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Gig Gwin
  • Visited all 320 countries on Earth
  • Over three million miles of exploration
  • 75 trips to Europe/60 cruises worldwide
  • Author "Travel Dreams Sold Here...Crafting an Extraordinary Vacation"
  • Creator of a "75 Grand Tours of the World"
  • Guest host on Pierre Wolfe's "America's Dining and Travel Guide"
  • 50 years of experience in travel

Acknowledged as one of the travel industries'
foremost authorities.

Travel Dreams Sold Here - Order Now!

This travel source book is designed to help readers decide on the best travel for their needs. The book is packed with information essential to a successful vacation experience. There are 33 well-researched lists, including Gig's selection of the 75 grand tours of the world, and more than 260 photos that give life to the destinations. Added attractions include more than 125 familiar and not-so-familiar quotations, plus a personal travel survey.

Uncover the travel gems of the world with globetrotter Gig Gwin. Gain insights and enjoy compelling destination stories from Gig's lifelong journeys around the world. He draws upon his years of travel, consulting and speaking in a down-to-earth book that touches on everything from grand tours of the world to dining with the locals in faraway places with strange-sounding names.

Settle into your comfortable chair and probe the world of travel as you never have before. Various chapters examine the five reasons people yearn to travel - from romance to adventure. Delve into special interests that strike your fancy, from festivals and fairs to symphonies and sports. Readers can take a travel survey that may just reshape their thinking about their next grand tour.

Immerse yourself in tourism through the ages, from the seven wonders of the ancient world to those of the modern world. Go back into the history of tourism with such fine fellows as Herodotus, Caesar Augustus, the Crusaders and Marco Polo. Continue on to modern times with tourism in the Age of Discovery and the origins of the grand tour during the Enlightenment. Learn about the first travel agent, Thomas Cook, and wander the world with news commentator Lowell Thomas.

Enjoy travel tips and pre-trip planning that will help make your next vacation go smoothly, from packing and common-sense health rules to shopping tips and creative photography.

Gig's list of the 75 grand tours of the world spans the globe, complemented by comprehensive information on landmarks and lodging. Take it from someone who's been there. These are the trips of a lifetime.

World traveler Gig Gwin invites you to join him in this celebration of the joy of exploration. Hopefully his love of travel will be contagious.

Gig Gwin's "Travel Dreams Sold Here"
New book chronicles world traveler's exciting adventures around the globe

by Linda Briggs-Harty
Webster-Kirkwood Times

March 18, 2011
Gig Gwin, owner of Gwins Travel in Kirkwood, has traveled to every country on Earth. He chronicles his adventures in a new book, "Travel Dreams Sold Here: Crafting an Extraordinary Vacation," set for release in April.

A unique guide for sure, Graydon "Gig" Gwin's new book is part how-to and part inspiration, with plenty of anecdotes and first-hand experiences.

"Travel Dreams" will be available at West County Barnes & Noble; Gwins Travel, 111 N. Taylor Ave. in Kirkwood; or online at www.gwins.com/gig.

Gwin's expertise and energy, evident in the book, has readers cruising down the Rhine River in Germany and trekking through deserts in Morocco right alongside him.

Sometimes solo, sometimes joined by friends or family (including wife Terrie and three grown boys), Gwin literally lives to travel.

Such has been the case for much of his life: as a youngster when he travelled with his professor dad, two older sisters and adventurous mother; as a soldier in Vietnam; as a young man working for TWA; and as an account executive/product development director for Maritz Company.

Employing some 40 people in three locations, Gwins Travel arranged 44,000 trips last year. Though 9/11 almost did the company in, Gwin hung on and reaped rewards through know-how and good marketing, he said.

At 65, Gwin is active as ever. Four months ago, he rode a bike down Pike's Peak (35 miles an hour). Next February, he'll lead a tour to Botswana, the best area for viewing African animals.

"Fulfilling my own travel dreams makes it possible for me to help fellow travelers fulfill theirs," Gwin writes in the book's introduction.

Thus, he covers most every angle of touring in "Travel Dreams": why we travel, tourism through the ages, travel tips and pre-trip planning, grand tours, transportation, lodging, sightseeing, dining, museum-hopping and more.

"As I counseled people over the years, I kept fielding the same questions," said Gwin. "The book speaks to people's curiosities."

He lists five reasons to travel: touring, romancing, relaxing, adventure seeking and pursuit of special interests.

"The great bonus of touring is the almost permanent memory bank of travel adventures," he writes. "We travel the globe to explore times past and modern marvels."

Gwin admits he's romantic, ever waiting to be wowed, like when he saw the full moon shine down on the Taj Mahal in India.

He said he agrees that "soft white sand and calm tropical water are the perfect ingredients for a relaxing vacation."

His list of dream beaches will lure sand lovers to hot spots all over the world, like Cape Hatteras and South Padre in North America, Jamaica and St. Lucia in the Caribbean, Costa Rica and Punte del Este in Central/South America, Bermuda in the Atlantic and Galapagos in the Pacific, to name just a few.

"Boomers want to take active trips," he said.

Therefore, he shares favorite hiking, skiing, bungee jumping, scenic rafting, snorkeling/diving, golfing, rodeo-riding and other action sites, along with the best zoos, botanical gardens and opera houses (his favorite).

Gwin's "Tourism Through the Ages" chapter aims to educate, he said. Who knew toga-wearing Herodotus sparked all this wanderlust?

Many travelers are unaware that there's a new list of the world's seven wonders. Most know about Marco Polo, the Crusaders and Conquistadors; what about Thomas Cook and Lowell Thomas, past travel industry promoters?

After highlighting history, Gwin informs about a host of practical matters: getting passports and visas, trip insurance, immunizations, foreign currency and more. He shares tips on packing clothes and jewelry, making a shopping list and remembering portable electronics.

Health care and personal safety are part of the picture, as is photo-taking, everyone's interest these days.

His list of the world's grand tours presents unusual opportunities, such as hiking up Morro Rock in California's Sequoia National Park or watching polar bears swipe at photographers above them on a tundra perch in Churchill/Hudson Bay, Canada.

More history is in the transportation chapter, where Gwin reminds readers it all revolves around planes, trains and automobiles (ships too).

The chapters on lodging and dining are close to Gwin's heart, he said. Hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and luxury inns all can be perfect depending on the trip, he said.

Staying in an over-the-water bungalow in Bora Bora was like "opening the gates of paradise," he writes.

A chapter on America's National Parks lists all types of affordable, natural travel options. Some 58 national parks and a whopping 337 National Park Service outlets -- ranging from historic sites to battlefields to scenic river ways -- foster cultural and ecological awareness.

Gwin's dining chapter offers food for thought -- and laughter too. A tale about eating yak stew in Morocco centers on worst fears turned funny and fulfilling.

After highlighting museums, Gwin lists the countries he's toured - some 300-plus.

There are plenty more exotic locales off the beaten path, according to Gwin. Spin a bottle on the map and see where it lands. Adventures await.

Seasoned journalist and explorer Gig Gwin has traveled around the globe for more than four decades, from Kilimanjaro to Katmandu, from the largest continents to the smallest islands, from London and Paris to Tonga and Tristan da Cunha. He is equally at home in an elegant resort or a native hut. His stories have covered virtually all aspects of travel, including adventure, history, food and such newsworthy topics as the effect of the 2004 tsunami on tourism in the hardest-hit countries.

Through the years, Gig has developed a writing style that is clean and compelling, and at times sprinkled with humor. An avid photographer, Gig looks for just the right images to bring his stories to life.

His stories have graced the pages of numerous newspapers and magazines. His account of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was the feature story in the travel section of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Other articles have described a Molokai mule ride into a leper colony, sharing sheep stew with Iranian nomads, and being granted a private audience with the king of Tonga. He is the travel specialist for the American Express Persona Magazine, sharing quarterly stories and adventures with thousands of card holders.

Gig is a sought-after national speaker and appears frequently on radio and television. In 1999, he fulfilled a life-long goal and became one of a handful of people to have visited all 325 countries of the world.

Morning Mass Ascension at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta – Photo by Gig Gwin

Gig is a member of the Explorers Club and Travelers Century Club.

Spotlight On: The Mexican Riviera Maya
“El Dorado Seaside Suites”
In Search of a Bonny Adventure – American Express Persona Magazine
“Come the spring, into summer and through the fall, Scotland beckons.”
Food for Thought – Stars & Strips
“Be a daring diner, combine local specialties and historic settings.”
Searching for the Land of Enchantment – Group Tour Magazine
“The inspiring circle trip to Carlsbad Caverns & White Sands.”
Revisiting the Falls – American Express Persona Magazine
“Niagara Falls … still one of Gig Gwin’s favorites.”
West of Key West – American Express Persona Magazine
“A journey to Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park.”
An Island Gig – Islands Magazine
“We asked for advice from the worldliest of travelers.”
(This article written about Gig Gwin.)
Wide Wyoming – American Express Persona Magazine
“Real cowboys, beautiful mountains and Yellowstone National Park.”

The dunes of White Sands National Monument, New Mexico – Photo by Gig Gwin