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The Good Life with Debbie Dos Santos

“Travel is the only thing that makes you richer.”

Debbie Dos Santos believes travel makes the traveler richer, abundant with new knowledge, friendships, and beautiful memories spent with those you love.

RL: Is October too early to start thinking about spring break, winter ski trips or even a summer 2022 multi-generational family trip?

DD: Now is the time to plan! The earlier the better! Even as the world is finally re-opening, there are still only limited destinations to accommodate everyone. People are traveling as multi-generational families or in their “pods” of friends, so it is important to plan early for availability, along with being able to have accommodations near each other.

RL: You have a unique strategy for helping clients plan their next trip, not just about the where and how.

DD: It starts with collaborating on the vision of what my clients see as the experience, feelings, and memories they want to have for their trip. The upfront conversations are key for me to design their travel programs. The visions can be from couples wanting to reconnect, to grandparents seeing their families laugh and enjoying a new experience together, to working with a long-term strategy to check off bucket list destinations. My main job is to help pick out the destinations and the experiences to make those dreams come true.

From there, I utilize my experience and decades of building and cultivating connections with properties, suppliers, and tour operators. It is the relationships that I have in the industry and the behind-the-scenes work that goes into each trip that allows my clients to have top-notch treatment and best possible travel experience. And most importantly, the safety and confidence to travel in the current times with assistance in entry requirements, testing, and insurance.

Q:  As a trusted advisor, you have clients who have grown up enjoying your amazing spring break or ski trips, and now you find yourself advising on their honeymoons. That must be so rewarding. What’s popular this fall?

DD: “Wellness trips” are my most requested trip by all ages and groups. Normally thought of as spa and yoga retreats, the definition has evolved. After so many have been cooped up at home for a year, trips that restore mental and physical health are a priority. Travel itineraries now include hiking and exploration (a culinary class or a focus on connecting with other cultures). Interestingly, I am now receiving several requests from corporations for retreats to reconnect management and employees after a year of distancing.

RL:  Your business is very personal and relationship-based and not transactional. Clients often become wonderful friends. You can keep an eye on experiences, destinations, special promotions, and key dates such as birthdays and anniversaries to provide inspiration for those who love to travel. What are three hot destinations we should know about, here in the southeast, nationwide and internationally?

DD: Close to home, I recommend Blackberry Farm for the mountains and The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island for the beach. My clients get 15% off at BBF plus a $100 spa credit, and at The Sanctuary they receive breakfast at Jasmine Porch, $100 resort credit, sparkling wine and almost always an upgrade.

In the U.S., look at California Wine Country! The new Montage Healdsburg is the property of choice. Sitting on 258 acres of rolling vineyards, the resort feels completely secluded but its central location near the Russian River and Alexander Valleys makes heading out for wine tasting at wineries such as Jordan and Medlock Ames super easy.

Internationally, Croatia has all you would want of Europe from outstanding food and wine, adventure, landscapes, culture, hipness, and history wrapped up in one. Croatia is a great value in comparison to other European countries that are opening. Most importantly, all the hospitality workers in Croatia have been vaccinated to travel with confidence for those who are ready.