Our Story

Take Life on the Road® is not only our name … it’s our credo. You may know us for our bookstore in New Albany, Indiana since 2004. But did you know that the city went without a full-service general new books store from 1947 to that year?

Randy on ther road at Ted Drewry
You don’t always know what you’ll find when you travel. Here, Randy’s getting a taste of Ted Drewe’s frozen custard on historic Route 66.

Randy Smith is the founder of Destinations Booksellers and now, Take Life on the Road® (DTI – Destinations Tours Indiana), but it’s the same business he’s been in for the last 14 years – bringing knowledge, expertise, and happy accidents to New Albany and the surrounding region.

Now, instead of bringing experiences to you, he’s taking you to the experiences, taking advantage of all the amazing sites he’s seen as he drove the 48 states on business during his lifetime. The bookstore remains, but he’s adding these tour experiences to share with you once again the places and people he’s encountered over the decades.

Randy at Mackinac
Your tour director was blown away by his first trip to Mackinac Island. Want to go with? There’s lots of great stuff between here and there, like the Indiana Dunes and the Michigan city of Holland.

We’ll be curating tours that are off-the-beaten-path and making sure you are both safe and comfortable along the way – not to mention well-fed. Don’t expect a bus trip to an outlet mall or a casino. That’s for tour companies who have to pay for their buses and will put together a “tour” just to pay off the payments.

Randy’s a bit of a travel nerd, so history will be a big part of our trips. We’ll go where he’s been before and we’ll go where he’s always wanted to go.

Travel is expensive and driving is a chore. We’re always looking for the best experience for the best price and we won’t compromise one for the other. We’ll charter deluxe motor coaches for travel in the East, but we’re not ruling out trips to the West and overseas. If you add up the cost of driving, you’ll see a motor coach tour is a no-brainer, and you’ll probably make a lot of new friends while caching away a whole slew of places you’ll want to visit again someday.

Randy at Cahokia
Cahokia Mounds, less than 10 miles from the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, was a great experience.

We’ll insist on lodging at hotels that have earned either a AAA 3-Diamond rating or a rating of at least 4 (of 5) on TripAdvisor. And even though some tours will be all about the food, we’ll be sharing and exploring great restaurants on every trip without breaking your budget.

“Bus tours” have a reputation as being for seniors, only, but we’re convinced there are great tours that will appeal to all ages and all tastes. Our first tours are also kid-friendly, with pricing to reflect that aspect, too.

Randy on the air
Here’s Randy taping a radio show. Check in to see when we launch our travel podcast.

As we grow, we’ll be curating trips all over and for all durations. When was the last time you went to Williamsburg, Virginia? The Biltmore Mansion? Florida’s Emerald Coast? Missouri’s Wine Country? Door County, Wisconsin?

For the most part, we won’t be doing single-stop tours. It makes no sense. We’re constantly looking for tour stops that you would never do unless someone else was doing the driving and making all the arrangements.

We’re sure you have great ideas, too. Come see us, contact us by phone, text, email, or social media and let us know where you’d like to go.

And don’t be surprised if we have a few literary tours to book festivals and independent bookstores where you can meet your favorite authors and come away with some excellent swag.

Randy authographig his first book
Here Randy is signing his first book for store patrons back in 2009.His contribution was about (you guessed it) his experience about yet another new place he discovered.

Explore our website and check your schedule to see if any of our current tours are ones you’d like to join. Bookmark the site and let us know if you’d like to join our mailing list. We’re building tours every day now and we’d love to have you join us.

If you’ve read this far, look at your own calendar and see if Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7 this year are available. It’s a great weekend tour for the whole family. Then, we have a 4-day, 3-night tour we’re incredibly proud of that wends through the Cumberland Mountains, leaving on Tuesday, October 16 and returning to New Albany on Friday evening, October 19. Click on “Current Tours” in the menu above for details and to book your tour today.

Randy at St Louis Botanical
St. Louis, Missouri is just a little too far for a day trip. But it’s absolutely loaded with great experiences. Here’s your tour director in a completely unposed shot at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. Nice, huh? That was in OCTOBER!

CODA: Our owner and principal tour director, Randy Smith, is of the opinion that New Albany and its environs are primo places for tourism. But to make it a true destination, it’s going to take a level of cooperation, support, and, frankly, subsidy, that is completely lacking from our elected officials. It’s sad. It’s short-sighted. But in the meantime, you can leave town to take advantage of cities who’ve embraced their tourism potential.

Come On. Let’s Go. Gosh. Maybe that should be our slogan ;).

 

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