While many modern travelers turn to the internet to plan upcoming beach vacations, adventure travel, a cruise or perhaps a city break, others are doing it the old-fashioned way with assistance from travel agents. These licensed professionals have been there, done that. They travel for a living and are very happy to share their extensive experience with clients, exploring a traveler's expectations and dream destinations to find that perfect match and book the best deal. A deep well of knowledge, buckets of savvy, and a passion for exploring and adventure are embodied within these 5 pros who are happy to see that you have the best possible travel experience.
Cardoza Bungey Travel
550 Hamilton Ave., Suite 125
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Tony Cardoza emphasizes the that "excellent relationships built up over many years with both clients and top suppliers around the world" are absolutely critical to the performance of the best travel agents. A Palo Alto native, Tony has extraordinary relationships which benefit his clients through the South Bay and Peninsula. These frequently include value-added items such as upgrades, welcome fruit platters, a bottle of bubbly, dining and spa credits in hotels and complimentary breakfast each morning. It's all part and parcel of being a Virtuoso travel agency member, a selected partner of Virgin Galactic, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and other inside circles where Tony's clout can deliver concrete perks.
Valerie Wilson Travel
525 University Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Jim Weideman of Valerie Wilson Travel has 50 cruises under his belt. and that's just for starters. Those who enjoy cruises know that Jim will grab you the best staterooms within minutes of that cruise opening their reservations window. Need a private plane for an African safari adventure? Jim knows who to call. If you've got time for a round-the-world extended holiday, consider it done. Is the family considering a multi-generational travel experience? Start the planning here. A Virtuoso-appointed agency, Valerie Wilson Travel has a long-standing, stellar reputation among discerning hoteliers and other luxury suppliers scattered all over the world.
Lynda Turley Garrett
Argonaut Shopping Center
12950 Saratoga-Sunnnyvale Road
Saratoga, CA 95070
Alpine Travel opened for business in 1969, a year which also marked Apollo 11's historic moon landing. Today, Alpine Travel is one of Virgin Galactic's 140 hand-picked, intensively trained agents handling future astronaut reservations onboard SpaceShipTwo. For those who prefer to remain on planet Earth, Alpine Travel has plentiful alternative recommendations. Consistently named as one of the world's top 125 food and wine expert agents by Travel + Leisure, agency president Lynda Turley Garrett passionately feels, "The culinary experience is such an important part of an extraordinary experience wherever you are in the world." Alpine Travel's credentials are as impressive as Lynda's encyclopedic travel know-how, among which is her personal speciality on Australia and Tasmania.
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Travel Advisors Of Los Gatos
56 N. Santa Cruz Ave.
Los Gatos, CA 95030
www.traveladvisorsoflosgatos.comEd Stahl cut the ribbon to open his agency in 1961. In 2011, the celebration was for this agency's diamond jubilee. From the pre-computer days of hand-written airline tickets and painfully slow telefax communications, Ed has grown this agency for a half-century in the same location. Calling himself a true "survivor," Ed is much more than that. With riveting stories from a rich travel career and with the most up-to-the-minute technology available, Ed is the go-to guy for vacation travel anywhere and everywhere. At any given time, his clients are in China, Africa, Southeast Asia and in Europe. Ed says luxury cruises are trending and stronger than ever. He also gives a huge nod to European river cruises, which he says "have really hit the market in the past few years. All the pros of cruising are there without the herd." Ed's connections and respect within the travel community are extraordinary.
700 Airport Blvd., Suite 360
Burlingame, CA 94010
This family-owned network of U.S. travel agencies includes Burlingame's former Summit Travel, now acquired and re-branded in 2013. Talk to Sharon Delano on ext. 3131 who has 30-plus years of experience in globe-trotting to rely on. As a passionate traveler, Sharon calls the world her oyster. Is there anyone in the South Bay and Peninsula who knows more about the luxury European travel scene? Probably not. "The five-star hotel scene in European capital cities is changing rapidly," she notes. "It's quite remarkable. That's why I like to update people, even frequent travelers, and talk about their likes and preferences." Frosch is the largest partner agency in the 6,000-member consortium, Signature Travel.
Laurie JM Farr is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. A transplanted New Yorker, she has traveled throughout the world as the Big Apple's official tourism representative. She served as organizer for three Royal Visits to America. As an international relocation consultant, Laurie assisted more than 400 families with overseas moves and is a proud mother of two, thoroughly bi-cultural children. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.
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