The American South is home to iconic landscapes and diverse peoples, its unique histories celebrated in art, music, literature and film. Yet the South is also home to some of the most enduring contradictions in American culture, from settlement and Civil War to the assassination of JFK. Join America expert, Dr Matthew Laing, on this new 16-day tour, exploring the history and culture of the South, from Charleston to French Louisiana in New Orleans, the great plains of Texas, and on to Santa Fe’s ancient deserts. A four-day extension, to the Grand Canyon and Phoenix, is available for this tour.
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Civil War legacies, from Antebellum plantations to the struggle for freedom and civil rights
Unique cultural experiences: New Orleans’ jazz, Dallas cowboys, and Santa Fe’s Native American arts and crafts
South Carolina’s forests, Louisiana’s bayous, the sweeping plains of Texas and New Mexico’s glorious deserts
Culture and cuisine: incredible seafood in Charleston’s Lowcountry, Louisiana’s French-Cajun and Texas’s famous steaks
Nation-defining stories of tragedy and perseverance, from JFK’s assassination to Hurricane Katrina’s legacy
Impeccably preserved southern plantations, including Oak Alley on the Mississippi
Colonial Savannah, Georgia: cobblestone squares and historic architecture
New Orleans’ unique fusion of French, Spanish, Creole and American cultures, from jazz and swing to Cajun and Creole cuisine
World-class art: the Kimbell Art Museum and the Amon Carter Museum
UNESCO World Heritage-listed Taos Pueblo, an ancient mudbrick city occupied for almost a millennium
Private tour of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Home and Studio in Abiquiu, and the spectacular landscapes that inspired her
Days 1–4: The Old South in Charleston, with the Civil War’s beginnings at Fort Sumter, Antebellum townhouses and plantations, and immaculately preserved colonial Savannah and Beaufort.
Days 5–8: Explore a fascinating mix of Spanish, American and French influences in New Orleans, from jazz and swing in the French Quarter, to the Mississippi’s stately manors and bayous.
Days 9–11: The best of Dallas, from the Symphony and Kimbell Art Museum to a classic Texas rodeo and cowboy culture.
Days 12–16: In New Mexico, discover Native American culture at Taos Pueblo and the eerie beauty of Georgia O’Keeffe’s desert.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.
Qantas flies direct to Dallas-Fort Worth, with connections to Charleston and Santa Fe. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
A detailed itinerary for this tour will be available in the coming months. Bookings are open for this tour, however if you would like to receive the detailed itinerary booklet once available, please register your interest below and we will send you a copy.
Dr Matthew Laing
Is a historian and political scientist with a PhD from the ANU. Matthew leads tours to the United States and Scandinavia and lectures for Academy Travel.
Dr Matthew Laing is a historian and political scientist at Monash University who has led tours to the Americas and Europe with Academy Travel for five years. He has a strong personal interest in architecture, cultural history and modern art, with a particular expertise in the United States.
Matthew holds a BA and PhD from the Australian National University, and wrote his doctorate on the history of the United States presidency. He has worked as a lecturer and research fellow at the Australian National University, Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and now at Monash University in Melbourne. He is an accredited ADFAS lecturer and frequently holds public lecture series in Melbourne. He currently teaches United States history and leadership, and has published on both topics.
Matthew’s tours strive for intellectual engagement and to reveal the stories, both big and small, that can bring history to life. A voracious reader and traveller, Matthew strives to be a generalist and draws upon a wide range of subjects – from politics to architecture – to develop his understanding of a place. Matthew’s passion for the United States started as an intern in the United States Congress in 2007. Since then he has made dozens of trips across the country, for both work and pleasure, and is closing in on his goal of visiting all 50 states. He has lectured and written on a wide variety of US subjects, including the American Revolution, the Gilded Age, and American Modernist architecture. Matthew also lived in the Netherlands for two years and has travelled widely there, and has a particular interest in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.
Matthew has been tour leading for Academy Travel annually since 2013, with many tours to the United States and Europe, and is now taking on a greater role managing and developing further tours in these regions, including developing new tours to areas like the Southern United States.
We asked Matthew, what do you enjoy most about leading a group tour?
“As an academic, the personal joy of leading tours for Academy Travel is that I get one of the best classrooms I could ask for of intelligent and attentive global travellers who share my passion for learning about our world. And yet often I also find myself the student – with intellectually-engaged travellers from all walks of life, some of the most stimulating debates and discussions I’ve had are with my clients on tours.”
“I think those who come on tour with me benefit most from my enthusiasm, energy and passion – whether it’s a giving a morning lecture or having a causal chat at lunch, I’m always striving to draw out new insights and connections that can further understanding and increase engagement.”
Hotels will be selected principally for their central location, often within walking distance to the museums, galleries and performance venues visited on tour. We generally use a range of 4-star hotels, suitable to group stays, throughout all our tours.
What is included in the tour price? Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price? Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.