Today’s featured guest, Eric Blackmon, a seasoned independent traveler, was the lucky winner of our Los Angeles Travel and Adventure show giveaway contest. Mr. Blackmon chose our Golden China 8-day tour as his prize. Enjoy our below interview to learn about his insights on traveling with Super Value Tours and view a sample of the beautiful photos he took while on tour.
What was your initial reaction when you heard you won a trip with us?
I received the email saying I won and initially didn’t believe it. I’ve received my share of robo-calls and scam emails, so when I got email from Super Value Tours saying, “Congratulations, you have won…” I was skeptical. Then I remembered signing up for this giveaway at the travel show, and my skepticism changed to excitement. I called the Super Value Tours office and the staff and assured me that this indeed was a no strings attached award – airfare included!
From start to finish, what was your favorite part of this trip?
It’s difficult to pick a favorite part of the total experience. However, I especially liked that from the moment we landed in China the Super Value Tours team took care of all the details, from managing luggage and transportation to checking-in at the hotel. It was like having a personal valet who knew the ins and outs of the destination and was ensuring my comfort and enjoyment was maximized each step of the way.
You usually travel independently, how did your travel experience on this tour differ from your experiences traveling on your own?
My wife and I usually research our destinations, pick activities we want to do, and then book/manage the trip on our own. We’ve had success with this process, but pre-trip planning is time consuming, and even with our best efforts there’s always something we wish we’d done differently. The Super Value Tours trip was turn key. Everything was planned for us and each activity was thought out down to the smallest detail. For example, the order of each day’s activities was designed to minimize wait time caused by crowds, and maximize our comfort based on the weather and time of day. An even bigger benefit was discovering experiences we would not have known to book on our own. The trip to Gubei Water Town is a great example. The architecture was stunning, the Simatai section of the Great Wall was breathtaking, and the Hot Pot dinner in town was something I never knew I’d enjoy so much.
What hotel did you like the most? What made it so special?
All of the hotels were 5-star luxury properties. My wife and I were celebrating our wedding anniversary, and each hotel did something special to acknowledge it. One hotel put rose petals on the bed to spell “Happy Anniversary”. Another made a surprise anniversary cake delivery. All in all, our favorite was the Grand Wyndham in Xi’an. The location, views and hotel amenities made this the perfect place for the last days on the tour.
Cissy was your tour guide, can you tell us about your experience with her?
Cissy, our tour guide, brought tremendous energy to the tour. She established rapport right away and made sure everyone on the tour had their needs met. Being from Beijing she was able to provide a local’s view of the places we visited. She provided fun facts about each location which kept us engaged and explained the traditions and culture we were seeing. By the end of the tour, Cissy was like another family member.
From all the meals you had, what was your favorite?
I mentioned that I loved the Hot Pot in Gubei Water Town. I have to add to that the Peking Duck dinner in Beijing. Best ever.
You had been to China, but your wife had not. Do you think this tour was a great introduction to one of the most iconic destinations in the world?
Visiting the Great Wall and the seeing the Terracotta Warriors has been on my wife’s “must do” list for years. We attended the Los Angeles Travel Show specifically looking for information to plan a trip to China around those sites. This tour allowed us to see these destinations in style. High marks go to Super Value Tours for exceeding our travel expectations. I’m now recommending Super Value Tours to my friends because of the positive experience we had.
Eric at the Great Wall
Thanks for sharing your vacation with us, Eric!