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!
Biography
KarenB
  • Cricket with locals in Jaipur, India
  • The Maldives – Yoga over the water
  • 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
Destinations:
Italy, Africa, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, South America

Specialties:
Adventure, Spas, Honeymoon & Anniversary, Multigenerational, Snow Sports
GORILLA TREKKING RWANDA
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….combined with Campi ya Kanzi, a remote Tented Safari Camp right on the Masai reservation and Bateleur Camp in Kenya to experience the incredible annual migration crossing the Mara River.

NEPAL
Such a magical country…trekking to remote villages, helicopter flights through snowy mountain ranges for breakfast at the base of Mt. Everest and exploring Chitwan National Park for tigers and black rhinos. The museum like Dwarika Hotel in Kathmandu and the Dwarika Mountain Resort Spa are not to be missed. The people are so warm and friendly. In many places, time has stood still for hundreds of years, so travel there soon while it is still so authentic!

SPAS
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, Arizona/Casa Palmero in Pebble Beach, California/Miraval in Tucson, Arizona/Canyon Ranch Spas with several locations on land and sea/Ojai Resort and Spa and the Ranch at Live Oaks both in California.

NEWFOUNDLAND, CANADA
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!

OJAI RESORT and SPA, CALIFORNIA
What a wonderful July 4th family adventure at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa nestled in the mountains in charming Ojai, California. (great spa, daily fitness classes, power walks through Ojai)….. Somadome “peace in a pod” with a choice of 8 verbal guidance sessions, very unique….set on over 200 acres of breathtaking beauty… spacious mountain view rooms… gorgeous golf course. Ojai village, great place to explore with charming shops and small cafés … picnic pizza with the best strawberry shortcake ever at Boccali’s Pizza, local margaritas at Agave Maria’s. One of the greatest 4th of July local parades.. people line up chairs two weeks ahead. July 4th at the resort with a carnival for children, an evening barbeque” on the golf lawn, complimentary blankets to watch the fireworks display to music.. Such an old fashioned Fourth of July was a reminder to me of small town events growing up in Tenafly, New Jersey. Loved the whole experience!

TED TURNER EXPEDITIONS, VERMEJO PARK RANCH, NEW MEXICO
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 what I experienced visiting Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico for the grand opening gala celebration! In a remote location, but with the most magnificent backdrop of white snow- capped mountains peeking out from the green forests, lakes and rivers. Ted Turner’s ...personal home, Casa Grande, has been restored to its classic appearance from the early 1900’s. The seven bedrooms can be rented individually and guests have access to using the entire home. The professional private guides tailor your expeditions based on your interests and skill level. 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.

DUBAI
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. Touring the city, to experience the famous Burj Al Arab Hotel with an underwater fish aquarium restaurant, the magnificent Jumeirah Mosque, the 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