We had the good fortune of connecting with Samantha Schultz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samantha, how does your business help the community?
One of Mark Twain’s most famous quotes: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Since starting Plan Your Perfect Vacation over four years ago, my mission has remained the same: To inspire people to see the world. By “seeing” the world, I don’t mean simply checking things off a list, but seeing it through the eyes of the locals, immersing oneself in the culture, learning their views of the world, and becoming a changed person upon returning home as the result of it. This is why my agency is focused on customized, international trips that include life-enriching experiences that are matched to each client individually.
After traveling the world to over 60 countries and counting, I am fortunate to have explored different cultures and communities that have given me insight to share and to help my clients expand their understanding of the world on a bigger scale. I’ve traveled and participated in humanitarian activities, such as a Guatemalan school trip where I donated supplies to the children of a small, jungle village that did not have any resources.
I learned so much about the human spirit and the ingenuity and effort required to provide education that deep in the jungle; it is one of the many experiences that I hold dear from my travels.
On another trip to Egypt, I spent days learning from an active archeologist that had a break from working at an archeology site. He taught me my name in hieroglyphics and helped me learn patience as women are revered in a different light in their culture.
Then there was a trip to Cuba, where I spent multiple days with a local not just learning about the historical buildings and classic cars, but asking him to take me where he hangs out, watching a football (soccer) match in the basement of a hotel where only Cubans know to go and seeing the elation on their faces as their teams scored and the camaraderie that resulted as they cheered. This was one part of their everyday life that was so significant.
These are the memories and experiences that encourage open mindedness, curiosity, and a higher level of acceptance and thinking for people all over the world. This is my why and how I feel my agency helps the community around me as well as the world – we’re changing people one trip at a time. Even despite the challenges of 2020, we must look to the future for when we will be able to freely travel and gain that broad view of what is beyond our bubble. For as a society, this will ever more critical as we must come together for the greater good.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Plan Your Perfect Vacation isn’t what you think of when you hear the word travel agency. My clients are exceptional people who value their time and seek expertise when it comes to how they spend their precious free time. They’re looking for life enriching international experiences, many they may not even know exist. This goes beyond the old travel agency days of simply booking a plane ticket and hotel. I cater to clientele that expect more out of their vacations, coupled with a VIP level of service – this is what makes my agency different. By understanding the unique and creative wants and needs of my clients, they get their time back, maximize their investment, and benefit from my personal travel to over 60 countries.
Ultimately, I serve clients that want something beyond a transactional online booking, where you have no one to consult and provide expertise and value to truly identify if you’re booking the right trip, with the experiences that are desired. My clients are the type that hire out services that they realize they aren’t an expert in, because they are seeking more than the cheapest price, they are seeking the best value for their investment – most of us know travel isn’t cheap and why would you want to risk wasting money on something that isn’t the perfect trip, right? This all came about from my first international trip in 2002 when I decided to go completely out of my comfort zone and leave home for the longest I had ever been gone – 6 weeks to travel around Europe – alone. I was scared, nervous, excited, and apprehensive, but I decided to dive in and had no idea I was going to be hit with the travel bug as hard as I did. I fell in love with traveling. I wanted to experience everything, eat everything and meet everyone.
Travel is a huge part of who I’ve become today. Years later, after utilizing a travel agent for a trip to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, one that I really wasn’t sure where to begin planning, I found the experience working with that agent to be less than stellar. What was lacking is attention to detail, personalization, level of expertise, and ongoing care and support leading up to the trip. From there I realized this was a need that other people were looking for – that coupled with a desire to leave the corporate world, my agency was born in 2016.
Since that first trip in 2002, I’ve traveled to over 60 countries and counting. Anyone that speaks with me usually says they can feel how passionate I am about travel, but when my grandfather was in his final days and he told me “if I could, I would buy you a plane so you could see even more of the world” it made me realize that this is what I’m meant to do. I firmly believe that travel is incredibly life changing, that’s why my mission since day one has always been to inspire people to see the world.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’ve now lived in Colorado for a little over a year and without hesitation I can say that this state is absolutely amazing! Living in the Denver area is awesome because while it is a growing and bustling city, the relationships, connections and support from the community make it feel tight-knit where you are a are valued member and can contribute to so many important initiatives as it continues to grow. The people combined with the access to the natural environment, culture, arts, sports, and quality breweries have me ready to settle here forever. Anytime visitors come into town, our itinerary always includes going to a Rockies game – I absolutely love the vibe of The Rooftop and the buzz of the city during a game. From there a walking brewery tour is a must since we are fortunate to have some of the best beers brewed in the US – hands down! Cerveceria, Great Divide, and Odell are some of favorites to name a few. Getting to see the murals and artwork that surround the city is one of the best parts of exploring and seeing where the day takes you as you walk around. A couple overnights to Palisade for some hiking, peaches, and of course winery tours would be part of our itinerary. Sauvage Spectrum and Hermosa Vineyards would be high on the list for our tour as they have some of my favorite local wines, although the outdoor area to sit and relax at Park Mesa Vineyards is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Lastly, closer to home would include a day in Olde Town Arvada visiting the small locally owned boutiques, shops and restaurants, especially Bluegrass Coffee and Bourbon Lounge. From there a short trip a little more north to Four Noses Brewery would be the perfect cap to any day.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
It often takes the encouragement and push from others that see more within you, especially when we don’t see ourselves in the same light and don’t give ourselves credit for the gifts we encompass. While debating leaving the corporate world and starting my travel agency, I went through the doubt and lack of confidence that many wishful, wannabe entrepreneurs go through, even despite proven success in my career and life in the past. I am forever thankful and incredibly lucky to have the support of my amazing husband, Jeremy, that saw the potential in my skillset, my desire to challenge myself in ways only entrepreneurship can, and the push to continue to get better everyday. He is the reason I went full time into owning my agency and never allowed myself to fall back on getting a corporate job during tough times. He continues to be an advocate and cheerleader in the everyday ups and downs of small business ownership and I wouldn’t be where I am without him in this journey.
Jeremy Schultz @jdotschultz