Karen Benson

The “Joy of Travel” started in my childhood when my parents took me to many foreign destinations. These wonderful memories helped to launch my travel career for the past 32 years! You will often find me out exploring the world to check out wonderful, unique experiences and charming hotels and resorts….fun for me to explore but also educational information to bring back for my clients. 

Being outdoors whether hiking, biking or just sitting by a river, mountain or the beach are my passions. I have been a dancer/actress for many years, so this has also led to my interest in fitness and spa travel. However, I can still find a great shopping bargain, enjoy intricate architecture in ancient cultures, visit museums (I love sculpture), and of course enjoy theater and dance in any major city of the world!

I specialize in custom, one of a kind trips worldwide and with my many connections with private guides and hotel managers and my association with Virtuoso, I strive to make my client’s trips beyond their expectations, but all based on their own interests and budget. Who doesn’t like a special surprise in their room? I make sure you are sent away with complete knowledge about tipping, local emergency phone contacts and all details in place so you can just enjoy the total experience.

Every year or so, I put together an incredible small group adventure where my husband Steve and I escort. Most of these 8-12 people come from all over the USA and are complete strangers. Within a few hours they have strong connections and most not only become good friends but ask when and where is the next trip. It is such a feeling of satisfaction and pleasure to travel with such wonderful people! I hope to have you on my group trip too.

I have been so honored to be selected by Travel + Leisure Magazine consecutively since 2003 as one of their top A- List Travel Advisors. I will always strive to make your trip extra special.

Looking forward to creating magic for you!
  • Red Rock Snow Canyon State Park, Utah
  • Café stop in Porto, Portugal
  •  Mt. Hike Triglav in Slovenia
  • The Maldives – Yoga over the water
  • Cricket with locals in Jaipur, India
  • Rock climbing at Biggest Loser Resort in Niagara, New York
  • Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia
  • Remote Mustang near Tibet border
  • Mt Everest, Nepal
  • Gorilla Trek, Rwanda
  • Butterfly migration – Colonial Mexico
  • Adventures in Papua New Guinea
  • Visiting with a Vietnamese friend in Hoi An
  •  Kickboxing lesson with Thai Master
  • Walking with monks in Bhutan
Photo Album
Top Destinations and Expertise 
Recent Trips
Contact Details
City       Scottsdale AZ
Phone   +1 480-477-6400              
Email     karenb@travelxperts.com
FB         KarenBensonTravelAdventures
Italy, Africa, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, South America

Adventure, Spas, Honeymoon & Anniversary, Multigenerational, Snow Sports
With a small group of my adventurous clients, we experienced the Galapagos by sea and land. On our 16 passenger catamaran, “M/C Ocean Spray,” we spent our days snorkeling with sharks (!), sea turtles, sea lions, dolphins and many spectacularly colorful fish.. We explored islands each day off of our Dinghy boat where we hiked trails and walked the beaches to learn about the Blue Footed Boobies mating ritual dances and walked the beaches to view the beautiful rock formations, coral and the many sea lions who gathered on the beaches with their young. We visited a Flamingo Lagoon and an 18th century deserted island
We then spent several relaxing days at the Galapagos Luxury Tented Safari Camp which has 9 luxury tents perched on a hill – all with decks and views of the ocean. Here we visited the Giant Tortoises which actually can be found strolling the streets. Some of us did major hikes to large craters with spectacular views, bike rides into the small towns, wonderful massages in the tents, swimming in the turquoise water at Garrapatero Beach with a special picnic and of course a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station. We enjoyed dinner outside surrounded by lush tropical landscape and lots of wine!

Hiking is one of my favorite activities, so experiencing trekking the Julian Alps with spectacular glacial water views left me so exhilarated! It was a real plus doing it with some of my favorite Travel Industry friends and Backroads. The food was wonderful from picnics, farm to table restaurants and authentic local cooking in charming tiny inns. Often we hiked to the restaurant, but the work was worth it! Highlights worth visiting were Ljubljana with its castle and waterways through town, Lake Bled, one of the prettiest Alpine lakes anywhere and of course hiking in both Triglav and Brijuni National Parks! I also loved the town of Rovinj on the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia with cobbled streets and delicious seafood restaurants with a view!

One of my most favorite travel adventures. Can you imagine hiking for several hours through bamboo jungles to find eight hundred pound Silverback gorillas within a few feet? Such an adrenaline rush to watch huge gorillas roughhousing and carrying their newborn babies on backs.

Such a magical country…trekking to remote villages, helicopter flights through snowy mountain ranges to the base of Mt. Everest. The museum like Dwarika Hotel in Kathmandu and the Dwarika Mountain Resort Spa are not to be missed. In many places, time has stood still for hundreds of years, so travel there now while it is still so authentic!

I have traveled to several hundred spas in my 30+ years in the travel industry. Some of my favorite places are Borgo Egnazia in Puglia, Italy/Mukul in Nicaragua/Ananda in India/Six Senses Yao Noi near Phuket/Soneva Kiri in Thailand/Chiva Som near Bangkok/Rancho La Puerto in Mexico/Aman Resorts Spas in Bhutan/Llao Llao in Bariloche, Argentina/Mii Amo in Sedona, Az. /Miraval in Tucson, Arizona/Canyon Ranch Spas with several locations on land and sea/Ojai Resort and Spa and the Ranch at Live Oaks in California. My new favorite is BodyHoliday in St. Lucia!

Newfoundland, a Canadian island on the most eastern coast of North American. Why go there? For absolutely gorgeous scenery, wildlife, nature, delicious seafood and great hiking….perfect for outdoor adventure, few people and fresh air. Highlights were Fishers Loft Inn, on the Skerwink Hiking Trail (viewing ocean sea stacks, beaches, rugged cliff faces, whales and icebergs). The remote Fogo Island Inn with 29 suites all overlooking the ocean/ waves crashing onto rocks outside your window… whales playing nearby.. arrival by ferry to delicious gourmet food, to the warm handmade bread and island juice served in a basket left each morning, to the community hosts touring you privately to see their homes, fishing boats, it was perfect!

Can you imagine having your own National Park of almost 600,000 acres to view wildlife, fish, hike, ride horses or mountain bikes and more, without the big crowds and lines of people all to yourself? That is Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico! In a remote location, but with a magnificent backdrop of white snow- capped mountains peeking out from the green forests, lakes and rivers. Ted Turner’s ...personal home, Casa Grande can be rented individually. Guests have access to the entire home. Your private guides tailors your day based on your interests. Each day out I never saw another vehicle while viewing bison, bears or birds or boating and fishing on the many lakes. What a great place to relax in nature.

What an interesting International City! My favorite observation .. the peaceful interaction of many religions…. delightful to sit in the hotel lobby people watching full covered Abayas on Muslim women or Jubbas and Kufis (caps) on men, to people in western jeans, or business suits. Hotel Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, was delightful and my Arabian Sea View Suite had magnificent views of the beach, pool and downtown Dubai… with the largest spa in the Middle East, I enjoyed an evening of pure pampering in the famous Turkish Hamman in the Talise Ottoman Spa. Toured the city, experienced the famous Burj Al Arab Hotel with an underwater fish aquarium restaurant, the Jumeirah Mosque, World Trade Center - one of the highest buildings in the Middle East, Bastakia, the oldest part of the city, Dubai Museum in the Al Fahidi Fort, which has survived for two centuries….the cloth markets, took an Abras, a local water taxi, across the creek to the spice and gold souks. ….saw Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East …skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, or playing with the penguins! I encountered three Muslim women in the ski lift line fully covered except their eyes and wondered how they were going to ski down the hill – fascinating!

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Customer Accolades
“Karen, most of all we want to thank you and your team! Absolutely no way at all could we have planned something like this on our own. Your recommendations, suggestions, and thoroughness made this trip extremely easy on us and you were fabulous to work with. It was honestly amazing to have the vouchers, packets, confirmations, and everything all together and organized for us as we traveled and there is no way we could have done it without you!” -Scott and Corey

"You have been a very big part of so many of our cherished travel memories, having so expertly made our arrangements to maximize every travel experience. Thank you so much for all the care and thought you have invested to make our traveling so joyous. Thank you for that, and for always over-achieving our very great expectations.” -Bob and Deb

"Dear Karen, Consider this fan mail. Thank you for the wonderful trip you set up for us. Eleven amazing days without a hitch. Everything worked, everyone on time and professional, all venues better than expected, all six flights perfect. How did you do that? Thanks again for setting up a most memorable trip”  -John and Sally