The Evolution of Hands On Travel
2002 - 2005
2005 - 2021
2021 - PRESENT
How did Hands On Travel start? While I was growing up, I loved to travel and my family instilled into me the love for travel. I loved visiting new places, learning new things, different cultures, foods, people, languages. It was very fascinating to me. After graduating from Gallaudet I moved to Rome, Italy, where I worked for the Deaf Olympics Committee for the 2001 Deaflympics to be held in Rome.
During the Deaflympics, many deaf people from all over the world came to Rome and I assumed that everybody would have loved Rome because I lived there and I knew how wonderful and beautiful the city was. In the end, I was shocked that some people had a bad experience in Rome. I asked them why and I found out that they did not have the right information necessary. They didn’t know what to do exactly and that made me realize that it is important to have a local wherever you go so that you can get the local experience and viewpoint because they live in that place so they know it better than anybody else and know how to show it the right way. Without a local, things are missed and that is not what you want when you travel. Communication is the key.
So, Hands On Italia was established in 2002 due to that motivation. We had our booth at Gallaudet’s Deaf Way 2 and started advertising our services in Italy. After several years we noticed exponential growth since I believe our company was the first one providing authentic and accessible travel experiences for the deaf as the market at that time was dominated by hearing tour companies providing interpreters.
It got to a point where we needed to offer tours in other countries because customers were asking for that experience. So, in 2005 we changed our company name to Hands On Travel which meant we could expand our offerings to offer tours all over the world. Ever since 2005, we have been appreciative of our customers’ satisfaction. We believe it is due to three factors. First is direct communication, meaning all of our guides all over the world use sign language, and we don’t do tours through interpreters. Second is unique experiences, meaning we don’t always go where the mass tourism traffic goes. We seek out lesser known places where you can have more authentic experiences. Third, we operate small group tours. Being deaf, it is not wise to do tours with 30 or 40 participants as it is impossible to provide equal communication access to everybody in sign language. With smaller groups we can provide better quality and more accessible experiences for everybody.
In 2009, Dan Brubaker joined our team and gave our services a wider scope as Dan is a world traveler and has experience in so many countries all over the world. In 2013, Darren Frazier joined and also brought even more variety and breadth to our offerings. The three of us have been a team ever since and we have a lot of different services and experiences that have been instilled into us that we are happy to share with you.
Hands On Travel has reached the milestone of 20 years of business in 2022 and we look forward to many more years of providing you with awesome travel experiences!
This is our story...
Welcome to Hands On Travel, where we specialize in crafting immersive and enriching travel experiences for the deaf and hard of hearing community.
Our company was born out of the passion for exploring the world and embracing new cultures. Our founder, Terry Giansanti, always dreamt of living in Europe, and upon graduating from Gallaudet University, he moved to Rome to work for the 2001 Italian Deaflympics Committee. He fell in love with the city and decided to stay, but was disappointed by the negative feedback he heard from other deaf tourists about their experiences. Determined to change this, he founded Hands On Italia in 2002 to provide exceptional travel experiences for the deaf community.
As demand for our tours grew, Hands On Italia became Hands On Travel in 2005, and since then we have expanded to provide tours in over 60+ countries around the world. We understand that a truly memorable travel experience is built on three key foundations: clear communication with sign language guides who are local, small groups for an intimate and personalized experience, and unique experiences that go beyond the typical tourist itinerary.
At our company, we have been providing exceptional travel experiences for over two decades to the deaf and hard of hearing community. Our tours are carefully crafted based on three core principles: clear communication, intimate group sizes, and one-of-a-kind experiences.
We believe in traveling in a way where we fully immerse ourselves in the local culture, becoming temporary residents of the places we visit. We strive to leave a positive impact wherever we go and relish in the opportunity to learn and grow with every destination we explore. Each tour is specially designed to fit your individual preferences and needs, ensuring a truly personalized journey.
Whether you’re seeking adventure, culture, or relaxation, our tours offer a unique opportunity to explore the world in a way that is inclusive, meaningful, and enjoyable.
Join us and discover the beauty of the world through our inclusive, meaningful, and enjoyable tours. We look forward to sharing this journey with you.
Travel In Good Hands
Local Deaf Guides
Our Travel Style
Our Travel Style
We Support Local Deaf Guides
Hands on Travel is about connecting people with the world and each other. We also committed to providing our travelers with more personal, intimate and authentic than any they’ve had before. Our tours offer an emotional connection that most others cannot match.