Travel Service With a Personal Touch

Three generations of the Bestor family and an extended network of editors, writers, and travel professionals are the Europe travel experts behind Gemütlichkeit: The Travel Letter for Germany, Austria & Switzerland. Based in Ashland, Oregon, we strive at all times to make our customers feel like family.

Over the years, we have saved our customers money by directing them to bargain hotel and rental car deals, suggesting ways to manage their money overseas, and warning how to avoid expensive tourist traps. But we believe the real value of Gemütlichkeit is in guiding travelers to experiences that will create memories for a lifetime: to charming, little-known, off-the-beaten track villages and small, welcoming, family-run hotels. Many of our readers have become regulars at some of the hotels and restaurants we introduced them to, and they continue to return year after year.

The Bestor Family

Bob & Liz Bestor Family: Front row: Sam Riedel, Sarah Bestor, Joe Riedel, Amanda Bestor; Second row: Nancy Bestor, Emily Bestor, Bob & Liz, Andy Bestor, Margaret Bestor, Riley Bestor; Back row: Bob Bestor, Philip Riedel, Laura Riedel

What makes us the experts?

We've been doing this for a long time. Gemütlichkeit will complete its 25th year of publication in 2011. We are committed to in-person, on-site research. Our main writers—Bob Bestor, Jim Johnson, Nikki Goth Itoi, Tom Bross, and Sharon Hudgins—spend a combined six months a year in Europe. Another occasional contributor, the brilliant Lydia Itoi, lives there. Editor and publisher Bestor has lost track of how many trips he's made to Europe, but figures he passed a million commercial air miles many years ago, and the majority of those have been over the Atlantic.

Andy Bestor, our car rental manager, has booked thousands of rental cars in Europe. He spends all day on the phone guiding our customers to the best deals and warning them about the pitfalls. Car rental quote manager, Sabrina Steffan, is now in her third year with us after three years as a member of Auto Europe's special accounts department. Air tickets and cruise manager, Laura Riedel, uses all the tricks of the computerized reservations system to find the right cruises and trans-Atlantic flights at the right prices for her loyal following of customers.

Since 1994, Bob and Nancy Bestor have operated Travel Essentials, a seller of travel gear, luggage, travel clothing, guidebooks and maps—both online and through their retail outlet at 252 East Main Street, Ashland OR 97520, tel. 800-258-0758.

To learn more about our approach to travel and the services we provide, read a recent interview with publisher Bob Bestor or see what our some of customers say about their experiences with us.

Ready to plan your trip?

  • Start by making your car, air and hotel reservations at 800-521-6722.
  • You can also sign up to receive our free e-mail newsletter, Europe Travel Report.