It’s certainly not a secret. Traveling is my favorite thing to do and favorite thing to discuss. Even as a child, I held onto big city dreams and had a longing to travel. The introduction to new cultures, foods, people and traditions expanded my mind and instilled an appreciation for community – both locally and globally. Whether on a short road trip to Washington, D.C. for a field trip, a plane flight to Puerto Rico for mission work, or a drive to the North Carolina mountains for hiking, each new adventure brought opportunities to explore and grow.
With summer around the corner, I recently connected with Lindsey Epperly of Epperly Travel to hear travel recommendations from a pro! Read on for more information in planning your next adventure!
Q: First off, I just need to know! What inspired you to spend your career in the travel industry and how did you land in it?
A: I always joke and say that travel found me – and thank God it did. When I was 20 and still in school at the University of Georgia, I wandered into a local travel agency in my hometown of Columbus, GA to pick up a brochure for a cruise my family was going on later that year. I happened to start speaking with the owners and they asked if I’d be interested in selling honeymoons – I thought it was a crazy idea, an unmarried college student selling romantic getaways, but wanted to give it a whirl. I had just returned from studying abroad at the Cannes Film Festival, where I had lost my dream of being in film but picked up the passion for travel, so the timing was perfect. For the next two years in school, I built up my book of business and, by the time I graduated, I had enough of a business to go full time. I built a strong brand presence for the next couple of years as a one-woman-show before eventually hiring on independent contractors under me and rebranding as Epperly Travel in 2014, which is when I went out completely on my own. The move was the best possible decision for me since it gave a voice to our own unique style of highly personal customer service with a transparent way of doing business. People are always afraid that travel agencies will cost them more, but our initial conversation with clients is about what we can do for them and how we are NOT going to cost them more – no hidden fees or agendas, we’re their travel advisors and their advocates, providing them with the best value and complimentary destination-matching services to find them the absolute best place in the world to fit their needs and interests!
Q: If someone is interested in exploring a new destination, what is step one?
A: Step one is a consultation with myself or one of our fabulous team members, typically done over the phone so it’s convenient for our clients, since they are located across the U.S. In this consultation, we’re able to really get to the bottom of what our clients are looking for so we can better advise of the route to go. We always like to find out more about travel history, personal preferences, and any little detail that will help us take that dream idea in the back of their head and turn it into a reality! As mentioned before, this is when we also tell clients more about us – who we are, how we can help them, how we work. Almost none of our clients have ever used a travel agency before, so we like to set their mind at ease in knowing exactly what to expect from us to make sure we’re the right fit for what they are looking for.
Q: What do you consider when recommending travel destinations to your clients?
A: Everything! Travel history plays a big role: we want to know where they’ve been and what they’ve loved just as much as we want to know what they’ve hated and why it wasn’t right for them. We want to know if they prefer laying on a beach or sightseeing with a private guide or spending hours in museums with guidebooks – and if they love all three, what is it that they want to accomplish out of this trip? We really try to hone in on what it is they’re looking for and to find out more about their personalities – are they social, do they prefer peace and quiet, is it a little in between? Travel is not one size fits all. Expedia can easily pull up the cheapest option out there for you. Any booking tool can do that. But our services take planning to a relationship level. It’s not just a transaction like it is when booking online. We’re getting to know our clients on a personal basis so that we can really recommend that perfect destination, resort, cruise line, or overall experience that fits everything they’re looking for and more!
Q: What are some favorite destinations you recommend for summer travel?
A: Most of our expertise lies in international travel and people always seem to be flocking to the Caribbean and Central America, where prices actually start dropping during the summer and fall (winter/spring are the peak seasons). Another hot spot has been Europe, thanks to the nearly 1 to 1 value of the dollar to the Euro, but try to avoid it during the height of summer. Heading to the Mediterranean in July & August is packed with tourists, burning hot, and overpriced. Wait until the shoulder season, like September/October, for the perfect combination of smaller crowds, lower prices and great weather.
Q: I’m dreaming big here…if I wanted to make best use of my suitcase today, where should I go?
A: I recently did a multi-island trip in Hawaii and think that an art/food lover would be thrilled with a split stay in Maui, where you can find off-the-beaten path art shops and antique spots, and the Big Island, which is perfect for all ages thanks to the unique activities you’ll find here but nowhere else in the world. Imagine an island that contains 11 out of 13 climate zones – even snow! – where you can spend the morning flying over an active volcano in a helicopter and spend the evening snorkeling with manta rays at night, a life changing experience! Plus, you won’t have a bad meal – chefs like Peter Merriman were instrumental in bringing the farm-to-table movement to Hawaii, something you’ll see evidenced throughout the islands, but especially at his restaurants.
Another up and coming destination that fits the mold is Panama, where one of the Epperly Travel team members just returned from. The benefit of our seven-person team is that we travel like crazy and share our tips and tricks with one another to ensure our clients are getting the highest level of expertise, so any part of the world a client wants to go to, we have it covered!
Whether you’re a fan of mountains, museums, or monuments – there is unlimited potential for adventure. Connect with Lindsey to learn more about travel opportunities this Summer by clicking here.
Happy trails, my friend!
Share this on social media!