travel ideas off the beaten path

Going off the beaten path near Rome

I was contacted by a lovely couple a few months ago to plan a trip in Italy.  This was going to be a personal vacation that went along with a destination wedding they were attending in Tuscany.  Never having been to Italy before, the door was pretty much wide open as to where they could stay and what they could do.

If someone has never been to Italy, the first inclination is to do the obvious.  Either Rome or Florence would have been incredibly convenient places to visit and then make your way to the Chianti region in Tuscany. However, after speaking to them in depth about the type of experience they wanted to have, what they really hoped for was an opportunity to spend some peace and quiet time with each other, and yet somehow manage to see a few of the sites in Rome… without having to be in Rome during the height of busy season. 

Enter Nettuno. 

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This small, quaint beachside town is about an hour outside of Rome, easily reached by train from the city. There are not many tourists here, your English won’t get as much use, and this is certainly not the place to go for nonstop action and sightseeing. It is peaceful, quiet, and wholly authentic.  It also allowed them to take a day trip into the city and meet up with a wonderful guide to experience historical Rome, walk the streets, throw a penny in Trevi Fountain, and make their way back to serenity. 

When I checked in with them near the end of their stay last week, they shared the following sentiments with me.

Oh my gosh we are having an amazing time!! We are so happy we chose to stay in Nettuno! This town is so rich in history it's crazy! We had no idea! We met an amazing American family who runs the WWII US memorial cemetery here and they are just awesome. They have taken us to great restaurants! Definitely met life long friends. The Astura has been great. Literally right across the street from the beach.

Your directions for the train and subway were amazing and a life saver! We have not gotten lost once. Amazing!! The coliseum yesterday was breath taking! We ate at propaganda. Today we plan to just explore Nettuno some more.

We cannot thank you enough for planning this trip! We have already decided you are it from now on!!!

Friends, to me this is what travel is all about!!! It’s having the ability to go off the beaten path, have authentic experiences, and meet random strangers that become life long friends.

Yes, they got to see the Colosseum, and walk the streets of Rome. But they also had a truly unique experience by trusting their gut and trusting me! When I suggested not doing your typical Rome vacation, which is what they were originally considering, it was up to me to find something that fit the bill as to what type of experience they said they wanted. I think we did just that, and it brings me so much joy when I get to see that experience come to life and lived out. 

If you are the type of traveler that likes your travel a little more off the beaten path, but with options to hop on the path if you’d like, know that working with me will help you accomplish that effortlessly. I work very hard to give you just the experience you’re after. Feel free to contact me and discuss your ideas!

Not just a travel agent

For the last few days I’ve been in Charlotte, North Carolina at a conference with fellow Travel Professionals. We stayed at the beautiful Ballantyne Hotel, and for two days I immersed myself in learning and growing and basically figuring out how I can be better at what I do and service my clients to the best of my ability.

In today’s day and age, being a traditional “Travel Agent” can seem pretty obsolete.  No longer is that the vehicle people must go through if they want to take a vacation or book an airline ticket, as it was in years past.  In fact, if you ask me what it is I do, I won’t even use that moniker, even though it would probably be what most people would associate with my profession. I call myself a Travel Professional and what I do is use my expertise to create unique and custom travel experiences.  Within that, you get a travel planner, advisor, and concierge all rolled up into one.  And yes, I actually book the travel, as a travel agent would.  But if all I did was book travel, I would basically be a mini-expedia, with .00000000001% of the budget and no cool commercials to let anyone know I exist.  There really wouldn't be a point.

Creating custom vacation experiences that focus on the individual and their unique desires takes a personal touch.  A search engine isn’t going to do a great job at finding the best place to stay for you, the most interesting adventures that fits the nature of your trip, and the amazing off-the-beaten path excursions that you are looking for. And believe me… the internet certainly won’t care that much if you enjoy yourself and have the time of your life. I do that.

So, yes I book travel just like a travel agent. Just like any other website on the internet that will let you make a reservation on your own. However, that is not all I do. I create travel experiences designed specifically for you because I do my best to understand exactly what it is that you are looking for, and then deliver that. It’s all of my expertise shared with people who trust me with their valuable leisure time and believe that I will work on your behalf and do my absolute best to ensure they have the most amazing experiences, in a way that makes it as easy and stress free as possible. When was the last time Expedia promised you that?