USA & Canada | People & Stories

9-time solo traveller, Isabelle, on her love of the USA and why she loves touring with Trafalgar

 

We met up with 9-time Trafalgar guest Isabelle Horemans, a 45-year disability support worker from Grobbendonk (near Antwerp in Belgium), to find out why she loves touring with Trafalgar to the United States as a solo traveller – and what makes her come back time and time again.

Meet Trafalgar guest, Isabelle

Isabelle touring with Trafalgar

“I work as disability support worker and I love my job, but once or twice a year I need to get away from it all, from my home, my friends. I need new experiences; new sounds, smells and tastes. This is where Trafalgar comes in.”

Isabelle Horemans

What was your first experience touring with Trafalgar?

“I met some people from Ireland and luckily enough they told me about touring with Trafalgar. The rest is history! Just after my 31st birthday, I recovered from ulcerative colitis and decided to travel to the United States to see New England in the fall. I loved the USA: especially how friendly most people were, the nature and the food. In the fall of 2011, I flew all by myself to San Francisco and went on the ‘Adventures of the Wild Northwest’ tour (no longer available). Since then I’ve only travelled with Trafalgar or on my own separately. My next 7 tours were all equally wonderful.”

Isabelle is one of Trafalgar’s many female solo travellers who explore the world safely, without stress or time-consuming pre-trip planning. And they are also famous for bonding with like-minded explorers on tour.

Check out Isabelle’s past trips with Trafalgar below; and note that, because we update our tours on a regular basis to keep them fresh and interesting, only the linked tours are currently active for 2022. Could this be your year?

Isabelle is currently looking to join Trafalgar’s Civil Rights Trail tour in the fall of 2023 and Hawaii in 2024.

RELATED CONTENT: Going it alone: meet 10 time solo traveller, Candy

What inspires you to travel with Trafalgar time and time again?

Isabelle Horemans touring with Trafalgar

Personally, we loved hearing Isabelle’s answer to this question!

“To start with basics: the hotels are lovely and clean (plus always in city or town centres). This makes free time and dinner as easy and safe as possible. And with food: there’s a great combination of prepaid meals and the opportunity explore by yourself and find somewhere. As I join the tours solo, I’m happy that the single supplement is a very good price – and I always get a nice room.

On tour, I find it relaxing that the professional coach driver does the driving, this way I can sit back and enjoy the scenery as we go. I also love the authentic ‘Be My Guest’ experiences that are very well organised. I love the food we eat in wonderful local settings, and the people we talk to there. It’s also fun and enlightening to visit places that perhaps I would not would not have chosen myself. Like the the Tillamook cheese factory or Mohammed Ali centre. There’s always some great surprises!”

The bonds you form on tour is one of the reason’s our guests keep touring with Trafalgar. And we’re delighted to say: Isabelle is no exception.

“On the tours I met people from all over the world. I made some amazing friends like Liz and Margaret from Australia. And this makes my life richer as I’m from a very small country.”

There’s also our enthusiastic staff (their love of travel jumps them out of bed in the morning). And that definitely came through for Isabelle:

“The Travel Directors, drivers, and Wellbeing Directors are all very professional and friendly. The Travel Directors are always happy to help with extras for free time and share valuable tips and advice. I want especially send my love to Abe, Alex and Jesse from my last tour in Alaska.” (See below)

Trafalgar's team
The amazing Trafalgar team from the Alaska tour: Abe, Alex and Jesse

“Lastly, Trafalgar gives me the opportunity to fill in free time with some personal preferences. Most of the time, I arrive before tour starts and stay a little bit longer to explore some cities. For example, I visited the restaurant from the piano scene in Top Gun (San Diego), the Cirque Du Soleil show on a free evening in Las Vegas, Milt’s Stop & Eat in Moab, Utah. Wormsloe in Savannah, and locations from Nicholas Sparks’ movies around Charleston. It’s amazing!”

RELATED CONTENT: Meet Carol, the Trafalgar guest who’s been on 40 tours and counting

Tell us about your favourite moments touring with Trafalgar?

Scenic Parks Explorer tour
Arches National Park on Scenics Parks Explorer tour

“One of my favourites was with the group around a beach fire while eating smores in Newport ( Oregon) – we sang songs from child time that were typical for our countries/states. It was fascinating to get an insight into other cultures that way! Likewise, seeing the sunset, stars and next morning sunrise in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is something I will never forget.”

Isabelle saved herself immense travel planning and instead choose to join Trafalgar’s national park tours to get close to Mother Nature at her very best. Here’s what she told us:

“Seeing the Grand Canyon, Bryce National Park and Zion National Park was incredible. I even saw my first grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. It made me realise how amazing our earth is and how lucky I am to have the opportunity to travelling to these places. Another favourite moment was getting close to bears, whales, orcas, otters, gorgeous glaciers in Valdez (Alaska). After COVID, to finally live my dream of going to Alaska was a very emotional experience. On our boat cruise in Seward I hugged one of my Travel Directors (before I realised myself) because I was overwhelmed with happiness. I felt so alive in Alaska!”

Did anything surprise you along the way?

If you were to do the same tour 10 times, your experience would always be different. If you’re unsure, tune into what Isabelle has to say below:

“You never know what to expect on the road – it’s why I love it. What surprised me most was meeting some interesting people and hearing their unique stories. Like a woman called Fran in Adrian (Texas) who was an inspiration for Flo in the Cars movie! Or Chelsey Crowell, granddaughter of Johnny Cash in Tennessee. The gigantic fish in Alaska also surprised me! I’ve never seen anything like it. Plus my free time in and around Denali National Park (Alaska) took an unexpected turn – when The Travel Director, hotel bus drivers and a local guy all showed me where “Into the Wild” was filmed (one of my favourite films).”

Alaska

What standout attractions spring to mind?

Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park

We loved the variety in Isabelle’s answer here. It just shows the diversity and range of experiences in the United States!

“Seeing the cable car and Alamo Square houses in San Francisco was really special because I saw those in my childhood on TV. And so was the Wormsloe Plantation Historic State Park in Georgia, which the Travel Director helped me plan my visit to in free time (this is what I love about touring with Trafalgar). The history was remarkable here. The Dollywood theme park (in Tennessee) was super fun. The atmosphere, the music and the food was awesome. And of course, the National Parks I visited stand out. They are the most amazing places to visit in the USA. Especially Yellowstone, Arches, Zion, Olympic, Kenai Fjords.”

Why inspires you to keep exploring the United States?

“I love the USA because the locals are keen to get to know me, hear about my home country of Belgium, and tell me about life in their state and beyond. Every local who I met was very friendly to me. I find that important. The USA is also beautiful, especially its national parks! The music is great and also the food. The steaks, salmon, halibut, crab legs, bacon, pancakes, loaded fries, ‘bacon-egg-cheese’ bagels and delicious cinnamon bread. It’s hard not to love!

Thank you for reading my story – and thank you to all Trafalgar’s Travel Directors and coach drivers for lots of happy days and memories in the USA!”

If you were inspired by Isabelle’s story and would like to learn more about touring with Trafalgar, please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below or discover more via our website.

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