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The Best Travel Agents for Families

The A-List is Travel + Leisure‘s annual selection of the world’s best travel agents and destination specialists, as chosen by the editors. Rely on these industry experts to plan the perfect family trip. For more about our methodology and how to apply, read How We Choose the Travel Agents for T+L’s A-List.

Julie Danziger

Look to Danziger for food-focused family trips, carefully customized to particular tastes and culinary restrictions. For a South Africa trip, she flew kosher meat by private plane to safari locations. For another client, she combed through restaurant menus to create the ultimate Italy trip for a gluten-free mom and children with nut allergies.

Best for: epicurean travelers, adventurers, luxury seekers

Extras: When half of a family party wanted to go camping and the others insisted on a plush resort, Danziger arranged for both: a full-size tent, complete with s’mores, lanterns, and a guitar for Dad to play were set up in the resort suite.

Other expertise: Culinary travel

Minimum daily spend: $500

212-329-7289; julied@ovationtravel.com; ovationvacations.com


Julia P. Douglas

Douglas has road-tested countless hotels, resorts, and, increasingly, private rentals, with her two young children in tow. She believes that with children, it’s all about experiential travel, and with that in mind she has a vast activity arsenal for itineraries from Germany to Kyoto.

Best for: luxury seekers, families, foodies/epicurean travelers

Extras: Whether you’re staying at a hotel or a private villa, Douglas can arrange to have baby and kid amenities—diapers and wipes, board games and favorite movies — waiting for you upon arrival.

Other expertise: Pacific Islands, Europe

Minimum daily spend: $500

312-574-1181; julia@jetsetworldtravel.com; jetsetworldtravel.com


Jessica Griscavage

Griscavage works with clients who range from couples taking newborns on first trips to parents celebrating college grads with a family vacation. She’s well versed in the joys—and challenges—of family travel because she’s often on the road with her own kiddo.

Best for: First-time family travelers, adventurers, luxury seekers

Extras: For a J. K. Rowling–obsessed family, Griscavage arranged a behind-the-scenes tour of London’s Harry Potter World, where the children got an up-close look at iconic film props and learned how creatures were brought to life with green-screen effects.

Other expertise: honeymoons

Minimum daily spend: $500

703-762-5056; jessica@mccabeworld.com; mccabeworld.com


Shawna Huffman Owen

Marrying a child’s educational interests with exceptional family-travel opportunities is Owen’s specialty. She is as adept with popular destinations like Italy or the U.K. as she is with emerging favorites such as Colombia and Guatemala.

Best for: education-focused trips, families

Extras: Owen is a master at bringing history alive with special experiences, such as a private tour of prison cells at Venice’s Doge’s Palace.

Other expertise: Italy and France

Minimum daily spend: $500

312-257-2988; shawna@huffmantravel.com; huffmantravel.com


Sam McClure

McClure is best known for planning extended around-the-world trips that typically run six months to a year. Not only does

she aid in the typical logistical challenges of travel but she and her staff also plan out students’ continued classroom curriculum so they don’t fall behind in school.

Best for: around-the-world trips, multigenerational travel

Extras: In line with McClure’s education-based thinking, her guidebook-like itineraries include sections dedicated to geography, religion, government, and local customs.

Minimum daily spend: None

512-495-9495; sam@smallworld.travel; smallworld.travel


Keith Waldon

Waldon, who has 30 years’ experience and has traveled the world over with his daughter in tow, recently launched Global CommUnity, a family-travel company specializing in educational and meaningful experiences that celebrate the world’s diversity.

Best for: families, foodies/epicurean travelers

Extras: When traveling with Waldon, the adventure starts before you board the plane: he’ll send you materials—dolls, storybooks, novels, movies—before takeoff to get kids excited and engaged.

Other expertise: food and wine travel

Minimum daily spend: $750

512-750-1012; kwaldon@departurelounge.com; nooneisforeign.com


Kimberly Wilson Wetty

Co-president of the elite firm Valerie Wilson Travel, Wetty has worked with family clients for decades and, in the process, has become an expert at planning activities for all ages.

Best for: multigenerational families, beach vacations, luxury seekers

Extras: Wetty is especially apt at working with time-starved parents who are balancing adult and kid-friendly priorities. A trip to the Louvre might be organized around a playful treasure hunt, or a tour of Paris might take on a new vibe in a vintage Citroën 2CV.

Other expertise: luxury cruises

Minimum daily spend: $1,000

212-592-1218; kimberlyww@vwti.com; valeriewilsontravel.com

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