Transformative Travel revolves around the self-reflection and self-discovery aspects of travel. It is how these experiences inspire people to make changes in their life, big or small. For some, these experiences are labeled “wellness tours" and incorporate therapy lessons, coaching, exercises, and other tools for self-development. Some are labeled “People to People” or “Voluntourism” that are geared towards assisting the less fortunate in other countries, but transformative travel can take place in ANY destination on ANY type of tour or vacation.
For us in the travel industry, we have a handful of these experiences to speak to. Keep reading for some of our staff member's own transformative travel experiences!
Susan Hakenjos (Vice President & General Manager)
"Visiting Hiroshima in Japan was a life changing moment for me. We (the U.S.) did this unspeakable act, not only once but TWICE to these people. We then visited the Peace Museum while walking side by side, in peace, with other visitors from Japan. These experiences were true reminders that a horrific act like this should NEVER happen again. I believe that all countries and world leaders should visit these places so that we truly never forget!"
Missi Wilson (Supervisor of Marketing)
“When I was seven years old I fell in love with Paris after my first grade class did a year-long class project about France. We studied French art, history, music and food. It became my mission in life to go to Paris and I practically put my whole life on hold until my dream came true in 2017. I even brought a book I made when I was seven years old about Claude Monet’s life with me and I proudly held it on Claude Monet’s Japanese Bridge in Giverny. It was such a powerful, emotional and fulfilling experience that I hold so dear to my heart!”
Rachel Madigan (Travel Consultant)
"Traveling to Peru was a spiritual journey for me. It made me realize how different people, cultures, food, and lifestyles are in just the southern hemisphere alone. Even the stars were so beautiful and different! It truly made me realize how ancient and mysterious this world really is."
Ashley Curry (Senior Travel Consultant)
“Think about your ideal escape in your head as clearly as you can. Now, close your eyes and breathe in and out as calmly as you can 5 times. Isn’t it amazing how much clearer the picture becomes? How rested your heart feels? Next, think of how you feel when you watch the home run hit to clench the game and the high five you give to your friend shouting right next to you, the uproar of the crowd around you doing the same thing. How joyous you are and excited to be alive in that moment. Transformative travel offers these feelings and allows you to make changes so that you can feel them whenever and whenever you choose. I was lucky enough to experience a life-changing week in Canyon Ranch, AZ. I never knew how desperately I needed to make changes in my day to day to ease my mind, or give myself extra moments of happiness. It sounds extremely cliché to say that when you allow yourself to go to a place that makes your heart race with excitement or mind as clear as crystal and then come back craving those feelings at home. I went to Canyon Ranch hoping to get a better grip on ways to maintain my physical health. That worked wonderfully, but the surprise came when I discovered how much the trip impacted my spiritual and emotional health. When you allow a destination to open new windows in your head and heart, it’s amazing how much you’ll strive to keep them open when you get home.”
Maggie Groene (Travel Consultant)
"I never thought I would be brave enough to jump out of a plane, but while traveling in New Zealand, I went skydiving! It was not something I had planned on doing, but in the weeks leading up to our stop in Queenstown, the magic of travel took over and I was convinced that I could do it – because if not in the adventure capital of the world, then where?! While it was terrifying to free-fall at 12,000 ft, it was such an amazing experience that made me feel like I could conquer anything. Knowing that I made it through skydiving, I’m now open to taking new chances and fully experiencing what a destination has to offer!"
Christine Hakenjos (Travel Consultant)
"The transformative travel experience that I had was when I traveled with my Grandmother to Israel in January of 2018. This was a college graduation gift from my Grandmother and Israel was the furthest that I have ever traveled internationally. Of course, visiting such historic places like Jerusalem, The Temple Mount, The Sea of Galilee, Bethlehem, and the Church of the Holy Sepulture was life changing and spiritual but the transformative experience I had didn’t happen until the very long flight home. I was listening to music while my Grandmother slept in the seat next to me and began thinking about all the history I had learned that past week and how there is SO much to see, learn and experience in this beautiful world we live in. I remember thinking that I wanted other people to experience the world like I just had. Travel has always been very important to me, but it was not until this trip that I realized travel was my true passion in life! This exact trip was when I decided that the travel industry was where I wanted to work. "
Janine Cartier (Senior Travel Consultant)
"India was one of the most eye opening countries I visited on all of my travels. The busyness of Mumbai was exciting but the poverty I witnessed when driving back to the ship at night was a moment of utter disbelief. Families sleeping on the street in rows and masses – it made me grateful for the things I have – but also made me wonder what I could be doing to help."
Jen Ramig (Travel Consultant)
"A trip that changed my life is for the active individual (it was tough but beautiful). I wrote this on the train leaving for Barcelona after this amazing hike with my brothers and sisters:
I'm sitting on the train heading to Barcelona. I am looking into the distance, wondering if I can see The Camino De Santiago that we just hiked. In Chile. I wonder if my fellow Peregrinos (pilgrims) are staring into the horizon thinking the same. Heavy tears fall down my cheeks, but why? Is it a release of something? The weight of my pack is no longer a struggle, but I still feel the weight on my back and shoulders. I think it is to remind me that, we carry so many burdens every day. My sore legs, ankles and feet remind me that I am stronger than I think. I walked with a heavy bag up a mountain, wow, I did that. My heavy heart makes me feel the love for my family, what I left on the Camino and the love I have waiting for me at home. The smell of my clothes is the remnants of the sweat and layers of dirt from the Camino. I want to keep walking, get questions answered and feel nothing but the pain of my muscles. The sound of my shoes on the gravel, walking the steps of past pilgrims and the beautiful countryside. Adios Camino, I will be back again.
Reading this still makes me cry and brings me right back. I plan on going back. I am not finished, it has forever changed me."
Click through the slideshow below to see more of Jen's photos from The Camino De Santiago hike in Chile.
Stacey Hoehne (Supervisor of Leisure Travel)
“In 2015 I quit my job and took off on a 4.5 month adventure in Southeast Asia with my best friend. I came home from this journey with my eyes opened to new cultures. When I returned back to the U.S., I knew that I wanted to have a job where I could travel more and encourage others to have similar experiences. This is what led me to Brentwood Travel!”
Ready for your own transformative travel experience?
Contact us today!
(314) 439-5700 or Email Us
Travel Consultant Carrie Fry recently had two clients return from an amazing 22-day tour of Europe! Client Karrie M. and her mom Paula started their travels with C.I.E's Irish & British Focus 11-Day Tour and continued to the Netherlands with The Dutchman and then finished in Zurich to join Cosmo's Scenic Switzerland by Train tour.
Read their rave review below!
"Our trip was amazing!
The C.I.E. small group tour was a good start for Mom. There was only 10 of us in the group which made it easy to get to know each other on a short trip. Everyone was on time, it was easy to get in and out of attractions, the tour guide Pat was extra knowledgeable about many things and talked about the area , the history of Ireland, and cricket.
I had purchased underground tickets before we left for London. Especially with being in London for three days, it made navigating through London so much faster than bus and cheaper than other modes of transportation. The underground is also really easy to use!"
"Holland was beautiful. We were able to catch the end of the tulips being in the fields and see the stripes of color!
Switzerland was amazing and I think everything Mom had in mind of Switzerland. It is really expensive and we purchased several meals from the grocery store and the tour guide Flo was aware of this and would always let us know where the grocery stores were located.
Both tours were very good. I am glad we took the train from London to Amsterdam. The security was easier to get through and we didn’t have to be there as early. The table on the train made the journey more comfortable and let both mom and I to have a window seat. I didn’t mind riding backwards. I’m glad we flew to Zurich, especially with the amount of train traveling we did later."
"Carrie did an amazing job of putting everything together for us. It was a once in a lifetime trip and one my mom never thought would actually be done. There are a few trips I would like to do closer. Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Prince Edward Island, etc. When the time comes, I would love Carrie's help!! It will be a year or two, but hopefully not too long."
- Clients Karrie M. and her mom Paula
After a $50 million-plus makeover, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Joy was ready for her U.S. Inaugural cruise out of Vancouver. On Friday, April 26th Travel Consultant Christine Hakenjos and her fiance Joe boarded this beautiful ship at the Vancouver cruise port to begin their three days at sea. Christine had nothing but great things to say about Norwegian Joy!
The check in process was extremely easy and efficient. A lot of the crew members were working the lines and after about 15 minutes, we were off with our key cards and onto the ship!
Our first impression of the ship was it's very clean, very new, and that it felt like modern luxury. The darker tones and dark wood finishing gave off a very luxurious feel and the ship felt like it had the space of one of the bigger ships, yet we were not overwhelmed by people since her guest capacity size is only 3,800. We made our way to our well-acquainted Ocean View Balcony stateroom and we were pleasantly surprised by the size of the room, bathroom and balcony.
After we checked out our room, we went out to the main Sun Deck for the Sail Away party as we disembarked from the Port of Vancouver. Once the party was finished, we decided to grab one of Norwegian’s famous mojitos from the Sugarcane Mojito Bar and walked the Waterfront. The Waterfront is a quarter-mile oceanfront promenade that allows you to walk past outdoor dining venues, bars, lounges, and many comfortable seating areas with plush chairs, all with beautiful views of the ocean. This is something that I have yet to experience on a cruise ship. It was almost like walking down streets in a little town and was easily my favorite part about the ship!
The entertainment on board was spectacular! One evening was saw the musical Footloose and another evening we saw Elements which reminded me a lot of Cirque Du Soleil. Both AMAZING shows held in the Joy Theater. The Social Comedy and Night Club feature two stand-up comedians and later in the evening a DJ spins tracks until late at night. There is also a Beatles cover band that plays at The Cavern Club and The District Brew House has live musicians playing almost every night and features 50 different bottled beers and 24 draft beers on tap. Joe really enjoyed the beers on tap at The District Brew House!
The activities on the ship were endless! The most talked about activity on board was easily the thrilling two-level Race Track. Which was KILLER. There is also Laser Tag which is both indoor and outdoor and boy was it cool to play laser tag at night, in the middle of the ocean under the stars! On the top deck there is a 5-hole Mini Golf course which is beautiful on a sunny day with views of the ocean and is suitable for all ages. The Mandara Spa & Salon is stunning and has a wide variety of services to choose from.
In addition, there is the Aqua Park featuring a double loop water slide over the side of the ship, a Kids’ Aqua Park, the Pulse Fitness Center with beautiful views and brand new gym equipment, the Splash Academy for the kiddos, the Entourage Teen Club for the teenagers, and of course the Casino and many great shops to purchase some souvenirs in.
Another favorite meal of ours was at Q, the specialty Texan BBQ restaurant. Joe said that Q had some of the best jalapeno cornbread he has ever had and I fell head over heels for the deviled eggs as well as the banana pudding and the bread pudding for dessert!
Everything we ate on board was SO delicious, you really can't go wrong anywhere you eat!
BARS & LOUNGES
All the bars and lounges were beautiful and each bartender on staff was extremely professional and made the most delicious drinks. I couldn’t have enough of the mojitos! There are a total of 15 different clubs and lounges, but by far my favorites were the Observation Lounge and Spice H20. The Observation Lounge is located at the very front of the ship and features full-service bar offerings, one of two of the Starbucks on board, and AMAZING 180-degree panoramic views of the ocean. Spice H20 is an adults-only lounge with a large hot tub and beautiful bar located at the very back of the ship.
Hidden at the top of the ship is The Haven. The Haven features the most luxurious, well-appointment suites on the entire ship. These include penthouse suites, family villas (some with multiple bedrooms), connecting stateroom suites, courtyard penthouses, all with very large balconies.
With 24-hour butler service, concierge service, private restaurants, private lounges (including their own private Observation Lounge), and a private sundeck, Haven guests never have to leave The Haven if they don't want to!
The WiFi on board was efficient and fast. There are two options available for purchase. The first option is just for regular internet browsing, emailing and messaging. The upgraded option is for streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc. Both worked like a charm and were easy to purchase once in our stateroom!
Overall, ship was absolutely stunning, the food was so delicious, the staterooms were beautiful, and the staff on board were absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to sail on Norwegian Joy again and hopefully soon!
Interested in enjoying this ultimate joyride for yourself?
Contact Christine Hakenjos to book your next cruise on Norwegian Joy today!
(314) 439-5700 ext. 134 or email her.
Gorgeous sunsets, beautiful beaches, lively cities, and welcoming people are just a few reasons to love Mexico; yet some people are still hesitant to travel here because of negative news coverage. What we want to say is – don’t buy it. Mexico is nothing to be afraid of. They have their issues just like anywhere else in the world, you just have to be smart!
For many of our clients, Mexico is one of their favorite places in the world. Here at Brentwood Travel, we feel there’s a lot more to love about Mexico than there is to fear and getting there from St. Louis has never been easier!
To show how much we love Mexico, we've compiled our favorite photos from our travels to Mexico and what we love most about this beautiful country!
"I have been visiting Mexico since I first honeymooned there back in the 60’s. I’ve spent time in Acapulco and then charming Puerto Vallarta, with its cobblestone streets, both on the Pacific west coast. Then I started visiting the white sand beaches in the Cancun/Riviera Maya area on the Caribbean side of Mexico back in the 80’s. I have brought my children on several wonderful family vacations to all these destinations in Mexico as well! Not only did we bask in the sunshine on beautiful beaches, but we visited the famed Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and learned much about the history of the people of Mexico. I’ve also visited other areas while on cruises to Mexico. Last year, we went for a week’s stay to Cabo San Lucas on the west coast which is now one of my favorite visits to date. Today we are so fortunate to have nonstop charters from St. Louis and many other cities into Cancun, Cabo and on occasion other places in Mexico. The country offers an array of fantastic beautiful resorts, many of which are all inclusive. These are great because you can choose the resort that fits your lifestyle and pocketbook. For those who like to dine around in a destination, that option is also still available – again at many different price points!
The Mexican people are kind, service oriented and extremely welcoming. They actually speak English, overall, better than most other beach destinations and the country offers everything to fit your interests from outdoor activities to historical and educational opportunities. Shopping is fun and affordable in Mexico and there are many cultural opportunities throughout the country as well.
Every country has some challenges, but I feel safer in Mexico than in many U.S cities. Don’t buy into any of the negative hype about Mexico. Just as you would anywhere you go, you must be aware of your surroundings, but overall this is a destination I highly recommend. I have even taken my grandchildren to various destinations in Mexico on several occasions and they are the most precious things I have!"
"My family of 10 recently celebrated our anniversary in Riviera Maya, Mexico. We stayed at the Iberostar Paraiso Maya and it was wonderful and the staff could not have been better! The kids participated in basket ball, volleyball, soccer and other pool and beach games. We had dinners in 3 of the specialty restaurants and I am pretty sure the kids depleted the supply of ice cream each day! We have taken the family before and look forward to the next time. Safe, comfortable and relaxing."
"I’ve been to Los Cabos twice and Riviera Maya once. I’m headed back to Riviera Maya this fall for a friends Destination Wedding! I love traveling to Mexico for the great service, fun culture, and easy nonstop flights from STL! I particularly love taking excursions like this catamaran cruise to the Arch of Cabo San Lucas."
"My favorite destination in Mexico is Iberostar Paraíso del Mar in Riviera Maya. I traveled to this resort with Funjet Vacations and my trip was incredible. The included transfers made it so easy to get to and from the airport without having to stress on vacation. The whole complex was just breathtaking and I felt completely separated from society, almost like we were in our own world. The customer service we received was unreal during our week-long stay and I just couldn’t get enough of the beach, pools and cocktails. I would recommend Mexico as a destination to anyone because of its beauty and relaxing atmosphere. I can’t wait for the chance to go back!"
"I love Mexico for the convenient non-stop flights, no time change, great beaches, and the fact that there is a lot of choices for different types of hotels for all types of people!"
"I love traveling to Cancun and Riviera Maya in Mexico! The nonstop flights from STL make it perfect for a quick getaway. The people are so friendly and welcoming, the food is great, and the beaches are beautiful!"
"Mexico has beautiful beaches and WONDERFUL all-inclusive resorts. Traveling to Mexico is easy with nonstop flights out of Saint Louis and I have never felt unsafe during my time there. The resorts I have stayed at had wonderful security both on the property and the beaches. There is so much to do and see in Mexico! We went on a 9-hour ATV tour while in Cozumel and had a chance to tour a tequila distillery, a nature reserve, and see some Mayan ruins and meet a true Mayan – all in one tour! The beaches are beautiful, the animals are adorable, and there is nothing quite like enjoying some chips and guacamole with a margarita in hand while sitting on the beach with family!"
"You could say I love Mexico because I know they will take great care of me when I am hesitant to try to foods or restaurants. The people, service and flavors are a great escape from our everyday."
"I can give 5 reasons why I love Mexico!
Interested in traveling to Mexico?
Have questions or concerns you'd like to address?
Contact us! We'd love to help!
(314) 439-5700 or Email Us
Notre-Dame de Paris (also called Notre Dame Cathedral) is one of the most famous Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages and is one of Paris’ most popular attractions. The idea for the cathedral was conceived in 1160 by bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully and in 1163, the foundation was finally laid by Pope Alexander III. The choir, western façade and the nave were completed by 1250 with the porches, chapels and other amazing embellishments added over the following 100 years.
Unfortunately, a major fire erupted at the cathedral in Paris on Monday, April 15th, devastating large parts of the 856-year-old church. The cathedral was undergoing renovations and has suffered colossal damages. While the cause of the fire is still unclear, French President Emmanuel Macron has promised Parisians that they will “rebuild this cathedral together” and over $700 million has already been donated for the project.
All of us here at Brentwood Travel have heavy hearts as Notre-Dame de Paris has touched so many of our lives. We look back on the fond memories we have had at the cathedral and in Paris by reminiscing on the photos and videos below.
Watch the videos below by Supervisor of Marketing Missi Wilson from outside Notre-Dame de Paris as well as inside during Mass one Sunday:
Our thoughts are with the people of France.
Spring is officially here in St. Louis and we are just loving all the beautiful colors blooming around town.
Here are just a few of our photos from our favorite springtime travels!
Waimea Valley in Oahu, Hawaii
Supervisor of Leisure Travel Stacy Hoehne
Senior Travel Consultant Dianna Paridon
Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain
Travel Consultant Maggie Groene
Tulip Time Festival in Pella, Iowa
Supervisor of Marketing Missi Wilson
Travel Consultant Cheryl Hegger
Ready to plan your next springtime getaway?
Call us at (314) 439-5700 or email us today to start planning!
Thirty-nine years ago, I took a part time job as a travel agent while going to college, and I always dreamed of someday going to Paris, France. I studied the history, the artists that were inspired by the city and I fell in love with the elegant romance of the Eiffel Tower. Through the years I have had the privilege of traveling to almost every island in the Caribbean, Hawaii many times, Mexico, and almost every state throughout the United States. But my dream of seeing Paris remained just that, a dream. Until a month ago when I found out that I was going to Paris and Barcelona with Rail Europe!
Arriving in Paris, I walked outside to a misty gloomy day, just as I hoped, just as I pictured. I took in a deep breath and began my amazing adventure. Arriving at 10:30 in the morning, I wanted to make my way to the first bakery or cafe to have a croissant and some coffee. I checked in at the Mercure Paris, Paspail Hotel in Montparnasse, took my luggage to my Parisian boutique room and strolled the streets of Paris with a smile and found the perfect little pastry shop with its window filled with croissants and French pastries.
Our group of 10 met in the lobby of the hotel and went across the street to have lunch and get to know each other. From there, we toured a total of four train stations in Paris. The trains are their main mode of transportation and they make it very easy to get across the city.
Each train station is filled with people going to work, going on vacation, or just a weekend getaway to the many cities that are just a short train ride away. On the way back to our hotel we walked through an old historical cemetery. The gravestones were as extravagant as the architecture in the buildings. That night we dined on fondue at the restaurant next to our hotel. It was fabulous!
The next morning, we took the hop on hop off bus throughout the city seeing all the sights that make Paris famous. As the bus turned the corner, we were told to look to the right and slowly the Eiffel Tower came into sight. The bus stopped in front of it and I found myself holding my breath and tears flowing. The emotions took me by surprise but there in front of me was this monument that until now I had only seen in photos and in movies. I couldn’t stop staring at it and realized a lifetime dream had just been fulfilled. I had no idea that the next 6 days were going to exceed any expectation I had of this trip starting with the next journey to the Musee d'Orsay.
After a few minutes of walking through this two-story architectural masterpiece, I found myself standing in the doorway of a room that was dimly lit except for the spotlights on some paintings. I looked at the sign beside the door and it read “Van Gogh and Gauguin”. I walked in and staring at me was Van Gogh’s self-portrait. Studying art in college did not prepare me for the up-close viewing of this masters artwork. I walked around, slowly taking in each one of his paintings and I imagined him painting them and thought about what his own eyes saw. I continued thinking about how while he was creating them, how he had no idea how special they would someday become to so many people like myself. I left there with a new-found inspiration of my own art that was yet to be created.
The rest of the day was spent exploring the city with my new group of friends. We visited the Lindt Chocolate shop where I enjoyed a brownie and chocolate espresso. We went shopping at the Gallerie Vivienne and continued with a visit to the square surrounded by the Louvre.
We then baked macaroons with a pastry chef and that evening took a dinner cruise on the Seine River. The majestic Eiffel Tower was now lit up in the night sky and as we rode down the river she began to sparkle as everyone cheered and watched her show. Down the river was the Statue of Liberty with the Eiffel Tower in the background. The views were beautiful beyond words.
Day 3 was a day on our own to explore anywhere we wanted to go on the train within 2 hours from Paris. Wendy and I decided to take a trip to Brussels, Belgium. The train was quiet and relaxing with scenery so breathtaking. We arrived in Brussels and went to the Grand Place Square with cathedrals and chocolate shops and people walking the cobblestone streets. We passed windows of waffles covered in whipped cream and chocolate and fruit. We found the Manneken Pis (the small statue of a child peeing in the fountain). It has been the statues home since 1388 and after seeing the amount of people gathered around him, we soon realized that he is quite a famous little guy. The statue was dressed in carnival attire since it is carnival season in Brussels. After, we went on to purchase some chocolate to take home and then stopped at a quaint little restaurant to enjoy some ale and pasta with cheese and ham, it was wonderful. We then took the train back to Paris and got ready for the Lido show that night. The Lido was great, the food amazing, and the entertainment was spectacular. It was truly a great night.
On day 4 we packed our bags for our six-hour train ride to Barcelona. It was so easy and relaxing. We ate, played cards, read books and even napped! We could get up and walk around the train and the views were just unbelievable. From the train, we could see the snowcapped Piton Mountains that separate France from Spain, as well as views of the Mediterranean Sea all right outside our windows!
We arrived in Barcelona and checked into Hotel Claris which is located in the heart of the shopping district. They showed us to our rooms, and I was immediately blown away. My room was two levels with a spiral staircase going up to a loft with a couch and a TV, and waiting for me was a bottle of chilled wine and chocolates welcoming me to Barcelona. We dined at the hotel in a private dining room and a meal prepared by a Michelin Chef. It was so good and I tried foods I would have never tried before, including escargot and octopus. We took in the views of Barcelona from the rooftop at night and looked forward to seeing the architectural masterpieces of the city tomorrow.
Day 5 was a day filled with a walking tour of La Rambla Boulevard, the Gothic Quarter, La Boqueria Market, La Manuel Alpargatera - an original espadrille shop where they still handmake espadrilles. We were able to watch them work and purchased our very own espadrilles.
We went on to the Lupo design office and had a chance to meet the designer of some of the most beautiful leather purses. The leather was the softest I have ever touched and to see how they prototype the designs to send to the factory and then to visit the store that they are sold was wild. The actual designer herself took us through and you could tell she was so proud to show us her products. Sadly, none of us left there with a purse as they start at $1,200.00.
We then went on to a cooking class with a Chef at BCN Kitchen where we prepared Spanish omelets, paella (a rice and seafood dish), garlic bread and crème catalona (like crème Brule). This was such a treat! That evening we dined at Caso Leopldo, a restaurant that is over 90 years old that has had patrons such as Picasso dine there.
Day 6 was another day on our own and some of us decided to stay in Barcelona since there was so much to see and do. I so wanted to go to the Picasso Museum and so I headed out early on my adventure. I took a taxi and then walked through the Gothic District going in and out of art galleries on my way to the museum. To my disappointment, the museum was closed due to International Women’s Day and there were to be thousands in the square marching for women’s rights. I found myself amidst the peaceful march of thousands of women dressed in purple. It was incredible being a woman traveling to a country I had never been and exploring on my own for the day. I ended my adventure at the Barcelona Beach overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I have been to many beaches over the years but this one was special. The rocks instead of sand looked like gems reflecting the water and the sun. I took off my shoes and rolled up my jeans and stood in the ice-cold water and just stared out to the sea with gratitude and excitement to be here. That evening, we dined at an authentic Spanish restaurant and had the delicacy of onions that had been grilled to a burnt black. You peel the outside of the onions off and dip them in what I think tasted like a chipotle sauce and it was delicious!
Day 6 we were all picked up at the hotel by a private limousine bus and a private tour guide took us to the Sagrada Familia. This was just another emotional experience for me. As I got closer and witnessed the beautiful architectural mastery of Gaudi I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to just stand there and take it all in. The inside was even more beautiful than the outside, with all of the stained glass and arches to hold up the massive towers above. Hearing how Gaudi came to design this and then build this work of art, made it all that more treasured and a blessing to be standing within its walls. We then went to San Pau Art Nouveau, an historic hospital complex that closed in the 1960's. It became a UNESCO World Heritage in 1997 and is a place not to be missed when in Barcelona.
We then traveled to Montjuic Hill for a bird’s eye view of Barcelona. It was breathtakingly beautiful. That evening, we attended a flamingo dinner show in the Spanish Village and then back to the hotel it was to pack for our flights home the following day.
As I was riding to the airport, a sadness came over me and I realized that I now want to see as much of Europe as I possibly can. It was a trip that I have longed for and I never dreamed that I would get to have this experience. Well, it finally happened, and I absolutely loved every single second of it. I can’t wait to go back!
Contact Leigh Cardwell at 314.439.5700 ext. 131
or email her to begin planning your trip to Paris & Barcelona!
"I have used Carrie Fry for several excellent trips in the past, but this trip she went above and beyond! When my mom and I discussed visiting my niece in Vienna during her study abroad and then taking her with us somewhere fun, I knew the logistics would be complicated. Not only did Carrie handle my every request, which were plentiful, she made sure every single detail was handled and made fantastic recommendations. From our private transfer upon our arrival in Vienna, Austria to our eventual departure from Florence, Italy every logistic was handled and went perfectly smooth. She found us the most gorgeous 5 star hotels I have ever stayed in (whose customer service made my mom and niece feel pampered and looked after the entire time).
All told, Carrie organized 3 different 5-star hotels (in Vienna, Salzburg and Florence), 4 private transfers, 1 overnight train, 1 private transfer tour from Vienna to Salzburg, 1 private tour day trip through Tuscany, skip the line museum tickets, plus flights for my mom and me from different locations and for my niece back to Vienna!
This was a trip we will never forget and it wouldn't have been possible without her!"
-Clients Mary M. and Gwen M.
See photos of their hotel stay at "Hotel Imperial" in Vienna below:
See photos of their hotel stay at "Hotel Sacher" in Salzburg below:
Contact Carrie Fry at 314-439-5700 or email her to begin planning your trip
to Vienna, Salzburg & Florence!
Ever wonder why the travelers in the room next to yours received strawberries & champagne upon arrival and you didn't?
They probably used a Travel Consultant!
There is a big misconception that Travel Consultants cost more than just booking online and this is just not true! Many consumers might not realize what they are missing out on when booking trips on their own.
There are several benefits of using a Travel Consultant.
Here are our top 10!
Vacation planning is complicated and time consuming. Why spend time searching for the perfect vacation when a Travel Consultant can do that for you? Travel Consultants can match you with the perfect destination/travel plans based on your travel needs & desires!
"Ever felt overwhelmed with too many hotel options and find yourself scanning the internet for hours only to feel more frustrated and confused than when you started? Using a Travel Consultant saves you time and time is money." - Senior Travel Consultant Janine Cartier.
Travel Consultants are experts in the travel industry. They know the market and are able to match you with a product that is better than anything you may find on the internet. Travel Consultants live and breathe travel; they travel themselves to become familiar with the products & destinations, meet with representatives from travel companies all around the world, do hours of research and read up on the most important travel news daily. When booking a trip on your own, you risk losing the expertise that travel consultants bring to the table.
"Travel consultants know the best hotels, they know which hotels have the best service and the best food, they know because they have either been there or have met with the hotel's General Manager. "
-Senior Travel Consultant Janine Cartier
Many consumers think that it will cost them more to use a Travel Consultant and this is not always the case. Travel Consultants make their money in many ways, most of the time from the travel companies themselves. The price you can find online is the same price Travel Consultants can book them for, if not sometimes less since they have direct relationships with the travel companies. Any fees you may end up paying will come back to you as value in a handful of ways.
In addition, your Travel Consultant will offer different travel insurance coverage that can save you from unforeseen medical expenses or cancellation fees that may arise before or during your trip. Their knowledge of various currency exchange rates, customs procedures, Visa requirements, immunization regulations, etc., can end up saving you so much time, hassle and money while planning and while traveling.
If something were to go wrong during your trip, you have your Travel Consultant to go to bat for you.
Lost luggage? Flights get cancelled? Missed your flight? Weather emergencies? Car rental company fails you? Hotel/resort can’t locate your reservation? Medical emergency overseas? They’ve got you covered! One single person may not have much leverage in terms of complaints and a resolution, but a Travel Consultant with an entire agency backing them up certainly will. At Brentwood Travel, we have our own 24-Hour Emergency Hotline that can be utilized in any travel emergency, at any hour of the day after booking with one of our Travel Consultants.
“You have someone to call on when things go wrong and no one is listening.” -Travel Consultant J.V.
There are so many value-adds that can be added to your trip by a Travel Consultant, usually at no cost to the consumer.
One of the most common perks is “onboard credits” or extra spending money for you while on your cruise ship or resort. Another could be "Exclusive Brentwood Travel Offers" or savings that only our Travel Consultants can offer, or extras like specialty dining and spa credits.
Additionally, if a consumer is traveling to celebrate something special, the Travel Consultant can contact the travel company and advise them of such celebrations and they will usually work something to make the trip even more special.
Brentwood Travel belongs to Ensemble Travel Group, which allows our Travel Consultants to offer special upgrades and give clients even more special amenities, like free Wi-Fi, room upgrades, complimentary food or drinks, or even have their room decorated with champagne, flowers, chocolate covered strawberries, and many more.
The photos below are an example of ways a Brentwood Travel Consultant was able to add value to a clients vacation. The Travel Consultant reached out to her connection at the resort and advised them of her clients arrival, their love of their dogs and how this trip was supposed to be very special for the couple. The consultant sent photos of the clients dogs to the resort and shortly after she received an email back advising that the resort had upgraded the couples room to a Suite and the email included the photos shown below. The resort made their arrival extra special by adding framed photos of their dogs as well as a note written just for them :)
The added amenities are truly endless and Brentwood Travel will do everything they can to make any vacation or trip as special as can be!
“We partner with many hotel brands such as Hyatt and Fairmont, where at some of their resorts we can add on extra amenities like breakfast daily or spa credits.” -Supervisor of Leisure Travel Stacey Hoehne.
Travel Consultants have a numerous amount of resources that the average consumer does not have access. They use different software and computer programs that allows them to find better seats on airplanes, room upgrades, tickets to events, hotel amenities, etc.
Travel Consultants also use their personal and business connections as resources. Brentwood Travel has access to hundreds of representatives from hundreds of resorts, hotels, airlines, tour companies, etc. We meet with our reps regularly and overtime we have built relationships with them. The representatives are our direct contacts so we can call them at any hour of the day for assistance with a booking, to ask questions or to sometimes even meet with our clients!
Travel Consultants are equipped for an ever-changing world. There is always somewhere new and trendy to travel and a Travel Consultant will know the best way for you to travel based on your interests.
Travel Consultants also have relationships with many travel companies that offer vacations as a package (hotel/resort stays, flights, transportation, tours, etc) and can often do so at a rate lower than what you can find online. Additionally, they have exclusive access to many tours, experiences and even private jet products that are only made available through Travel Consultants, some that you probably didn’t even know existed! Making your travels just that much more unique than everyone else’s.
Probably the best part of using a Travel Consultant instead of booking online is the personalized touch you receive when utilizing a Travel Consultant. You are dealing with a REAL PERSON who you can build a long, lasting relationship.
As Travel Consultants get to know their clients and travel interests, they are able to suggest the right destinations and overall trips without even having a conversation with them. When you have that type of relationship with a Travel Consultant, you can call them up, tell them you are wanting your next beach vacation and they can have a handful of different options for you to choose from rather quickly!
“After talking with clients and learning their priorities, we can narrow down the vacation search to our top 3-5 choices based on our experience with them. This helps save the client time from endless internet searching and saves them from getting overwhelmed.” -Supervisor of Leisure Travel Stacey Hoehne.
Travel Consultants are the professionals that know of the most unique destinations and experiences, and can customize your travels to be SO much more than anything you can find online. If you are wanting a true, unique travel experience, use a Travel Consultant because what you see online is what many others are seeing also.
Additionally, after asking the right questions and getting to know the consumers interests, Travel Consultants can pin point exactly what destinations a client should travel to and exactly what experiences a client should partake in to best meet the clients needs and desires. They are always in "the know" as to the best times to travel to a particular destination and even what the new "it" destination will be before the general public does. Want to be the first to travel there? Use a Travel Consultant!
Travel Consultants are very personable and knowledgeable! They are easy to talk to, easy to get to know and are very welcoming. They come from various backgrounds with different experiences under their belts, and they can have more stories to tell than a history book. Travel Consultants have been out in the world, experiencing other lands, people and cultures.
Travel Consultants (especially the ones here at Brentwood Travel) are so passionate about sharing the beauty of the world with you!
Contact us today to start utilizing our great staff and our amazing services!
Contact Trish Roth at (314) 283-1103
or send her an email
to begin planning an amazing vacation to Cancun!
Brentwood Travel Vacation Experts
In the 60 years since Brentwood Travel was founded in 1957, we've grown into the largest, full-service travel agency in the Greater St. Louis area. No matter what your travel needs may be, our consultants will be able to assist you.