Unique Round Top Travel Club Makes Trips Around the World Easy: How Pam Schoenst Helps Locals Become Adventurers
Round Top Travel Company has helped countless Fayette County residents complete bucket lists and go on once-in-a-lifetime journeys.
Round Top local Pam Schoenst is spreading a bug – the travel bug, that is. Since launching Round Top Travel Company in August of 2000, she has taken countless Fayette County residents on trips all over the world – aiding in the completion of bucket lists and making once-in-a-lifetime trips more accessible.
Throughout her two decades of partnership with the experts at Collette Travel & Tours, Schoenst has been making worry-free excursions a reality for folks who might otherwise pass up the opportunity to visit far flung, or exotic locales.
“What sets me apart is I go with them,” Schoenst says. “I take care of my travelers along the way. They get on a bus in Round Top, and they don’t have to worry about anything.” All Round Top Travel Company trips begin by meeting Schoenst at her beauty shop, Pam’s Hair Fashions in Round Top, to catch the bus to an airport in Houston. Schoenst has owned and operated the salon since 1976.
“I was worried about whether I could juggle the beauty shop, travel and family, but here we are 21 years later and still running around the world,” Schoenst muses, reminiscing about her very first trip with a small group to Alaska.
“I took a bunch of farmers and ranchers to Alaska that never would have left town otherwise,” Schoenst tells RoundTop.com “They just raved about the trip. They wouldn’t have gone without the bus to the airport in Houston. Those that go are never disappointed.”
Since that first trip to Alaska, Schoenst and her travel club members (which include her husband Red) have visited places as close as Big Bend National Park and as far as Petra, Jordan and Machu Picchu in Peru. An African adventure to Kenya and Tanzania remains a club favorite. The group delighted in a safari, flew over the Masai Mara in a hot air balloon at sunrise, and took in views of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Schoenst – a self-professed people person – says her favorite part of this trip was meeting the African villagers and watching the sunset with her travel group and a glass of wine in the evenings.
The African adventure has sold out three times, but the club likes to mix things up each year and book trips to places they have never been. Out of the many memorable trips she has been on over the past two decades, Schoenst recalls a stop in Pilsen, Czech Republic en-route to Germany most of all.
“On our Danube River cruise in Germany we stopped off for lunch at a spot picked at random in Pilsen, Czech Republic,” she says. “A member of our group, Ledel Renck, was stationed there in the Army during World War II as a radio operator and shared his story with the group on the bus. He said when he heard that the war was over, the soldiers went to the Pilsner Urquell Brewery and they could drink all the beer they wanted at no cost. He said that was the best damn beer he ever tasted.” Schoenst notes that the brewery allowed the soldiers to take all the beer they could carry back to their post.
“[Visiting this town again] was on his bucket list and we accidentally picked that brewery to stop in for lunch on our way to Prague,” Schoenst says. “He was so excited to see the town for the first time since the end of the war and complete his bucket list.”
Round Top Travel Company’s bucket list trips for 2022 include Costa Rica, Holland and Belgium, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria and Bavaria. Schoenst is expecting to host 142 rural travelers next year – and booking is still open. The general age range of travelers is 65 to 70, but Schoenst has taken travelers in their nineties and young families with children. She can fit up to 44 travelers on each bus ride to Houston.
For those who may be hesitant about traveling, Schoenst notes that her trips are fully insured and safe, emphasizing that the group always stays together in national parks, or other safe lodging approved by Collette. She also offers this bit of advice: “Get vaccinated and follow all the COVID protocols as much as possible.” For more information on this unique travel club’s trips out of Round Top, check out roundtoptexastravel.com.
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