Thinking about planning your summer vacation? Look no further! We asked 3 iGniters who are also experienced travel advisors for their favorite destinations as well as travel tips to get you on your way. These ladies specialize in customizing one-of-a-kind vacations and travel for individuals, families and large groups both near and far. When you are planning your next trip, keep this advice in mind and call on one of these traveler specialists for guidance. Happy trails!
I have been in the business for… almost 19 years
How I got in the travel business… I was asked by the owner of Gay Gillen Travel to open the adventure travel division of her company since she knew I enjoyed hiking, skiing and cycling. I was a personal trainer at the time and juggled both jobs for 10 years.
I specialize in… experiential travel around the world.
My best travel advice… use a travel advisor and PLEASE don’t over plan your itinerary!
My favorite international travel destination for the summer months… any place with cooler weather including South Africa, Australia, Galapagos Islands and Canada
My favorite domestic travel destination for the summer months… the Rocky Mountains
Sally May 512-477-3405
I have been in the business for… 18 years
How I got in the travel business… I started out life in Brussels, Belgium, then moved to the Philippines and spent most of my childhood in London. Growing up as a gypsy traveling the world with my family, instilled a curiosity and love for exploring new cultures and destinations. I started traveling with my own children when they were just babies, and at the request of friends and families, began to help them with their family travels. Small World Travel Family Adventures grew organically from that desire to help other families educate their children through travel.
I specialize in… multi-generational family travel as well as around-the-world trips for families who take their children out of school for 6-12 months to use the world as the classroom. We create the journey and curriculum.
My best travel advice… Come up with a long-range plan of places to visit and when (best ages of the children and time of year) to go. Before you know it your children are graduating from college and it gets more and more difficult to get away as a family! My Small World guinea pigs, Madison and Ian, traveled to all 7 continents by the age of 12, and share my love for travel. Madison graduates from college this month and we will celebrate with her 8th trip to Africa, this time to Madagascar.
My favorite international travel destination for the summer months… Africa – I love Africa any time of year, but love sending families in the summer because they have more time to really immerse themselves in the nature and culture of one of the 53 counties in this continent. Very popular with our clients is the Galapagos Islands, combined with Peru, although this is a year-round destination due its temperate climate. Iceland is our most popular European destination this summer.
My favorite domestic travel destination for the summer months… Private camping in the national parks, a houseboat on Lake Mead or a dude ranch out west – there is so much beauty here at home!
Sam McClure Small World Travel
I have been in the business for… 6 years
How I got in the travel business… Growing up, Gay Gillen planned our family trips. During the summer between my Junior and Senior year of college when I was looking for a job, my dad recommended I contact Gay for an internship. Little did I know after that internship, travel would become my passion. A few years later while my husband and I were living in Santiago, we found out we were pregnant with our first child and moved back to Austin. Once home I ran into Gay at a Brownell Travel night, where my passion for all things travel was rekindled. I worked with her until this past January, when I launched my own business, Travel with Merrill.
I specialize in… As I mentioned, I have a passion for all travel. I enjoy booking everything from a customized trip to romantic or family getaway which include: cruises, ski packages, beach and so much more. Most importantly I like to develop relationships with my clients, working to send them and their families to places that fit their interests and travel style.
My best travel advice…I would say do not over book your days, make sure to see the highlights but leave enough time to experience your destination…walk the streets, meet the locals, enjoy the markets.
My favorite international travel destination for the summer months… It is constantly changing but right now the Baltics. Getting to experience Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Russia, which was my favorite! The best way to travel in the baltics is by sea, which means you unpack once and wake up in a new country every day! Not to mention the scenery is breath taking!
My favorite domestic travel destination for the summer months… Last summer we took our girls (now ages 5,3,1) to Jackson Hole and got to explore Grand Teton National Park, I was blown away by the beauty and size. I am now convinced every family should explore our national parks! For the summer months pick parks that will give you a break from the Texas heat.
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