Those who know us well know that we have a love affair with France. It started with a visit to Paris in 2007 where we fell in love with the city. It has since expanded to the entire country after numerous visits to other parts of France. If we could go there every 3 months, we would be so happy. If we could ever live there, it would be a dream come true. Every time I have gone to France, we come home inspired. Typically, we return with some personal goal inspired by our visit. This time we came back with a goal for our business. This is our letter to the universe to announce our latest goal.

The big reveal

For the last 5 years, we have focused our business on beach and cruise vacations, primarily for adults only. We have developed a great knowledge, network and book of business for all-inclusive resorts (especially in Mexico), Caribbean and Alaska cruises, Destination Weddings in Mexico or Caribbean and other groups traveling together to these areas. We love those aspects of our business and will continue to assist clients, past and future, for those vacations. You can consider this Goal #1 that was formulated 5 years ago with the start of Specially Designed Travel. Goal #1 has been met and will continue to be met. It is time for Goal #2.

After our recent trip to France, we have decided to become the go to Travel Advisors for travel to France. To serve clients best, we will also include the surrounding countries of Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom (London & Edinburgh primarily). We have trusted Travel Advisor partners we can partner with should your desire run into Germany, Switzerland, Ireland or other Western European countries. We will continue to be focused on trips for Adults Only who are looking for 4 to 6 star experiences. Groups and Destination Weddings will continue to be part of our business to these countries.

We hope to build upon our prior success in Mexico, the Caribbean and Alaska. Our plan is to keep those areas of business but add in a Europe focus. Our main focus is going to be all things French. There are so many opportunities for different trips. There is the week in Paris or other specific regions in France. There are the river cruises that travel the Seine (Paris/Normandy), the Rhône and Saône (Burgundy), the Dordogne (Bordeaux). There are barge cruises where you can ride a bike along the path faster than the barge floating along beside you which becomes your room for the night while exploring the beautiful countryside. There are Castle Tours and the Cathedrals to see. There are the visits to Normandy, the American Cemetery and the WWII beaches. There is the trek to the amazing Mont St. Michel and the oysters in Arcachon. There are the Mediterranean Cruises that include more than just France. There is food and wine beyond compare. There is art and fashion . There are fields of lavender and the glamour of Cannes. Can you tell we went to our happy place there for a moment? We so want to share that happy place with the world.

For those of you who have been past clients, we thank you for your business. We adore our repeat clients. It means the world to us when you trust us with your trips time and time again. One such client just returned from a three week trip through France. She was texting me the entire way through France. Sharing her photos and experiences with me. It was a wonderful trip for her and just supported our decision to move the focus of our business to France.

For those of you who may become clients, we welcome your business and pledge to do the absolute best we can to make you feel special, valued and to take the burden of travel planning off your plate. We want to be your trusted, go to every time, travel advisors. We want all of you to know that we will always be here for you, your friends, family and others you might refer for to us.

Repeat clients who trust our judgment are the type of business we are trying to build. We also build our business on referrals. We’ve been told time and again that we just need to be bold and ask for those referrals. So we are doing that now. While we will always be working with clients in the areas of Goal #1, we are putting out to you (AKA the Universe) our request for personal business and your referrals who want to plan a trip to France and surrounding countries of Italy, Spain or the UK. We pledge to do our best for you.


Tina and Stephen Shands

Specially Designed Travel