Global Adventures, Local Expertise

Travel is simply a journey between points. 2020 Adventures is more focused on the experience its clients have after reaching a destination.

ENTREPRENEUR | Spencer Carlson


2020 Adventures

1828 Walnut St., Fifth Floor

Kansas City, MO 64108

(816) 986-7538

TYPE OF BUSINESS | All-in-one travel company that books custom overseas itineraries



Travel is simply a journey between points. 2020 Adventures is more focused on the experience its clients have after reaching a destination.

Founder Spencer Carlson developed the concept for this hyperfocused travel company based on his own global travels.

“I graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, sold all of my stuff and took an around-the-world trip,” Carlson said.

He traveled to 30 countries on a budget.

“I found travel hacks, couch surfed and worked on farms for lodging and food,” Carlson said. “My best experiences were with locals.”

Now married and a father of a 6-month-old daughter, Carlson channeled his enthusiasm for authentic travel experiences and founded 2020 Adventures. The firm distinguishes itself from other travel agencies and online sites that offer “cookie-cutter tours.”

“We connect people with a local guide and experts,” Carlson said. “The value proposition of 2020 is the authenticity of experience at the destination—to be able to go to Barcelona and have real tapas as a food experience.”

Its website allows customers to book a range of trips, including cheap getaways, once-in-a-lifetime honeymoons and explorations of Paris, Greece, Ireland and other idyllic places.

Originally, Carlson created custom itineraries for each client. He built his own website and “hustled” on his own to launch the startup company. Early on, he operated 2020 at BetaBlox, a local startup accelerator, and acquired helpful support there.

His biggest challenge was the time-consuming, custom client service, which was hard to scale. Gradually, he built a network of local guides and resources to better provide unique itineraries. He also streamlined offerings to simplify the back-end administration and customer booking experience.

After Carlson won a $25,000 grant from Digital Sandbox last summer, he hired a developer to upgrade his website.

The revamped site, launching in January, will make it “easier to look at itineraries built by us and our experts and customize them,” Carlson said. “You can select your lodging and travel options and book it in one place. You spend less time researching online at multiple places.”

Carlson describes his target audience as Americans ages 25 to 50 who have disposable income and seek “experiential” overseas travel. Whether it’s a honeymoon in Costa Rica, an immersive excursion to Japan, a girls’ trip to Belize or a globe-trotting escapade in 22 days, 2020 Adventures simplifies how such adventures are booked and leaves more time to pack the bags.