Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

Our Mission: To Save the World From Mediocre Trips

About Wendy

Wendy is one of the most trusted voices in travel. Town&Country magazine calls her “The Travel Whisperer” who will take you “as close as you can get to vacation perfection.”  Condé Nast Traveler praises “The Wizardry of Wendy” and her “encyclopedic knowledge of all things travel.”  After 30 years as a travel advice columnist and consumer advocate, first at Condé Nast Traveler and then at TripAdvisor, Wendy has amassed comprehensive knowledge of the world’s best travel solutions and fixers.  By popular demand from her longtime readership of sophisticated frequent travelers, she has created a unique system to ensure that these travelers benefit from those solutions and fixers in order to get the high caliber of trip that they are looking for. Here’s how you too can get the best trips possible.

As the Director of Consumer News and Digital Community at Condé Nast Traveler, Wendy wrote her practical advice column, The Perrin Report, for 17 years and her award-winning blog, The Perrin Post, for eight years. She started out long ago as the magazine’s Ombudsman (consumer advocate), investigating reader complaints about travel companies and helping wronged travelers get compensation, and that led to her book Wendy Perrin’s Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know (Fodor’s).  As TripAdvisor’s first-ever Travel Advocate, she advised its more than 315 million monthly visitors—the world’s largest travel community.

Wendy has been a keynote speaker at conferences worldwide, on cruise ships, at Harvard University, and at the United Nations.  Television appearances include The Today Show, Good Morning America, and many programs on CNN. She has won the Travel Journalist of the Year award, earned a Lowell Thomas award for investigative journalism, and been a finalist for a National Magazine Award—the magazine industry’s most prestigious editorial honor. She graduated cum laude from Harvard, where she majored in History and Literature.


 Meet the Team

tourist woman on safari in South Africa sitting in jeep with elephant in distance

Brook on safari in South Africa

Brook Wilkinson, Executive Editor
Brook’s work as a travel writer and former Condé Nast Traveler editor has taken her all over the globe: She’s trained with Surf Life Savers in Australia, plowed fields with rice farmers in Bali, and stood at the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Brook has been testing travel planners alongside Wendy—through both interviews and firsthand experience—since 2002, and has personally met nearly every Trusted Travel Expert on our WOW List.

Favorite WOW Travel Moment: Catching the look of awe on her son’s face the first time he encountered a lion on safari.


Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor-at-Large
As a writer for The Washington Post’s travel section, Carolyn craved covering the hotel beat but was given cruise instead. Surprised to find it a fascinating way to travel, she went on to cover the cruise industry as editor in chief of Cruise Critic and became one of its most respected experts. Her curiosity about the world has taken her to all seven continents (she stopped counting the ships she sailed on when she hit 300), and she has contributed to Condé Nast Traveler, Town+Country, The San Francisco Chronicle, Coastal Living, and many more publications. She’s @carolynspencerbrown on Instagram and @cruiseeditor on Twitter.

Favorite WOW Travel Moment: This one’s easy!  My now-husband and I met in Naples, Italy. He lived in Finland, and I lived in Maryland, so we did a lot of long-distance dating during our courtship. Together for a few days in Rome before a cruise, he proposed to me atop the Spanish Steps. He gave a wonderful speech but caught me off-guard and, though I knew he was the man I wanted to marry, I just wasn’t quite…ready to accept. We spent the rest of the day showing each other our favorite neighborhoods, digging into bolognese and sipping wine at a tiny trattoria, and just strolling down ancient streets, talking, talking, talking. The next night, as we steamed out of port on our Mediterranean cruise, there was a full moon. We went on the top deck, and he proposed again (with the same exact speech, which I found totally endearing). This time I said yes.


Tim caught this tiger fish in the Zambezi.

Tim fulfilling his dream of catching a tiger fish in the Zambezi

Timothy Baker, Contributing Photographer
Tim had been to 80 countries on seven continents before meeting Wendy. He had even lived in a tent in Antarctica as an expedition photographer for Greenpeace. A photojournalist and photo editor formerly with The New York Times and the Associated Press, he is contributing the many pictures he shoots on trips with Wendy and their children, Charlie and Doug.

Favorite WOW Travel Moment: Witnessing three rhinos in a battle royale in the bush in South Africa. “The ground shook and you could feel the thuds.”


Charlie befriends a falcon in Dubai

Charlie befriends a falcon in Dubai

Charlie, 19, has been to 54 countries and has plenty of advice for parents planning trips with their kids. For instance, he recommends turning museum visits into scavenger hunts. “Go to the museum gift shop and buy postcards of the things you want your kids to find, then let them run around the museum trying to find them.” He started his own travel blog when he was eight. Read more of Charlie’s advice in our Ask a Teenager series.

Favorite WOW Travel Moment: Snorkeling with whale sharks—the world’s biggest fish—off the coast of Mexico.


Doug plays with new friends in their schoolyard in Chiawa, Zambia.

Doug makes new friends in a schoolyard in Zambia.

Doug, 17, has also been to 54 countries, and he has made a lot of friends along the way. His best tip for meeting kids in other countries? Bring a soccer ball. “You can even leave the soccer ball with them when you go home, so they remember you.”  Read more of Doug’s advice in our Ask a Teenager series.

Favorite WOW Travel Moment: Paragliding over Masada, in Israel.

What We Do is a travel publication, a complimentary advisory service, and the culmination of Wendy’s 30-year quest to make travel better.  We don’t book or sell trips.  We share honest information and advice about where to go and how to plan it so as to get the best trip possible.  We maintain a WOW List of destination-specific trip designers about whom we have received especially impressive reviews and feedback from the travelers we’ve sent to them (see FAQ #13 in our WOW List Frequently Asked Questions).  If a traveler needs a trip designer with a specific skill set, we can suggest experts whom we think would make a good match.  We also offer Wendy’s WOW approach to trip planning:  If you use any of the trip questionnaires on to start a trip, we will advise you during the planning process, watch over your trip from start to finish, and invite you to review it afterward.  You can read these reviews to get a sense of the standard to which we (and our readers) hold WOW List trip planners.

Code of Ethics

The editors of may sometimes accept reduced rates or complimentary arrangements to cover our travel costs when we’re on assignment.  Sponsors must agree that their support offers no guarantee of coverage and will not influence our reporting. We believe you appreciate and value such transparency. You’ve come to expect unbiased coverage from Wendy, and she is not about to squander a reputation for credibility, built over 30 years, for a free trip.

No advertiser, sponsor, or other entity that helps fund this website is allowed to dictate, impact, or alter our editorial coverage, recommendations, advice, opinions, or reviews.  We are journalists and travel experts who would never jeopardize your trust in us by recommending a travel product we are not comfortable with, or placing a weak trip planner on The WOW List, no matter how much they wanted to pay us.  Wendy’s name, and the standard of travel she stands for, are worth a lot more than that.  Besides, if The WOW List were pay-to-play, there would be 5,000 travel agents on it.

How We’re Funded

We have worked very hard to create a site that can be self-sustaining and that enables us to put our readership’s needs, and each traveler’s bottom line, first and foremost.  We accept advertisers, host conferences with sponsors, and earn speaking fees.  We may (or may not) receive payment from WOW List trip planners for the right to use the WOW List logo in their own company’s marketing materials.  If you decide that a trip planner we’ve recommended is a good match and you decide to move forward with that trip planner and buy a trip, then after you return we may (or may not) receive a referral fee. That fee does not impact the trip cost (see The WOW List Pledge). To get a sense of the standard to which we (and our readers) hold WOW List trip planners, you can read these reviews.

How to Support Us

When you use Wendy’s WOW approach, which means you start a trip by filling out one of the trip questionnaires on this website, it supports our ability to advise you on a complimentary basis. It also supports the tremendous amount of labor and time involved in finding, vetting, testing, and continuously monitoring the trip planners who are currently on The WOW List, as well as those whom we are testing behind the scenes for possible inclusion on The WOW List. We also accept advertisers on our website; they are chosen only from a pool of products and services that Wendy herself feels comfortable with, and their presence is clearly marked as an ad (for example, you can see the Medjet advertisement that lives on many pages).

How You Can Benefit

The trip planners on The WOW List have signed The WOW List Pledge, promising VIP benefits and priority status for “Wendy’s travelers” — meaning, the travelers who use the trip questionnaires on The WOW List Pledge requires these trip planners to provide special treatment, fair pricing, and great value to Wendy’s travelers. You are welcome to grab a name off The WOW List and contact that trip planner on your own, but if you do, you won’t get Wendy’s advice, help, or benefits. You won’t get to submit a review of the trip planner, which means you won’t get to help your fellow travelers, whose reviews—here’s a sampling—serve as a uniquely useful and empowering resource to our community of sophisticated, frequent travelers.  You won’t get “Wendy’s WOW Moments” either.  You can read about our WOW Moments Project here:  Wendy Wants To Amp Up Your Trip!


Read this sampling of the reviews that travelers have posted after returning from trips arranged by my Trusted Travel Experts. These reviews illustrate how the right fixer transforms a trip from average to extraordinary.

Consumer Reports
July 7, 2022
Town & Country magazine
June 17, 2022
U.S. News & World Report
April 5, 2022
U.S. News & World Report
February 17, 2022
Consumer Reports
September 9, 2021
Town & Country magazine
April 8, 2021
Town & Country magazine
January 26, 2021
Houston Chronicle / SFGate
September 5, 2020
The New Travel Conference
June 25, 2020
The Wall Street Journal
May 30, 2020
Town & Country magazine
May 9, 2020
The Points Guy
February 7, 2020
Town & Country magazine
October 17, 2019
U.S. News & World Report
April 3, 2019
AP Travel Podcast "Get Outta Here!"
September 19, 2018
The Wall Street Journal
December 27, 2017
U.S. News & World Report
November 28, 2017
U.S. News & World Report
October 23, 2017
U.S. News & World Report
September 25, 2017
U.S. News & World Report
September 12, 2017
The Mercury News
July 30, 2017
U.S. News & World Report
July 6, 2017
U.S. News & World Report
May 25, 2017
February 24, 2017
U.S. News & World Report
November 15, 2016
Town & Country magazine
October 5, 2016
U.S. News & World Report
September 29, 2016
U.S. News & World Report
September 22, 2016
September 2016
U.S. News & World Report
July 14, 2016
Town & Country magazine
April 14, 2016
U.S. News & World Report
March 2, 2016
Family Vacation Critic
January 18, 2016
January 13, 2016
Town & Country magazine
December 2015 / January 2016
U.S. News & World Report
November 10, 2015
Skift Global Forum: Video Interview
October 14, 2015
Martha Stewart Weddings
October 4, 2015
Independent Traveler
July 14, 2015
Real Simple
July 2015 issue
The Travel Show (national radio)
July 5, 2015
O, The Oprah Magazine
July 2015
The Denver Post
June 22, 2015
May 20, 2015
The Wall Street Journal
May 11, 2015
Cruise Critic
April 28, 2015
Luxury Travel Advisor
March 18, 2015
The Boston Globe
February 28, 2015
The Boston Globe
January 17, 2015
December 27, 2014
Fox Business Network
December 22, 2014
Rudy Maxa's World (radio travel show)
December 13, 2014
Budget Travel
December 8, 2014
U.S. News & World Report
October 27, 2014
Town & Country Travel
Fall/Winter 2014
FOX Business
September 2, 2014
HOTELS magazine
August 27, 2014
Travel + Leisure
September 2014
Allure magazine
August 2014
Elite Traveler magazine
July/August 2014
The TODAY Show
June 25, 2014
Travel + Leisure
June 2014
Weather Channel AMHQ
May 15, 2014
Today (Singapore newspaper)
May 15, 2014
NY Post: Media City
October 20, 2013
BBC Travel
August 28, 2013


Michelle Gellis | February 25, 2023

"Thank you for your incredible..."

Hope Biller | September 25, 2022

"There is simply no one else..."

Susan L. Paolucci, M.D. | September 7, 2022