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3 Dream Special Occasion Trips & The Secret Behind Them

3 Dream Special Occasion Trips & The Secret Behind Them

Ted Bauer, Virtuoso

By Ted Bauer
Digital Content Manager
Virtuoso

There’s more information at our (literal) fingertips than ever before. But that also creates an amazing amount of information overload. And that’s where travel advisors come in.

Let’s say you want to travel to the Caribbean. You need to determine which island is best for your situation and travel style. Then you need to figure out where to stay. Then you need a plan of activities. This all tends to happen before base logistical issues like flights and pricing.

Most travelers approach this by asking their friends, crowdsourcing on Facebook and other social sites (“Anyone been to Antigua? Recs?”) and the like.

But what if you could use a trusted resource? Someone with connections in these countries? At these properties? Someone who has likely been there themselves and knows things that your high-school friend from Facebook may not know, even if he was there a few years ago?

That’s what you get when you work with a Virtuoso advisor: knowledge and connections. In building their careers and client bases, they gain both. And they plan extremely unique experiences for travelers in the process.

Here are three examples of how advisors learned about a client’s upcoming special occasion trip – and then executed on it beyond the traveler’s wildest dreams. Without the advisor as the secret behind the vacations, the travelers agree their experiences wouldn’t have been nearly as memorable.

Joy Romero and her husband enjoyed a magical moment on a boat in Belize during their long-delayed honeymoon

Special Occasion Trip 1: The Honeymoon, 37 Years Later

Joy Romero and her husband had booked a multi-generational trip to Hawaii with Virtuoso advisor Ana Maria Perez. Impressed by how that trip went, they turned back to her for, essentially, their honeymoon – albeit 37 years later. The Romeros had never gone on one as they launched into work and family. Now they wanted the experience.

They went to Belize, and Joy Romero calls the entire experience “magical.” They used private planes and cars throughout. But one experience stood out above the rest.

The couple are big fans of nature shows and documentaries. In Belize they had what they call “a National Geographic moment.” They floated in a river on a rustic boat with crocodiles all around them.

“The staff of the boat was making margaritas, and I grabbed one,” says Romero. “My husband says, ‘No, I’ll pass, I don’t drink margaritas.’ I told him, ‘With a bunch of crocodiles circling around us, you’re having one!’”

Special Occasion Trip 2: The Budapest Birthday Surprise

Special occasion trip: couple posing in front of historic buildingPaula Slavsky had a memorable birthday surprise in Budapest, thanks to her Virtuoso advisor

Steve and Paula Slavsky connected with their McLean, Virginia-based Virtuoso advisor, Anne Scully, literally one week into their retirement. Scully and colleague Beth Jenkins began working with them on travel planning. The Slavskys had been considering seven days in Paris, but Scully and Jenkins steered them towards another option: a 25-day cruise through the South Pacific, buffered on each side by Sydney and Moorea.

“That was the beginning of a wonderful new life for us,” says Slavsky.

Since then, the Slavskys have worked with their advisors on other trips, including a recent river cruise from Nuremburg to Budapest. Paula Slavsky’s birthday occurred towards the tail end of that vacation. It was one of the first birthdays in decades she had spent away from home, and her husband wanted to make sure it was memorable. Scully provided an extra gift during the special occasion trip.

“In Budapest, Anne had contacted the hotel before we arrived to let them know that I had just celebrated a birthday. Not only were we ‘double-upgraded’ to a lovely room that overlooked the Danube, but within 30 minutes of our arrival, room service arrived with a bottle of wine, two bowls of fruit salad, and a large birthday cake,” says Slavsky.

Working with advisors shifted the Slavskys’ mindset on the importance of partnering with an expert.

“Initially, we were concerned about cost,” says Slavsky, “but we decided that the value of advisors’ expertise and Virtuoso’s benefits and perks actually often decreases the cost.”

Special Occasion Trip 3: The Secret Napa Birthday

Gavin Fisher is an Indianapolis-based banker. He and his wife, Amanda, are both wine lovers – but neither had been to Napa Valley. Fisher wanted to surprise his wife for her birthday with a special occasion trip. But it had to be a total secret.

special occasion trip: couple posing on tripA Virtuoso travel advisor made a surprise birthday weekend in Napa possible for the Fishers

“I needed someone to help out with the planning and the back-end details,” says Fisher, “or I knew Amanda would suspect something. If I did all the research and booking myself, I’d be telling my wife every night that I was working late at the office. She might have started thinking something else was going on!”

Fisher went to college with the husband of Virtuoso advisor Rachel Morrell. While he wasn’t in regular contact with Morrell’s husband years later, he saw a Facebook post about her and travel advising. He reached out, and they scheduled an initial meeting.

“It was all very detail-oriented questions from the start,” Fisher says. “We were talking about kinds of wines my wife liked, kinds of hotels, kinds of experiences, everything. She understood from the beginning exactly what I was looking for and how it had to be a total surprise.”

Morrell found a quaint bed and breakfast in downtown Sonoma for the special occasion trip. It was centrally located among the wineries where she scheduled VIP tours, wine pairings, spa treatments, and specialty dining. Each day unexpected surprises celebrated Amanda Fisher.

special occasion trip: feet stomping grapes in napaA travel advisor can create memorable special occasion trips customized just for you, like the Fishers’ Napa visit

“It was a phenomenal trip,” Fisher remembers. Since then, the Fishers have returned to Morrell numerous times, including for Orlando and Paris travel.

“I hadn’t thought about using a travel advisor before I did the Napa trip,” says Fisher, “but having used one, the four key things they have – that a normal traveler doesn’t – are time, ability, information, and speed. When you put those things together, they can create a trip for you that you could never create for yourself.”

More Real-Life Advisor Success Stories

Looking for more examples of how travel advisors are the secret behind their clients’ incredible journeys? Check out more success stories here.

Want to find your own advisor for an upcoming special occasion trip ? Or another type of travel? You can browse a catalog of Virtuoso travel experts by clicking here.

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