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The view from the farm in Tuscany.

Featured Article

Touring the World

Leah Thrapp, Owner of FlipFlops and Adventures, Offers Trips of a Lifetime to Local Individuals

Article by Stephanie Hasbrouck

Photography by Leah Thrapp, Contributed

Originally published in Cross Timbers Lifestyle

St. Augustine said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” If this is true, Leah Thrapp has read volumes. And through her business Flipflops and Adventures, she’s helping others build an impressive library, as well.

Leah began Flipflops and Adventures in 2018, after working for more than a decade as a travel agent, because she wanted to give her clients more curated trips based on her own experiences.

“We traveled the world with our kids as often as possible, and I was always seeking out authentic and memorable experiences with the most interesting accommodations that I could find. I got frequent requests for the best way that my clients and followers could book these types of trips for their own vacations, but I didn’t feel that the options that were available for me to book for clients as an agent were the tours that my clients were requesting or the way I wanted them to experience the destinations. One day, inspiration struck, and the solution occurred to me that I should just take people there myself and show them the places I loved to visit the way that I love to experience them, and Flipflops and Adventures curated tours were born. We have been adventuring around the world ever since!” Leah says.

Leah has taken guests to Tuscany, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia, Corfu and the Czech Republic. Upcoming tours include Croatia, Spain, a Serengeti Safari in Tanzania, Zanzibar, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica, Crete and France.

Leah’s tour groups typically include 12 to 16 guests and run the gamut from couples to girls’ trips to family excursions. But her tours are anything but typical.

“My tours are focused on authentic experiences and delicious local food and drink,” she says. “I have people of all ages join me on our adventures around the world. Some of my guests are new to international travel and enjoy the comfort aspect of having a local expert to facilitate their experience. Other guests are super well-traveled people who have planned detailed itineraries many times before for themselves and travel partners and appreciate the value of showing up for a vacation and knowing that every detail is handled, so they can sit back, relax and just enjoy making memories.”

This past winter, Leah hosted a Magical Christmas Markets tour in Vienna and Salzburg, Austria; Bratislava, Slovakia; and Prague and Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic.

“It was a new tour I added to the roster this year, and it was so much fun! We visited different Christmas markets every day, where we shopped for locally made hand crafts, tasted all the holiday treats, drank mulled wine and hot cocoa and felt immersed in the Christmas spirit,” she says. “The markets are usually in the most charming locations of the city – like a castle courtyard with a view or the square around a cathedral. They are lively and cheerful with locals using them as a holiday gathering spot for a drink and a snack with friends and visitors that come from near and far to partake in the tradition.”

The Christmas Market tour also offered many other activities, including an apple strudel making master class at a palace in Vienna, private tours of the cities and castles and a horse-and-carriage tour of Salzburg to see filming sites from The Sound of Music.

The Market tour was such a success, Leah has begun planning another one for the 2024 holiday season.

This month, Leah is taking a group to a Food and Wine in Tuscany tour. She planned the Tuscany tour in partnership with local realtor Kris Wise, administrator of the Facebook group Flower Mound Moms and More. The tour was created exclusively for members of that Facebook community, and it sold out quickly.

“We will begin our delicious adventures in Bologna, known as the “Fat City” or the “Belly of Italy,” due to the abundance of famous and specific foods from the region like Parmigiano Reggiano, Parma ham, balsamic of Modena. While we are based in Bologna, we will take a day trip to a local family-owned caseficio to observe and taste the cheese-making process. We will also visit an acetia to learn about the fascinating process used to create balsamic and taste the varieties they produce. Next, we will head to Tuscany, where we will stay on a working farm, surrounded by absolutely breathtaking views, where everything we eat will have been grown on the property,” Leah says. “We will tour the winery, vineyard and farm, take a cooking class and have a private wine tasting.”

The group also will take day trips to Montalcino for a winery tour and tasting of Brunello and Rosso of Montalcino wines, go on a truffle hunting adventure in the forest, visit charming villages and take a gelato making class from the World Gelato Champion Chef.

To say that Leah has thought of everything is an understatement.

“I typically begin planning a trip around 12 to 15 months in advance. But some tours are in the making for two years or more because I will not plan a tour somewhere I haven’t been before. That means that a scouting trip may happen two to two and a half years before the tour is offered, so that I can visit the hotels, meet the people who will be working with me locally and trying out the local restaurants and sites.

“Carefully curated tours meant that I put a lot of effort through my own research, relationships I have built with locals and my own personal experiences traveling to create an itinerary that ensures that you will see the highlights and main sites of the destination, while also having the opportunity to be exposed to new, less typical sties or adventures.”

While every tour is meticulously planned, Leah says she leaves room for free time so travelers can create their own experiences, as well.

“I also love to mix in a few fun surprises along the way,” Leah says. “On occasion I have been known to add something fun like a surprise lunch in a castle en route to the next adventure, or maybe a fireworks show on the beach, or a custom cake for a special celebration like a birthday or anniversary.”

Luckily, Leah has more trips planned for 2023 for those who are intrigued. She will be traveling to the Islands and Highlands of Scotland in May; leading a Family Friendly Ireland tour in May; a Taste of San Miguel de Allende Foodie Tour in July; a Croatia private chartered yacht tour in September; a private two-week Highlights of Italy Tour of Rome, Florence, Tuscany and Venice in early October; Taste of Tuscany and Florence in late October; and a Fiji Island and Diving Tour Thanksgiving week in November.

And 2024 is looking just as adventurous with trips to Tanzania, Ireland, Salzburg, Slovenia, Czech Republic, France and more!

Though carefully planning so many trips is challenging, Leah says the reward is knowing her guests are experiencing a trip like no other.

“I hope my guests take away priceless new memories and a sense of having had a great adventure. I hope that they are inspired to see more places in the world and feel hungry for more experiences like the ones they enjoyed on my tour.”

For more information about Flipflops and Adventures, follow

Follow along with Leah and her adventures with her podcast The Flipflop Experience, as she speaks with guests around the world about food, family, travel, following your passions and entrepreneurship.

“I hope my guests take away priceless new memories and a sense of having had a great adventure."

  • Fun moments during a cooking class in Tuscany
  • Leah in Tuscany
  • Girls' trip to Florence
  • The view from the farm in Tuscany.
  • Leah and her family on the Serengeti on Safari in Tanzania.
  • Hydra birthday dinner with fireworks
  • Edinburgh castle
  • Tuscany Food and Wine Tour group
  • Red beach in Santorini
  • Sunset in Fiji
  • Sailing in Mallorca, Spain
  • Azores family trip
  • A private vintage tram in Vienna