Derek Schemonitz DS

Pittsburgh, PA United States
Travel Specialties
  • Independent Tours
  • Escorted Tours
  • River Cruising
  • Beach & Sun
  • Safari

Selling Travel Since
  • English
  • Italian

My Background

My name is Derek Schemonitz and I have been working as a Travel Advisor in the travel industry as my profession for my entire adult life (since I was 20).

It all started in 1999 when I went for an interview at Ponzio International Travel. A family owned and operated Italian Travel Agency in Pittsburgh's suburb of Mt. Lebanon. Mr. Richard Ponzio who to this day is a very close & personal friend of mine, gave me a chance as a rookie inexperienced and no international travel under my belt a position as a Travel Agent for his agency. I continued working for Ponzio International Travel for 12 years, until 2012. During my tenure with Ponzio, I became extremely well traveled and an expert in Italy (Certified by the official Italian Tourism Office) and Europe (many other official certifications earned by tourism boards), among other international destinations. 6 years into my career with Ponzio in 2006, I was made Agency Manager and ran the day to day operations, accounting, back office, and well as still being a full time front office Travel Agent. This continued for an additional 6 years until 2012. In late 2012 Ponzio International Travel merged. At that time full time staff were offered a position with the merged agency to stay on or leave the agency. I was the only agent who agreed on terms to go with the merger.

From 2012 to the end of 2018, I worked as the lead International Tourism Consultant & Specialist. Throughout those 6 years I became more well traveled and picked up additional expert certifications and specializations in the field. At the very end of 2018, I was headhunted by a industry firm who looks for agents ready to step into the luxury market. This firm informed me that a Virtuoso Agency in the Pittsburgh market was very interested in me, and was I interested in making a move? At first I was hesitant and uncertain. Happy where I was and the compensation I was making on average. But this was an enticing opportunity to advance in this industry. I accepted the interview and within weeks I was offered a full time position as a Luxury Travel Advisor for the Pittsburgh Branch of Avenue Two Travel (known as Gulliver's Travels). I accepted this offer and started within 2 weeks in Jan of 2019.

While my position as a Luxury Travel Advisor my make some of my loyal repeat clientele think I would not touch 4 star travel arrangements, nothing could be further from the truth. I handle 4 and 5 star travel arrangements of all types. While my specialty over the years has become more in the customization & planning of travel arrangements, I handle all travel arrangements.

Throughout my career I have made excellent local contacts worldwide for private local guides, drivers, and exclusive service arrangements.

Who are my clients?

Well you are. :)

My clients mainly consist of those living in the Pittsburgh and surrounding area market. Though I have clientele elsewhere in US as well. This year moving into the luxury market I've secured several millionaire clientele in Manhattan & Pittsburgh market. My clients are everyone from CEO's, Dr's, Lawyers, Family & Small Business Owners, Executives, Families, Couples, Friends, Retirees, Gen X, Baby Boomers & Millennial's. From a $3,000 one week all inclusive vacation for 2, to a $100,000+ international travel group, I do it all for you.

I'm available on request and if agreed to, for local Travel Nights, Cruise Nights, etc.

Where you organize a local get together with your company employees, local groups, church groups. library groups and I come out discuss a potential trip.

Please reach out to me to initially discuss and organize these travel nights.

I love traveling and I love selling travel to you. At times I'm just as excited as you are when I'm planning your amazing travel itineraries and vacations!

My clients travel feedback can be found on my website:

Places I Have Traveled

Reviews and Recommendations for Derek Schemonitz


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Very good

By: Ro

Reviewed on: 01 Jun 2019

He was very knowledgeable and very thorough.

Italy June 14-June 24

By: Bella

Reviewed on: 09 Jul 2019

I was satisfied with Derek's knowledge of the towns we wanted to see. He gave a great overview in our pre-trip summary. He did not seem to be aware that some of the chauffered car service was subcontracted, especially in Rome, where we had some difficulty. Most of the other arrangements were trouble free. The 3 hotels we used were modern, clean, and accomodating to some of our requests. One BIG thing that we were suprised at was that all 3 hotels did NOT supply facecloths/washcloths. When we inquired about them, we were told to either use the large(r) handtowels for washing our faces/bodies. This must be a european tourist-y thing since other travelers mentioned that to us as well. We had no problems with the train & plane reservations. The Rome and Toronto airports were huge with much walking to the gates. The vendors obviously wanted to get the last tourist $$ before boarding. In both of those airports we had to show our passport 5 times.

Travel agent review for Derek Schemonitz

By: Steve D

Reviewed on: 28 Aug 2019

Derek is the very best travel agent. Derek has arranged 9 trips for us and each trip has been excellent and without any problems due to his great expertise. I would not use any other travel agent but Derek and would very highly recommend Derek to other travelers. He is very friendly, knowledgeable and professional. Derek has first hand knowledge of many of the places that we traveled to. Derek will surely be your number 1 travel agent in the years to come.
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Not Recommended


By: mondo

Reviewed on: 18 Oct 2019

Never talked to him.
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Not Recommended

Poor customer service

By: Cynthia

Reviewed on: 02 Dec 2019

This was the most frustrating travel planning experience ever.....and I am very well-traveled. Derek never got to "know me", did not take the time to learn about what we really wanted to accomplish, and rarely had answers to questions easily. He was not forthcoming with information, but instead I had to prod him when I would not hear from him. Unfortunately, his response was "I had no idea you were a president of a foundation and that you traveled so much....we usually allow clients to get in touch with us". That is poor customer service. Upon asking the names of wineries we might fit in Tuscany, I received the most bizarre answer...."our arrangements are not revealed until we are there". Most ridiculous thing I ever heard of....I wanted to know which ones they might be..... As I had some specific ones in mind. The last straw was the mix-up with our room upon arrival in Rome at the Inn at Spanish Steps.... Only one night instead of 3! Inept and unacceptable.
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Another one for the books

By: Pghtravelers

Reviewed on: 08 Dec 2019

This is our 4th oversees trip that Derek has helped us plan and it was amazing. We will continue to use him to help us plan future trips as well. We had a few hiccups on this trip with the name that was attached to a few of our tours, but not sure if it was due to Derek or the company he used in Australia (Swain), but it was resolved quickly and we were completely thrilled with all of our tours.

Very Helpful and Insightful

By: Nate

Reviewed on: 23 Feb 2020

Derek was very informative and helpful during our consultation. We worked with Derek to find a resort for our honeymoon trip to St. Lucia. We looked at multiple islands and resorts and finally settled for St. Lucia. Derek had a lot of great input on where to travel in the Caribbean. He was able to find us great rates for airfare and lodging. I would certainly recommend working with Derek!

Smooth Travels

By: Nomad19

Reviewed on: 15 Mar 2020

Very smooth, handle the one little glitch in a nano second.

Working with Derek Schemonitz, you will have access to:

  • - Special perks and extra amenities
  • - An experienced travel guide whom you can rely on before, during, and after the trip
  • - Exclusive luxury resorts and properties
  • - Once in a lifetime experiences

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  • Italy
  • Greece
  • China
  • Japan
  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • Norway
  • Spain
  • South Africa
  • Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Austria