Get Certified - Proudly Display Your Travel Achievements

With five certification levels, when you certify, you show your support of modusTravel and your commitment to be an independent, do-it-yourself traveler, subscribing to the Travel Light Travel Smart philosophy. As a Travel Ambassador, you strive to enrich your life and the lives of others through your travel experiences.

There is no test to pass to become certified, but you should be honest in your certifications that you have met the described criteria.  Certification fees are nominal and help support and maintain our website.  Once certified, click the certification symbol on your My Account page to display the certification confirmation page.  Share the page link with others to showcase your achievements.

When you are ready to certify, go to your My Account page and select 'Shop Items & Services' where you will be able to select the appropriate certifications and attest that you have met the criteria.

 
Certified Independent Traveler
If you are adventurous, like to set your own schedule, enjoy researching and planning your activities, destinations, accommodations, transportation and more, these certifications are for you as an independent, do-it-yourself traveler.  With several levels of increasing requirements, you strive to increase your knowledge of travel as well as improve your travel skills while you become more comfortable researching and planning trips on your own.

These certifications require the use of the Trip Planner and Mobile Trip Profile.  Depending on the certification level, the Travel Planner is also required to manage and track travel times and location duration.  It's not required to complete one level before advancing to the next. If you're a seasoned traveler and meet the criteria, you may already be at the 'PRO' level. It's up to you on how you want to proceed with certification.

Not everyone is interested in putting in the time required to research and plan a trip.  Some people would rather have everything done for them, as part of an organized tour group, and that is completely fine.  It's important to note that our Trip Planner handles all the details of a third party's organized, pre-planned tour.  All you have to do is enter the details and you will be able to utilize all the features of the Mobile Trip Profile during your trip.  We have seen tour group travelers given a printed itinerary to carry around with them, so having everything in the 'Planner' makes it much easier to view your trip details, navigate to sites, share your trip with others and utilize features such as the Activity Photo Timeline.

It's important to note that as an independent, do-it-yourself traveler, not every aspect of your trip may be totally independent, and that is fine.  There are situations when it makes perfect sense to join an organized group for the day.  This is something that should be researched and planned so it can be worked into your itinerary.  For example, on the trip we took to Germany, Luxembourg, France and Austria, we rented a car for the first half of the trip in Frankfurt before returning it in Stuttgart.   We set our own schedule and pace as we drove to many sites easily accessible by car.  After dropping off our car in Stuttgart, we took a high-speed train to Munich and then on to Salzburg Austria.  In Salzburg, as we were no longer traveling by car, we joined an organized tour for a day to visit Berchtesgaden and Hitler's Eagle's Nest, just across the border in Germany.  It would have been nice to be on our own and set our own schedule, but it was nice to let them handle everything for us.  It made sense and was more economical than renting a care for a day.  Part of trip planning is working out the logistics of what makes sense for cost and travel time, still allowing you to see and do everything you have planned.
Certified Independent Traveler - Single Destination

1: Independently researched and planned a domestic or international trip using the Trip Planner
2: Traveled to a single destination where you stayed at least one night
3: Trip may have included an Optional Day Trip
4: Utilize the Mobile Trip Profile to guide you during your trip

Example

A trip to England where you stay in London with an optional day trip to Windsor.
Certified Independent Traveler - Multi Destination

1: Independently researched and planned a domestic or international trip using the Trip Planner
2: Traveled to at least two destinations where you stayed at least one night
3: Trip included one or more Day Trips
4: Utilize the Mobile Trip Profile to guide you during your trip
5: Used the Travel Planner to manage and track travel times and location durations

Example

A trip to Italy where you stay in Rome and Florence and take a day trip to Pisa.
Certified Independent Travel Professional

1: Independently researched and planned a domestic or international trip using the Trip Planner
2: Traveled to three or more destinations where you stayed at least one night
3: Trip included one or more Day Trips
4: Multiple forms of Transportation were used, including air, car, train, boat, tram, subway, bus, gondola, funicular or others.
5: Utilized the Mobile Trip Profile to guide you during your trip
6: Used the Travel Planner to manage and track travel times and location durations

Example

A trip to France and Switzerland where you visit Paris and Strasburg in France before heading to Switzerland where you make multiple stops throughout the Jungfrau Region before heading back to France with stops in Lyon and Dijon before returning to Paris.

To view additional IT-PRO qualifying trips, see our examples of trips we have planned and completed on our Trip Examples page.

* This certification and TLTS are prerequisites for TA certification.
 
Certified Travel Light Travel Smart Traveler
This certification shows you subscribe to the Travel Light Travel Smart philosophy.  You travel light, only bringing what you need and pack using only a single bag or backpack.  You are smart about your travels.  You have researched and planned to find the best deals and to make the most efficient use of your time.  You are educated on avoiding bad situations and are prepared to remain calm and make the most of any adverse situation that may arise.

We have listed a few examples of what it means to travel light and why it's smart to do so.  It’s much easier to run to catch a train that's about to depart...and yes, we have had to do that.  If you are wandering around a new town trying to find an available room for the night, traveling light with a backpack is the way to go.  It's no fun trying to carry multiple bags or pull wheel enabled luggage through cobblestone streets.  Having a pack small enough and light enough that it meets airline carry-on bag requirements means you're not checking a bag.  Better yet, you won't be waiting around for your bag to arrive at baggage claim.  There are also advantages should you need to or have the opportunity to rebook an earlier flight.  It may not be possible if you had checked a bag.  It's much easier to board a train, tram or bus when you're not hauling around multiple pieces of baggage.  The list goes on and on and these are just a few of the travel light and smart advantages.

It would be impossible to cover every topic and situation when it comes to traveling light and smart.  However, our Travel Skills Tips & Tricks pages provide numerous examples and detailed in-depth information on a variety of topics to assist you.

Traveling Light and Smart

Traveling light does not mean to avoid bringing something that you may not wear or use; there is much more to it than that.  In fact, we find that some items are very essential to bring, even if you never used them.  One example is described below.

Starting off with traveling light, one of the most important things to remember is the No Checked Bags Rule.  Whether you're on a one week or three week trip, everything you need should fit in a single bag or backpack, preferably no larger than 40L.  Your backpack should meet airline requirements for carry-on luggage including size and weight, so there is no need to check it.  If it doesn't fit in your bag, it doesn't go.  We have several topics on our Tips page covering backpacks, daypacks, accessories, packing and more.

Traveling light and smart go together.  For example, the novice traveler will pack several pairs of cotton jeans for their trip.  The smart traveler packs a couple pair of lightweight, quick-dry, convertible backpacking style pants.

The smart traveler knows the most efficient way to get money when traveling abroad is to use an ATM machine upon arrival.  They know to make fewer large cash withdraws compared to several smaller ones, to reduce the number of individual transaction fees.  They have contacted their bank ahead of time to flag their account of their international travel so there are no issues when using their card.  These are just a few of the of the topics concerning money on our Tips page.

The smart traveler wears quality hiking style shoes that are waterproof, breathable, comfortable and 'completely' broken in.

The smart traveler brings a travel umbrella and rain shell gear including both a jacket and pants.  These items are exceptions to the don't bring something you may not use rule.  These items are small and extremely lightweight, taking minimal room in your backpack.  If you need these items, you will be extremely glad you have them.  The rain gear will also double as another layer of clothing even when it's not raining.  You can always purchase an umbrella upon your arrival, but we carry one, so we don't have to find a place to purchase one if we need it.  An example is a trip we took to France.  Upon arriving in Paris, we took a train from the airport to the Gare du Nord station where we switched to the underground metro system to our final stop.  As we came up from the station, it was pouring rain.  We quickly slipped into our rain gear, got out our umbrellas and were on our way.  If we had not packed rain gear or brought our umbrellas, we would have either gotten soaked or had to backtrack down into the station to hopefully find a vendor that sold umbrellas; wasting valuable travel time.

The smart traveler knows how to carry valuables and stay alert on public transportation.  When traveling together, they watch out for one another.  We keep watch on each other's backpacks, bags and avoid being distracted by outside activities.

The smart traveler handles unforeseen situations that may arise and looks for opportunities to make the most of their situation.  You research and plan ahead.  You make smart decisions, deal with obstacles, recognize and avoid adverse situations and are prepared for most every situation that may arise.

Smart travelers have planned and are using the Mobile Trip Profile, to guide them during their trip.  They know how to use their smartphone features with the Profile, allowing them to quickly navigate to all their pre-planned locations, make international calls and access their booking information.

There are just some of the many examples and information you will find on our Travel Skills Tips & Tricks pages.

* This certification and IT-PRO are prerequisites for TA certification.
 
For this certification, you need to be able to walk-the-walk, having actual experience and not just talk-the-talk.  What does that mean exactly?  Reading through our tips and examples, you may think most things sounds like common sense, but you need to have had experienced these situations yourself to truly comprehend what is involved.  Keep in mind that our tips and examples where learned from years of travel experience.  We have learning what works, what doesn't work and how to deal with the different situations we have encountered.  We didn't start out like this and over the years we have adjusted to become more efficient and smart about how we travel.  This is why we call it the 'Art of Travel'.  Keep in mind that independent, do-it-yourself travel is a constant learning, adjusting and improving experience.  What works for us, may be different for you.

If you can positively answer the following for a past trip, you may be ready for this certification.

1: Have you traveled light on a trip lasting over a week, carrying only a backpack of 40L or less?
2: Have you flown without checking a single bag on an extended trip?
3: Did you see the advantages of traveling light during your trip?
4: Were you prepared for most every situation you encountered?
5: Do you recognize items you could have left behind and others you should have brought with you?
6: Do you think about better ways to pack helping to gain additional room and lighten the weight of your backpack?
7: While traveling, have you encounter anything unexpected causing you to adjustment your travel plans?
8: Can you give examples of smart decisions you made during your travels and ones that should have been made differently?
9: Have you found ways to beat the system by doing something different that has been more convenient and efficient?
10: Can you explain what it means to travel light to someone by giving examples?
11: Because of what you have learned, have you avoided situations that may have resulted in a negative experience?
12: Do you believe that when it comes to travel, traveling light is the way to go and a way of life?
14: Did you enjoy your trip as a light and smart traveler?
15: Are you excited to share all that you learned and experienced with others, helping them to have a better travel experience?
 
Certified Travel Ambassador
What is an ambassador? An ambassador is a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity or product.  Traditionally, tour companies and travel agencies hire travel ambassadors as writers or influencers who help market and promote their products and brand.  In this role, they may travel to hotels, restaurants, and other attractions and write a blog or article reviewing their experience.  Basically, they are writing to promote traveling with their company as the ideal way to enjoy a vacation. They typically share their experiences by creating social media content to help promote travel products to customers.

Our idea of a Travel Ambassador is slightly different than the traditional role described above. Not only will you promote the modusTravel products, but you acknowledge your commitment to promoting positive travel values.
Travel Ambassador certification is for people who are passionate about travel and want to expand their knowledge of the world and other cultures.  They strive to set a positive example with the goal of building bridges, not walls.  They are open to new ideas and strive to meet and interact with new people to learn and share ideas and viewpoints.  They are constantly thinking of travel by recalling past travel memories, contemplating their next travel adventure and are always up for a good travel conversation.
No one has said it better than Mark Twain.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. – Mark Twain

* IT-PRO and TLTS certifications are prerequisites for TA certification.
 
Some of the qualities of a modusTravel Travel Ambassador

1: You are open to the viewpoints and opinions of others.  You may not agree with everyone and they may not agree with you, but you are respectful, polite and consider it a learning experience to understand the views of other people.
2: You experience the local cuisine and often photograph your meal to help recall the meal, location and experience.
3: You participate in local activities and festivals.  You research the history of activities and festivals to better understand the significance and meaning.
4: While researching and planning a trip, you review the history of locations you plan to visit.  European history goes back thousands of years, from Roman Times to Medieval, WWI and WWII, so you research the history of sites you plan to visit for a more meaningful experience.
5: You make an effort to get off the beaten path.  You venture away from the main tourist areas, looking for places where the locals hang out such as pubs, restaurants or other locations.  However, you are smart about where you go as some places may not be as safe after the tourist crowds have departed or during the night hours.
6: If you don't speak the language, you make an attempt to learn a few key words and phrases such as: hello, thank you, please, do you speak English, etc.  When you talk to locals, you begin by asking politely if they speak English, using the local language if possible.
7: When you travel, you may visit several different cathedrals, temples, synagogues, mosques and more, so you are respectful of the different religious beliefs and views as you visit and learn about them.
8: You may look for accommodations other than a typical hotel.  You look for mom-and-pop run local non-chain hotels, hostels where you have the opportunity to interact with other travelers, B&Bs or even specialty hotels such as staying in a castle.
9: You try to experience different modes of transportation such as the metro, bus, tram, gondola or funicular.
10: You find that sometimes it's worth paying a little more for a room with a view or even on the Grand Canal in Venice to enhance your travel experience.
11: You make an effort to meet someone new and perhaps exchange contact information and meet up on future trips.
12: When staying in a hostel, you socialize with other travelers.  You will find that people congregate in the kitchen or common areas and talk about where they have been, where they are going and offer advice and tips from their own experiences.
13: You don't end your exploring after the sun goes down.  You may return to sites to view and photograph them after dark knowing they take on a totally different appearance and atmosphere.
14: You research ahead of time and may attend a show, opera, play or some other event.
15: If things don't go your way, you make the best of the situation, knowing that everything will work out in the end and you will have an interesting story to tell.
16: You respect the rules of sites you visit such as removing your shoes when required, covering your head in Jewish synagogues and cemeteries, not entering a site if you are not dressed appropriately, removing your hat at some locations and not taking photos when they are not allowed.
17: You are patient.  For example, dining in Europe can be a different experience than what you are used to.  Meals are considered a time to slow down, relax and enjoy, not something to rush through.  As a tourist, you may be on a schedule, so you are conscious of where you eat and plan for it.
18: You do your best to blend in.  When traveling in a foreign country, it may not be the best time to wear your flashy home-country colors, flags or other symbols showing where you are from.  As proud as you may be, you keep a low profile, doing your best to blend in and avoid conflict.
19: When you return home, you openly share your travel experiences with others.  You may talk to a complete stranger when you overhear them talking about some place you have visited.  You will find that people enjoy talking about their experiences and listening to those of others.  Sharing common travel experiences is something that binds people together.
20: You try your best to set a good and positive image.  You do your best to build bridges to your country and not reinforce the negative images people may have.
21: You look for ways to broaden your travel knowledge and experiences.  You may not have the opportunity to live abroad, but if you do, consider it as it will greatly increase your knowledge of life in another country and provide the opportunity to easily travel to nearby locations.  We had the opportunity several years ago and took it.  We lived in Windsor England for three years and it was one of the best experiences of our lives.