Traveling abroad is fun and adventurous, with so many awe-inspiring places to go, and things to see. Although choosing the destination may come easy for most, when the time is right to plan the perfect international vacation, it can become downright overwhelming. Sure, if you are like every other curious young adult, you might have had your feel of traveling throughout Europe. For many early twenty-something-year-olds, backpacking cures that curiosity, and it represents a carefree time where you aren’t overly concerned about where you sleep or where you will end up. It’s about the opportunity to explore. But when your tastes change and you want something more out of a vacation, the planning aspect takes on a whole new meaning.
When countries as day-dreamingly beautiful as Italy become a reachable vacation focal point, the banquet of choices is endless. Choosing where to go, where to stay, how to travel, what to pack, things to do, and places to avoid become critical aspects in the planning process. Knowing it’s a place you might not get a chance to come back to for a long time, you want to get it right the first time.
Case in point—when I married my husband we knew we would be traveling to Italy for our honeymoon. We spent more than two weeks traveling from Venice, throughout the Tuscan countryside, making our way to Rome. Ten years later, we planned our anniversary trip back to Italy, this time far south to the Amalfi Coast where we spent time exploring Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello.
Bringing these extraordinary vacations to life, took a special craft. I’m a girl that has distinct tastes. I want my ground travel to be quick, safe and seamless. I want my lodging to be unique, quaint, and I admit, exceptional (without dropping a fortune). I want outstanding, authentic dining and unforgettable culinary experiences. I want to hit the hot touristy travel spots that are considered a “must see”, but at the same time, I desire equal opportunity to create my own unique experience by exploring the hidden gems and off-the-beaten path things to do. I don’t like getting caught up in too many tourist traps.
With all of that said, both of the trips that I took to Italy took months to plan, late nights of research, endless emails and phone calls to make reservations, countless reviews to cull through, booking inquiries, language barrier frustrations, while paying close to attention to exchange rates, budget, and expenses along the way.
Sure, there are travel companies that could have done it all for me, but the last thing I wanted was to be stuck in a group with dozens of tourists following a tourist leader holding up a flag to all the hot spots. The sweat and headaches caused by the months of planning my trips were worth it.
But it’s not for everyone.
It takes a special ability to be able to plan an adventure such as the perfect Italian vacation. That is why when I met Carol Ketelson in 2010, not only did I know that we would become fast friends–I felt like we were kindred spirits. We also shared a love for travel in Italy, but in a distinct, unique way. As a culinary travel planner, Carol carefully and methodically plans unique journeys throughout Italy similar to the ones I painstakingly planned for months on end. Sharing travel stories over margaritas one evening while she was visiting Dallas, she explained to me how her business, Delectable Destinations, plans tailored trips for very small, cozy groups. The places they go, things they do and see, the culinary and wine aspect, mirrored my trips. The only thing I could think about was “where were you when I needed you”?
Delectable Destinations sets the bar high for unique travel adventures. One call to book, and the rest is planning history. Unlike the larger, mainstream travel companies, Carol takes careful effort and uses her heart and soul to plan her trips. Every detail accounted for. From lodging that consists of quaint villas and rustic farmhouses, to private transportation, and intimate wine tastings and cooking classes. Her guests will see the hot spots, but in a stress-free, idyllic way. By traveling alone to places such as Tuscany and Amalfi, and fulfilling her personal mission of exploring every nook and cranny a village or town has to offer, Carol has made it a priority to understand local culture in search of every polished detail which she brings to life in her itineraries.
Putting the pieces together when planning an Italian vacation can be challenging. The online tourism industry, for Italy alone, takes up a huge percentage of web space. It not only can be an intimidating process, but a turn-off at the same time. Travelers looking for an easy escape can get sucked right in, as many companies do not take the time to plan their itineraries in the one-of-a-kind tailored approach as many would prefer.
As a girl with very discerning tastes and preferences, I wanted it all, and thankfully, I had my “Under the Tuscan Sun” experience. But I want more, and quite frankly, Italy does that to you—it always leaves you wanting to come back for more. With a resource like Delectable Destinations at my fingertips, it think it’s a safe bet to say, I’ll be back.
About the author:
Kristy M. Theis is a freelance copywriter in Dallas, Texas. Her company, KMTcommunications, offers complete copywriting and content marketing services for businesses both large and small. Visit www.kmtcommunications.com to learn more.