Have you ever tried to plan a vacation with your friends, but everything fell apart a few weeks into your group chat? But—ugh, you hate to admit this—you’re also just too scared to travel to another country alone? Well, good news. There’s an app a new Houston-based travel company for that.
Here and Now Travel Co., which launched this year from Texas natives Alex and Elise Coleman, is a new group travel company that aims to take away the vulnerability solo travelers face—no more navigating a city alone at night or dealing with language barriers at customs—while also handling all the planning and logistics of an adventurous trip to Tulum, San Jose, or Bogotá.
“The idea is to take out all the heavy lifting of the traveler," says Alex, who works in sales. His wife, Elise, is an engineer. They live in the Heights, and understand how taxing it can be to plan and execute a great vacation when you're busy as all get out.
Though companies like Here and Now exist elsewhere, the Colemans were inspired to start their own for a few reasons. They didn't like how a lot of travel companies had huge groups—"That feels bulky, like you’re stomping on the places you’re traveling to," says Alex. They're more interested in sustainable travel. They also noticed there were zero travel companies that catered to young professionals here in Houston—which is strange, considering we are the best city for millennials, after all.
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Day 1: Celebrated July 4th with a hike to one of Costa Rica’s best kept secrets! Check our IG story to follow the trip! . . . . #costarica #travellocal #hereandnowtravel #hereandnow #travelnurse #wanderlust #wander #travel #cascada #grouptravel #youngadult #youngprofessional #vacationmode #hike
Here and Now limits its group to between 6 and 14 travelers—you can book solo or with your friends—and the trips are scheduled around weekends to accommodate people with few vacation days left at work. The Coleman's local knowledge and connections make for unique travel experiences with daily activities ranging from wild—ziplining, diving into cenotes— to straight-up endearing: In Tulum, guests get to learn how to make tortillas with a family who also run an animal sanctuary. And yes, there's also ample downtime in the evenings for some alone time to sight-see or chill before dinner.
Guests stay in boutique hotels or secluded farm houses depending on the location, and leave the vacation feeling pampered, but the trips are pretty dang affordable, considering they're all under $1,000 currently (this doesn't include air fare, travel insurance, and dinners). What it does include is six days of adventure with Houstonians willing to take a risk just like you.
On Here and Now's maiden voyage to Costa Rica in May, two travelers, a couple, even got engaged. "It was really special," says Alex, but that's the point of travel, right? "You can just fully immerse yourself in learning about other travelers and the destination. You get to experience the 'here and the now.' That's how it all came about."
Here & Now Travel Co. heads to Tulum from Sept. 18-22 with limited availability, and is now booking for 2020 trips at hereandnowtravel.com.