m not a fan of ‘Scary Chinese Food’, like the miscellaneous animal parts in bowl. Beijing has become so Western that I never had to worry about eating something scary. I had Spanish Tapas, Brazilian food, and Asian Fusion to name a few.  

That said I have to say my experience in Beijing was so great because I was part of a tour – I was never without access to an English speaking guide. This city is not one that an American can just show up and try to manage by themselves. Coming to Beijing really cemented in my mind the reason we have decided to sell the kind of tour we are offering for this year’s Olympics. You cannot fully enjoy this massive city solo. I met many American’s on the airplane ride home from Beijing that did not share in the same positive experiences that I had. The reason was because they were not on a tour during their stay in Beijing.Our tours allow our travelers the opportunity to navigate Beijing safely and with ease. English is not widely spoken in Beijing but because I was being guided through the city this was a novelty to me, not a detriment. If you have booked a Deluxe or Elite level tour with us you will find your experience to the be the same as mine. I really feel bad for the tourist’s that are attempting to take on this event by themselves and not be on a tour.

I also took a look at all the hotel properties that we have available for travelers to reserve. Many of them are brand new and are just now opening. All were excellent. I really liked the Courtyard by Marriott Beijing and the Novotel Peace Hotel for those looking to find a nice quality hotel at a good price. These hotels are close to Wangfujing Street – by the way, this place is going to be where it is at during the Games. Also nearby are the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. The hotel that blew me away was the Marco Polo Parkside. I can’t express how fantastic this hotel is. If you are a luxury traveler, this is where you must stay. The spa is the most unbelievable setting I have ever seen. Every detail is taken care of at this hotel. It’s also a great place to drop in and catch a nice bite to eat in between events because it’s within walking distance to the Olympic Green. You can actually see the National Stadium from most of the rooms.

It’s not too late to make reservations. Some newspapers are writing that we are in our last minute stages of booking this trip. It’s not so. We have airfare blocks still available for much cheaper than you can buy online plus we have plenty of availability at the best hotels in town – mostly American and western owned, clean and personally inspected by our group.

I am looking forward to returning to Beijing in August and meeting all of our clients that are traveling with us. I have a million stories and memories already from this preview trip. I invite you to join us and make your own memories in August.



Sports Traveler Featured in Wall Street Journal

Check out today’s Wall Street Journal Weekend Section about travel to the Beijing Olympics. Sports Traveler is featured in this article. This is the second time Sports Traveler has been featured in the Wall Street Journal for our travel packages and tour options for the Beijing Games. Thanks you once again to Candace Jackson and Loretta Chao the writers of this very informative article. In the article, find a detailed map describing the location of all the venues as well as some excellent photos of the many sights that travelers will be able to take in while at the Games.

Link to the article: Let the (Travel) Games Begin – Wall Street Journal – Feb. 9, 2008


Sports Traveler announces parternership with Korea Tourism Oraginization

Sports Traveler has recently created a parternership with the Korea Tourism Organization, to deliver some exciting trips to South Korea. These trips are offered in conjunction with 2008 Summer Games in China and they are offered either before or after the Summer Games. For more detail info on this trip, please visit the following link:

Sports Traveler Radio (STR) recently conducted a special interview with Brad Brennans of the Korea Tourism Organization about this Asian destination, the fun plans for travelers on this trip, and much more. It’s a very revealing interview that reveals a lot about one of the most interesting Asian travel spots. You can give feedback about this episode or any other STR episode by emailing the show :

Here is a link to listen that episode and other STR shows:

To find out more about the Korea Tourism Organization:

Final Four Preview….

Tomorrow night, can we be witnessing a preview of this year’s Final Four?  North Carolina vs. Duke.  This would be a great matchup in the Final Four.  If you think the fans will be loud tomorrow night in Chapel Hill, imagine what it would be like if they played in San Antonio for the National Championship.

I personally see North Carolina winning this one tomorrow.  Prediction……..UNC 86.  Duke 79.  I believe it will be close a game, but Roy Williams and company will take control at the end.

 From past experience, the Final Four is one of the most exciting weekends I have ever had.  Take it from me, it’s a great weekend to relax, take in the city, and watch exciting basketball.  AND it is not too early to start thinking about heading to San Antonio.  Here is my personal guide to the Final Four weekend.

·         Friday – Check in to the hotel.  EARLY!!  Hotel check in is at 3, but there is a good chance you can get in early.  The lobby at 3 in Atlanta & Indianapolis was crazy.  Get there early.  I recommend getting a nice dinner Friday night in San Antonio.  After dinner, take a walk down the river.  Bring your girl.  She will love it.

·         Saturday – Take a walk around San Antonio.  The first game will not start around 6:30, so you will have some time to look around.  If you want to buy Final Four souvenirs, buy them Saturday morning.  I have found that there is more merchandise in the stores away from the stadium. 

·         Sunday – The best day of the weekend.  The hold day is to yourself.  Brings the kids to Hoop City in the morning before the crowds get large.  Walk through San Antonio, and go see the Alamo.  A must see attraction.  It’s your day.  Enjoy it!!

·         Monday – Championship Day.  Tonight’s game will start around 8:30.  Get a nice lunch/dinner before the game.  I would recommend packing before you go to the game.  You will thank me in the morning.

Check out our Final Four Inventory.   Great tickets & packages are still available. If you have any questions about the Final Four, please call me at 888-654-7755.  I would love to talk to you about it.

Until next time,

Mike Maksym – Sales Team

Wow! Giants win and cap off great Super Bowl weekend!

What a win for the NY Giants. There is no doubt this is the biggest upset in Super Bowl History and quite possibly the best Super Bowl in recent history. Unbelievable! The roof was closed which made for a great atomsphere compared to my experience at the Super Bowl in Miami last year. Tom Petty rocked the house. University of Phoenix stadium doesn’t have a bad seat in the house.

Find your fellow Sports Travelers:
We have fans at: Chaperral Suites, Boulders Resort, Radisson Downtown, Arizona Grand Resort, Hilton Tapito Cliffs, Biltmore Resort, Hilton Garden Inn, Scottsdale Plaza, Hampton Inn, Courtyard Scottsdale, Doubletree Phoenix, and the lovely Marriott Buttes Resort.

Fast Sports Traveler Fan Facts:
68% of our traveler’s this year say they were New York Giants fans. This was up from 52% before the 4th quarter – just kidding.
The Sports Traveler that traveled the most to get here: The Messenger family all the way from London.

Sports Traveler Favorite Moments while not at the Game:
From last night’s Travolta Party to the Super Saturday Night in Tempe with the fireworks, the party never seemed to stop. Scottsdale hosted record crowds at Saturday’s FBR Open. Hope you got out to see Phil Mickelson and the rest.

Sports Traveler Favorite Dining: Bandera in Scottsdale – true they have a Bandera in Chicago and it’s already my favorite place back home but it was so nice to try the Arizona version. Cornbread is great. Downtown Scottsdale is like a modern wild west scene. A nice place to walk around in the evening too. Lots of fun!

The weather wasn’t that warm but it’s a blizzard tonight back home in Chicago so who can complain? Phoenix is still one of my favorite places to travel to. Great people, great food, and awesome scenery like no place on earth. If you get a chance before you leave, take a drive up to Camelback Mountain and get that one last photo of the area.



PS… we are already working on our Tampa programs for 2009. We will once again have Corporate Super Bowl Programs, Super Bowl Packages for Fans, Super Bowl Tickets and Super Bowl Hotel Rooms. Check out our 2009 Super Bowl Page for updates!

Live from New Orleans – BCS Championship Mania

Today was awesome here in New Orleans as we get ready for the BCS National Championship Game tomorrow. It appears that most of Columbus has now arrived in New Orleans. The weather was mild and muggy with a nice breeze. Bourbon Street has been packed since morning. The city of New Orleans post Katrina is ready and has never looked better downtown.

Getting your tickets:
It’s getting down to the wire with not many tickets left. Don’t buy on the street. I can’t stress that enough. If you still need seats, Sports Traveler has last minute options available online. Check our BCS Inventory. All tickets online can be picked up here in New Orleans.

Find the teams:
The Ohio State Buckeyes are staying at the Hilton Riverside, the LSU Tigers are just down the street at the Sheraton. Security is tight but fans can still grab autographs from very friendly players roaming about the hotels.

Find fellow Sports Travelers:
Our clients are staying at the Hilton Riverside, Sheraton, Marriott, Royal Sonesta, Astor Crowne, Ambassador, Pere Renaissance Marquette, and Royal St. Charles. We hope you are having as much fun as you look like you are having.

The Sports Traveler’s that traveled the furthest to be here:
The Ringo family from London. They are Ohio State fans.

Events today:
Buckeye Bash – New Orleans Convention Center 3-4:30pm. The place was packed with thousands of Buckeye faithful. A great scene with the Mayor of Columbus getting the Mayor of New Orleans to wear an OU hat – very temporarily. The bash was a fun time with team captains throwing footballs into the crowd and the marching band entertaining the crowds. The party spilled out over onto Bourbon Street and by 9pm seemed to still be in full swing.

A Ohio State autograph seeker standing in the lobby of the Hilton Riverside approaching anyone wearing OU gear that looked like an athlete and asking if they were a member of the football team or not and a few random fans saying they were so they could sign his helmet then walking away laughing.

Great eats:
Sports Traveler discovered Dick and Jenny’s last night. Way off the beaten track but well worth the 10 minute cab ride and a fantastic New Orleans meal to remember. Another great place is the Besh Steak House inside Harrah’s Casino. The chocolate cake at dessert fueled tonight’s trip to the French Quarter and this blog entry.

Bourbon Street:
So crowded you can barely move tonight. Inching our way down the street we found a group of OU fans chanting across the street at each other from the balcony at the Royal Sonesta. Thanks for the beads! OH-I-O!

Something to see that no one else is doing:
Take the free Ferry at the Riverwalk. Haven’t you always wanted to say you sailed the Mississippi River? It’s free and makes for some great scenic pictures. It also sails a night. Very cool. By the way there isn’t anything to see on the other side so stay on the boat and come right back.

Superdome – 1:00PM – 3:00PM: The Mike Tirico Show on ESPN Radio featuring Kirk Herbstreit broadcast live. The BCS Fan Jam starts at 4pm. Meet by Gate C bridge. It’s a tailgate party with entertainment New Orleans style. Free, the best price there is.

Kickoff 7pm.

After Party?
Bourbon Street. Where else?  See you there!


Bowl Game Update

Whew! What a crazy couple of weeks of College Football. I never remember ever having to sit and actually watch the BCS Bowl Selection Show with so much interest. So now we know where and when everyone is playing and the game tickets and travel packages have been selling like crazy here at Sports Traveler. I finally got a chance to catch my breath and blog!

These are my 3 top Bowl Game trips…. no offense to the other Bowl games, we like them all 😉

BCS Championship game: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. LSU Tigers
The Buckeyes head back to the Championship game this time in New Orleans. If you haven’t yet made your reservations, this week is a great time to do so. If you are looking for Last Minute Deals this is your moment. Because LSU is so close to the Superdome hotel space is still available. Check it out…

2008 Rose Bowl: Illinios Fighting Illini vs. USC Trojans
We are all Illini fan’s here at Sports Traveler. Everyone is wearing the jersey’s, sweatshirts, and ballcaps. And we are taking a lot of Illini fans to Pasadena. The charter plane is unfortunately now full, but we still have land only packages and we have a full service travel desk at the ready to get your airline tickets set up departing from any city. We have a great “Illini Fan Tour” that also includes a New Year’s Eve Yacht Cruise. A great way to get your New Year’s plans taken care of and be among fellow fans while on tour.

2008 Sugar Bowl: Hawaii Warriors vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Aloha! This matchup is the biggest game of Hawaii’s history and the Warrior’s fans will be there. This is dedication… a 10 hour flight (btw their aren’t any nonstop flights). Travel packages are nearly sold out but we can still accommodate. Tickets are still available.

View all the Other Bowl Games on our site. Look for our Sports Traveler Radio (STR) podcast previewing all the games.


Sports Traveler Exclusive Summer Games Soccer Tours!

I am very excited to release our newest Summer Games travel packages dedicated to follow Soccer (Futbol) through China during the 2008  Olympic Games. When you look at the soccer schedule for the 2008 Beijing Games it almost looks like a mini-World Cup as the rounds travel through the different cities in China. The Sports Traveler Staff has created a package to catch the most important matches leading up to the Gold Medal games in Beijing.

We start out in Shanghai on August 15th. Our staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the Holiday Inn Shanghai, a 4-star hotel. On the 16th we take you on a City Tour of Shanghai. That night the soccer action begins with the Men’s Quarterfinal Match at the Shanghai Stadium. On the 17th we do a little more touring of the Suzhou area and see the Master of Nets Garden along with a canal cruise. On the 18th we head back to the stadium for the important Women’s Semifinal Match. On the 19th we are there for the Men’s Semifinal Match to see who will face off in the Gold Medal game! Sports Traveler staff members will shuttle you to and from all the matches included in your tour package price.

On the 20th we are off to Beijing! Our staff takes you to the airport for the roughly 2 hour flight. For the most adventurous Sports Traveler’s among us we have also added an option to take a luxury overnight train into Beijing instead of the flight. You can see the Chinese countryside and wake up in Beijing.

Once in Beijing we take you to the Leisure City International Resort Complex. This 4/5 star hotel is brand new and and is part of the Hot Springs Leisure City Resort Complex featuring a Luxury Spa, Shopping & Business District, Water World, a Park, and a Sports area. It is only 15 minutes from the Olympic Green and Stadium.

While in Beijing we will see the Women’s Bronze and Gold Medal Matches on August 21st and the Men’s Gold Medal Match on August 23rd. In between on the 22nd we will tour the Great Wall and Ming Tombs. Again, all the match transfers are included in the price. Also, while in Beijing join fellow Olympic travelers at ‘Casa Americas’ – the private hospitality area including light food and beverages served throughout the day and nightly themed party evenings. Whether you are a fan of Team USA, Mexico, England, Brazil etc., every night is a different themed party celebrating the Games. Located just steps from the Olympic Green and hosted by our great partners for this spectacular event – Cartan.

A trip of a lifetime awaits! We invite you to join us on this exciting adventure. Call our offices at 1-888-654-7755 or view this package at:

 I can’t believe I will be in China in only a few more months. This tour will definately be the highlight of my trip. We are planning a special Sports Traveler Radio (STR) podcast to be released next month highlighting this trip. And all of Team Sports Traveler will be blogging while we are in China. Stay tuned…

The time to make your reservations is now. Join us!


Free Shipping available all Thanksgiving Weekend for Travel Packages

Thanksgiving Weekend is typically a big one at Sports Traveler. We are open Friday and Saturday so give us a call. Check out our office hours.

We have some great special offers going on this weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving!    Go Cowboys!


Ohio State Clinches 2008 Rose Bowl Berth

The Ohio State Buckeyes have now clinched a trip to the 2008 Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on January 1, 2008. Sports Traveler now has Rose Bowl Tickets and Travel Packages available including airfare from Columbus.

There is still hope that Ohio State may make it to the BCS Championship Game. If that happens Sports Traveler will transfer your trip deposit and reservation to the BCS Championship Game or you can just get 100% of your money back.

The Sports Traveler Best Bet Rose Bowl Tour is the Marriott Laguna Cliffs Resort Package including a special New Year’s Eve Buckeye Yacht Cruise through Newport Harbor featuring open bar, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment. We all know how tough it is to try and figure out New Year’s Eve plans, especially when you are traveling out of town. This package gets into a great Buckeye Fan party plus gets you to the Rose Parade and the big game. A great deal!