Jenn and Bill Fuller, a South Florida-based couple, regularly work with Virtuoso travel advisor Arlene Feen.
In fact, the term "working with" probably doesn't do it justice -- on a recent trip to China, Ms. Feen accompanied the family and was the roommate of Bill's 87 year-old mother.
As you can see in the photo above, Jenn and Bill mark all their Virtuoso travels on a map in their home. In recent years, they've been to Kenya, Prague, a cruise from Barcelona to Istanbul, Vienna (more on that trip in one moment), and Quebec (among numerous other locations).
"From my perspective, traveling is fun," explains Bill. "It's a great way to be with friends and family and it's a great gifting opportunity."
"This past Christmas I gave my wife, as a surprise, a trip to Las Vegas where Arlene set us up for shows, a wonderful suite with breathtaking views and sightseeing by car and helicopter," says Bill. "Turns out my wife surprised me the same Christmas with a trip to Quebec where we stayed in a wonderful hotel, saw a winter parade, toured (but did not stay in) the Ice Hotel and watched from our huge balcony the annual canoe races across the river and ice flows. Both of us secretly were dealing with Arlene who had to guide us (without letting us know of the other’s secret plans) so we did not try to plan trips to different locations at the same time."
As other Virtuoso clients have noted
, this is one of the core values of using a travel advisor.
"Travel is different when you have relationships with people all over the travel industry," says Jenn Fuller. "Arlene has helped us in some extremely complicated situations in other countries where we didn't know exactly what to do. Even when you plan something like an African safari, every detail has to be taken care of. You need someone with those relationships in the industry. The knowledge is essential."
Her husband Bill counters: "When we come up with an idea of a place we want to go, we call or e-mail Arlene and it goes on a list. She puts together a plan and we work together to refine it based on our input. At base level, though, we think of ideas or places and Arlene does all the work!"
As for the Vienna trip, which both Jenn and Bill note as a memory they'll cherish forever: one aspect included a multi-course dinner in a Vienna ferris wheel car. The "winter wonderland" of Vienna near the ferris wheel was strung with Christmas lights, and everytime the ferris wheel car descended, a new course was put in front of the Fullers. Ms. Feen helped orchestrate this experience.
"It was the most magical Christmas surprise ever," says Jenn.