Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

The Secret to Extraordinary Travel: Here’s Proof That The WOW List Works

by Wendy Perrin | August 16, 2019

How to maximize your experience of a destination?  Know the right fixer. What will the right fixer do for you? Read on.

Here is a continually updated sampling of the reviews that your fellow readers have posted after returning from trips that were arranged by Wendy’s Trusted Travel Experts and monitored by Wendy.  These reviews illustrate how the right fixer transforms a trip from average to extraordinary.

Barge cruise, orchestrated by Ellen Sack


Ellen and her team were so helpful in selecting the right barge and it exceeded our expectations. We wanted to experience Scotland and the Spirit of Scotland in Inverness was recommended. The information and description enticed our small group to selecting a July date . We didn’t have any problems or challenges establishing the trip details for Inverness.

Expectations were surpassed. The accommodations were beautiful, clean and very comfortable for two people. The lounge, dining room and outside areas were comfortable and offered shade and sun to enjoy the amazing scenery and to experience fabulous food, wine and entertainment. Local folks came to serenade us with folk music, stories and bagpipes.

Each day was a perfect mix of moving along the canals and traveling to many beautiful castles, parks and villages. I loved the experience so much, next year will include a barge cruise in France.

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Pacific Northwest, orchestrated by Sheri Doyle


Sheri did a great job helping us plan our recent trip to The San Juan Islands! She gave us some great options on places to stay and had a lot of “insider knowledge” on things like the ferry schedules and a local annual chamber music production that happened to be going on while we were on Orcas that were very helpful. She had great recommendations for all the things we told her we wanted to do: which included hiking, kayaking, e-bike riding on Lopez and whale watching. The outfit she recommended on San Juan Island for whale watching was fabulous! We were on a boat with only 15 people, two really good naturalists and they took us out on a beautiful early evening to see lots of birds and track an orca pod as the sun went down in a spectacular setting out among the islands! She even helped me find a local photographer to take some pictures when our son got engaged during the trip! I would highly recommend Sheri if you’re planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest.

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Switzerland, orchestrated by Nina Müller


I was looking for the perfect destination for a father-son week with my 15 year old. After deciding to explore the Swiss Alps, we reached out to Nina for help. With only a couple of weeks to work with, she planned a week that we will never forget. We started in Zürich and enjoyed being in the old town. We originally planned to make our way to Chamonix, but Nina recommended we head east instead and she was right! Ladina and Villa Flor were just the special touch you expect from a knowledgeable agent and just the right spot for us, as opposed to being in St Moritz itself. In particular, our stay at Couer des Alpes in Zermatt was ideal and the staff were all extremely nice and helpful. The location is great and the view, perfect. All of the activities (helicopter to top of Matterhorn, mountain biking down, tuk tuk tour of Zurich and more) really held my 15 year old’s interest, which was critical! But the real clincher was Nina arranging for us to drive an Aston Martin through the Alps for three days. Needless to say, the car was a particular highlight! Happy Birthday to me!!!

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Russia, orchestrated by Greg Tepper


Overall, it was an amazing trip! Two things that really set our trip to St. Petersburg apart:

(1) Eugenia, the guide they arranged, was AMAZING. She is a wonderful person and was a delight to our three pre-teen/teenage boys. We learned all about her fascinating family. As she learned what our family already knew about Russian history (the kids LOVE history), she adjusted to make her content much deeper. Eugenia’s grandfather was the official photographer at the Hermitage, and she knows the museum like her own home. We spent 7 magical hours there with her, and I’d gladly spend another 7 magical days! She adjusted our plans on the fly so we could fit in the Faberge Museum. She helped us know what to look for in the ballet Giselle before we went. After a couple days, it was like traveling with a (deeply knowledgeable) good friend!

(2) the itinerary was very thoughtful given our interests. For example, the Peterhof tour included the grottos (where we went from massive crowds to serenity in seconds!) and Mon Plaisir, but not the crowded main house. For us, this was perfect. Also, the Museum of Political History was fascinating given our interests, and we understand it doesn’t get included in many shorter itineraries. The built-in flexibility in the Hermitage day was also ideal.

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Alaska cruise, orchestrated by Ashton Palmer


lthough my husband and I have always made our own travel plans & reservations, when we decided to take a small-ship cruise in Alaska, we were overwhelmed by the number of choices to be made….which cruise line, which ship, which itinerary. When we decided to consult a travel agent, finding the right one became problematic until we found Ashton Palmer on the WOW list. Ashton called us and, after asking the right questions to help him determine the types of travel and experiences we’ve enjoyed, recommended three different cruises and an add-on trip to Denali National Park. We chose one of the three cruises and worked with Ashton’s team to finalize the plans. Although we booked our airfare and hotel stays independently, the logistics were complicated; it would have been difficult to accomplish without the timeline Ashton provided showing us when we had to be at various locations. The trip was fabulous! It hit everything on our “wish” list…..seeing glaciers & wildlife and learning about the Native Alaskan culture. We couldn’t have done it without Ashton’s help.

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Australia, orchestrated by Stuart Rigg

SUMI CHARI | JULY 31, 2019

Stuart and his team gave my family an absolutely wonderful trip to Australia. Their hotel choices were excellent and suggested activities that were perfect for us. The guide they suggested in Sydney did a great job of tailoring our trip to my kids (age 10 and 13) and made sure they had plenty of time outside of the car to stretch their legs and activities to keep their interest. I had asked for a cultural experience in Queensland and Stuart’s team wanted to find something that was authentic. We met with a member of the local Kuku Yalanji tribe who had us hike for a few miles over the beach at low tide and my kids spear hunted for crab while they learned all about their culture. We caught 3 crabs and then ate them! It was a highlight of the trip and my kids will never forget that experience. We also stayed at luxurious resort in the Blue Mountains for our last few nights where everyone seemed to know us and definitely took care of us due to our connection with Stuart. In addition, we have a few dietary restrictions in our family and travel with medicines and every hotel we went to was fully prepared to accommodate us as Stuart’s team made prior arrangements. Even while we were on our trip I was in close communication with them about any minor changes I wanted to make (adjustments in car hire times, etc) and I always had prompt email responses or a call from them. I would absolutely use them again and would be happy to refer them to any of my friends. We are already trying to figure out our next trip to Australia.

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Provence, orchestrated by Philip Haslett


Philip Haslett was amazing. He totally listened to what we wanted for a three generation trip to Provence and the Riviera. We enjoyed a wonderful cooking class in Aix en Provence and an outstanding glassblowing experience in Antibes. Our boat ride to the Lerins Islands that left from Cannes exceeded expectations. We had two guides, one for the Provence area and one for the Riviera. Each was fabulous. While we never meet most of the guides that we use through Wendy’s WOW list, Philip made an effort and met us at our hotel outside of Provence, walking us in to Aix for our cooking class. I highly recommend Philip.

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Japan, orchestrated by Scott Gilman


I was planning a trip for myself, my mom and my partner on pretty short notice. Jason found us great hotels, got most of our requests in and coordinated with our guide to make sure I had a vegan meal option during our trip in all but one place.

We picked Jason from Scott Gilman’s team out of 3 planners (one other was a recommendation from Wendy Perrin) we felt he took the time on our first 2 phone calls to ask questions and get to know our travel needs which we felt went above what the other planners did. The majority of the ryokan/hotel selections, our guide, our drivers and the care we received was indeed exceptional.

We had a fantastic time. Our guide spent the entire two weeks with us traveling around Japan and I simply cannot say enough good things about her. She was warm, patient, organized, planned everything according to weather and packed our days full of everything we wanted to see or do. We covered a lot of ground and got to have some really unique and special experiences (private dinner with a geiko and maiko, visit a whiskmakers studio, take part in a private tea ceremony and see how kimonos are made in an artisan’s workshop… to name a few). He also organized for JAL (the airline we arrived on) to have a greeter escort us through an expedited customs line and all of our luggage transfers were included in the trip price and handled by our guide.

Jason was good, but his trip was expensive. It was almost double the next most expensive estimate (and that next estimate had us booked in all but one of the same hotels). I decided to move forward with Jason because I felt like he took the time to understand our travel wishes, would plan every detail of our trip and ensure it would go seamlessly. Given that I was traveling with my mother (who is in her 70s and can be a bit of a nervous traveler) I felt the extra expense guaranteed a worry-free trip. The trip was indeed seamless, worry-free and thoroughly enjoyed by all three of us traveling.

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Spain, orchestrated by Pablo Calvo


Pablo was very responsive and flexible during the process of planning our trip. He listened well to what we wanted (an adult trip with lots of time to wander on our own), and booked us a lovely small hotel in Barcelona (The Mercer) and at the amazing Torrent del Mas in Costa Brava. All logistics went very smoothly, and Pablo was quick to answer the few questions we had during our trip. They gave us good restaurant choices in Barcelona (Bar Canete is a must go) and in Costa Brava (Pais del Mas). We can’t say enough positive things about Costa Brava – gorgeous beaches and farmland, amazing meals everywhere, not overly touristy…and Torrent del Mas was one of the most beautiful hotels we have been to. It was a bit challenging to leave each day to go sightseeing! We would go back to these parts of Spain in a heartbeat, and would definitely recommend Pablo as a travel planner.

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China, orchestrated by Mei Zhang


Mei did a great job planning a short trip to Yangzhou province in China for myself and my 13 year old daughter. Her team (we communicated with Mei and Fann) was very responsive both before and during the trip. Our guide Michael (his Anglicized name) was fantastic. We spent five days with him (and a driver) and learned a great deal about life in China. Using a WOW planner means getting the best guides, which is worth it. Michael’s English was excellent and he is very personable.

We enjoyed the activities planned for us, such as a bamboo raft trip through the karst mountain landscape, learning fan painting from a talented artist, and hiking through the beautiful rice terraces in Longsheng. We also enjoyed the long-haired Yao women show — touristy, but enjoyable and interesting nonetheless.

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Norway, orchestrated by Jan Sortland


Most travelers return home with souvenirs and laundry, but Jan Sortland created a two week Norwegian holiday where the memories surpass any expectation and will last for generations. Jan’s expertise in genealogy provided my husband with an opportunity to walk on five generations of family farms near Stavanger and thoroughly explore another family’s farm in Vaga. Jan’s connections in Norway were outstanding. Throughout the gorgeous Norwegian landscape, each and every ground person employed (drivers, guides, boat captains, local historians and genealogists) made this journey exceptional. Jan made pre-trip planning easy. Jan made suggestions for excursions that were “outside” the box and suggestions on what to possibly avoid. His best advice was to see the fjords from land-breathtaking! With an expert driver taking care of us, my husband was able to enjoy each and every aspect of the scenery. The trip was remarkable.

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Egypt, Jordan and Israel orchestrated by Jim Berkeley


Jim Berkeley and Arlene Santos put together a wonderful highlights of Cairo trip for my husband and me. We were well taken care every step of the way of from our Greeter who escorted us to and from the airport to our driver who’s driving skill was as epic as the Pyramids in the chaotic Cairo Traffic. But our local guide/ Egyptologist “ Riko” was the one who made our experience exceptional. She was knowledgeable, patient, kind and passionate about her city, country’s history and culture. Hands down the best guide in all our world travels. She avoided the crowds not only at the Pyramids and major sites but literally unlocked and gave us private access to tombs not available to the public. What an experience to stand alone in an Egyptian tomb 4 thousand years old ! The accommodations Jim and Arlene selected at the Four Seasons was a luxury oasis from the desert heat while still giving us a beautiful sunset view of the Nile and a call to prayer from our balcony each evening. Thanks for fantastic trip and a bucket list item checked !

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New Zealand, orchestrated by Donna Thomas


We just returned from 2 amazing weeks in New Zealand with our 3 sons. Donna and her team made the entire trip easy and smooth. I had never planned a trip like this and Donna, Kori and Nancy made it so easy. It started with a detailed questionnaire and then a follow up phone call so they could understand what kind of things we were interested in. I was worried about the weather affecting our itinerary because it was winter there, but Donna reassured me she would be there for us if we needed a sudden change in plans. We had great weather, so no change in plans was needed, but Donna was right there for me when my son hurt his knee snowboarding in Queenstown and we needed medical attention. I sent her an email knowing it was after midnight in the U.S., expecting a response in the morning, and she emailed me back within 5 minutes. It was comforting having a trusted travel expert at my fingertips at all hours! Donna also recommended we rent the preprogrammed GPS and it was a fabulous thing to have! I wasn’t sure we needed it because we had our cell phones, but went with her recommendation. We were so happy to have it since cell phone coverage isn’t the greatest there and having each destination programmed in just made the trip so smooth. We had an amazing trip of a lifetime. Kudos to Donna and her team for making the planning process so easy and the trip so enjoyable!

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Sicily, orchestrated by Marcello Baglioni

JUDY KAY | JULY 2, 2019

Our trip to Sicily was amazing and so is Marcello Baglioni. Marcello, while based in the US, spends a lot of time in Sicily searching high and low for the best experiences and the best guides all to the benefit of his clients. He listened carefully at the planning stage and incorporated our requests into the itinerary. (For example, I mentioned that my husband was interested in learning how to cook octopus and Marcello worked it into our itinerary and we had a great experience shopping for octopus in the local market with a chef and cooking it back at the chef’s restaurant.) But what really makes a trip with Marcello so special is his selection of guides as each is so passionate about their field of expertise. From the volcanologist (a professional—not a hobbyist) who became enchanted with Mt. Etna as a young boy, to the archaeologists, the chefs, the wine expert—the list goes on. For example, we were very fortunate that there was an eruption on Mt. Etna the morning of our Etna visit and the volcanologist was able to explain not only what was going on at the eruption site but showed us live video feeds from his colleagues that weren’t available publicly. He also had us quietly listen to the eruption, smell the air, and notice the tiny bit of ash that was landing on our jackets. No one else did. Other guides would stop and ask him questions because they had no understanding of what was going on at the eruption site. One guide even turned to her own clients and told them how lucky my husband and I were to have the volcanologist as our guide! This is just one example of the quality of our guides and how lucky and special we felt on this trip.

This trip exceeded our expectations and I could not recommend him more highly.

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Prince Edwards Island and Nova Scotia, orchestrated by Jill Curran


Jill planned an excellent trip for us in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. The pretrip planning was complete and unpressured. We enjoyed the venues that she reserved as well as the numerous restaurants that she suggested. To complete her planning Jill knew of special events that were scheduled where we were including the Festival of Small Halls on PEI, the Tattoo in Halifax, and other cultural opportunities along the routes that she outlined. If we had not used her I am convinced that we would not have known of them on our own. Her dedication to her clients became apparent when we ran into a small snafu at one of the hotels. If I were to return to the Maritime Canada again the first person I would call would be Jill.

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Portugal, orchestrated by Gonçalo Correia


We just returned from Portugal and had a great time! Goncalo and Joana did a great job planning the trip and executing. We had a driver named Pedro that was with us for 5 days – driving from Porto through the Duoro valley and then Alentejo and then to Lisbon. Pedro was wonderful – always early and very knowledgeable about where to go and what to do plus he was professional and personable and friendly at the same time. He made the trip very enjoyable. Goncalo suggested restaurants that we wouldn’t have found on our own – the Restaurant Adega de Sao Nicolau in Porto – the best octopus I’ve had in a long time, Restaurant Vallecula on the way from the Duoro to the Alentejo was such an unexpected surprise – delicious local food served with a smile in the middle of the countryside. They were able to get us a reservation at the last minute to Belcanto – one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. The sidecar tour was really fun, and something I wouldn’t have thought about doing. As a WOW moment, we were surprised with a before opening hours tour of the Monastery Jerome – one of the sites we had read about, but always came with the caveat that there were large crowds, and there was always a line. We don’t do lines very well, so we weren’t going to visit. It was really fun to be able to tour the monastery by ourselves with our guide and linger and take pictures without a crowd around us. It was very special! Our local guide in Lisbon, Tiago, was super knowledgeable – he could discuss any topic, Lisbon related or otherwise. I would recommend him. I would highly recommend Goncalo and Joana for planning a Portugal trip – In fact, I had recommended him before I used him to a friend, and she took her trip several months ago and really liked his itinerary as well.

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Siem Reap, orchestrated by Andy Booth


I usually do extensive research and plan our trips. Using Josh from Andy’s team was such a great decision! Not only were they extremely accommodating at the planning stage, but the hotels he recommended ended up being our absolute favorite (Phum Baiting in Siem Reap). In addition, he went over and above in helping us when we had some issues with one of our visas for Vietnam on the day of the trip. He had his local people work with the visa office to get us an expedited visa – otherwise, we would not have been able to get on the plane to Saigon from Hong Kong. In addition, my husband only had 1 Visa page left when we were leaving for Siem Reap from Saigon. The airline at Saigon said by law, he couldn’t go to Cambodia because you need 2 free pages for the Visa. Again, Josh came through, then contacted the airline, we boarded, then were met at the airport by immigration officer to help us. This proved to us that it definitely helps to have a company who are based close to where we’re traveling.

The tour guides were amazing and we hope to keep in touch with especially Mr. Thai and the organizations he helps in Cambodia. Despite the oppressive heat, the driver always had icy cold towels for us and cold drinks, and we rarely mingled with other tourists at even the most crowded sites! My 3 kids (22, 20 and 17) were all so impressed with how informative and interesting Mr. Thai and our tour guide in Saigon were with not only the sites we visited but also local life, politics, etc.

This trip was very special and so well planned and smooth- we have already recommended Andy and his associates to our friends! We got to meet Josh for a drink at their private villa where our family had a special dinner. Great night and great trip!

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Turkey, orchestrated by Karen Fedorko Sefer


Beginning with the Istanbul-based tour managers, Ugur, Merve, Ekin and, of course, Karen Fedeorko Sefer, and extending to our professional guide, Esin, our excellent driver, and our evening “chaperone,” Mary, Karen’s group provided a carefully planned and flexible custom itinerary. I found the staff was prompt in returning emails and I received exemplary advice. Their arranged services were fairly priced and included a centrally located boutique hotel (House Hotel Karakoy) and cutting edge restaurants (must go-to: Mikla Restaurant). Representatives readily made themselves available during the initial travel planning phase, our arrival into Istanbul International Airport, tour throughout Istanbul and our departure from Turkey. Arrival and departure customs, passport and luggage handling were expedited at the new Istanbul International Airport via the company’s arranged transfer service.

For us, the face of Karen’s team was our professional guide, driver and other assigned attendants. At no time did we ever feel endangered (although Istanbul drivers and pedestrians should be “commended” for synchronized on-road gymnastics/ choreography). Esin is a gem: an incredible asset/representative for both Karen and Turkey. At once, a valuable resource and fount of insider information and worldly anecdotes, she always maintained a vital, kind, warm and very human (sincere and humanistic) side that she freely exhibited. Esin is so very passionate about Istanbul and its citizens, the attractions visited, its present, past and future. As a world traveler, I felt as though I experienced cosmopolitan Istanbul on an intimate human scale coming away with an appreciation for its history, culture, and, most of all, its people. As a former high school art instructor, I was beyond thrilled when Esin arranged a most special one-on-one meeting with internationally renowned Turkish artist, Ms. Gulay Semercioglu whose artworks have been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art (NYC) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC). This would not have been possible without Esin as our guide. I am eternally grateful.

Thank you for creating a journey of a lifetime.

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Italy and Greece, orchestrated by Jill Taylor

PAUL MYERS | JUNE 24, 2019

My wife, my 13-year-old daughter and I just returned from 16 days in Italy and Greece. We had a wonderful trip. Jill, our travel specialist, picked the perfect hotels for us, lined up the best local tour guides and coordinated a good mix of sightseeing and down time. We were blown away that she thought of every detail. We were greeted at every transfer location by a nicely dressed, English-speaking professional who helped us with baggage, navigating customs and transfer to our next destination. Jill was patient with all my questions, which were many, and she knew each destination because she had personally visited each location. She, and her colleague, Peter, made sure we were able to relax and enjoy. (They even gave me a great tip on the best shoes to wear while touring Rome – Allbirds. So helpful!)

If we could have done anything different, I would have taken Jill’s advice and only visited one country this trip. She warned me that the additional travel to go from one country to another would take time away from relaxing. She was more than right! I will heed that advice going forward!

All-in-all, it was a wonderful trip in large measure because of Jill and Peter’s careful planning and thoughtful itinerary design!

Thank you, Jill and thank you, Peter!

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Cruise orchestrated by Tom Baker

ROBERT E. LEE | JUNE 23, 2019

Tom Baker is a consummate professional who insured that the 40th anniversary European River Cruise that three couples wanted to plan was achieved to perfection. Tom gave us the proper advice about the best river, the right cruise company, and the optimal ship. Tom’s advice lead to the most memorable trip for the three couples in our group. From precruise planning, to providing the last minute details, to emails checking up on how things were going on the cruise, Tom stayed on top of things from start to finish. The final tour packet details mailed to us included a set of nice luggage organizers, which was a class addition. You cannot go wrong by having Tom Baker help plan your European River Cruise. Besides the top tier service, the best pricing I could find for our Crystal Danube River cruise after an exhaustive search was from him. Four thumbs up! We will be repeat customers of Tom Baker. And I sincerely appreciate the guidance from the Wendy Perrin web site that led to our contact with Tom, who definitely deserves the WOW explicative!

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England orchestrated by Jonathan Epstein


This 2 week trip to the South West of England (Sussex, Cornwall, Devon, Cotswolds, New Forest, Jurassic Coast) was our third trip using Jonathan’s team, after Ireland and Scotland, and Jonathan and Nicole have been consistently excellent. They are the best at getting back to you super promptly no matter the query or concern, and the relationships Jonathan cultivates with his chosen properties throughout the UK have always resulted in warm, wonderful service wherever we have stayed. This translates to added value during the planning process when we received some automatic upgrades as a perk, as well as an occasional additional upgrade – upon request and availability – while on the trip. Every place we stayed was amazing, and greatly enhanced our travel experience. Other hotel perks through Jonathan’s connections that we enjoyed on this trip were an airport transfer, picnic, wine tasting, kitchen and wine cellar tour, house history tour, full English breakfasts, welcome 1/2 bottles of champagne – all complimentary. I appreciated that when giving the lists of restaurant choices in each area, Nicole included what nights the restaurants were closed, which made the planning/choosing easier and more efficient. One bit of advice I would give is to double check during the planning process, and again just before traveling, the opening and closing times and dates of any sights, museums, gardens, houses, etc. that you plan to visit, so that you don’t plan your itinerary around seeing something that turns out to be closed on that day. Also, you may find, for example, that the grounds open at 10:30, but the house, palace, castle, museum, etc. doesn’t open until 12. Another tip would be to consider purchasing a membership in the National Trust – you can do this online or at one of their sights. If you plan to visit enough of them, this can save you money over paying the entrance fee each time. We are grateful to Jonathan for his advice to see this part of England – incredibly overflowing and chock full of outstanding sights – as one trip, and do Wales and the Lake District as a separate trip. We were originally thinking of doing it all in one 2 week trip, which would have been a big mistake!! Looking forward to planning that next trip with him someday soon!

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Alaska, orchestrated by Judith Root


We were put in contact with Judith Root via Wendy Perrin. We travel quite a bit and with a few exceptions have always did our own itinerary planning. We know that there are travel agents and then there are travel experts. Judith is a travel expert specifically for Alaska. You can buy a nice package deal off of a travel agent, get a cruise, take some side tours and perhaps and extension to Anchorage, Katmai, Talkeetna, Denali or Fairbanks. You will see a lot of great places, but you will be part of a crowd. We wanted to see what a travel expert would do to customize a trip to meet our desires. Our main objective was to see one of the wildest areas of North America, the back country of Denali National Park and Preserve. There are very few travel agent packages that take you this deep.

A travel expert like Judith (and her associate, Andrea Clarke) will book you in place that is off the grid, 92 miles inside Denali in the only back country lodge permitted to conduct guided hikes within the Park and Preserve. Despite the location, this lodge is a first class operation. They will connect you with a knowledgeable local guide in Fairbanks and a behind the scenes tour with a native Alaskan. They will note your love of birding and will set up a first rate guide in Talkeetna for a relaxing day in nature at your own pace.

We usually do our own driving, but Judith convinced us to try the Alaska Railroad Goldstar Service between Fairbanks, Denali Park, Talkeetna and Anchorage. Good move, with wonderful travel on each leg of the trip. The views from the train were spectacular and meeting other train travelers was a fascinating experience.

Judith’s itinerary was very detailed, covering all accommodations transfers, transportation, included meals, guides, projected gratuity costs, packing lists and reading lists. It was readable and thorough. We had one potentially major problem at a critical point on our trip. Judith and her team were just a phone call away and were very responsive to meeting our needs. It was nice to have them there for support.

Warning: Alaska is expensive. Judith will provide a first class experience of a life time. Only about 30% of the people visiting Denali get to see “The Great One”. Judith, Andrea and the rest of the team gave us an excellent shot of seeing the highest mountain in North America. We succeeded and now are part of the lucky 30%.

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SE Asia, orchestrated by Andrea Ross and April Cole


Due to a change in circumstances, I had a last-minute opportunity to join my 22-year old son in SE Asia for a 2-week trip. Although I normally enjoy planning travel, I simply didn’t have the time so I contacted Andrea Ross from the WOW list and could not possibly be more happy that I did. What I now know, is it is about more than having time, it is about having the appropriate knowledge — and insider knowledge at that! Andrea and her team took what would have been a great trip to an EXTRAORDINARY trip. Andrea spent time talking with me ahead of time and knew that I wanted to make it a special graduation trip for my son. And it was. We visited Saigon, Siem Reap, Cambodia, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue (which I never would have discovered on my own) and Hoi An. The staff of tour guides she has put together is truly phenomenal — they were all great and Jake and I consider them friends. They were attentive to our needs and also showed us people and places that were off the beaten path. We made a few adjustments along the way, and they were perfectly accommodating and flexible. The hotels chosen, the experiences recommended and planned were all great.

One other point about the value of working with Andrea and her team — My trip got off to a rough start in that my flight was delayed (I booked that myself) so my arrival was very late and without my luggage. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to resolve it myself, the country director in Vietnam, Mr. Khoa Nguyen literally went to the airport himself to track it down — and he did, resolving what was a major point of stress for me!

Finally, it is clear that “responsible travel” is an important core value of this company — and we were proud to be enlightened by it and participate.

THANK YOU to all our new friends on Andrea’s team – I recommend them without reservation and will also be excited to plan another trip with an expert from the WOW list!

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England, orchestrated by Jane and Philip McCrum


Our trip to London, with several day trips, far exceeded our expectations, which are always high when we use one of your advisors. Jane and Dawn planned a number of itineraries, both in and outside the city, which we simply would not, or in some cases could not, have arranged on our own. Highlights included a visit to a castle dating to the 11th century, which is a private home and not open to the public. Jane’s personal connection allowed us to spend several hours as the guests of the owner, with a fascinating tour of the house, grounds and extraordinary collections of art, antiques and memorabilia. We also had a terrific WOW experience – a tour of the Inns of Court with a barrister as a guide, giving us insider access and insights not typically available.

All of our arrangements were excellent, with knowledgeable and personable guides and drivers. The itineraries reflected careful consideration of our interests. There was enough free time in London to allow us to relax and enjoy those unexpected discoveries which are always among the best parts of a trip. Dawn was extremely helpful and responsive and checked in regularly to make sure all of our arrangements went off as planned.

I will recommend Jane and her team without reservation to our friends for their UK travels and we look forward to our own return trip.

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Peru orchestrated by Marisol Mosquera


Marisol is exactly the type of travel specialist our family loves to work with… Their guides and staff are thoughtful, generous, intelligent, and caring. They specialized the trip well to a family with teenage girls… Activities were off the beaten track, unique, and fun! We went hiking with a local village woman and her four llamas in the Sacred Valley… We had a picnic at a Vista point overlooking the sacred valley where chefs prepared traditional Peruvian foods. Both were amazing! They were referred to us by the travel specialist we used in Thailand, Daniel Fraser, also on your list… Also fantastic! Thank you…

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Italy, orchestrated by Andrea Grisdale


We just returned from a family trip to Florence, Rome and Positano with our two adult children, 25 and 23. As with our previous two trips, this one was just as spectacular. From the initial planning stages with Andrea Grisdale through the final itinerary we arranged with Creta and Ilenia and with Odri’s support during our trip, our family enjoyed a vacation that had something for everyone and went off without a hitch. When we did run into a minor issue at one of the hotels, Odri stepped in and fixed things quickly and efficiently. All of the guides (Elena- Florence, Piera- Rome, Carmine- Pompeii) and drivers (Vincenzo, Eduardo, Tomasso, Francesco) and hotel staff were attentive, polite and enthusiastic about their country which added some extra personality to the experience. This was especially true with Vincenzo, who took very good care of us for 4 days in Positano. He shared some of his personal story with us and provided an insider’s look into Sorrento, his home town during our Villa Ida experience. Our WOW moment at Podere Le Ripi in Montalcino hit all the notes we were looking for– friendly hosts, beautiful setting, great wine and delicious food. Another memorable experience was our cooking class at Villa Ida in Sorrento. We had great fun in the kitchen with Roberta and in the wine cellar with Charlie, the family patriarch. Eating a whole meal that we prepared under the lemon trees in the Villas garden was fantastic. Charlie is a character and he added a very warm, family vibe to the experience. Anyone into Italian food culture should do this! Our final highlight of the trip was our private yacht charter from Positano to Capri. Our captain, Davide, was the perfect host, providing us with lots of interesting information while also ensuring we experienced the beauty of the coastline. We especially appreciated his flexibility and the opportunity to set anchor and swim off the boat for a while. The whole day was spectacular and was the perfect way to end our 12 day Italian journey.

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France, orchestrated by Jack Dancy and Michael Eloy


Our trip of a lifetime to France and to attend the 75th Commemoration of D-Day was a spectacular, mind-blowing experience and one we will never forget. Jack and Michael’s team designed an outstanding travel itinerary that met every request we made for our trip and then went beyond.

First, the places we stayed in Paris and Normandy were exceptional. The hotels in Paris, the Grand Hotel du Palais Royal and the Hotel Relais Christine were beautiful, well located and very welcoming. Our very favorite was a charming find, Les Lilas de Bellefontaine. A charming B&B located in Bayeaux. The owners, Catherine and Serge were so very welcoming, gracious and generous that it was hard to leave because they became family.

The guides arranged for us in Paris, and Normandy were so valuable to showing us around and maximizing our experience with their incredible knowledge and insights that brought every experience more life and color. Caroline is a treasure and felt like family when she saw us off to Honfleur. Damien showed us a wonderful time as we sampled Camembert cheese and Calvedos wines. The true highlight was Vanessa and Geert who toured us the landing beaches, especially Omaha Beach. Gerrt took the time to add his research of my father’s movements on June 6th, 1944 adding color and dimension to the facts.

I want to add that we were not notified until June 5th that we had tickets to attend the 75th Commemoration and I emailed Marcello and a driver was arranged with a pick up time to get us to the shuttle pick up area the very next morning.

Jack, Michael and Marcello, listened to what we wanted from the trip, listened to our feedback as the trip took form and went well beyond our expectations to create a purely magical and moving experience that we will never forget. Gratitude beyond measure to them. And thank you for the flower to welcome us home. Gratitude and respect to each of you for creating a trip of a lifetime.

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South Africa, orchestrated by Nina Wennersten and Dan Saperstein


When planning a family trip of a lifetime to Africa (to include my 5 year old grandson, his parents and my travel companion), your first recommendation was to contact Nina Wennersten. True to your advice, Nina proved the perfect travel expert to craft an itinerary with special attention to my grandson. Having made several safaris over the last 40 years, I was unsure about what would be the best choice for this one which included 3 generations.

Nina’s recommendation of Kenya, with its colorful and fascinating cultural aspects in addition to the wealth of wildlife, proved spot on. She thoughtfully listened to my interests as well as always keeping in mind the most appropriate activities for the little one. Finally, our conversations led to a superb itinerary which was exciting for each and every one of us.

Our trip began with Nina and her son/partner, Dan, arranging for a warm welcome as soon as the airplane door opened. We were whisked through customs, setting the stage for a seamless continuum of travel logistics with all plane and ground transfers. The camps Nina recommended were all welcoming and without exception went out of their way to entertain my grandson. At Sirikoi in the Lewa Conservancy, my grandson was as entertained by the camp’s chickens and vegetable garden as the the game drives in search of African wildlife! At our final stop, Mara Bushtops, my grandson joined the Maasai while they performed their ‘adumu’ or jumping dance. I will forever carry the memory of him jumping with the Maasai beside the campfire with the African sunset on the horizon.

Finally, thank you for a very special WOW moment! I’d arranged a drive especially for birding, and was thrilled to suddenly come upon a beautifully set table and full staff on hand to provide us with a fabulous bush breakfast. A wonderful keepsake presented to me was a personalized East African bird book.

Thanks to Nina, Dan, and you, Wendy, the trip exceeded our dreams. Asante sana!

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South Pacific, orchestrated by Kleon Howe


Hi my name is Patricia Ilisu, on your recommendation I have used the services of Kleon Howe to assist us with the organization of a once in a lifetime trip to French Polynesia. This was very short notice and Kleon was wonderful in lining up a lovely trip in a very short period of time. I told him our style of travel, no crowds, no touristy stuff just experience nature, culture, food and photography. His recommendations were perfect. Had I organized this I would have never picked Huahine as an island to visit and it was beautiful and the hotel, although rustic, had the best food we had on the entire trip. The highlight of the vacation was the catamaran sail from Huahine to Taha, Rangiroa and Bora. A boat picked us up from the hotel dock in Huahine and dropped us at the hotel dock in Bora. The crew was fantastic Tamatoa the skipper took us to amazing snorkeling sites and Virginie our hostess cooked most amazing meals and made sure we had a memorable experience. Bora Bora is a must do the first time around but I would not go back if we decide to go back to French Polynesia, and that is just because it is so darn expensive and touristy. The only thing Keon could not fix was the weather :))), we had an unusual amount of rain for the period.

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Zambia, Botswana and Cape Town, orchestrated by Cherri Briggs


Katie on Cherri’s staff did an outstanding job putting together the trip for first-class travel in very short time. She and her team personally oversaw every detail of the travel, even referred us to an airline travel agent to book all the commercial flights, saving us a substantial amount of money but always securing first-class service, which is a big deal in Africa when you’re crossing country borders and customs! Every property that we visited was at the same level of what you experience at the top properties in the world—i.e. Aman properties.

Among the highlights of our trip were room upgrades that were fabulous, wine waiting in our room as a gift from Katie, excellent cultural and nature guides, and surprise in-room lunches. One time, after a morning drive with lions, elephants, zebras, impalas, and giraffes, we returned to our incredible suite and found a surprise WOW brunch complete with a bottle of Franschhoek Rosé. We also loved the hippos serenading us outside our glam tent! And we can’t leave out the “WOW Moment” helicopter trip with private island landing in the delta of Okavango to toast a glass of champagne to our journey of a lifetime. We were over-the-top thrilled with our 21 days of travels. These life-changing experiences of Africa cannot be replicated without expert guidance and incredible support.

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The Galapagos, orchestrated by Allie Almario


Is it Ecuador? Is it the people of Galapagos? Is it Allie? Yes, yes and yes. Every single person we encountered, especially the extremely well trained naturalists, were incredibly knowledgable and capable and earnest in their love of the Enchanted Islands. Despite all the sand, and rock, salt air and salt water- all our accommodations and boats on our primarily land-based tour were super clean. The staff at the Angermeyer were very conscientious and communicative, as well as personable.

We were incredibly lucky in terms of visibility and animal sightings, but the guides were so in tune, they knew exactly where, when and how the animals would appear. Cue the sea lions, schools and schools of fish, rays, sharks, penguins, boobies, turtles, tortoises, iguanas and whales! And the food- bring on the langosta, prawns and patacones! Even a quick layover in Guayaquil turned into a surprisingly restful and luxurious moment. Most special was the private boat tour Allie and her team arranged – who wouldn’t feel safe with a former fisherman and his first mate with a trained guide? We arrived at a favorite spot when the tide was just right and the other boats had gone. Our guide made sure we knew how to snorkel, and our equipment was working. Then all the moments we hoped to experience actually happened. You don’t even feel like you are snorkeling- you are just IN the sea, waiting your turn for the sea turtles in front of you to finish snacking and having their shells cleaned by tiny little fish, and you are just one of the creatures resting upside down in the water like your buddies the sea lions.

Any small (very small) logistical hiccups were addressed immediately, and we had 3 contact phone numbers (which everyone personally answered) and an email just in case. Worth it!

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Romania, orchestrated by Raluca Spiac


Wendy, thanks for the WOW moment on this trip. We really enjoyed getting to visit the highest tower at Bran Castle, an area generally off limits to the public. Our very experienced guide had never been there.

Raluca Spiac is an extremely attentive trip planner. I had many conversations with her and the attention to detail shown by Raluca, and Greg Helm, our guide, was best in class. Raluca went to extraordinary lengths to find us the right accommodation. I had requested an apartment in Bucharest and had found some on-line that seemed suitable. Raluca tracked down a private residence where we had a private suite and were treated like personal friends of the family staying for a weekend. Greg made adjustments to the itinerary on the fly to accommodate our requests and suggested activities as he came to know us. For example, Greg arranged a trail ride for our daughter at a horse ranch owned by our hosts in Bucharest. Raluca’s support team was constantly available to Greg.

In a couple of cases, the venues Raluca selected were extraordinary. For example, we had 3 nights in Brasov in a lovely 3 room hotel and 4 nights in Maremures on a 70 Hectare property in our own house. The house was probably 100 years old and had been saved from destruction in the local village, moved to the host’s property, and completely remodeled inside. Raluca arranged for a cook to come to the house and make us breakfast and dinner–truly special.

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Brazil, orchestrated by Martin Frankenberg


On a trip to celebrate our 46th Wedding Anniversary, we were treated to a surprise picnic and anniversary cake on the beach in Paraty during our Day on the Bay boat trip, piranha fishing on the Rio Negro, night treks in the Amazon, a tour of the Manaus Opera House, and a wonderful WOW! Moment helicopter ride in Iguassu Falls, thanks to Wendy’s generosity.

Our guide Alexandre Bazzi introduced us to Iguassu Falls, and his love of the natural world spilled over into everything we did. When we finally arrived in Rio we thought we couldn’t be surprised any more but indeed we were. We fell in love with Rio, enjoyed bike rides along the beaches, were awed by Sugarloaf Mountain and Corcovado, and Lais even taught us how to samba one night. Our driver, SaSa, would go home every night and cut up fresh fruit for us the next day! We were treated like royalty every step of the way.

Martin and his colleagues had a sixth sense about the best guides for us, as we developed an instant connection with all three of them, and enjoyed philosophical conversations as well as lots of laughter. Each one of them made us feel at home and each would quickly change up our schedule if a unique opportunity arrived. We left feeling like we’d made good friends as well as been given a beautiful perspective on their individual cities.

For our surprise WOW Moment, we were told we’d have lunch at a local restaurant in Paraty. A jeep picked us up and we headed up the mountain on an increasingly bumpy road, wondering out loud what kind of restaurant could be at the end of such a crazy road. Our guide Gabriel just grinned. Upon arrival we headed up this spectacular set of steps through increasingly tropical vegetation and arrived at Le Gite Indaiatiba Restaurante. Greeted by the wife of the Frenchman who envisioned this place, a charming open air restaurant with tables surrounded by hundreds of books, she asked what we’d like for lunch. “Go up the mountain and swim in the pool while we prepare your lunch”, she said. So up the mountain, past the heliport for the rich and famous of Brazil, we arrived at the pool and settled into the crisp cold water and surrounding tropical sounds. We were in paradise. Back down to the restaurant we hiked and sat down to a pre-lunch drink and delightful conversation with the owner, as we were serenaded by Grateful Dead music in the background. We had the whole restaurant to ourselves and what an amazing feast! This is the kind of magic Wendy Perrin’s WOW recommended travel specialists plan for you.

And thank you, Wendy, for our lovely helicopter ride over the Falls. It gave us such great perspective on where we’d been hiking for 3 days and was quite an adrenaline rush.

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Morocco, orchestrated by Michael Diamond


Morocco par excellence! Michael Diamond and his team knocked it out of the park for us. When I talked to Michael on the phone I told him that we enjoyed art, history architecture, nature, and being physically active. He crafted the perfect experience for us. What’s not to like about a trip that encompasses 5 World Heritage Sites and 1200 miles across incredibly varied terrain – Casablanca, Rabat, Fes, camping in the Sahara with the Berbers, Skoura Oasis, Marrakech, and back to Casablanca.

Our guide, Nouri, was articulate, interesting and knowledgeable and together with our driver Yusin contributed to a bespoke experience. We were treated like VIPs throughout the trip – Michael even expedited our passage through passport control in Casablanca (both ways). Lodging was varied and amazing – riads, casbahs, a tent with a king bed and fine linens, and luxurious city hotels. Scheduling was impeccable, everything happened as expected, yet there was ample allowance for some creativity. We had some long days traveling in the very comfortable van, but it was broken up nicely with interesting (and sometimes necessary) stops. Overall, Michael provided us one of those trips of a lifetime.

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Mexico, orchestrated by Zachary Rabinor and Brady Binstadt

AMY EVERS | MAY 9, 2019

I wanted to plan a trip to Mexico City for my mom, my sister and I that we could all enjoy. I wanted us to learn, experience and spend quality time together. I think all of these objectives were met. The planning process was a bit slow initially but then went smoothly. Our transfers and day trips were seamless, everyone always on time. We felt very safe the entire time and this was a big concern of my mom. Our guide was very good at noticing when my mom needed to slow down a bit or take a break and she was very knowledgeable. Our driver, Alfonso, was lovely, looking out for us, showing patience and even concern at times. There were a few miscommunications between my expectations given what was written in our itinerary/discussions and the on the ground team but generally these were worked out. Our hotel was very nice and we enjoyed the location. We even had the “fortune” to experience Labor Day on our departure day. This made things hectic but we were able to figure out another meeting point with our driver, as all the roads were closed and this was not anticipated. Someone from the hotel walked with us to meet him. We learned so much history, ate amazing food, cooked amazing food, and saw incredible architecture and art. My mom even cried when I said good-bye to her at the airport because she was so happy we were able to have this special time together.

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Cuba, orchestrated by David Lee

ERIN SMITH | MAY 7, 2019

David’s team could not possibly have done a better job with our trip to Cuba. Every single detail was confirmed in advance and set up exactly as planned – and even when circumstance brought the need for a slight change (as it often does), the replacement option was exceptional.

We were a little nervous about planning a trip to Cuba given the fluctuating state of US/Cuba relations, and needed to book with an organization that would ensure we fulfilled the visa obligations without exception. David and team executed everything perfectly – from airport pickup to drop-off and everything in between with a very diverse and interesting itinerary.

Highlights included the WONDERFUL paladars where we ate really fabulous meals – particularly Ivan / Justo; the lead city planner and chief architect who provided a perfect historical backdrop for us to being to explore Havana; dinner with a Cuban (former) diplomat/official; salsa lessons; a private photographer taking our pictures in Old Havana / on a 50s car ride (and we get to keep the photos – Vanessa is a great photographer!); dance performance; a guided tour of Old Havana; pre-school visit for disadvantaged children; mojito mixology lesson; a private jazz trio performance by some very talented musicians (truly unique) and even a visit to Jose Fusters Fusterlandia, a whimsical tiled extravaganza of a home. Mabel, our guide, was lovely and knowledgable. She went out of her way to ensure we were comfortable. Our hotel was perfectly located (Kempinski Manzana) and we thoroughly enjoyed the lovely rooftop pool area, both for swimming and for the pre-dinner cocktails at sunset.

As someone who frequently travels and plans events, my standards & expectations for a travel organizer are very high. I recommend David without hesitation.

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Nepal and Bhutan, orchestrated by Antonia Neubauer

JENN TABB | MAY 5, 2019

I highly, highly recommend Toni. We’ve worked with Wendy’s travel agents for Ecuador, Norway, Columbia and Romania, and with other agents for Egypt and Peru so we feel like we have had ample experience to know a good trip from a great one. From start to finish, Toni was a real pro. We gave her specifics of what we wanted to see and do within a tight time frame, and she delivered a near perfect trip. Her communication was extraordinary. I’d email her a question any day of the week and within hours she’d get back to me with a response. Her pre-trip materials and instructions were the best we’ve ever received. She gave us step by step, turn by turn instructions for the Visas and where to go in the airports, what to pack, where to walk in Kathmandu—she thought of everything we’d need to know in advance.

We had an itinerary change we wanted to make while we were in Nepal and Toni handled it right away with our guide/driver. (I highly recommend taking a helicopter out to Mt. Everest. Expensive but very well worth it!) Our guide in Bhutan was spectacular – Kinley made our trip very special, and the fact that he personally knows Toni made it that much more special. When one of our travelers got sick, Toni arranged for him to be whisked to a clinic right away.

I cannot say enough good things about Toni. She is a fabulous professional and deserves to be part of any trips to this part of the world. She is a WOW travel pro for sure!!

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Croatia, orchestrated by Gwen Kozlowski


We had previously traveled with Gwen’s colleagues to Russia, so when we saw Wendy recommended them for Croatia we were delighted. We were traveling over Easter and wanted to maximize our time and see as much as we could. We needed to fit in the museums we wanted and balance it with the early closings and other sightseeing. We agreed to an itinerary including Split, Dubrovnik, and Zagreb with day trips to Hvar, Cavtat & Konavle. We wanted to get a mix of history, art, culture, Jewish history, and Game of Thrones, and each of our three guides delivered. Our guides and drivers were knowledgeable, connected to their community, friendly, and great hosts. We truly enjoyed our time with each of the guides and saw and learned so much more than we could have seen on our own. Our driver Maro was like having a friend showing you around. Gwen was able to help us secure reservations at the restaurants we wanted, including Michelin-starred Restaurant 360 in Dubrovnik. We also loved her suggestions of Restaurant Dubrovnik and Adriatic Graso in Split — we had amazing meals and service. While in Dubrovnik we were surprised with our WOW Moment. We had a private boat ride from the new harbor to the old harbor just outside the Ancient Walls of Dubrovnik. We were served wine and charcuterie. Despite the rough waters, Captain Chris gave us a wonderful tour and a new perspective of Dubrovnik. It was such a treat. I highly recommend the Judita Palace for its location and manager Andrew, and the Excelsior Hotel for everything (we received a double room upgrade to an executive suite). Croatia is a magical place and Gwen’s team is there to roll out the red carpet for you.

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Paris and Rome, orchestrated by Jennifer Virgilio


First of all, my apologies for the delay in sending this review. Jennifer Virgilio was our contact for a family trip to Paris and Rome. I had many misgivings as we started the planning because of the ages involved. My husband and I, our son and his wife plus four children ranging in age from 12 down to 18 months. How can we make everyone happy and keep the children engaged? Well, Jennifer and her team came through brilliantly. I have been singing her praises to everyone who asks about the trip. The guides were even better than I had expected, e.g., at the Vatican Sylvia kept them enraptured with stories and “assignments”. Who would think Napoleon’s tomb, Invalides, would hold their interest? It did and even I, who live part-time in Paris, hung on every word! Each evening I received a text confirming the next day’s specifics such as time and place which completely eased my logistical worries. There seemed to be many people behind the scenes taking care of us. In all, I would not hesitate for a second to recommend Jennifer’s team and of course, Wendy Perrin.

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Belize, orchestrated by Patricia Johnson and Rachael Wilson


Since this was our third trip to the beautiful country of Belize, we wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary. This is where Patricia stepped in with her recommendation to charter our own luxury sailboat to visit the islands (Cayes) along the southern coast.

Each of the four remote islands, where our captain suggested that we drop anchor, were unique in their own way…from watching the sunset from a deserted island, visiting a local beach bar on Tobacco Caye, lounging by the pool before dinner on Ray Caye (thanks Patricia for arranging this with the resort), to spending the day beach combing and picnicking on our own deserted island (our favorite). We would have never seen such beauty from a resort along the coast.

Our four days of sailing on Flojo, the newest catamaran in the fleet of their sister company, was spent eating gourmet meals prepared by Karla, snorkeling in remote reefs with abundant sea life, playing board games under the stars, swimming with nurse sharks and stingrays, sunning on the net at the front of the boat, and catching fresh fish off the back to eat later for dinner. Definitely worth every penny!

After reluctantly getting off the sailboat in Placencia, we enjoyed a few nights at the lush jungle resort, Copal Tree Lodge, near Punta Gorda. We toured their extensive organic farm, kayaked down the Rio Grande River, lounged by both beautiful pools, relaxed with a world-class massage, and listened to the howler monkeys while bathing in the outdoor bathtub (yes, they are very loud).

I highly recommend Patricia’s services and her team of safe drivers, knowledgeable boat captain, and friendly first mate/chef. We can’t wait to plan our next trip to Belize with friends.

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South Africa and Botswana, orchestrated by Julian Harrison


Julian set up the most amazing trip for us! He listened to what I wanted and the amount I wanted to pay and set everything up perfectly. He even gave me the best advice as to when to go. March was perfect!

Botswana, especially, was the place of my dreams. The camps (Tau Pan, Splash, and Lagoon) exceeded all my expectations and there were no hiccups along the way. Everything was perfect.

At Tau Pan, Dimbo (guide) and P.K. (tracker) were unbelievable! We even saw a leopard and a very rare wild cat! We also loved the walking tour the last day where P.K. showed us a small hut and how they built fires at home.

At Splash, Dave (guide) and K.B. (scout) were more than amazing! They followed lion tracks forever and we got to see 10 lions in one day – two males and then two lionesses with six cubs. Also lots of wild dogs!

I can’t even begin to describe how much we learned about the country, the animals. The “tents” and the meals (6 a day!) were fabulous. Best trip EVER!

If I’m ever lucky enough to go back to Botswana, I’d call Julian in a heartbeat. Thank you for giving me the trip of a lifetime!

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Israel, orchestrated by Joe Yudin and Jonathan Rose


One more time you hit a bases loaded home run! Joe Yudin and Jonathan Rose did a great job. Jonathan carefully listened to our trip goals and then created an exceptional itinerary that combined our goals with many fun/exciting suggestions.

Many elements came together to create a wonderful visit. Bena, our guide, was exceptional. His English is totally fluent. He is close to receiving his doctorate in archeology so visiting sites throughout the country was very special. He was totally conversant with the Christian and Jewish religions and knew the country like the back of his hand. He listened and observed well. He was very flexible and had an excellent sense of humor.

In addition to normal touristy events, we were offered a number of totally different activities. To name a few, one day we went power para gliding in the the Sea of Galilee area. Very Exciting! On another we spent the morning at a counter terrorist training facility learning how to counter an attack with machine guns and some basic hand to hand combat exercises.

On the Israeli Presidential Election Day we had breakfast with an internationally known Arab Israeli journalist to get a better understanding of Arab life in Israel and his views on the election. One afternoon we participated in digging for objects at an active archeological exploration site. While visiting the Golan Heights we were briefed by a retired Israeli Defense Force (IDF) officer on the border situation.

Our WOW moment with Ian Stern, head archeologist at the Herodium site was exceptional. He really made his work come alive.

The combination of a well thought out itinerary, an exceptional guide, wonderful spring weather, excellent hotels and great restaurants combined to create one of our best ever trips.

Many Thanks

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India, orchestrated by Bertie and Victoria Dyer


We have recently returned from an outstanding two week holiday in Northern India. Our custom itinerary was crafted by Victoria Dyer and included Delhi, Agra, Ranthambore, Jaipur and Udaipur. Victoria was invaluable in planning our trip sharing her first hand personal knowledge of properties and logistics. It was the ultimate in customization and she was always available and responsive to changes, ideas, suggestions even when we requested a last minute change to our planned itinerary. Communication was precise and prompt.

We had a guide and driver who travelled with us the entire journey which further allowed us to make changes to our daily plans depending on the day. Vikram, our guide, eagerly shared his extensive knowledge of Indian history and was an invaluable and enjoyable travel companion. Vikram made every transition and every day seamless and effortless. We look forward to welcoming him at our home when he visits the US.

At the end of our trip, my partner was sick requiring us to return home before our scheduled departure. Victoria’s team on the ground in India (thank you Diggi!) was indispensable and facilitated the necessary changes to our travel plans. In addition they continued to follow up with us every step of our journey home.

When and if we return to India, Victoria will be my first call.

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Southeast Asia orchestrated by Sandy Ferguson


I love to travel, and over the past several years have used a number of different specialists to help plan and execute my trips. Thus, I have experienced some trips that were great, and some not as much, sometimes due to the specialist. They simply can make or break your trip for many different reasons; from choosing guides, understanding your wishes, keeping in touch during the trip, and having the ability to be flexible and of assistance. I can say, without the slightest bit of hesitation, that Sandy Ferguson and his team have shown me exactly how to do it perfectly! From the beginning, when I spent time on the phone with Sandy discussing what I was looking for in a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, to suggested itineraries, to confirming details, to excellent hosts (guides), to the continuing reminders that everything was flexible (which was very important to me as I like to be flexible and have encountered guides that do everything in a “cookie-cutter” manner), and, at one point completely changing my final day in Vietnam, Sandy’s team delivered. A special kudos to Christina, the specialist based in the US. She responded professionally and promptly to all of my requests, and was always full of cheer and great information.

My trip took me to Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Siem Reap, and then Saigon. Everything and everyone were magical; the trip was absolutely amazing, all due to Sandy’s group. I have already decided to book another trip, likely back to Cambodia, and then on to Laos, Thailand, and Burma sometime in 2020. Needless to say, I will go through Sandy and his team! I cannot reiterate how excellent this team is, and how wonderful they are to create the perfect trip. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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New Zealand, orchestrated by Jean-Michel Jefferson


My wife and I recently returned from 3 weeks in New Zealand on a trip planned by Jean-Michel, Wendy Perrin’s recommended agent based in New Zealand. We’ve traveled a dozen times with Wow List travel agents and Jean-Michel’s team was one of the BEST. After several telephone conversations, they understood exactly the kind of trip we were looking for and gave us everything we wanted and more. They planned a beautiful itinerary, selected amazing accommodations of the type we wanted (boutique hotels and estates not large chain hotels, all perfectly well located). Every detail was planned and executed to perfection. Out trip was a very “out-doorsy” hiking and touring trip in the vast countryside with 5 star quaint lodgings and small boutiques hotels and private homes everywhere. Without exception, they were all superb. All transfers, internal flights, car rentals, restaurant suggestions etc were perfect. When the weather didn’t cooperate and we had to modify our heli-hiking trips and treks, Jean-Michel’s team coordinated all the necessary changes “on the fly” and monitored the weather forcast and dealt with our guides seemlessly.

I could go on and on–I cannot give Jean-Michel, the owner of the company, and our personal agent Monique high enough recommendations.

One week after our our return home, our daughter and her husband were also in New Zealand on their honeymoon. There’s was a different caliber of trip which they had planned themselves. They got caught in record torrential showers for 2-3 days and were trapped in a small town with all bridges washed-out. Monique and Jean-Michel’s company volunteered to help them out if needed–“they were family”. Need I say more?

Thank-you to them and to Wendy Perrin for a gorgeous WOW Moment gift–we really appreciate it.

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The United Arab Emirates, orchestrated by Lindsey Wallace


This was a bucket list item for my girlfriend. She’s always wanted to go to Dubai. So for her 50th Birthday I wanted to make it happen. My only thought was that we had to experience the Burj Al Arab as it’s an icon of Dubai.

Justin and Lindsey made sure that this was more than a vacation. This trip was an experience that we will never forget. They provided us a sampling of what both Abu Dhabi and Dubai had to offer. Their first hand expertise was what made us comfortable with their suggestions throughout the process of planning.

They took care of both large details as well as some small items that a regular travel agent would have missed. Small touches such as birthday cards and balloons at each of the destinations for which we stayed, 3 destinations to be exact. The appropriate transportation to the different destinations and tours of the cities to get a chance to experience the culture of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

As always there’s going to be some unplanned situation for that will arise which was handled professionally and without undue stress.

I can’t begin to tell you how much we enjoyed our experience and plan on using their services for any and all vacations that we will take in the future.

Make sure to be open to things you haven’t thought of as part of your experience. I intentionally use the word experience because it’s more than just a vacation. It’s an experience that you won’t forget.

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Jordan, orchestrated by Jonny Bealby


We were so delighted with our Jordan trip last year, arranged by Dan on Jonny’s team, that we solicited Dan’s assistance again with our February trip to Oman. As usual, we conversed, told Dan what we were looking for, our physical limitations and our desired level of accommodations.

He assembled a varied list of things to see and do subject to our approval. Over several detailed collaborations we solidified an itinerary that both met our financial pocketbook as well as offering a cultural diversity we needed having seen many of Oman’s highlights on a previous trip.

The itinerary was well paced, efficient and varied; it met all our expectations. The local guide, Adil, the accommodations and transportation were all just right.

Dan was always available and responsive in order to resolve any bumps in the road, offer alternative suggestions where appropriate and answer any pressing questions we had. Truly a pleasurable and enriching experience.

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Cabo, orchestrated by Julie Byrd


n planning my 50th birthday celebration, I contacted Julie Byrd on your recommendation to help locate the perfect house in Cabo to rent for 11 ladies. Julie responded immediately after my first email with her. She listened to my criteria and sent me a list of 5 homes to look at. I instantly choose on her recommendation – Villa Tranquilidad.

After booking this Villa, I began working with Kimberly Zamora from Julie’s team. She was helpful, read each and every email I sent with questions, booked dinner reservations and when the time finally arrived for our trip .. eight of us were stuck in Nashville trying to get to Cabo. I immediately reached out to her as 2 members of the trip would be arriving right on time. She arranged separate transportation for them at the last minute and had our large bus waiting for us when we finally arrived at midnight. Kimberly even helped my group of friends plan a special catered dinner to surprise me for my birthday.

From Julie to Kimberly to our local concierge, everyone was a joy to work with and went above and beyond to make sure it all went seamlessly. I would love to work with Julie and her group again.

And now for the Villa she recommended – Villa Tranquilidad was the most outstanding house I have ever rented. There was plenty of space for everyone. The staff at the Villa run by Rosenburg and his wife were a pleasure to see each and every day. They made sure anything we needed was taken care of. They prepared delicious food and the best fresh margaritas!! If any problem arose Rosenburg immediately handled it quickly and efficiently.

My sister loved the house so much she plans to go back and stay there again. I have recommended that she get in touch with Wendy so she (who is a world traveler as well) can become part of Wendy’s clients and eventually get a Wow moment herself.

The only thing I wish that Julie’s group could do would be to give a better idea on tipping the entire villa Staff. They advised on tipping for room cleaning but for the rest of the staff they just recommended that I give what I thought was fair. I had just been to Jamaica in January and at that villa there was an exact breakdown of how to pay each of the staff members. This would be very helpful I think for future renters.

Thank you for getting my connected with Julie Byrd and her amazing team!!

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The Caribbean, orchestrated by Lindsey Epperly Sulek


Lindsey and her team made our 2-week trip to Barbados magical. She listened carefully to what we were looking for in a hotel and taking our budget into account, she delivered in spades. My husband and I are world travelers and good service is our middle name. Lindsey’s recommendation of The Sandpiper was nothing short of genius. It checked every single one of our boxes; the service was probably the best we’ve ever experienced, bar none. The staff and our fellow guests were elegant, warm, and friendly — we couldn’t have asked for a nicer experience. The hotel restaurant and the beach bar were extraordinarily good — unusually good, in fact. Again, the service was exemplary, from housekeeping to the tennis pro to the water sports staff and to every waitperson in the restaurant. We came home relaxed and happy. Everything ran like clockwork, Barbados is stunning, we got to swim with turtles — what more can I say? It was perfect — 2-weeks of total bliss.

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Chile, orchestrated by Jordan Harvey


I contacted Jordan in mid- November 2018 to organize a surprise birthday trip for my husband to Chile with a focus on Easter Island and stop overs at a Casablanca Valley vineyard and a night in Valparaiso. Since it was rather last minute with the birthday in early December, I was concerned that what I was asking for would not be possible because of availability. However, Krista, my point person, was brilliant: she gave me lots of great options, took me through all of them in detail and ensured that this was an incredibly easy and stress-free trip to organize. She was professional, fun to work with and very responsive and I always got off the phone with her with a smile on my face and confident that I was in good hands. The trip was hugely successful and my husband was both surprised and delighted. Highlights of the trip were meeting the people who looked after us – all very warm, friendly and knowledgeable, the unexpected surprise experiences along the way, like the graffiti lesson in Valparaiso and Wendy’s fabulous WOW moment on our trip to Easter Island. It began with a private guided walk through fields, caves and coastline and ended with music, pisco sours, delicious bites, a presentation of a book on Rapa Nui, birthday cake and a sunset overlooking the moais and the ocean. It could not have been more perfect! Thank you for this unforgettable moment and we were wowed.

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Nicaragua, orchestrated by Pierre Gédéon


We wanted to see the non touristy Nicaragua so we’d have a better perspective on how Nicaraguans live. We also wanted activities that highlighted the Nicaraguan landscape. Pierre planned the itinerary based on our goals. He added physical activities like kayaking, hiking in the could forest, biking in Grenada and horse riding. He also showed us beautiful landscapes of Nicaragua – from colonial cities to tropical islands, eco lodges, natural reserves, lakes and rivers. The local guide, Giovanni in Grenada was excellent in his depth of knowledge and information not readily available on the web. The execution of the tour from start to finish was seamless and if minor issues arose, they were handled promptly. The choice of accommodations was great and we appreciated that Pierre encouraged us to go to Jicaro lodge. The trip was well planned and well executed.

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Panama, orchestrated by Eric Sheets


We hired Eric’s team to plan a custom two week trip to Panama. Nils listened to us and drafted an itinerary that met our expectations exactly. We are a senior couple so we tailored the trip to be a relaxing visit and according the activities at a moderate pace. All the local providers performed well. The trip was 6 nights in Panama City, 4 nights in Boquete, and 3 nights in El Otro Lado Portobelo.

Some very positives – we had the same guide for all our 6 days of activities in Panama City and it worked because of the familiarity, since our activities were different it did not overlap and the familiarity made it more relaxing for us, more like traveling with a friend. The average time for driver arrival during the trip was 10-15 min early, the latest (one time) exactly on time.

Every one we dealt with — guides drivers hotel personnel — were engaging. Panama likes tourists and the way our trip was planned we never felt we were crowded or rushed.

We did have a specific in-Panama contact number but had no need to call because the trip executed exactly as planned. That’s what you expect from a travel planner, everything planned perfectly in advance so that on the trip it just executes flawlessly. We did send back some pictures during the trip and always got a quick response from Nils and Filomena. You could tell they care that their clients enjoy their trip. Also they worked with us to help with our budget given Paquita is a native Spanish speaker.

In Panama certain activities are best on certain days of the week and Eric’s team knew that and the planning worked. Also they steered us clear of the Pope’s visit (our timing was flexible) and that was great because we would not have enjoyed being in Panama during that time.

We saw the canal 4 different ways… Viewed from our walk to the top of Alcon Hill. Half day transit thru the Miraflores locks on a “ferry” not overcrowded and you could almost touch the side of the wall. On a private nature boat in Gatun Lake in the middle of the canal — we were right next to wildlife looking at the cruise ships in the center of the lake. And the Agua Clara locks on the Caribbean side where we watched a supertanker pass thru the new locks.

This trip was so much more up close and personal than sitting on the deck of a cruise ship and I’d totally recommend seeing Panama at ground level. We really did have a great time.

Nils and Filomena (his detail planner) were in tune with what we wanted and we would use them again in a region they specialize in. All our expectations were met we were completely satisfied with their performance.

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Buenos Aires, orchestrated by Maita Barrenechea


We relied on Maita to bookend a cruise to Antarctica out of Buenos Aires. Before the cruise we wanted to experience Buenos Aires, and the two tours Maita arranged were both great. Do not visit Buenos Aires without visiting Recoleta Cemetery, La Boca and the Colon Theater. Following the cruise, we also squeezed in a trip to Iguazu. Thanks to Maita’s magic, it all fit into about 36 hours. Her guides were excellent, personable and professional, and all arrangements worked like clockwork.

I have nothing but praise and gratitude for the work done by Maita and her assistant Mariana. Mariana even called us in Iguazu on Sunday to make sure all was going well. I cannot thank them enough for helping turn a routine time into a “WOW” experience. They fully deserve to be on your WOW list.

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Disney Orlando, orchestrated by Michelle Allen


We just returned from and wonderful vacation to the Magic Kingdom with our family of 10, which included our children and grandchildren. Michelle and her staff took on the monumental task of coordinating all the attractions, kingdoms, FastPasses, dinner reservations, pirate and princess makeovers, and more. The conference calls were fun and they answered all our questions each time we needed them. The trip far exceeded my expectations and EVERYONE had a blast from my husband (grandpa got to hug Mickey) to the youngest (4 year old who became Tinker Bell and met Peter Pan). During the trip we needed to cancel some activities and reschedule some dinners and Michelle’s team answered our email within 30 minutes and fixed all the reservations immediately! Their recommendations were great and we would recommend them highly for your trip to the Magic Kingdom. They took on all the reservation hassles and FastPass planning, leaving us to just enjoy the time we had together without the bother. It was truly magical!!

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Patagonia, orchestrated by Tom Damon


Tom listened to our needs and organized a flawlessly executed trip for us to Patagonia. We started by flying to Buenos Aires where an efficient transfer was organized to get us to the domestic airport for our flight to Ushuaia where we were met by our guide, Gascon, for the next 3 days. We were interested in bird watching and Gascon is an expert birding guide and found us many of the endemic species of the area. A highlight of the area was a visit to Martillo Island and Haberton ranch where we saw three species of penguins and on the way back had close encounters with two humpback whales. We then boarded the Stella Australis which was to be our home for the next 4 nights as we sailed towards Punta Arenas along the Beagle Channel. We had outstandingly good weather (not so good for the melting glaciers!) with visits to Cape Horn, multiple glaciers and a giant penguin colony. The water was dead calm for much of the trip with one day having a high of 73, no wind and no clouds in the sky (very unusual). After our arrival in Punta Arenas we were efficiently transferred to the Explora Lodge in Torres del Paine National Park. This was our third visit to an Explora Lodge and it did not disappoint with outstanding hikes and gourmet food to come home to, as well as more good, albeit windy, weather. Our final leg of the trip involved two nights in Santiago at the excellent Singulair Lasterria Hotel with a great day out exploring the city with Katia, followed by a night flight home to the snow in New York. All in all a great way to see Patagonia.

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Brazil, orchestrated by Paul Irvine


Paul is outstanding from first contact to final post-trip communication. Rarely have we had less need to revise what an agent proposed for our travel. Paul listened carefully to what my wife and I enjoy in travel, and planned the perfect blend of big city (BA), including two outstanding guides, wine country with two guided private bodega experiences, private terrace dinners in the shadows of the Andes mountains, then complete relaxation in eastern Uruguay with its endless beaches, world-class gastronomy, private winery tour with the head sommelier, dinners at the top locations… Paul updated our itinerary for some dinner enhancements, communicated every step of our trip, answered various questions en route (tipping protocol, e.g.), and really made our entire experience exceptional. NOTHING was missed. Paul is the consummate pro. We will return to South America many more times, but only if and where Paul can provide his comprehensive service.

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Italy, orchestrated by Maria Landers and Brian Dore


Maria Gabriella Landers planned a spectacular trip to Florence, Bologna, and Rome for my family which included my 15 yo daughter, 18 yo son, and my fiance Jay. Italy can be overwhelming because there is so much to do, see, and eat! We found a good balance. All of our transfers were super professional. We had 7 guides during our trip, and each one was highly knowledgeable and gave us a terrific education. All were equally terrific, and it is unfair to say one was better than the other. Toni was our guide for the Vespa Food Lovers adventure in Rome. We really connected with her because she happened to have kids similar ages to my kids, she was super friendly and funny! Alessandro was our archaeologist who gave us an amazing tour of the Colosseum and Forum. Our tour guide for the Vatican was wonderful – Valentina – this tour was quite long and arduous because there is just so much to see. In the end, The Sistine Chapel was definitely my favorite art part of the trip, and that was a hard decision to make – which was the best part of the trip, because Italy is just loaded with greatness everywhere.

I have a very busy life, busy work life and I really relied heavily on Maria to design the itinerary. She did not disappoint. I felt all of the excursions were unique due to the guides, and the excursions themselves. The second day in Florence, we visited a noble family estate and enjoyed a cooking lesson with the family chef, a tour of the wine cellar, and had lunch with one of the family members. We learned of the family’s wing of art at the Uffizi, which we visited the next day. We made a 5 course meal and learned how to make tortaloni, with Chef Michele who was terrific. My kids loved this lesson and were very into it. The food, of course, was delicious. The estate was beautiful, even on a cool, foggy day. Meeting people who had a direct hand in the life and culture of Italy was special. Our Food Lovers Excursion on the vespas with Toni was a complete standout. My 6’4” son was mortified to ride on the vespa, and got over that fear in 1 minute. We were a team of 5 vespas! Don’t mess with us! Toni took us to her favorite spots including a famous jewish bakery, another bakery with a very old, long and famous oven. It was exciting to ride through Rome with this perspective on a vespa. I am sure there is no way I could’ve arranged such a trip.

All of our accommodations were lovely. Antica Torre di via Tornabuoni had the best view of the Duomo at night, and general view overlooking Florence. The breakfast was delicious. The Grand Hotel Majestic was majestic! Beautiful inside, very sophisticated. Crossing Condotti in Rome had a terrific location.

I felt the communication with Maria and her team in Italy was smooth. This seemed to be due to her long-standing relationships with everyone. There were a few issues – a private driver strike in Rome, and I needed to cancel the last guided tour the night before we left because we just needed a rest and Maria and Cristina, her Italy connection, took care of everything smoothly.

I am glad we visited Bologna and saw a part of Italy that was not the most common stop, and few tourists were present. I am a dental surgeon and really enjoyed visiting the teatro medica at the university of bologna with my kids. This was a site Maria pointed out to me.

I appreciated the travel itinerary books that Maria sent to me prior to the trip with all of the logistics, phone numbers, names of guides, etc.

Maria deserves to stay on the WOW List!!

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Costa Rica, orchestrated by Irene Edwards


Irene Edwards and her team were fantastic. First of all, the itinerary was perfect. We loved all three places we stayed and we had the right amount of time in each. I am certain that we would never have found the Kura Villas on our own. This might be the most beautiful place I have ever been, rivaling the Il San Pietro in Positano. Just gorgeous. In terms of during the trip, the people on the ground were wonderful. All of the guides and drivers were friendly, really nice and very knowledgeable. Everybody was perfectly on time and extremely accommodating. Most important, we realized that we had left our camera battery charger and spare batteries at home and the battery in the camera was dead. Before we realized that we could charge it on a mini SB port, we contacted Selena Solis and she was incredible about contacting camera shops to find a replacement charger and battery and was going to deliver it to us at the airport and, if we didn’t connect there, to send it on the next flight to Osa. We were very relieved to realize that we didn’t have to put her to all of that trouble but she was completely on top of it and was going to make it happen. We were very impressed. I would definitely use Irene and her team for our next trip to Costa Rica.

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Sri Lanka, orchestrated by Miguel Cunat


Our travel group was family and consisted of 9 people/3 generations. So, there were challenges in accommodating a range of activity levels and individual interests. We chose a 13 day driving trip, spending 2-3 nights in several places, which also added complexity to the trip.

Miguel’s team did a fabulous job of listening to what we said we wanted, persuading us to reconsider some of our initial less workable thoughts, for setting us up with superb guides/drivers, and for selecting very interesting and appropriate “experiences”. Some were unusual and special and some were even arranged as we travelled. As I said–wonderful guiding. And I should also call out the driving team that dealt with car sick children, made sure water was available, navigated difficult and late driving cheerfully, and were excellent in all regards.

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India, orchestrated by Sanjay Saxena


This is my third WOW trip specialist — Egypt and Turkey before, and this time India. Sanjay Saxena did an excellent job of listening to what we wanted in a trip, and customized our itinerary for our specific needs, including some out-of-the-box ideas like going zip-lining around the Red Fort in Jodhpur, getting henna tattoos, and going to a Bollywood movie. Everything was well-run once we were in India, and we felt 100% supported. India isn’t the easiest country to visit, but Sanjay ensured we saw the highlights; everything was beautifully arranged and the trip was magical. The guides were outstanding.

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Mongolia, orchestrated by Jalsa Urubshurow


I can’t imagine using anyone else to plan such an amazing trip to Mongolia. We booked our trip so last minute and in no way did Nikhita make us feel bad for all the extra work we probably made them do. It was if they planned the most perfect trip at the snap of a finger. If you are looking to plan a trip extremely last minute without any type of headache and all the help you could ever want/need then Jalsa’s team is your go to. It was one for the books. The Gobi desert was by far the most memorable and I have no idea how we would’ve gotten from point A to B without our amazing driver. Another amazing memory that they surprised us with was the dinner at the Flaming Cliffs. Our guide, Undrakh, told us we were going to hike a little further and to our surprise as we turned the corner there was the most beautiful dinner set up to watch the sunset on the Flaming Cliffs. The weather is extreme and unpredictable so it was so nice to have an experienced and knowledgable guide switch our itinerary around if necessary. Even with snow one day and t-shirt weather the next, everything went flawlessly and it was the most relaxing vacation. We would do the trip all over again with our entire family because we can’t think of a more ideal vacation than our trip to Mongolia.

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Spain, orchestrated by Virginia Irurita


This is our second time using Virginia and her team. They are the best travel planners we have ever experienced. If you are going to Spain or Portugal, you should use their team!

This trip we went back to Barcelona for 3 days and spent just under a week in San Sebastian. We toured Montserrat with Carles who was AMAZING – highly recommend him for a personalized insider tour! In San Sebastian we had an amazing pintxos tour with Fanny. We had two separate tours and a WOW experience with Gurutze who is AWESOME! It was also our first Wendy Perrin WOW Experience (a spectacular, day trip to Pasajes de San Juan customized to everything we love about travel and Spain) – WOW is all we can say…

Everyone connected with Virginia – every single staff member, every driver, every guide and every hotel they recommended were extremely customer focused, caring, attentive and committed to delivering a world class experience. We will be booking another trip here again soon with Virginia and her wonderful team!

Fortier Family (2 Adults, 2 Children – 10-year-old, 13-year-old)

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Jackson Hole, orchestrated by Caroline Wood


Caroline Wood planned a 10 day trip for the 4 of us (6-year-old twins and my wife and I) to Jackson Hole, Wyoming over Thanksgiving. We were searching for a memorable trip in the mountains anywhere in the west that had the best chance of finding snow. Caroline steered towards Jackson Hole after hearing her extremely proficient understanding of every mountain area from BC to Colorado. Caroline found the perfect cabin in the Tetons for Thanksgiving for half of the time and then obtained a truly phenomenal suite for us at the Four Seasons. We booked excursions in the refuge to see bison, hundreds of elk and bighorn sheep. We were directed to great hills to sled on and wonderful hiking areas to see the Tetons. We highly recommend Caroline. She checks all the boxes for a 5-star experience.
Cheers, The Bandy’s

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Indonesia, orchestrated by Diane Embree


My husband and I were thrilled with the experience in Yogyakarta that Diane arranged for us! In the planning stage, she was super responsive to my emails and gave helpful reminders throughout. I am so glad we didn’t go it alone.

She hand-picked our guide who was extremely knowledgeable and perhaps even more importantly had grown up in the area and was eager to share its history and traditions. Our guide introduced us to local craftspeople and we were able to see firsthand how batik and wayang puppets are made. When I discovered a bar of artisan chocolate made locally in the hotel mini-bar, our guide helped me track down where it is made so I could bring some home as gifts!

Speaking of the hotel, we were on a budget and Diane helped us maximize it for sure. I was shocked that she had managed to find such a lovely place for our price point. Gorgeous pool area for relaxing after tours of stunning temples, as well as a warm and helpful staff. If left to my own devices, we’d have ended up overpaying for something excessively lavish or ended up somewhere affordable but underwhelming.

Truth? I am glad we skipped Bali and opted for this experience instead, which was a far better fit for our interests. That is all because Diane took the time to really listen and give advice that only comes with the years of experience she has in Indonesia.

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Hawaii, orchestrated by Jay and Dani Johnson


Our 30th Anniversary was fast approaching and we had nothing planned! We visited the Hawaiian Islands on our wedding trip and we thought it would be a good time to revisit the Big Island, which we really enjoy. Naturally, we started with Wendy Perrin’s WOW list of agents and decided to use Jay and Dani for our planning.

This was not a complicated trip, however, time was short and I was concerned about hotels and excursions being unavailable. Dani asked us thoughtful questions regarding our interests and what we wanted to do. We wanted to maximize our site-seeing time and beach time too! Dani understood this and arranged a circle island helicopter tour, a moonlight manta snorkel excursion, and hiking if the weather permitted.

Dani picked the perfect hotel with a fantastic beach: the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. This hotel is not ostentatious but has a very welcoming and friendly feel. From the welcome arrival with a traditional lei greeting and check-in, everything went smoothly and efficiently. And we did use the concierge service for restaurant reservations and maps. The design of the hotel was to maximize the terrain and the enjoyment of the beach and ocean. The beach is a very well-kept 1/3 of a mile gold sand beach good for walking and just enjoying the ocean and sunset. There are plenty of activities at the beach; paddle boarding, swimming, traditional out-rigger boat complete with a shell blower to make the arrival and departure and even the opportunity to snorkel with the mantas from the beach. It’s a lovely walk out into the ocean as the beach is protected a bit, like a cove. And if the beach is too windy for the umbrellas or you want something different there is a great pool with hot tub and lots of very comfortable lounges with umbrellas. We used the pool a day or so as well.

Additionally, they have a great tennis facility! We had decided not to take golf or tennis equipment as this trip was to be about visiting the Big Island and relaxing on the beach. But one day we decided to check out the tennis shop for T-shirts and such, and I could not resist the call to play. The club had racquet rental as well as shoe rental! They were not fussy about the dress code either so my work out shorts were just fine.

At the hotel, there are many classes offered regarding Hawaii life and also hotel tours regarding the artwork displayed. I took the art tour offered and it was very educational. The tour provided insight on the artwork displayed and also the background as to how the hotel came to be and the design/feel of the hotel. And a special part of staying at this hotel was the staff, so accommodating and friendly. Every morning at breakfast buffet we had an ocean side table and the staff was concerned about the exposure to the sun and would bring out the awnings just before the sun became an issue. The staff always seemed to be at least one step ahead and were able to anticipate our needs.

The weather cooperated for all activities except the hiking. The excursions Dani arranged were timed for us to take advantage of the time change, east coast vs Hawaii time. Dani also provided some trip planning software/app so we could communicate and keep track of our excursions and the vendors could notify us if something changed on their end. This app worked very well and made the planning and referencing of trip details very easy and convenient. In addition to a beachfront room we also we received upgraded seats at our Luau, chilled bottle of champagne in our room, additional champagne at dinner at an off-resort restaurant –all of these were very nice surprises! It was a great trip for us, thanks to Dani and her team!

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Fiji, orchestrated by Lynette Wilson


Lynette Wilson was lovely to work with in planning our week-long trip to Fiji. We had a lengthy first phone call in which she answered our many questions about traveling there, best places to stay given our interests and desired accommodation type. She lives in Fiji and has traveled extensively in the South Pacific so her insight was terrific when deciding where to go in the region. She was prompt in her follow up emails and getting back to us on questions. We decided to stay at Savasi Island Resort for its beautiful, small and private setting. Our 2 bedroom villa was gorgeous – waterfall and a small pond at entry, private plunge pool on the deck overlooking the gorgeous ocean view. The staff there were attentive and arranged for private excursions snorkeling and to a village for a swim in their waterfall – amazingly it was only the 2 of us and our guide there! They were very knowledgeable and taught us a bit about local plants and critters. They shuttled us back and forth to the airport and had breakfast prepared for us on arrival – pretty great after an overnight long-haul flight. As a special treat, I had a wonderful complimentary foot massage and scrub afterward – heaven. They made an amazing first impression with how they greet all guests. We plan to go back to this boutique resort. Lynette has counterparts in Los Angeles that booked our airfare. They were efficient but weren’t able to help much when we wanted to upgrade our flights to first class. To be fair, we should have noticed sooner we were booked economy, so might be worth ensuring that you specify that up front. All in all, we had on of our most memorable trips. I highly recommend Lynette.

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Austria and northern Italy, orchestrated by Claudia Schwenger


When I reached out to Claudia and Mirium to help plan a once-in-a-lifetime trip for my Mother, I had high expectations. Not only did they knock it out of the park, but they made this trip to Austria and northern Italy truly a lifetime memory for which we will always be grateful. The hotels were hand-picked and exceptional, the guides were knowledgeable and personable, and the activities were well-timed and exactly what we asked for. We were working with specific cruise dates and were looking for a 10-day pre-cruise trip that would give us mountains, water, beautiful scenery and culture in destinations that were easy to get around. When I contacted them two weeks prior to the departure to let them know that Mom had a medical issue that could limit some of her mobility, they were immediately responsive. They discretely shared this information with the guides such that they were able to route the day trips and tours for routes requiring less walking without sacrificing the original itinerary and plan (and without Mom knowing!). The hotel in Lago d’Iseo was a hidden gem, literally. The apple strudel cooking class in Salzburg was super fun and engaging. The Piglet they provided was a thoroughly detailed day to day guide that covered every potential question. Mom is still smiling from ear to ear and already talking about planning her next adventure. I cannot say enough great things about Claudia and her team and would hire them again. Not only because they are clearly experts in this region, but because they cared about our experience from the minute I sent them the email to initiate the trip to the minute Mom returned home where she found a beautiful floral arrangement thanking her for letting them be part of her trip. 10-star service every step of the way.

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Paris apartment rental, orchestrated by Madelyn Byrne


Madelyne helped us pick a beautiful, well-located apartment with all the amenities available. We utilized her recommendations in many areas and especially appreciated Victor’s taxi to take us wherever we needed to be; they were pleasant and always on time. Madelyne’s staff made restaurant reservations and recommendations and everything was bang on. We lucked out and had beautiful weather all week. Even though this was our first time in Paris we felt right at home and stress-free. Thanks to Madelyne and her team for making “Paris Perfect.”

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Canadian Maritimes, orchestrated by Marc Telio


I went to Wendy’s List a few years ago looking for someone to help me with a trip to the Canadian Maritimes. No one was listed for Eastern Canada, but Marc Telio was there to help with Western Canada. I contacted Marc, who told me that he has a friend who specialized in Eastern Canada and he felt that she would do a great job. Most travel agents would have jumped at the chance to book a trip. Marc wanted us to have the best possible experience, so he gave the booking to Jill Curran. Jill, who is now on Wendy’s WOW List as the top travel specialist for the Maritimes, planned a wonderful trip for us.

We came back the following year to have Marc put together a trip to Vancouver Island. Every day of that Vancouver trip was a WOW experience. I still dream about the places we stayed and the little stops along the way.

This year, Marc suggested Nimmo Bay. He and his team attended to every detail. The transfers were handled beautifully, even with airline delays. His hotel suggestion put us in the heart of the city, with easy access to everything. We had a wonderful city tour of Vancouver. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and a great storyteller. We hated to have the day end. Marc had built in a half day to wander the city on our own before we took off for Nimmo Bay. We wanted a tour of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. One call to Kate on Marc’s team made it happen.

Wendy had given us a WOW Moment that we would be receiving on this trip. We could not imagine what Wendy would come up with. Our only instruction was to be in the hotel lobby at 7 pm for our WOW Moment. That’s when Marc showed up — and not only did we finally get to meet him in person, but he took us for dinner at his favorite restaurant in Vancouver. The food was wonderful, and the conversation was lively. It was such a pleasure to get to know the man behind the ideas. There were many phone calls and email exchanges planning our trips, but getting to spend an evening with this remarkable man was the best.

I have used Wendy’s list of travel experts for decades. I can say without any hesitation that Marc is the best of the best.

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Caribbean to Mediterranean cruise, orchestrated by Mary Jean Tully


I have wanted to do a “re-positioning” cruise for many years, and we finally had the opportunity to do that on the Viking Sea, as it moved from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean. We booked our voyage with Mary Jean and her team, and our primary contacts were Halina Melerowicz and Rebecca Lampert. They did a wonderful job advising us on our cabin selection and helped us keep track of deadlines as the date for our sailing approached. They were especially helpful in arranging shore excursions in places where we wanted something just a little different. For example, in Cadiz, we had a wonderful and informative tour of the Museo Archeologico, before driving on to Jerez for a private soak in the Hammam Andalusi Baths. In Valencia, we joined a fabulous cooking class to learn the art of making classic paella, and then had a private tour of the city on bikes. They also arranged our post-cruise tours in Barcelona and booked our reservations at The Majestic Hotel (which included a lovely room upgrade!) They were very attentive and responsive as we worked to put everything together.

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Thailand, orchestrated by Daniel Fraser


Dan Fraser and his team knocked it out of the park. Last year we had to end our trip early to Thailand due to an injury. We were determined to go back and finish our trip. Throughout the planning stages, I could tell they had processed our likes, dislikes, style and preferences and that had been used to craft our new trip. We added Saigon, Hue, and Hoi An to the beginning of our trip for a 15-day adventure. We stayed at fabulous luxury hotels like the Park Hyatt Saigon where we were upgraded to a suite and the St. Regis Bangkok. We stayed at historic properties like La Residence in Hue and a swanky boutique hotel Rachamanka in Chiang Mai furnished with antiques. All of our private guides and drivers were knowledgeable, personable, and flexible. We seldom waited in line, so all the temples and sights without the crowds. Dan calls their guides hosts and they do just that. Go to the market? You get opportunities to try local drinks and fruits. At the temples, you get to participate in local customs and traditions. We are foodies and we had such amazing lunches at non-tourist places. Dan’s office team also helped us make reservations at two of the top restaurants in the world, Gaggan, and Nahm. And when we had a mini-crisis of food poisoning, our guide was there to make sure I got the treatment I needed and figured out how to reconfigure our next day so that we still got to see the main sights. The transfers between cities were seamless. One of my most favorite moments was at Ayuthayya when I dressed in traditional clothes and wandered amongst the temple ruins. Dan and his team not only gets the big things right but the details that take a trip from great to lifetime memories. Thank you, Wendy, for making this introduction.

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Tbilisi, orchestrated by Zulya Rajabova


Zulya provides something that is rare, among even top travel agents: a true partnership. Through every step of planning my family’s trip to The Republic of Georgia, she made sure that she was meeting our travel needs and goals. Georgia is not flooded with obvious tourist attractions, so we received a well-rounded itinerary that allowed us to experience its natural wonders and connect with the culture. Never did I dream that my kids would be singing karaoke with Georgian children after lunch in their Soviet-era apartment. Some other favorite activities included cooking with local families in their homes, hiking in the Caucasus mountains and visiting Gergeti church via horse. I think the main reason it was so pleasant to work with Zulya is that she truly cares that you have a wonderful experience on your trip. She is an ambassador of the countries she represents, and we look forward to working with her to travel to other Silk Road destinations.

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African safari, orchestrated by Linda Friedman


Linda Friedman is perfection. She planned a 10 day trip for my wife and I with nothing left to chance. Her people on the ground were excellent including David, our guide in Amboseli, and Wilson, our guide in Kichwa Tembo. Lodging was perfect. Time in each camp was perfect. Interim arrangements in Karen and the Boma in Nairobi were perfect! In fact, both my wife and I had the best massages ever at the Bomas spa when we had a few hours to kill. Linda even thought to give us a free cell phone to use. I told her we would never need it but we had an issue at home and it sure came in handy. I would have zero reservation recommending Linda to plan a safari to Kenya.

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South Pacific cruise, orchestrated by Meg Austin


I have worked with travel agents and travel specialists throughout my adult life on trips spanning several continents and complicated itineraries. In short, Meg Austin is THE best in every aspect of planning a trip from start to finish. I’m not sure if I’d be classified as “high maintenance”—you’d have to ask Meg that—but I ask a lot of questions and require a lot of information and guidance in every step of planning a BIG trip like the one my husband, daughter and myself planned through Meg. It was our first cruise and Meg guided me through every aspect patiently and expertly. Meg knew exactly which cabins to book for us, which flights to put us on, when and how to reserve our excursions and dining options so there would be no FOMO. Meg is incredibly well connected with insiders, so she was able to pull strings to get us everything SHE wanted us to have in our tour package—items I didn’t even know to ask for, but thank goodness Meg did. She handled me with humor, grace, zip-quick responses, and was always one step ahead of me.

It will take a long time to fully process and digest the breathtaking beauty of Tahiti, the graciousness of its people—including every crew member on the Paul Gauguin—and how perfectly Meg took care of my family through every step. This was a trip of a lifetime, and it’s going to take a lot to top this week.

No hitches or hiccups at all, anytime, period. Once onboard the ship, I followed Meg’s guidelines to a tee and booked our dinner, diving, and excursion reservations—which were all about timing, as the ship was fully booked. No problem for us—we had Meg Austin as our travel guru.

Meg could not have picked out a better cabin for us and our daughter. It was everything she said it would be—fantastic location for viewing breathtaking scenery, and the cabin amenities were wonderful. Cabin service twice daily! Fresh towels and stocked refrigerator throughout the day!

The food throughout the cruise was only exceeded by the professionalism and warmth of the Paul Gauguin staff. We made fast friends with the ship’s captain, so we were treated to tours of the bridge and engine room, and of the galley with the executive chef. The only way I didn’t roll home was due to all of the activities and excursions I went on that were so well organized and staffed. The snorkeling was excellent, as were the guides. My husband and daughter enjoyed terrific dives—four divers to a divemaster, unheard of on a non-liveaboard diving trip. Nothing was lacking. Everything exceeded all of our expectations. We met lovely guests from around the world. Yes, the ship was fully booked, and there were a lot of kids and family reunions, but we did our thing and they did theirs. Maybe next cruise I’d opt for adults only, but that’s just me. Even my previously Cruise-Averse Husband was completely won over by this Paul Gauguin cruise experience. You’d have to be insane not to have felt this way. It was luxurious beyond words.

We are Meg Austin lifers—if she’ll continue to have us. I actually helped some of the guests with information that Meg gave me that they didn’t know! I guess that makes me a Meg Austin protegee!

I tell everyone about the Wendy Perrin website and WOW List… and I suppose I also have to now share Meg Austin as well. I have not had one iota of disappointment with either.

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South Pacific cruise, orchestrated by Leslie Fambrini


Leslie Fambrini is fantastic. We are very experienced travelers – over 130 countries visited — and seldom use travel agents, usually arranging our own trips or traveling with affinity groups. But since we were doing an expedition cruise that wasn’t sponsored by an affinity group, we decided that to deal with Silversea we should use an agent. For this Micronesia-Melanesia Silversea trip, Leslie got us a discount on the great cabin she recommended, found out the group pre-cruise hotel early enough to avoid the high Silversea price with an internet price, and got all our information to us early since we were leaving 13 days before the cruise. Silverseas transfer prices are ridiculously high but in expedition ports, there are often no taxis available. Leslie went out of her way to find a transfer agent in Port Vila, Vanuatu, (not a place she would normally deal with) and arranged our ship to hotel transfer for “free”. Two issues arose on our trip. One: I had to supply a copy of our flight ticket leaving Vanuatu to the ships financial officer for the Vanuatu visa. Somehow in transferring all my documentation from my home computer to my traveling laptop, the flight out of Port Vila did not transfer. An e-mail to Leslie got a copy of the flight info in less than an hour. Not a big thing unless it is the night before the immigration officers are due on board. Secondly, we were traveling without our i-phones. We discovered the morning we were to disembark that our ship was not arriving at the usually port but at an out of the way one and we had no way to contact the transfer agent (the ships reception people being busy with other duties). We e-mailed Leslie again and she contacted the transfer agent. They were there waiting for us when we arrived. Perhaps they had already checked without her input but it was so reassuring that we would not be standing in the pouring rain with no taxis available wondering what to do. These may be minor things but as people who usually seldom use travel agents, not having a moments worry (well the 20-30 minutes between e-mails) is worth a great deal to us (I might add that on a previous trip that we booked through Leslie, much went wrong due to the expedition staff. I complained to Leslie and received a generous credit from Silversea due to efforts.)

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Italy villa vacation, orchestrated by Mara Solomon


I started working with Mara Solomon, a year prior to our trip. I would work with her again in a heartbeat. Mara and her team are consummate professionals – highly skilled, super knowledgeable, fun and warm. They think of everything and do so with finesse and flair. Mara very quickly figured out our hopes, taste, and interests, beyond what I was articulating, and steered us toward several excellent villa options. In planning our excursions and villa experience, she offered unerringly sage advice and suggestions and listened intelligently to my responses. She also has a great sense of humor, for me a huge plus. It was clear I’d landed with the A-team. As a result, I relaxed and confidently put myself in their hands. Working with Mara was an effortless pleasure and the result was spectacular. We spent a week in Tuscany with a blended extended family of twenty-five and to a person, we had a joyful, exciting and refreshing time together exploring the countryside and savoring the many treasures of the villa, while reconnecting with loved ones and deepening our ties to each other. Mara anticipated potential pitfalls and prepared me for them while planning to prevent them. It worked. She suggested ways to add small joys to our days together. Those also worked. Our trip was for us just the right balance of art and architectural history, nature, exercise and of course, great food and wine along with lounging by the pool, playing cards and sharing stories. Whats remarkable in my view is that the planning itself was such a pleasure. That is entirely owing to Mara and her staff. I want to plan another villa stay in Italy if only to have the opportunity to work with them again.

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Turkey, orchestrated by Earl Starkey


This is the 2nd time I have used Earl Starkey and his team to plan our vacation in Turkey with my Turkish husband and in-laws. Earl and his team exceeded our expectations in planning and executing our itinerary. Earl is gracious, quick to respond when contacted, knowledgeable, and well connected. We switched some of the itinerary around at the last minute which Earl and his team handled seamlessly.

The hotel we stayed at was a perfect match for our likes. We had the best room location in the hotel.

The driver, Ali, did small extra touches for us without us asking. The guide, Burju, was excellent. She is well versed in ancient history, modern history, as well as open and willing to talk about any question we asked. She shared with us local cultural highlights. When we went to a restaurant that did not have the menu items we were looking for, Burju and Ali were able to quickly take us to another that was exactly what we were looking for. In addition, I asked Burju to simultaneously translate for me stories being told by a native Turk at one of the sights we were visiting which she did flawlessly. This enabled me to participate in the conversation as if I was a native speaker and part of the group. I felt like a local. This was a priceless experience that can only be done with a top-tier guide.

Traveling in Turkey with native Turks provides an extra challenge for any travel expert as Turks are very discerning clients. As they are native speakers as well as familiar with the country and culture, a travel expert, driver, guide, or hotelier will be quickly spotted if anything less than top-notch service is provided. My Turkish family raved about all facets of our trip. We will be contacting Earl again for our next family vacation in Turkey.

If you want to have a wonderful trip to Turkey, feel well cared for with all your desires met, then without a moments hesitation contact Earl Starkey to plan your trip.

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St. Barts, orchestrated by Peg Walsh


I have rented from Peg many times and have never been disappointed. Our last trip was this past year during the Christmas/New Year holidays. Her staff, both in the U.S. and in Gustavia, answered all of my questions and were very helpful. I especially like that St. Barts is the only island where they rent villas. They know the owners and all of the areas of the island. They constantly update their helpful hints. I have recommended St Barth Properties to friends with no qualms. I will continue to rent a villa from them in the future.

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1 Comment

  1. George Anifantis and Jill Gapper

    We really didn’t know what to expect when we booked a safari this year. Our must haves were game viewing, Victoria Falls, visit Cape Town, and enjoy good food and service. Dan planned our trip for us and he more than met whatever our expectations were. Leopard Hills accommodation and service were remarkable. When we left, it felt as if we were leaving family, even after 3 days. The guides were knowledgeable and made sure that we saw as much as we possibly could in our time there. It truly was one of our favorite trips and we travel quite a bit. Dan did a fine job with all our accommodations and activities; coordinating and planning with very little back and forth. The service everywhere, from housekeeping, to guides, transit buddies, to hotels was noteworthy. We took plenty of pictures of our villa on the Zambezi as it was indescribably gorgeous and our deck was right on the river. For 2 weeks, we had an experience that will be forever in our hearts and memories. We felt like we had the best of the best thanks to Dan’s efforts.

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