Global Citizens Travel

About Us

Global Citizens Travel is a US-based travel company committed to offering authentic international experiences to students studying and traveling abroad.

In 2010, founder Matt Murphy came back from traveling the world with the goal to make unique, customized experiences with top local guides not only attainable, but affordable. What if there were a company that traveled to all corners of the map, checked out the must-do's and must-see's and allowed students to explore on their own, all while interacting and hanging out with some of the best local guides in the area? What if there were a company that encouraged students to stay up late, wake up early, step out of their comfort zone and truly experience traveling rather than touring? What if there were a company that could plan travel that combined sightseeing, service, adventure and nightlife all while giving students the freedom to explore on their own?

And just like that, Global Citizens Travel was born. The team at GCT is dedicated to all of the above: we want to make sure that you see everything you want to see and do everything you want to do during your short time in a new place. We take care of the accommodations, transfers and logistics so you spend less time waiting in line and staring at an upside-down map and more time aimlessly exploring on your own. We connect you with the top local guides of the areas to ensure that you don't just see these new cultures, but you have an authentic perspective guiding you and showing you the "real" side of the places you visit.

We believe in free time, befriending a stranger, asking questions, taking cliche pictures and operating on minimal hours of sleep. We believe traveling should end with a good story. We believe it's an opportunity to leave your mark on a destination in the hopes that it leaves a mark on you. We believe in being ambassadors wherever we go, and in bringing what we learn while abroad back home. We believe in backpacking. We believe in sustainability. We believe in service. We believe in affordable travel. We believe in a world where being a citizen of the world is just as important as being a citizen of your hometown, state or nation. We actively plan and promote travel that encourages global awareness and the preservation of cultures and traditions. Local cuisine, we love it. Upscale hotels, we'll do without. We believe that we're changing the way the world travels. We hope you join us.

Let's get moving.

Our Mission

The college experience is changing. Driven by an intellectual and social curiosity, students want to experience more than what's on the inside of the four walls of their domestic campus. Call it globalization, a shrinking map, the social network effect, whatever—students are looking to travel more and travel often. Studying abroad gives students a chance to gain a fresh and more mature perspective on the world while continuing their education and feeding their growing appetite for travel.

Global Citizens Travel was founded in 2010 with a simple mission: to provide study abroad students the opportunities to independently travel the world more easily, cheaply, and with the best local guides around. After traveling with hundreds of study abroad students, we started seeing some clear patterns in what type of travel fits them best. We made it our mission to design custom itineraries that would encompass these 6 characteristics we've come to appreciate from the students we work with:

  1. Students love interacting with locals in authentic settings. Forget the city bus tours, forget the staged tourist traps. Real people, real experiences—travelers not tourists.
  2. Students are budget-conscious, but not penny pinchers. They're looking to spend their budget on "once-in-a-lifetime experiences" and cut out expenses elsewhere. Shark diving in Cape Town? Worth the money! Luxurious 5-star hotel in Paris? Hm, hostels will do.
  3. Students don't worry much about sleeping. When they travel, students want to be on the move and sleep during transfers or down time. If they can get from one place to another while they're sleeping, even better!
  4. Students love local nightlife. Nightlife is as much a part of the culture as museums or the local cuisine to most students. A centrally located hostel has just as much value as a high-end villa on the outskirts of town. Local beer, local dance, think globally, act locally.
  5. If it's unique and adventurous, sign them up! Anyone can take a picture in front of a globally recognized place or structure. Students want to sleep by it, skydive over it, climb it and do anything else they can think of that is adventurous and unique.
  6. Students want to become what we call, "global citizens." Simply put, global citizens look to take into consideration the world as a whole above the immediate world that they live in. The more globally-minded citizens we have, the better the world can come together and put global issues above those of an individual nation. Students that travel abroad identify with this and look for travel experiences that allow them to connect with a global community that reciprocally cares about the social responsibilities that we all share.

GCT doesn't pretend or want to be a traditional "travel agency" that students call up to book their flights from Barcelona to Athens. We know students are plenty capable of doing this on their own. Instead, we work to build and customize multi-day itineraries with all of the characteristics described above in mind.

Over 350,000 American students will study abroad in 2013. Art historians, psychology majors, engineers, biologists and everyone in between will be represented, joining the thousands of other global citizens that share the travel bug and continue to help shape a better world both in the way they act and the global awareness they share. Student travel is changing—borders are shrinking, a single global community is forming, and GCT is looking forward to working with all who want to be a part of it.

Matt Murphy is the founder and current CEO of Global Citizens Travel, LLC. Matt spent time studying abroad in 13 countries on the SEMESTER AT SEA® program, as well as continuing to travel the world extensively since. If you have questions for Matt, you can reach him at matt@globalcitizenstravel.com.

Matt grew up on the lakes of beautiful northern Michigan, barely able to point at New York, let alone India, on a map. His academic curiosity and basketball career (not to mention his Steve Nash haircut) brought him to Rochester, New York for school, where he played basketball for the Yellowjackets, conducted research in the political science department, co-founded the school's first student investment club, "Meliora Capital Management," and studied abroad on the University of Virginia's Semester at Sea program. After graduating, Matt headed to New York City to get a start on Wall Street, before he put his skillset and passion for travel together to found Global Citizens Travel.

Matt travels with a "wake up early, stay out late" attitude and spends his free time checking out NYC's live music venues, playing old man pickup basketball, and continuing to stare at the map.

Bucket List

  • Dive in the Galapagos Islands
  • Spend a winter skiing in Colorado
  • Learn Arabic and teach English in the Middle East
  • Catch the northern lights in Iceland
  • Go on a golfing trip to Ireland

Current Playlist

  • Avett Brothers
  • Beatles
  • Bon Iver

Email Matt at matt@globalcitizenstravel.com.

Meg graduated from the University of Virginia with her degree in American Studies, "whatever that means," she (humbly) jives. Raised in Richmond, Virginia, in a family whose extent of "international travel" experience involves checking out Niagara Falls—wait for it—from the Canadian side, she was bit by the travel bug when she circumnavigated the globe on the University of Virginia's Semester at Sea program. There, she was fortunate enough to meet GCT founder Matt Murphy and the two haven't stopped moving since!

Meg will try anything once, sees every new destination as an adventure and every bump in the road as a story to tell. Her way to travel? Ditch the map, ditch the phone, and wander. Meg spends her free time bartending, playing with her St. Bernard puppy, and throwing a dart at the map to determine her next destination.

Bucket List

  • Get to all 7 continents before her passport expires (2 more to go!)
  • Travel the length of the Trans-Siberian Railway
  • Go skydiving over a tropical island
  • Dive the Great Barrier Reef
  • Publish a book

Current Playlist

  • John Mayer
  • Goo Goo Dolls
  • Five Times August

Email Meg at meg@globalcitizenstravel.com.

Cam grew up in a small town on Lake Michigan and has always had a deep appreciation for water. Whether it's hiking, biking, swimming, skiing, or star gazing, Cam can't get enough of what nature has to offer. He attended Grand Valley State University and was amazed by all of the study abroad opportunities that the school afforded him. Thanks to his curiosity and some friends nagging him along, he made the leap to study abroad in Sydney, Australia, and as they say, the rest is history. Bit hard by the travel bug, Cam has traveled extensively through Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Turkey, Brazil and much of North America. His trademark travel quirk is to skip stones in every body of water that he sees.

Bucket List

  • Climb to the base camp of Everest
  • Visit all 7 continents
  • See all the natural wonders of the world
  • Participate in the running of the bulls
  • Attend the Olympics in a foreign country

Current Playlist

  • Martin Sexton
  • Bon Iver
  • Dave Matthews

Email Cam at cam@globalcitizenstravel.com.

Katie left Boston in 2nd grade to spend a year traveling around the world with her family, mainly in developing countries. In high school she founded a nonprofit that empowered teenagers to end child sex trafficking, which had spread throughout North America and Asia. After graduating, Katie traveled solo through Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Eventually she headed back to the United States where she now studies Nonfiction and Travel Writing at New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Katie stumbled upon Global Citizens Travel and joined the team, passionate about helping people travel from a young age.

When she's not on the road, Katie practices vinyasa yoga, plays with her roommate's hamster, and eats way too much sushi.

Bucket List

  • Visit Oaxaca, Mexico for Day of the Dead
  • Take buses from Ghana to Senegal
  • Write a memoir of her gap year travels
  • Throw tomatoes at the Tomatino festival in Spain
  • Teach yoga on every continent (okay, maybe not Antarctica...)

Current Playlist

  • Sigur Ros
  • Galactic
  • Passion Pit

Email Katie at katie@globalcitizenstravel.com.

Andrew wandered through a mish-mash of info tech, comp sci, econ, and physics—decidedly undecided about his future—at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In his third year, finally deciding he'd try his hand at a career in music, Andrew scrapped together his meager savings to buy a used car and new guitar, and set out to find others who shared his determination to live in a van and perform from city to city. After several years and ventures, chance brought Andrew to New York City, where a friend acquainted him to GCT founder Matt Murphy, then looking to build a new website. Seeing the great idea and staff behind GCT, Andrew signed on for the long-run!

Andrew spends his free time playing guitar and reading pop psychology.

Bucket List

  • Get a skydiving license and skydive all over Europe
  • Snowboard the Alps
  • Become a touring musician

Current Playlist

  • The Arcade Fire
  • Animals as Leaders
  • Armin van Buuren

Email Andrew at andrew@globalcitizenstravel.com.

Abby was born and raised in a city in southern Philippines. From an early age, school trips, community outreach, and family vacations fostered her curiosity and love for travel. Abby received her degree in Food Technology at the University of the Philippines, where she conducted research for a thesis on lowering cholesterol, while also working online as a writer. After graduation, she had a short stint as a tissue culture technician before pursuing a full-time online career, when she came across and joined Global Citizens Travel.

In her free time (when she's not drooling over Zachary Levi) Abby's usually playing with her dog Milo, playing computer games, or reading a book.

Bucket List

  • See the cherry blossoms in Japan
  • Go on a safari in Africa
  • Get into the Hallyu madness in Korea
  • Go shark-cage diving in South Africa
  • Visit a castle in England

Current Playlist

  • The Band Perry
  • Adele
  • Eraserheads

Email Abby at abby@globalcitizenstravel.com.

FAQ

What is Global Citizens Travel?

Global Citizens Travel is a private US-based travel company committed to offering authentic international experiences to students studying and traveling abroad. Founded in 2010, GCT has worked with hundreds of students and young adults traveling across Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.

I just signed up for a trip, now what happens?

After you've signed up, you will receive a confirmation email from us with your receipt. As the trip's date gets closer we'll send out a full itinerary, confirmation numbers, contact information for all guides and hotels, packing suggestions and any other pertinent information surrounding the trip. If you have questions in the meantime, you can always reach out to us at info@globalcitizenstravel.com.

How do I know what to pack for the trip?

Several days before the trip, we'll send you our "pre-departure" document that covers the suggested packing list for the trip. If you have any other questions on top of this, you can always shoot us an email or give us a call.

What if I meet friends that want to come on the trip? Will there still be room?

Yes, of course! We encourage students to let us know which friends they'll be traveling with so we can make sure that you're able to stay together for the duration of the trip. Although many of our trips have caps, we do everything we can to accommodate friends. We also plan trips specifically for private groups that want to travel exclusively with their friends.

How many people go on each trip? Do they sell out?

All of our trips have different minimums/maximums depending on what we feel are comfortable numbers to run the trip. In some cases we run the same trip for multiple groups and stagger when they start and finish keeping numbers to a reasonable size. Many of our trips do sell out at some point and you can email us at any point to find out how many spots are still available.

I have a conflict and can't make part of the trip. Can I still go?

In most cases, absolutely. We are happy to help work around conflicts and still accommodate for you to meet up with the group a little late or to plan for you to leave a bit early.

My friend is studying abroad elsewhere. Can they join the trip with me?

Yes! We work with students coming from all directions. Sometimes there are price differences depending on the distance they're coming from, but we always do everything we can to work through the logistics so that they can join the group.

How do I know that these trips are safe?

GCT partners with top operators and local guides from around the world to help lead each trip. Our guides and partners have been featured on Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet and countless travel blogs. Although we treat all of our clients as adults and expect that they will take responsibility for their actions, we do everything we can to make sure our guides are at their disposal to help with any safety concerns that may come up. We encourage students to closely read our pre-departure materials sent out several days before the trip to pack appropriately and follow our internal safety suggestions based on the country they'll be traveling in.

Are you affiliated with SEMESTER AT SEA® or any other educational programs?

No. Although we are huge supporters (some of our staff are alumni of SAS®), we are not affiliated in any way with their program, ISE or any other educational programs.

Can you plan a private trip for just me and my friends?

Yes! We can run any of the trips listed on our site for your group and customize them as needed. The trips listed with dates and prices will be our "main" group, but we also commonly run trips of different lengths for private groups. If you don't see something on our site but you have something in mind, feel free to email us and we will do our best to set it up for you and your group.

My parents are visiting, can they join? What about my siblings?

For our trips listed on the site, we keep them exclusively to students (sorry mom and dad!). If your siblings want to join and they are close in age, they are more than welcome to come along. If you want to plan a private trip for the entire family, we are happy to plan this for you.

Will GCT representatives be on our trip?

Our trips always include a local guide to accommodate the group. GCT representatives from the US office will sometimes, but not always, join the group. Our office will be in touch with the guides and the students throughout, as needed.

What is your cancellation policy?

Things come up. Plans change. We understand. We handle cancellations on a case by case basis, depending on non-refundable costs (airfare, event tickets, etc) and the amount of time before the trip's departure date. Our policy is as follows:

  • Within 90 Days: 25% cancellation penalty minus non-refundable costs
  • Within 60 Days: 50% cancellation penalty minus non-refundable costs
  • Within 30 Days: 75% cancellation penalty minus non-refundable costs
  • Within 14 Days: 100% cancellation penalty

You guys have a cool job. Do you have any internships available?

Thanks - we like what we do, too! Check out our Careers page to see what we have available.

Careers

We're not looking to hire just yet, but if you've got a passion for traveling and a knack for...

  • writing,
  • marketing,
  • graphic design,
  • and/or web development,

...don't hesitate to shoot us an email with a little bit about yourself, and why you'd like to work with us! We'll be sure to consider you first when we start looking.