David Parry

David T. Parry is Chairman of Academic Travel Abroad, Inc., an international tour company and study abroad provider. He and his wife Susan bought the company in 1973 and brought it to Washington, D.C. David and his staff have worked with many clients in the non-profit community to create cultural travel programs throughout the world. He pioneered travel programs to Russia in the 1970's and to China in the 1980ís. He acquired CET programs in 1994 and later, acquired Grandtravel, a travel company designed exclusively for grandparents and grandchildren. Prior to joining Academic Travel, he served on the staff of several members of Congress, taught political science at Pacific University, and was Director of Summer Sessions at The American University. When he isnít traveling to assist in designing new travel programs, he can be found riding trains, hiking, or taking care of his granddaughter.

Q: How many group tours have you accompanied?
A: I have been leading the Smithsonian Alpine hiking group each summer for the past 20+ years. But other than that I have left the leadership to our team of talented tour managers; they have the patience and energy one needs!
Q: What is your favorite destination?
A: There are too many to have just one. From the 1970ís up until 2000 I visited the Soviet Union, now Russia, as well as Eastern Europe, several times a year. Certainly Central Asia, and especially Uzbekistan with its historic caravan cities, is a fond memory. But I also treasure out-of-the way places in Central Europeómost recently Eastern Slovakia and the Baroque towns of Kezmarok and Levoca. And Susan (my wife) and I have always treasured our travels in North America and are currently planning to go back to the shores of Lake Superior where we visited two years ago. The Wind River Mountains of Wyoming arenít bad either! But of course, year after year I end up somewhere in the Alps where there is always just one more mountain or trail.
Q: What is one key benefit of group travel that you value?
A: Access. A well designed tour gets one into places that you canít do on your own or takes you to out-of-way parts of the world. The fellowship of the other travelers often adds to the pleasure.
Q: Where are you going next?
A: After the Smithsonian hike in the Dolomites (incidentally, some of the most stunning mountain peaks in the world), Susan and I are going to the Apostle Islands on the south shore of Lake Superior followed by the annual meeting of the National Railroad Historical Society, where we will ride steam trains all over the Mesabi Range.