Meet the Passport Society.
A collective of travelers who venture beyond domestic borders and comfort zones to seek a world of adventure with like-minded, fun, peers. The goal of the trips is to create new memories through meticulously curated experiences.
This past fall, the Passport Society group embarked on a trip with ninety young, black professionals in Cartagena, Colombia. The group was housed cross four luxury villas within the “Walled City” of Cartagena. Each villa was fully staffed with a private chef, cleaning staff and security. The villas had indoor and outdoor pools with Jacuzzis and breathtaking views of the city of Cartagena. In addition to the villas, the entire four-day trip was coordinated with activities day in and day out to keep the party going and unlock the spirit of the city.
We got a chance to sit down with one of the cofounders, Andrew Bennett, to learn more about the planning process of the trips and what is in store for the future.
- How old is Passport Society?
“Passport Society was founded in 2019, and it’s first trip was March 2020, right at the beginning of the pandemic. And to Thailand no less. The ‘travel gawd’s got us in and out safely, but we were 24 hours away from being stuck in Thailand. Fun times.
While Passport Society is only 2 years old, the organizers are a crew of friends, known as “The Fun Guys aka FGI”, and have I been a crew since Spring 2007.”
- What was the inspiration behind the creation of the Passport Society?
Since we were known as “The Fun Guys” who traveled a lot – it eventually evolved into Fun Guys International (FGI). After attending a few group trips of our own, and the constant barrage of people in our DMs/inbox with the questions: “When’s the next trip? Can we come?”; we decided to make it official and open up our next trip to close friends. As a pilot, we did Thailand with a small intimate group, to test out our model, and eventually expand. It was a success, and here we are today!
- Is there a capacity on the number of attendees per destination?
“Each trip capacity varies. We want to make sure we can accommodate each attendee and provide excellent service to each individual. We’ve done as little as 19 people and as much as 127.”
- What makes this different than having the experience with myself or my friends?
An “experience with yourself and your friends” is just that. To travel with Passport Society is a unique experience. Our brand solicits a wildly mature, well-versed and experienced traveler, that is also respected in their respective field. Our patrons have chosen to travel with us to be around likeminded individuals. Because of our marketing approach, reaching out to friends of friends, it naturally creates a vetting process as well. As a result, everyone on the trip is excited: about having fun, meeting new friends, and cultural immersion – lastly, we all know that we have careers to go back to!
The trip curators ensure that all details are ironed out from the moment you land to departure. As our original name says, the “FGI” mentality is about fun and making sure the people around us are having a good time. So come, kick back, relax and enjoy the vibes!
- What destinations do you have planned for 2022?
“We’re currently still doing research, which takes tons of time. We want to see & visit each place, hotel, vendor, etc. and be 100% sure we can guarantee the experience we promise to our guests. That being said…TBD. But we will definitely make an announcement soon!”
- Do travelers have to be from the NY area to join a trip?
“Definitely NOT. Our guests come from all over the country and represent nations all over the world. We admire the diversity of our guests and welcome anyone who enjoys being around young professionals who enjoy luxury, mature travel.
Oh. You also have to enjoy a good time. Positive vibes only!”
- How long does it take to plan?
“Bruh…this question just stressed me out lol. The planning can definitely take a while. It’s important to dot I’s, and cross T’s. Every day we’re emailing vendors, hotels, chefs, shuttle companies, restaurants, etc (let’s hope they speak English!). Dealing with questions from guests, etc. So all that to say trip successfully plan a trip you need to be very thorough. Our catchphrase is ‘…all we ask is trust.’. Our clients definitely trust us to curate an amazing experience…from touchdown to take off.”
- Is there a vetting process in selecting who can join the trip?
“Passport Society welcomes and accepts all guests who have a positive attitude and want to enjoy a trip with the Fun Guys. The vetting process comes naturally, because while we publicly advertise our trips, we don’t run any ads or go outside of our network. Generally, everyone on the trip was personally invited, or by a friend of a friend. Even the random folks who come on the trip heard about it via our network, so we consider that vetting enough. Knock on wood…so far, 100% of our guests would be invited back.”
- How many destinations per year and how do you go about selecting the locations?
“Currently, all of the organizers have a 9-5, so while we would love to do a trip every month…our current bandwidth is about 2 trips a year.
COVID threw a wrench in planning, so currently trips are decided around where we can actually go safely, and enjoy nightlife.
Ideally we can do one large trip to the islands which is large-group trip friendly, and one trip that’s more intimate and less people.”
- Where do you see the business going in the future?
Currently, Passport Society has three goals.
- To continue planning multiple safe trips per year, 2-3.
- Continue to build brand recognition in the group travel industry that evokes smiles and warm memories when you hear “Passport Society”.
- Develop corporate partnerships that are mutually beneficial, and advantageous to the larger Society.The five of us on the eBoard all have 9-5 jobs and are in senior leadership. In a perfect world, we’d be able to transition and do this full-time; as of now, this is a passion project that we do for the people!