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Meet Cricket Hile, featured Travel Agent

There is no better way to do business in travel than to experience the destinations yourself. Cricket Hile, a travel agent and bicyclist who has pedaled her way across her home state of Pennsylvania, sends her clients on our cycling vacations with the miles and memories from going on our trips herself in her toolbox. As a business partner and our guest, we are happy to introduce you to Cricket. Read about her travel experience and favorite vacation spots.

Name: Cricket Hile
Travel Agency: Travel Time Travel
Specialty European Travel
Years in the Business: 32

Tell us a bit about your background. What inspired you to pursue a career as a travel agent?

I started my career as a French teacher which led me to taking students to Europe. Eventually I decided I liked the travel part of it more than the teaching part!

Do you have an especially memorable client or story?

Several years ago four clients asked if they could go with me the next time we went to Paris; and of course, I said yes. We went to Paris as agent and clients. We returned as friends and have taken several trips together since then.

What is your favorite travel destination and what makes it unique?

Paris, France is my favorite destination. Between speaking French and going to Paris frequently I feel very comfortable there. However, I must say I love Italy, too, and I don’t speak Italian.

Based on your agency bookings, what are the three most popular destinations for 2015 and what is the must-do activity you recommend in each location?

Agency top three are …
1. Caribbean – Go snorkeling
2. Cancun – See the ruins
3. Disney World – Act like a child

My top three destinations and must-do activities are…

1. Paris – Have a picnic on the grounds of Versailles
2. Provence – Don’t miss the hill towns. It was Trek that really introduced them to me on the Mt. Ventoux trip. Best way to see them is on a bicycle!
3. Capri – Enjoy a Limoncello on the terrace of the Hotel Quisisana

Which Trek Travel trip is top on your bucket list and why?

That is difficult to answer because I have already done Provence (Mt. Ventoux) and the Classic Climbs of the Alps. However, at this point in my life, Croatia is at the top of my bucket list and I will do that in September. Several years ago my husband and I took a cruise that stopped in Korcula, Croatia. At that point, I said I needed to go back. Later when I saw that Trek offered a trip to Croatia, I decided it was definitely at the top of my list.

What is the most important piece of advice you give travelers before their trip?

I always tell clients to be open to change and expect that something is not going to be exactly as they had planned. The second thing I tell them is to not expect everything to be like it is at home. The third thing, and really the most important, is to smile when they are totally overwhelmed and confused. It will be okay.

Meet Cricket, our friend and travel agent

What TDF means to Trek Travel

As traveling staff members schedule their out-of-office replies and guests call in to finalize their trips to the Tour de France, I sit here wanting to go with. Then I realize I have little idea what is about to even happen.

I’m the new intern here at Trek Travel. So when people around the office start talking about the tour, I can’t begin to imagine everything that goes into it from Trek Travel’s point of view. I know that it is a huge collective of hours and hours of work put in to make the trips happen flawlessly. But along with the hard work comes a trip of a lifetime. I want to be in their shoes, experience the tour, be surrounded by cycling-fanatics and take in the biggest cycling event in the world from stunning views. Until then, I’ll listen to their stories and daydream. Read about the Tour de France from the eyes of the Travel Travel team here in Madison.

Featured in this story:

Meagan Coates, Trip Design Manager
Brie Willey, Guide Manager
Mark Thomsen, Marketing Manager

Briefly, describe how Trek Travel is involved in the Tour?

Meagan: Trek Travel offers the premier trips in the industry at the Tour de France, hands down. From trips that allow guests to ride the routes on the same day as the pros, to trips and spectator vacations with Official Tour Operator VIP passes and Trek-Segafredo team access to Paris finish packages, and even supported trips at the Etape du Tour, we have something for every fan of the race. We put a lot of effort up to a year or more in advance to the race being announced to source the prime locations for on course viewings and hotels and overall we have a team of designers working on Tour de France year round.

What would you say is one of the “I can’t believe this” moments for a Trek Travel guest?

Meagan: This is very personal for everyone and depends on the drama that unfolds throughout the race. But I think nearly all guests have a moment during their trip–perhaps while sipping a glass of champagne at a perfectly-situated on-course viewing spot looking out over the French Alps–and they realize they are actually there in person and not watching the Tour footage from the helicopters as broadcast on tv.

Trek Travel Tour de France Paris Finish Photos

What’s going through your mind on your way to the tour?

Mark: Typically trying to learn as much as I can about the areas of France the Tour will visit for that year. I like to find fun facts that are not obvious. Also I like to have a solid understanding of the top cyclists that could podium or win a green jersey. Guests love talking shop, so I have to keep up.

Brie: Study! It is imperative to study maps, regional highlights, trip materials, pro riders and more. You want to be as prepared as you possibly can be heading into any trip. The TDF takes it to the next level. All guides have to be firing on all pistons to make these trips successful and awesome! Other thoughts always include daily back-up plans and what ifs! Our job is to deliver a Trip of a Lifetime, in order to do that, we have to be prepared for absolutely anything. A saying we use often: “It is the Tour. Anything can happen. Always have a Plan B!” Roads close earlier than they are supposed to, thunderstorms roll into the mountains in a matter of minutes, bridges give out weeks before a stage causing a complete reroute. You name it, it can happen at the Tour. “Fun and Flexible” is the name of the game and Trek Travel guides are the masters!

How many times have you been on this trip, and how does it change year by year for you?

Mark: I’ve guided it four years’ worth. Personally I always looked forward to the mountain stages as I love to climb. I loved the variability of the Tour as well, always having to think on your feet was fun to me. Road closures, crazy fans, our incredible viewing sites halfway up mountains. It’s always hectic, but I tend to thrive on that. I also always love going into Paris at the end. It’s a great party at the Automobile Club where all the guides and guest come together for one last big party. It’s the perfect way to wrap up three weeks of crazy Tour de France trips.

Brie: My first year guiding at the Tour de France was in 2012 in the Alps. I’ve guided TDF trips every year since and head to France in a few short days for the Etape this time around. Each year the route changes throughout the beautiful Alps and Pyrenees mountain ranges but always ends in Paris. From the most challenging days on a bike to the utmost breathtaking views I’ve ever laid eyes on, the Tour de France has been a real pleasure to experience with Trek Travel over the years!

How do you prepare for the tour?

Mark: Ride, Ride and Ride. See above, love to climb. Also we do a lot of pre-trip research as guides. We’ll go out for a couple weeks prior to our first group, to review all routes, hotels, meeting locations, etc. As guides we like to know as much as possible before any guests arrive.

What’s going through your mind on your way home?

Mark: Can’t wait to sleep in my own bed!

Brie: Guides are pretty exhausted at the end. I typically sleep the entire plane ride home. From take-off to landing, no joke. Tour de France trips run at a high level mentally, physically and emotionally. When headed home there is often the feeling of, “I survived…that was the craziest trip ever…I CAN’T wait to do it again next year!” That was how I felt in 2012, it hasn’t changed since.

Favorite TDF moment?

Mark: The first time I climbed Alpe d’Huez the day the pros did. It was my first year guiding and only second trip guiding ever. You get to the base and it just looms overhead…21 switchbacks to the top. The crazy thing was that all the fans were already lining the route. They cheered us on as though we were pros. And the Dutch corner was a sea of orange. Truly an incredible experience and one I can’t wait to get back to some day.

Brie: There are many! Paris is always a favorite. I love seeing the pure joy on guest’s faces—they are loving life and thrilled to experience the tour finale in such a stunning city. As of late, I have also really enjoyed seeing the happiness and relief on my guide’s faces in Paris. Once you reach Paris, it’s a home-free feeling for guides. You have the opportunity to relax a bit, drink champagne with colleagues and have a grand ol’ time in the City of Lights. Other memorable moments include helicoptering guests off the top of Alpe d’Huez at the end of a mountain top finish to their luxury hotel on Lake Annecy. A VIP experience they never forget.

“I survived…that was the craziest trip ever…I CAN’T wait to do it again next year!” That was how I felt in 2012 and that feeling hasn’t changed since.

Race Access on Trek Travel's Tour de France Cycling Vacation

Ride the best climbs in France on a fully support Trek Travel bike tour

Read more about our team.

Holiday Must Haves

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket Trek Travel Holiday Gift Guide

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket | $199

Indoors or out, and especially on an airplane, this insulated jacket is the perfect travel piece to keep you comfortable without weighing down your suitcase.

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Travel and Leisure subscription on Trek Travel's holiday gift guide

Travel and Leisure Magazine Subscription | $12

The best guide for insider information on top hotels, restaurants, and things to do around the world, Travel and Leisure provides inspiration and insights on every page.

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Wooden bike rack on Trek Travel's Holiday Gift Guide

CB2 Wood Bike Storage | $50

Turn your gear into art, and save space in your home, with this handcrafted wood rack that mounts easily to any wall and holds you bike by the top tube.

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This is Ground Cordito on Trek Travel's Holiday Gift Guide

This is Ground Cordito | $45

With room for up to three cables and two plugs, This is Ground’s Cordito neatly holds your electronic cords and keeps them from getting tangled in your bag.

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Osprey Hydration pack on Trek Travel's holiday gift guide

Osprey Syncro Hydration Pack | $110

This lightweight and ventilated pack is available in three sizes and offers plenty of carrying capacity for multiple hours on a mountain bike or hiking trail.

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Outdoor Tech Speaker on Trek Travel's Holiday Gift Guide

Outdoor Tech Buckshot Wireless Speaker | $50

This small, portable speaker has all the features you want. It’s shock-resistant, water-resistant, and provides crystal clear audio for sixteen hours.

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Black Diamond Headlamp on Trek Travel's holiday gift guide

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp | $50

Equipped with a fully waterproof construction, this incredibly bright headlamp is perfect for helping you work in all conditions and levels of daylight.

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L'Occitane Hand Cream on Trek Travel's Holiday Gift Guide

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream Trio | $28

Born of Provence, L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream will keep your hands from drying out on long flights. A perfect winter stocking stuffer for men and women.

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Mophie Space Pack on Trek Travel's Holiday Gift Guide

Mophie Space Pack | $150

An iPhone battery case with built in storage, bring the Mophie Space Pack on your next trip to ensure that your phone never dies right when you need it most.

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Cycle Ops PowerSync trainer on Trek Travel's Holiday Gift Guide

Cycle Ops PowerSync Trainer | $900

Take your indoor training to a whole new level. With programmable resistance and virtual training software, you’ll never get bored on a long winter rider again.

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Leap Wireless Headphones on Trek Travel's Holiday Gift Guide

Leap Wireless Earphones by Yurbuds | $100

These sweat-proof, comfortable earphones have exceptional sound and Bluetooth connectivity. Lasting up to 6 hours, never let wires get in your way on a ride.

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Artifact Uprising Photo Book on Trek Travel's Holiday Gift Guide

Artifact Uprising Hardcover Photo Book | $70

Document your adventures or tell your story with a, premium quality photo book. Beautifully share your best photos with family and friends this holiday season.

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TRX Suspension Trainer on Trek Travel's Holiday Gift Guide

TRX Suspension Trainer | $200

TRX suspension training uses your bodyweight for a fast, effective, total-body workout. Set it up anywhere so you never lose fitness while you’re on the road.

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Grid Foam Roller on Trek Travel's Holiday Gift Guide

Grid Mini Foam Roller | $25

Finally an easy to pack, travel friendly foam roller. This 4-inch roller helps mobilize tissue and aid in recovery by providing targeted compression.

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Stumptown Coffee on Trek Travel's holiday gift guide

Stumptown Coffee Rambler | $185

Whether you wake up near rocky mountain, desert dust, hotel minibar, or skyscraper, coordinates matter not. The Rambler makes a damn good cup wherever you find yourself.

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Bontrager Luggage on Trek Travel's Holiday Gift Guide

Bontrager Mallorca Carry On | $220

Big enough for riding essentials but small enough to fit in the overhead, this roller bag features wet and dry compartments to separate clean and dirty clothes.

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Nuun Sampler Pack on Trek Travel's Holiday Gift Guide

Nuun Energy Sampler Pack | $20

The perfect supplement for any ride, Nuun electrolyte tablets provide the essentials for performance through balanced hydration and sustained energy.

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Top 10 Favorite Travel Apps

Duolingo Language Learning App

1. Duolingo

Speaking the local language is crucial to running an excellent trip, but that can be difficult when you run trips in 12 countries. Whether brushing up your skills or starting from scratch, Duolingo is the best way to learn a language on the go.
Learn More»


Uber Ride Share

2. Uber

Available is 45 countries, Uber is the perfect transportation service to find a reliable ride. With five different tiers, you can conveniently request a ride that matches your style and budget.
Learn More»


3. TripCase

Enter your trips into TripCase to manage the information. The app will provide you with everything from flight alerts and weather forecasts to alternate flights and driving directions.
Learn More»


4. Skype

A webcam, internet connection, and computer or mobile device is all you need to stay in touch with family and friends worldwide. Stay close to loves you love while you see the world.
Learn More»


Google Translate

5. Google Translate

Translate between 80 languages by speaking, typing, writing, or taking a picture. No internet connection needed. Get yourself out of a bind or just converse with those around you.
Learn More»


6. AccuWeather

Plan your day, and your outfit, perfectly. Never be unprepared thanks to the daily snapshot, local forecast summary, severe weather alerts, animated weather radar and more.
Learn More»

Hotel Tonight

7. Hotel Tonight

Expect the unexpected with Hotel Tonight. Book a room up to seven days in advance, scroll through a hand-picked selection of hotels, and find exceptional values on the go.
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Google Maps

8. Google Maps

The world is at your finger tips with the Google Maps app. Navigate like a local, avoid traffic jams, never get lost, and find the best spots while discovering destinations near and far.
Learn More»


9. Free Wifi Finder

No matter where you are in the world, find free Wifi hotspots using this JiWire app. Search based on your current location, find Wifi in a specific region, or filter by location type.
Learn More»

XE Currency

10. XE Currency

XE Currency offers live exchange rates for every currency in the world. Convert every currency, even without internet, so you never pass up a great deal or pay too much for a meal.
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If a date is marked as Private, it is reserved for a private group.

Looking to travel with a small group or looking for a custom date?
Call our trip consultants at 866-464-8735

What is the Difference?

Ultimate Luxury:

Savor some of the most spectacular, 5-star properties in the world. Exuding luxury and elegance, these one-of-a-kind accommodations offer the chance to rejuvenate at award-winning spas, dine at Michelin-starred restaurants, and more.


Enjoy luxurious accommodations handpicked for a refined experience. From signature spa treatments to delicious local cuisine, you’ll be more than provided for; you’ll be pampered.


These handpicked hotels provide relaxation and fun in a casual and comfortable environment. Delicious cuisine and great service mix perfectly for a memorable stay.


On select cycling vacations, you’ll stay at a mix of Explorer and Luxury hotels. Rest assured, no matter which hotel level you’re at, our trip designers carefully select every accommodation.

Activity Level

Level 1:

Road: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 25 mi (40 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Gravel: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 20 mi (35 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 1-3 hours of hiking. Up to 5 mi (8 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Level 2:

Road: 2-4 hours of riding. 20-35 mi (35-60 km). Up to 2,500 ft (750 m).

Gravel: 2-4 hours of riding. 15-30 mi (25-45 km). Up to 2,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 2-4 hours of hiking. 4-8 mi (6-12 km). Up to 1,500 ft (450 m).

Level 3:

Road: 3-5 hours of riding. 25-55 mi (40-85 km). Up to 4,500 ft (1,500 m).

Gravel: 3-5 hours of riding. 20-40 mi (35-60 km). Up to 3,000 ft (900 m).

Hiking: 3-5 hours of hiking. 6-10 mi (9-16 km). Up to 2,000 ft (600 m).

Level 4:

Road: 4+ hours of riding. 40-70 mi (60-110 km). Up to 8,000 ft (2,400 m).

Gravel: 4+ hours of riding. 30-50 mi (45-80 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

Hiking: 4+ hours of hiking. 7-15 mi (11-24 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

What are your trip styles?

Classic - Reserve:

Savor the finer things as you relax in luxurious 5-star accommodations and wine, dine, and ride in some of the most unforgettable destinations around the world.

Classic - Signature:

Explore beautiful destinations by bike, enjoy extra inclusions, savor delicious local cuisine, and enjoy the perfect mix of accommodations.

Classic - Discover:

Enjoy a casual cycling vacation with fantastic routes and comfortable accommodations.

Ride Camp:

Train like the pros in some of their favorite riding destinations.

Pro Race:

See the pros in action at the biggest cycling events of the year.

Cross Country:

Tackle an epic adventure that takes you point-to-point across mountains, countryside, and more.


Enjoy a bike tour on your schedule with just your chosen travel companions.

Single Occupancy

Sometimes it’s more convenient and comfortable to have your own room while on vacation. We understand and that’s why we offer a Single Occupancy option. The additional price guarantees a private room all to yourself