Guiding light: For Croatia leader, travel is a true family affair

Vantage Travel Team January 31, 2018

Ever wondered how Vantage puts together just the right amount of enriching activities, great food, trip leaders who feel like friends, and accommodations that make you ooh and ahh? Meet Tomislav “Tomi” Radic, one of our international journey curators who are not only residents of the countries they’re working in, but passionate and well-seasoned travelers.

“It’s nice when you work with a team of your friends and family, especially since these relationships go way back,” says the Croatia-based former Adventure Leader. “Many U.S. tour companies operate out of the States, but working with local contacts here face-to-face, I get the best rooms at the best value for passengers, and immediate responses to personal requests to make sure we have the highest quality, too — you’re just not going to get that from someone who’s six time zones away.”

Tomi Radic and family And as for family, well, travel is pretty much in Tomi’s DNA — in fact, his brother Matija Radic is a Cruise Director for two small ship cruises Tomi puts together: Croatia & Pearls of the Adriatic Coast and Croatia Seasonal Splendor. His father, now retired, was also a Vantage product development specialist; his mother still works as a guide, as does his wife. Tomi remembers meeting travelers and visiting hotels on inspections as early as 7 years old — but his 3-year-old daughter may soon have him beat since she’s already met several Vantage passengers when Tomi connects with groups who visit his country. “Always for Christmas and birthdays they send us presents, clothes and dolls — we are pretty nicely attached. I’ve met so many great travelers with Vantage!”

Tomi's daughter Besides developing journeys in his own country, Tomi’s also been instrumental in starting some of Vantage’s newest adventures, including our new Italian Train Adventure: Magical Lakes, Eternal Cities & the Amalfi Coast; Arabian Adventure in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman & Qatar; and Israel & Jordan: Cultural Mosaics & the Holy Land.

“Compared to my other colleagues, my region is very small if you look geographically, but in terms of diversity and cultures and religions, they are all very distinct and different regions that are fascinating,” he said. He said he loves working with different cultures: Christians, Muslims, and Jews, who all celebrate their holy days at different times in the week. Tomi says he doesn’t mind being on the clock most of the time with his Vantage cell phone in hand — “It certainly keeps life interesting!”

Tomi credits the teamwork of Vantage’s regional staff (especially our biggest satellite office in Budapest), and the Boston core team with helping him develop new trips, a process that often starts up to two years in advance. Following market trends and surveying past travelers about where they want to go next leads up to the initial research phase. Then Tomi does the in-depth research and puts together itineraries for approval from teams who work in marketing, air routing, and analytics to determine the best value for customers. He hits the road for most of the fun stuff, like finding the best hotels with rooms with a view; working with other families in tourism like his to find the best shops for souvenirs; and figuring out what will make life easiest for travelers (like getting luggage transferred in Italy so you don’t have to worry about rolling it on ancient cobblestoned streets or on an exciting train ride).

Besides having a well-stamped passport, it’s really about putting himself in the shoes of the Vantage traveler that excites him about doing his job. But if he weren’t organizing the itineraries for our trips? “I’d be a trip leader. I love working with people — not computers — and sharing my knowledge about my country and others!”