Michelle Maurer

As a former resident of both Japan and Hawaii and currently residing in San Francisco, I look to offer not just highlights, but local experiences when putting together a travel itinerary. When I travel, I look for those local experiences that define a trip.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"I specialize in Japan and Hawaii but also am very familiar with California, Thailand/SouthEast Asia and major cities in Europe. Restaurants, culinary tours, local eats (street food etc.), non-tourist attractions, and adventure, are all things I look at when building a trip together."

How did you get involved in travel?

"Being raised in Tokyo in a multicultural community it created my passion to experience the world through travel. My passion for travel really began while at university, after sailing around the world to 10 different countries in 100 days I was hooked. I've visited 38 countries in the past 10 years and have learned that the best experiences in life are when traveling to a new place, experiencing the local culture through the people and food. I love being able to share my love of travel with others while helping create the best experiences for them."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"There are too many to choose from but if I were to pick one of my favorite experiences it was while traveling in Laos. I was meeting a friend in Luang Prabang and after arriving from Singapore I forgot that I needed $40 USD for a visa and had no dollars on me because I had been traveling for a few months around Europe, Middle East and Asia before then. I befriended a German couple in the visa line who lent me $40 and I paid them back in Laotian Kip. The lady who was picking up the German couple from the hotel, asked if I would like a ride into town which I gladly accepted and we quickly found out that we had mutual friends in common from Tokyo! She invited my friend and I to come by the hotel the next morning at dawn for alms offering. Everyday in Luang Prabang the monks from the nearby temples walk through the town and the locals give food as alm offerings. We had no expectations, but it ended up being one of the most peaceful and spiritual experiences I had during my entire stay. All because of the $40 I forgot to bring with me. "

Featured trips & expertise

Whale watching is available all year round in Iceland

Top 12 Family Activities in Iceland

Iceland is a magical place for children - from horseback riding to volcanoes to whale watching, the options for families are endless. Family travel is easy and safe in Iceland where tour companies welcome children and hotels are family friendly. We've compiled a list of our top year-round activities for families with kids aged 5-16.

Kolocep, Elafiti Islands

Two Week Luxury and Adventure Itinerary in Croatia

A two week itinerary to fulfill all desires. Adventure and adrenaline sandwiched in between a few days of luxury. Beginning in the white marbled city of Dubrovnik, followed by a week of adventure filled outdoor activities in the Omis region. Then spend your last few days on the remote island of Solta relaxing by the sea.

Swimmers wading in the Adriatic Sea by Zadar

Family Travel in Croatia - 2 Week Itinerary

Planning a two week family vacation in Croatia may seem like a daunting task, but with plenty of activities for the family the choices are endless. This itinerary is filled with time relaxing on the beach in Hvar, scuba diving on the island of Krapanj, swimming in the waterfalls of National Park Krka and taking in the historical sites of the ancient Mediterranean coastal towns of Zadar and Split.

Old Town Dubrovnik

Highlights of Croatia from Zagreb to Dubrovnik - One Week Itinerary

This one week itinerary in Croatia will let you see the highlights of this beautiful country. Starting in Zagreb, the capital, and making your way down south to Dubrovnik, stopping to see Plitvice National Park, the ancient port cities of Zadar and Split, then spending a few days relaxing on the beach on the island of Hvar before ending your trip back in Dubrovnik.

Lumbarda Vineyards

Wine Tasting and Cycling Tour in Korcula

Little known fact: Korcula is known for it’s white wine. Grk wine is a white wine grape variety found in the village of Lumbarda. To take in the Korcula scenery and drink some wine at the same time, join John (who moved to Korcula with his wife Rachael 6 years ago from the UK) on a 4-5 hour tour cycling through Lumbarda. Taste the different wines while getting the local intimate experience which you will not find anywhere else.

Day trip to Pakleni Islands from Hvar

Best of the Dalmatian Coast - One Week Croatia Itinerary

From the "Pearl of the Adriatic" of Dubrovnik, through the islands of Korcula and Hvar, to the 1600 year old city of Split: this 7 day itinerary presents the highlights of the Dalmatian coast. Depending on your available time this trip can be made shorter (down to 4 or 5 days) or longer.

Recent trip reviews for Michelle

Highlights of croatia from zagreb to dubrovnik - one week itinerary , Croatia - Sep 21 - Oct 1, 2016

Traveler: Melissa F. - Local specialist: Michelle Maurer

Podestine was a little far from town and accommodations of room were not great i.e. Sheet for blanket, shower did not drain, however Lara at the desk was amazing! Sailing trip did not have much time for swimming and snorkeling, majority was sitting on the boat, skipper was nice but would not recommend. Plitvice was amazing as well as accomadations, Dubrovnik is beautiful and Zagreb did not disappoint!

Stockholm trip, Sweden - Jul 9 - Jul 17, 2016

Traveler: Julia F. - Local specialist: Michelle Maurer

My experience was wonderful. From helping with itineraries to restaurants, the service was great, even for cities that weren't necessarily advertised. I liked the personal experience with someone responding to my every question. Planning trips can sometimes take forever for me and consume my days, but Michelle allowed me to release that pressure.

It would have been great if in the planning phases, kimkim was able to tell me a route of a few cities to visit and the attraction of each. If I... read more

My experience was wonderful. From helping with itineraries to restaurants, the service was great, even for cities that weren't necessarily advertised. I liked the personal experience with someone responding to my every question. Planning trips can sometimes take forever for me and consume my days, but Michelle allowed me to release that pressure.

It would have been great if in the planning phases, kimkim was able to tell me a route of a few cities to visit and the attraction of each. If I had thought through better, knowing I love the outdoors, I would have gone to Iceland instead of Stockholm before Copenhagen. Kayak has an algorithim of when its best to book, so if there was a way to integrate that and tell me to book before I lingered on the itinerary too long (which I admit I definitely did) then that would have been amazing. Overall a great experience though I just wish I had booked things quicker than waiting to go back and forth on them.

Michelle Maurer, kimkim staff, responded to this review:

Thank you for your feedback Julia, it was a pleasure planning your trip with you. We will take your feedback into consideration on how to make the planning process better in the future. We look forward to helping you with your future travels.

Honeymoon in croatia, Croatia - Jul 3 - Jul 15, 2016

Traveler: Rob C. - Local specialist: Michelle Maurer

kimkim booked us a perfect honeymoon in Croatia. They found the best accommodations, transportation and activity ideas based on our preferences.

Things I liked:
- how easy it is to book a quality trip vs. doing our own research
- the route through Croatia was perfect
- chat communication vs. having to talk to someone by phone, although the back and forth would have been easier via email, instead of having to sign in each time to respond to a comment
- the full itinerary. we referred to it... read more

kimkim booked us a perfect honeymoon in Croatia. They found the best accommodations, transportation and activity ideas based on our preferences.

Things I liked:
- how easy it is to book a quality trip vs. doing our own research
- the route through Croatia was perfect
- chat communication vs. having to talk to someone by phone, although the back and forth would have been easier via email, instead of having to sign in each time to respond to a comment
- the full itinerary. we referred to it multiple times a day.
- sailing!
- our final hotel in Dubrovnik was a gem

Areas for improvement:
- back and forth communication by email, as shared above
- the two ferry rides were both sold out at the times we wanted for day-of purchases; buying ferry tickets online or at least warning us to buy early would have helped some logistical difficulty
- more country coverage… would have liked help with the Germany stage of our trip as well.
- would be great if kimkim could have booked flights for us

Michelle Maurer, kimkim staff, responded to this review:

Appreciate your feedback Rob! Apologies for the ferry rides being sold out, we will make sure in the future to let travelers know about this, especially during the peak travel season.
We are also continuously working on increasing our in-country customer service to help travelers in Croatia. I am so glad you had a great honeymoon and loved seeing your photos. Please keep us in mind for the next time you plan a trip.

Mauna kea beach hotel, Hawaii - Mar 24 - Mar 27, 2016

Traveler: Angie M. - Local specialist: Michelle Maurer

Michele was really great to work with. She was super friendly but also prompt and professional. She made the effort to understand my needs before making recommendations and quickly adapted as new information was given. I would have loved for her recommendations to have more insights and reason behinds them. It wasn't always clear if she was giving me a list of options or making a personalized recommendation. Overall, she was very helpful and I would work with her again!

Michelle Maurer, kimkim staff, responded to this review:

Thanks for your review Angie, it was great working with you and I'm glad you and your husband had a great trip to the Big Island.

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