Did you miss the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017? Perhaps you’re tired of listening to your friends rave about totality. Maybe you’ve seen a few partial solar eclipses and have decided that it’s time to see the “real deal.” Whatever the reason, you’ve looked at maps of future total solar eclipses, noticed that one crosses a country you’ve always wanted to visit, and have decided that it’s time to experience totality.
But how? If you’re a novice eclipse chaser, you might be unsure about how to reach the path of totality. Perhaps you’re an experienced traveler who knows that while non-group travel has its benefits, sometimes letting somebody else organize everything—hotels, meals, and a great eclipse-viewing site—is the way to go. So, if you’re thinking of joining an eclipse tour, welcome to TravelQuest.
Since its founding in 1996, TravelQuest has planned and fulfilled some 250 solar eclipse tours and astronomy-themed excursions to all seven continents. A few of our more unusual eclipse-viewing locations include an icebreaker near the North Pole, the Gobi and Libyan Deserts, Easter Island, Chaco Canyon, Svalbard, and on board aircraft flying over the Antarctic and the North Atlantic. Of course, we also see totality from more traditional sites, including several eclipse excursions on the luxurious MS Paul Gauguin sailing out of Tahiti. We do this because finding the best places to view an eclipse of the Sun invariably takes us to the extremities of our planet—from polar latitudes, to remote, seldom visited places, and even to bustling metropolises, all depending on the path of totality.
This is our craft; designing and executing eclipse travel packages that provide our clients with the opportunity to experience the wonders of our planet and stand in the shadow of the Moon. In so doing, TravelQuest has developed a loyal following—on most tours at least half of our guests have traveled with us before. Our experienced trip leaders are among the best in the eclipse travel industry, and our local guides and contacts open doors to sights and events that are often inaccessible to independent travelers.
Touring to Totality
Joining a TravelQuest eclipse trip means a worry-free travel experience, because we look after all the research, planning, and logistics. For each destination, we find the perfect balance of high-quality accommodations, great meals, and comfortable transport. This requires extensive long-range planning, particularly if the totality passes over a remote region of our planet where the amenities are limited.
Several years prior to the eclipse, TravelQuest scouts potential viewing sites along the path, reserves nearby hotel rooms, and arranges local transportation. In doing so, we lock in many of the core costs of the tour. Regrettably, local establishments have been known to dramatically hike prices for everything from hotel rooms to meals and car rentals once it is realized that being in (or near) the path of totality will result in a sudden influx of eclipse chasers. As a member of our eclipse tour, you’re protected from price gouging.
Another consideration is the weather—the sky must be clear during totality. Since we can’t magically part any clouds that appear on eclipse day, we work closely with long-time eclipse meteorologist Jay Anderson. He determines the weather prospects for our potential eclipse-viewing sites, monitors the weather constantly prior to totality, and can recommend an alternate site if weather at our prime viewing location doesn’t look ideal. Jay has created eclipse-weather forecasts since 1979, and he has been involved with TravelQuest since its inception. Thanks to his expertise, we have an unparalleled record of success when it comes to seeing totality.
You don’t need to be an eclipse or astronomy expert to enjoy the trip. All TravelQuest solar eclipse tours have an experienced astronomer as one of the trip leaders. Each astronomer has seen numerous eclipses, will describe what to expect (very useful if this is your first totality), and how to photograph the event. Our astronomer trip leader is with us for the entire trip to answer your eclipse-related questions and, depending on the itinerary, lead some night-sky observing sessions.
In addition to our eclipse expert, we hire knowledgeable local guides who have fascinating tales to tell about the region we’re traveling through and the people who live there. Guide books can tell you only so much. It’s the personal touch and knowledge of our local guides that makes our journey to totality really come alive.
An Unforgettable Experience
Totality is an immersive experience. For mere moments, it engenders a sense of wonder and awe in all who view it. Those who have seen totality will travel thousands of miles to see another and relive this emotional celestial spectacle. Participating in a TravelQuest eclipse tour connects like-minded folks who share this passion. During the trip, many friendships are forged, friendships that are rekindled when participants meet again sometimes many years later, during another TravelQuest solar eclipse tour.
It’s often said that seeing totality is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case. There is a total eclipse somewhere on Earth once every 18 months or so. You’ll find TravelQuest at each one, perfectly positioned somewhere along the centerline of totality. So join us, and share in the wonder as we stand in the shadow of the Moon.