Saturday Business Feature: Off to Neverland Travel®-Danielle Smythe | Hill Country Moms

Business Saturday Feature – Off to Neverland Travel®

My name is Danielle Smythe.

Where are you originally from and how long have you lived in the area?
I am originally from Brielle, New Jersey.  I have lived in Texas for ten years and in Wimberley for eight years.

Tell us about your business. Share as little or as much as you would like. This is your space to share with the community.

At the heart of everything I do is a passion for curating experiences that transform your travels into cherished memories. As your dedicated travel advisor and planner, I specialize in crafting personalized adventures that cater to your wants and needs.  Essentially, above all, I specialize in you!

With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to excellence, I take pride in turning your travel dreams into reality. From serene seaside escapes to vibrant cultural discoveries, each itinerary is a masterpiece of exploration. And when life’s unexpected waves hit, I’m here to help you navigate through them and ensure your journey stays on course.

As a mom myself, I understand the challenges of balancing a busy life. That’s why I’m dedicated to simplifying the travel planning process for fellow parents and families, be that for a multigenerational reunion trip or a much needed couples getaway.  Imagine spending less time crouched over a screen and instead having more time to connect and create lasting memories with your loved ones.

With a deep love for travel and a commitment to providing my clients exceptional service, I’m here to help you turn your wanderlust dreams into a reality. Let’s work together to uncover hidden gems, embrace diverse cultures, and embark on journeys that leave you and your family inspired and enriched.

Join me on this incredible travel adventure and let’s explore the world, one unforgettable experience at a time. Let’s plan together!

What brought you to open your business? What did you do previously?
Previously, I was a sailing coach and a teacher (ESL).   When we found out I was pregnant we decided that the always traveling lifestyle of a sailing coach wouldn’t be a good fit for our family.   In my new role as stay at home mom, one that I am very thankful to have, I found myself wanting something to call my own again.  It needed to be something with flexible hours, that I could do from home and most importantly be something that I was passionate and excited about doing.  Essentially, it needed to be something where I could continue to be a mom first and also have something that I could build and be excited about.

When did the idea of creating your business start? How long have you been in business? What was your inspiration to start?
About six years ago, a family member was planning a trip and she turned to me with some questions.  After she traveled, she asked me why I wasn’t doing this for a living.  That question resonated with me and I began researching how I could turn my love of traveling and my knack for researching and planning into a business.  In 2018, I signed on as an independent contractor with Off to Neverland Travel®.  Joining forces with them provides me with a wealth of support and resources (on top of my own) all the while allowing me to run my business as I’d like.  Five years later, I have had the pleasure of working with families, couples and travelers of all ages as they set off on their adventures.  I truly love nothing more than knowing that I have played a part in helping my clients in finding their own Neverland.

What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?
I love the freedom and flexibility of running my own business. It gives me the opportunity to be creative, problem solve and build something that I hope is of great value to everyone I work with.  It can get hectic at times but my love and passion for what I do and my desire to give my clients the absolute best makes it all worth it.

What makes you unique?
I have competed in the sport of sailing since I was 9 years old.  This sport has taken me to events around the world representing the U.S.A. not only as a sailor but also as a youth coach.  The effects that traveling my entire life have had on me are countless.  My love for meeting new people, learning about new cultures and visiting new places has been fostered throughout almost all of my life and I see these to be some of my greatest attributes in my work as a travel advisor and planner.  While my racing days have slowed (I do still get out there every now and again), I get to continue to be a part of the sport through my husband, Charlie, who is a professional sailor.

Can you tell a few things you offer?
Off to Neverland Travel® is dedicated to offering a wide array of services designed to elevate the travel experience for each client.  Personalized itineraries are carefully crafted to align with individual interests, preferences, and budgets, resulting in truly unique and unforgettable journeys. Off to Neverland Travel® offers clients the following:

  • Personalization: Just as each journey is unique, so are your travel preferences. Your dreams, desires, and group dynamics are at the heart of every recommendation I make. Your involvement in the planning process is paramount, ensuring that every detail aligns with your vision for an unforgettable adventure.
  • Dedication: From the initial planning stages to your safe return home, I am your steadfast advocate. Whether your trip goes smoothly or encounters unexpected twists, I’m your first – and typically only – point of contact. No automated messages or long waits – just a dedicated ally who is by your side, ready to assist and support you throughout your travels. Above all, I am here to serve you and your interests not a destination nor a supplier.
  • Experience: I believe in firsthand knowledge. By visiting as many destinations as possible, I ensure that the recommendations I provide are based on genuine experiences. Engaging in the planning process regularly keeps me attuned to evolving policies, insider tips, and travel tricks that directly benefit you.
  • Knowledge: Continuous learning is the cornerstone of my practice. I invest in ongoing education, attending various training sessions, conferences, and workshops. This commitment keeps me well-versed in destination insights, up-to-date trends, and industry best practices, ensuring you receive the most informed and current guidance.
  • Resources: I have direct access to an extensive network of travel vendors, support services, and crucial information as things continue to evolve in the travel world. Leveraging all of my resources, I am able to tailor your experiences to be seamless, enjoyable, and keep you in the know throughout the planning process. Additionally, I’m connected to a vibrant community of fellow advisors, expanding my resources to better serve you.

 What is your favorite part about what you do?
I love sharing my passion of travel with others.  Knowing that I am able to help others embark on unforgettable adventures and create memories that last a lifetime is truly fulfilling.  When a client shares photos of their trip with me and I see all of the smiling faces, that is the biggest thank you I can get.  I understand how precious our time and hard-earned money is and I carry that weight with me as I work to ensure that it is all spent in the most prudent of ways.  I take that responsibility very seriously and I love nothing more than being there as a client’s guardian of travel.

What does the future look like for you and your business?
I hope the future looks generational in that while I am planning trips for parents now that down the road, I am still here to plan the kids’ vacations when it is their time to explore on their own.  That type of trust, support and dedication from my clients and their families will mean that I have done my job well.

In the meantime, I do just hope that when people are out there looking to plan their vacations that they understand the value of having an actual human on the other end of the line.  Someone that is looking out for them and not their own bottom dollar.  Someone that considers their own success directly correlated to the success and happiness of their clients.

What advice would you give to others that want to start something new?
Go for it!  Nothing comes without hard work, setbacks and even failures.  Case in point, I was in my second year of this business when 2020 shut down all travel.  But even when things don’t work out the way you think or want there is great value in the journey.  And you truly never know until you try!

Any advice for juggling all the things in daily life?
One thing I try to remind myself each day is to show myself grace.  We are always told to show it to others but rarely are we told to turn it around to ourselves as well.  Let yourself off the hook of getting it all done and checking all of the boxes.  I guarantee you a bunch of those boxes can wait!  And to go with that, don’t let anyone else make you feel like you aren’t doing enough.  At the end of the day, when I’m feeling less productive, I try to remember to ask myself: Have we learned? Have we laughed? Have we loved?  If I can answer those three things then it was a great day!

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