"The trip was an absolute dream! My daughter arrived exactly as planned via Paris & trains. France was wonderful. But...Portugal - I didn’t expect to fall in love! Sincerely, the tours were extraordinary. I hope it’s possible to pass along our thanks & appreciation to the company who provided these. They were each the perfect combination of knowledge, professionalism but also warmth. The half day was Christina and the full day was Paolo. Anyway, a thousand thanks for your help & work - we had a ball!"
E. Russell, Austin

Hi Sally,

"I just wanted to say thank you again for another trip of a lifetime in Italy and Switzerland! We had such a wonderful time with my parents and my kids, truly an experience for all of us. I have copied good friends of ours on this email so they have your contact information. We want to recommend your expertise for all travel needs especially to Europe! Many thanks, Gwen & Dean, August 5, 2015."

"We made it home late last night. Everything was truly perfect. Little tired, but so happy and enlightened." 
Steve S, Austin, September 2016

I would like to recommend Sally Watkins to anyone needing guidance and assistance in traveling to Europe.  We presented her with a huge challenge – plan a 3 week trip for a family of 5 including three teenaged boys to London, Paris, Rome and Florence. 
We were amazed at the detailed itinerary Sally provided after vetting our interests and needs.  I can truly state that there were no incidents!  Every plane, train, tour and transfer was planned with a voucher and information provided.  We could not have had such a fun, educational European experience without Sally’s extraordinary assistance. 

NC, Colorado

I would like to thank you for planning a lovely trip to Greece.  My husband and I had a great time.  The hotels were in the perfect locations and I am very glad that we chose them because it made our stay more enjoyable.  The people were great, the transfers to/from airports, hotels, ferries, etc. all worked out fine, I felt very comfortable in Greece, and our pictures are spectacular!  We also went to some of the restaurants on your recommendation list and loved them.
Looking forward to you planning our next trip!
C Lee, Maryland

Sally -  you were instrumental in organizing our family's trip to Sicily in mid-June that included my father being able to visit his the birthplaces of his parents.  I wanted to thank you for helping make it a wonderful trip with great memories.  Our contact/guide, Pepe was beyond incredible and he also connected us with some other very knowledgeable guides for Palermo and Agrigento.  This made the trip so much more personal and entertaining.  I also was able to read a couple of your book recommendations, which made it even more enjoyable.  
Thank you for your expertise in making our trip one to remember!  I enjoyed working with you.
DV, Illinois

"Great trip and everyone singing your praises in my family.  I will never do a trip like this without you!  The joke in our family was if Sally handled it, then breakfast was included with hotel, and things were better. If mom handled, like Seville hotel, no breakfast."
Flores family, March 2014

"We worked with you for a trip to Italy in Sept 2005 and it was amazing and we are ready to travel to Europe again.  Your level of customer service and your connections are unmatched and we want that experience again."
B Thompson, Columbus, Ohio

Just wanted to let you know that we had a fabulous time in Italy.  The trip surpassed my expectations. Everything you had arranged went off without a hitch.  Thanks so much! 

Donna, October 2013

“The trip was great!! As usual, you helped us plan a wonderful trip. This time it was an "adventure of a lifetime". Words can't describe the safaris. We saw so many animals and beautiful country. The trackers and guides were very knowledgeable and elaborated on each animal. The sunrises and sunsets were fantastic. In Zimbabwe, we"Walked with Lions" and, we got to pet cheetahs (Cape Town) which was a little nerve-wracking, but we survived.  In all of our accommodations, we were treated wonderfully, for which you deserve credit.
Thanks for a wonderful trip!!!”
Lydia W, New Jersey
June 2013

"Oh, my gosh, Sally. This trip goes in the books as one of those "TRIPS OF A LIFETIME". Although, of course, I hope to have several more, these memories will hold me over for a very long time…. I could go on and on. Thank you again, Sally. You put together the perfect itinerary for our family"

Kathy and Jerry, Austin Texas


I wanted to call you five times a day, but Rick wouldn't let me. Italy was more than I dreamed it would be and You made it the very best it could be for US. We loved every minute of it and can't thank you enough. You are truly the best at what you do."

Kathy S, Austin, TX. May 2013

"Hi Sally,
Everything went great!  Everything you arranged and set up was fantastic.  All the hotels were great, the transportation was great, the tours, etc.  We can’t say enough how your planning made our trip stress free and wonderful."
Chuck and Cathy, Maryland

The girls and I can't thank you enough for helping us plan the most perfect trip to Italy and France. I described my dream vacation including where I wanted to go, eat, see and how we wanted to travel and you truly heard me.  Everything was exactly what I imagined.  Traveling with two young daughters I was worried about certain aspects of the travel but you were so proactive and new just what we needed to take any anxiety out of our trip. Thank you again for helping me make my 40th birthday and dream vacation come true! I will always recommend you to my friends!"

Jennifer R, Austin, July 2012

"I received a check from the trip insurance company today for $9,000. Not only did they send the check with incredible promptness, but the full amount I submitted was $9,012.40. I couldn't be happier. You should feel very comfortable recommending that trip insurance company to all your clients."

Tom K, Houstson

"We had such an amazing time.  Thank you so much for all your efforts.  All went incredibly smoothly - way better than had ever hoped or dreamed of!"

Geri H., Austin, TX

"SALLY!!! What can I say? Trip of a lifetime for my family – honestly. We had a fun, yummy, beautiful and fantastic time together – the fearless 7! You saved our trip!  Thanks again from all of us! We are already brainstorming on a trip for 2013."

Melissa, Austin, TX, July 2012

"Thank you so very much for all your help and seeing this longtime dream of mine come true in a fashion even I could never have believed."
Melissa and Kirke,  June 2012

"AMAZING!!!!  Everything was very smooth.  Thanks for all your great arrangements.   The guides were all really, really enjoyable.  The kids loved them all. It was a different experience to have a private guide tell us about the sites we were visiting.  It was fantastic.  The hotels were all perfect locations…. Thanks again for helping our family have such a flawless trip! "
Katherine and Mike, June 2012

"The trip was absolutely wonderful.  Everything ran as smoothly as clockwork.  Our transportation couldn’t have been better or more on time.  It is so great to look up when you arrive and see a sign with your name on it…. Thanks for all of your hard work.  Your ears must have been burning a lot as we were singing your praises many times."
Virginia and Lewis, June 2012

Sally Watkins is THE Central Texas expert in travel to Europe. On two different trips to Italy, I found her advice invaluable, and one of my former employees raves that Sally absolutely made her trip to Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast. I am an American Express/ American Airlines Platinum  frequent flyer to dozens of countries, and unless you have a LOT of time and really like to read hundreds of hotel reviews, figure out ground transportation logistics, etc., Sally’s resources (including an insider’s database on virtually any hotel on Earth that puts TripAdvisor to shame) and experience (she’s been everywhere…recently!) is worthy of consideration!
Dennis U.
   Austin, Texas

Thanks for everything, Sally;  all went well, and I appreciate your efforts on our trip.  I would recommend you to anybody that travels.  Your expertise makes things happen right.

John Ellis , Houston area

Thank you so much for all your help during the blizzard.  It was so reassuring to know there was someone helping to navigate the traps to get us to Venice as soon as we could.  You were wonderful. 
Jane, New York City

We want to thank you once again for a wonderful well-planned vacation.  We appreciate the expertise that you offer in creating memorable and rewarding trips for us and others too!!  What a special blessing you are!
Thanks again,

Mary and Greg from Georgia

Thanks for everything. You have been a pleasure to work with. I will highly recommend you to all my friends and look forward to working with you again on our next trip.  

Dr. John C, Long Island

Travel to Europe & the Volcano Ash Cloud

We had used Sally’s services before going to Italy about 7 years ago.  She did so well, I asked her again to help me with a trip to France and Greece with my daughter. Sally did a great job.  I was very busy with work and didn’t have the time to organize my travels or take care of the details.  I was able to tell her approximately what kind of trip I wanted.  I wanted to first go see where my daughter was living in France and then take her to Greece. We wanted to visit a small town walking to everything and an island in Greece. She worked with a cooperating agency in Greece to book the details and itinerary and she took it from there, checking in with me to be sure it met my desires and budget.  My daughter and I had a great trip to Greece.  We were very well taken care of, with on-time drivers at every arrival and destination, which was a great stress reliever to me.

However, it was at the end of the trip when Sally really came through for me and her dedication to truly taking care of her clients became so evident. Imagine taking the ferry back to Athens Greece after a lovely 10 day stay at Nafplio and then Mykonos. I only had my blackberry for communication. I got an email from Sally saying that the Icelandic Volcano ash cloud had potentially cancelled my flight for the next morning to Paris and then Atlanta.  I was desperate.  I had a full day of appointments booked for the day I got back.

Sally notified me that the airlines had rescheduled me to return on Thursday or Friday, instead of Sunday!  Sally and a fellow agent in her office worked quickly behind the scenes to get my ticket changed from Air France to Delta and wait-listed flying out of Athens, Greece to Atlanta, instead of through Paris.  And on MONDAY instead of the following Thursday.  They were miracle workers! She was in constant contact with me updating me, sometimes every few minutes, there were so many changes.

It was so good to know someone was looking out for us and monitoring the situation. When we had to stay in Athens another day, the local Greek travel agency, Joss Travel, found me a hotel.  All along Sally kept me informed and advised me on when and how to make sure I got the flight confirmed.  If you were not stranded in Europe then, this may not sound like a big deal.  Trust me when I say it was HUGE.  When we went to the airport at 5 am, as advised, there were people sleeping on the floor of the airport (no way my bones could handle that now). Because Sally and her staff had gotten me listed on the Monday flight, it was confirmed and I was re-ticketed with no problems. 

Then we could stay an extra day, enjoy ourselves, eat more Greek food.  Buy some more stuff,  confident we had a way to get home. Actually, as I write this, my daughter is still in Athens.  We are hoping the Paris airport is opening today.  One thing I know, Sally will keep me and  my daughter informed and Maria will be well taken care of. We are SO VERY GLAD we used a travel agent for this trip, and especially that we used Sally Watkins.  She was amazing and worked endlessly at solving our dilemma and communicating with me to answer all of my many questions. I would probably still be there, all day every day at the airport trying to figure out what and how to get home.

Laura L,  Georgia

Katie, Laura and David were exceptional.  They made the experience come alive for us.  You helped make this a vacation that we will remember for a lifetime for all the right reasons. 
Hughes Family, Allen, Texas

You are the best. And feel free to quote me on that.
Terri P, Metuchen , New Jersey

The trip was phenomenal.  It was a lot in a short period of time, but it worked out perfectly -- we wouldn't have changed anything.  Every city we visited was a good experience, and unique its own way, so it's hard to pick any favorites… Thank you very much for your efforts in planning this.  We truly enjoyed it, and will recommend your services to others.

Aaron K, Minnesota

The trip was awesome. Your hotel recommendations were great and we enjoyed them all….  Thank you again for all your efforts to make our trip memorable and hassle-free.

Mary Tavarozzi, Cortez, FL

There are no words to express how your talent and expertise made our trip the best ever! The memories we made are priceless. Many thanks for everything!

Bobbie Arlington,TX

Hi Sally,

Our Italy trip was absolutely indescribable. I didn't know if it could equal the last one but it certainly did and more! All I can say is wow. Haven't gotten to the trip report yet - soon I hope. In the meantime still savoring all of the delicious details. Have so much to tell you about! Just wanted to let you know how great it was and how invaluable your help, planning, advice and arranging was - couldn't have done it without you!
More later...
Fond Regards,

Nancy & Dale Nida

My husband and I decided just two months before our 25th wedding anniversary to go to Italy. Starting to research where we'd like to go to we found Sally Watkins through the internet. After reading comments from some of her satisfied clients we thought we'd give her a try. After many e-mails and some phone conversations Sally helped us plan a trip that was perfect for our style. The flights, accommodations, itinerary, car rental, dining suggestions and tips for each location were excellent. All the details were taken care of. We had plenty of flexibility to explore at our own pace… much better than a tour we think! We would use Sally again and recommend her to anyone to help plan a trip!

Faith and David

Warner,New Hampshire

Thanks again for all your help. You are the best travel agent I have ever worked with! (and you can put that on your web page!)

Sandie, Seattle

I could not possibly count all of the times that Jen and I looked at each other during the trip and said “Thanks, Sally!” for putting us in a good situation….. Your services were much more than just being a traditional travel agent, you carefully read through our objectives for this trip, and tailored it perfectly. This is not a skill that one naturally attains, it takes experience and hard work.

Roy and Jennifer Haverkamp, Leawood, KS

Well, you knocked it outta da park, my dear. Everything was quite fabulous! We didn't miss a beat anywhere. .... I've sung your praises to anybody and everybody so I hope you get some new referrals. Take care and thanks again for a truly memorable trip plan. I'll be calling the next time I spend the night across the street or anywhere else.

Billy Lovelace
Pensacola, FL

This letter is to thank you for all the great work you did in setting up my recent trip to Australia. The tour was fabulous. It was just the kind of thing I had in mind when I started thinking about this trip. It gave me the chance to see the real outback, just as I had hoped.

The hotel you selected in Sydney was great. It was very comfortable and centrally locatred. I was able to walk to everything I wanted to see.

Thanks again for everything. I'll be sure to call you when I start planing my next trip.

Jeff Allen
Austin, Texas

My husband and I have used Sally's services on at least six occasions and are always pleased. She knows our special needs and interests and makes our trips possible by arranging easy to do transfers and helpers along the way. She always has great ideas about restaurants and special out-of-the-way delights, because many times she has been there before us!

Mrs. Walker J. Duffie

When I began considering my trip to Italy, I looked for a competent Travel Agent who had some direct knowledge of planning such a trip. Failing to find anyone in my area who had such experience and who was at all interested or helpful, I turned to the Internet. There I found Sally Watkins ! After checking her credentials, I found, to my pleasure that she was very experienced. Sally helped me with many aspects of the trip, and was extremely generous with her expertise and information. We had a great trip. I would recommend Sally to anyone who needs knowledge, assistance and a good sense of humor—she is a real professional!!!!

Kathryn Whittington
Cincinnati, Ohio

YOU WERE FABULOUS!!! We had an incredibly great time! And all of your advice was right on the mark. It would not have been the same if I had not called you.

Scott Gale, Baltimore, MD

Sally designs trips for Frank and me...trips that are suited to our interests. When we started working with her, she gave us Sally's Notes, even highlighted in yellow to show us the things to absolutely not miss. Although we still like to "do" cities, we have enjoyed "doing" areas in recent years. For example, one of my favorites was a journey up and down the Hudson River in New York State. Sally selected interesting Bed and Breakfast stops close to historical sites, famous homes and places to see beautiful art

Knowing I would tire after a few days, she put us in the Tarrytown Hilton in the middle of the trip so that I could get room service to refuel. (She knows me well.) I enjoy reading about the areas, so she takes items that I have discovered and works them into the plans. Often she has already had similar travels and contacts better than I could discover.

Sally even hears the strange requests. She says that one of the best ones she has ever had was when we asked for a moonlight sleigh ride on a trip to Lake Louise, Canada - and it had to be during a FULL moon. Request granted! She listens and hears our goals for each trip. The trips are never rigid, but they have good details that we can use. She watches for unusual items (i.e., a once-a-year tour of old homes in Charleston, SC) that might be happening when we are in an area. The trips are special and they are just for us!

Sara Lively
Austin, Texas

We've been back from our trip now since Saturday evening and we're still going through Italy withdrawals. I wanted to e-mail you to thank you again for all of your help with the planning of our trip. It was a very special trip for us as it was our 25th wedding anniversary and also the first time going to Europe. Everything worked out great,,,,,,the flights, the car rental (pick up and drop off), the airport pickup by Max's brother, the cell phone, the hotels ,,,,,just everything was perfect. ...Also wanted to thank you for all of the notes that you sent us. The driving tips really helped as even though we didn't have too many problems (mainly getting lost and stuck in an alley where our car didn't fit) the pointers on reading the road signs was great. We also used your tips on restaurants. I don't have my sheet with me as I'm writing this e-mail but it was for a place in Rome that had a fixed menu for $20 per person. Hard to find but was one of our more memorable meals. Based on your tip when we were deciding to go to Pompeii or not, you suggested Ostia Antica. We did see Ostia with a small tour group of 10 people and it was fantastic...I'm missing the strong coffee of Italy and the smell of honeysuckle in the hilltowns. My wife is trying to figure out a way for us to move there.  We'll be certain to recommend your services to anyone who's interested in going to Italy. Thanks again for your help in making our trip and our 25th anniversary so special. "

Gary Weirzbinski,
St. Francis, Wisconsin

I was the organizer for a group of 5 women traveling to Italy last year. While researching the trip on the internet, I ran into Sally. She came across as friendly, easy to communicate with and very professional. Through her I was able to book train tickets, personal tours in Rome and arrange for transportation to and from the hotel. In addition to the "purchased" items, she was very helpful with suggesting the little extras that make a trip special. Not only was Sally well versed regarding Italy but other countries as well. All her suggestions have been on the money. Her fee structure is very reasonable and is in line with her services.

Jane Votel
Park Hill, Kentucky

Our family really enjoys traveling, and Sally has provided invaluable assistance in planning our trips. Because Sally has taken the time to find out what we really want, she has helped us customize our travels. As our children have grown and their traveling needs and capacities have changed, Sally has helped us find new, age appropriate activities across North American and in Europe. And she's also a whiz at putting together parent getaways at home and abroad!

One of the things we enjoy most is that Sally often finds charming, off-the-beaten-path hotels that are perfect for us! On a recent trip to Los Angeles, for example, she found a 1950s vintage hotel that had fabulous character, a great location, and the amenities that we needed for our girls. And three years ago, she placed the two of us (without kids) in a small, wonderful hotel two blocks from the Louvre.

We have recommended Sally to several friends, all of whom have been pleased with the result!

Kathryn Tullos and Mark Morris
Austin, Texas

It is a pleasure for me to be able to recommend Sally Watkins to you as a travel counselor. I have known Sally and used her services for almost twenty years, and her knowledge, patience, and depth of services never cease to amaze me. She has most recently assisted me and my family in planning two European vacations. Sally gets to know her clients and their preferences and priorities, and then takes care of all the details. Everyone benefits from her years of experience and the many clients she assists, because they have enabled her to develop quite a "global" network of lodging, destination, and general travel recommendations. She is an invaluable resource, and I can commend her to you with my highest recommendation.

Jan Pickle
Austin, Texas

Let me start by saying I was skeptical. I'd had enough bad experiences with travel agents to believe there were any good ones out there. I'd been through the agents who didn't listen, the ones who didn't return phone calls, the ones who made totally inappropriate suggestions and the ones who knew less about my destination than I did. I learned that I had more fun and a better trip by just planning our travels myself, since I know what my husband and I like and it usually isn't what all those travel agents tried to push on us over the years. And with the internet -- hey, who needs travel agents anymore?

Then I "met" Sally (who I've never actually met in person) via an internet travel mailing list. She seemed knowledgeable and thoughtful and responsive. She always seemed to give interesting, appropriate suggestions to people asking travel questions. I thought maybe, just maybe, I had finally found a travel agent who I could trust with my precious vacation time. But would she really bother trying to find the small hotels and bed-and-breakfasts that we prefer, even if they don't pay commissions? Would she want to deal with people who want to fly as cheaply as possible? Would she be responsive even to people like us who travel on a limited budget? The answer is a resounding "Yes!" She helped my husband and me with a couple of small trips and I was pleased with her work and her professionalism. Then came the ultimate test -- the trip to Paris that we'd been dreaming about for years. Sally was wonderful -- as was the trip. She really listened and understood just what we wanted. She found us terrific little hotels in just the sorts of neighborhoods we wanted to be in -- exactly the kinds of places I was imagining -- and she made great suggestions about where to eat and what to do. She booked our air travel, arranged transportation between the airport and the hotel, and gave us advice about getting around town. It was just the sort of trip I would have planned for us -- if I had the kind of unlimited time and resources that it would have taken for me to do it.

That's when I realized that, yes, even with the internet, there is a place for travel professionals like Sally -- especially Sally -- who truly know the destinations, who have the wisdom to make careful, thoughtful recommendations, the knowledge to help us sort through the mountains of other information available, and the expertise that the rest of us "amateur" travellers -- no matter how much we love to travel -- just don't have. I went from being a skeptic to being a fan. Sally's terrific and her consulting fees are worth every penny -- more, actually!

Maryellen Casey
Syracuse, NY

When my husband and I were invited to a friend's wedding outside of London, we decided to turn the trip into a 10-day vacation, bringing along our two-year-old son and my sister. Not every travel consultant would welcome the chance to design an affordable, relaxed, and special trip for three adults and an active toddler, but Sally was more than equal to the challenge. She coordinated flights (from three different airports), recommended an itinerary, got us a deal on a rental car, and found three absolutely perfect places for us to stay throughout our trip. We cooked for ourselves in an efficiency flat in London, practiced our croquet at a heavenly bed and breakfast in Bath, and enjoyed the comforts of a first-rate hotel right near the wedding location (and a safari park!).

We made all of our arrangements by e-mail, mail, and fax. Sally saw to every detail, sending us highlighted maps and notes on our itineraries. Her small fee was completely worth the cost. Her efficiency, expertise, and friendliness made our trip a wonderful experience.

Jennifer Costa
Arlington, Massachusetts

This summer, my mother, my 88-year-old grandmother and I finally went to Dresden, Germany and Prague, Czech Republic. My grandmother had been wanting to visit Dresden for years, and Prague, we heard, was a must when in Eastern Europe. Sally Watkins arranged every single element of the trip for us--airline tickets, being greeted at the airport, hotel stays, and tour guides. Her advice was impeccable--she introduced us to the delightful Gabriela, who was our cheerful and informative guide in Prague, and the enthusiastic Jorg, our charming and knowledgeable guide in Dresden. No details were overlooked. The three of us agree that this is THE way to travel! I'm never doing a non-Sally-Watkins trip again.

Kathryn Cousar
New York, NY

"Great time. Illuminating, exotic, educational. Logistics were flawless. Please pass on our appreciation. I would recommend the itinerary to anyone interested in Japan. Thank you for your help."
John, June 2018

Completing another leg of this trip tonight. Guides have been super, happy with the hotel, and we are having a blast.  Thanks for all the work you did to make this happen. 
Mignon  June 2018

"Good morning, Sally!
Our trip to Ireland was wonderful!  We appreciate your attention to every detail which made each transition go so well.  Every driver and guide was on time.  Every hotel was expecting us and had things ready…. We really appreciate your excellent planning of our 50th Anniversary trip.  We knew we could count on you, so Christine and I spent little time trying to plan our itinerary and we weren’t disappointed.  We’ll always cherish the memories we made in Ireland!"
Brenda R, May 2018

“Our trip was great. We had perfect weather. Machu Picchu was awesome and so was the Belmond Sanctuary. They also own the train so we have a special bus down to the train which beat standing in line for an hour to catch the regular bus. The wineries in Chile were very good and we selected 10 of the best so we got a real feel for the better wines that they have.. Our guides were all good. The cooking class was a real winner, a lot of fun. Thanks for all your help with another successful trip.
Terry C, May 2018”

On our way back and wanted to thank you for the excellent planning (as always) for our trip. Thank you for being excellent and having grace under pressure!  I'll keep in touch. 
Warmly: Gerry Ann" May 2018

"Thank you Sally.  It was a fabulous trip as always.  In Positano, we got one of the only 10 redone rooms and it was a step away from the pool.  I know to give you credit for that!  It was spectacular and I want to thank you so very much for all of your hard work and all of  your extra work on the luggage and other issues that weren’t your problem.  You’re the best!  Lara" May 2018

"We loved Copenhagen and Stockholm and thought our guides in all three ports were excellent.  We were especially glad we did the private tour of St. Petersburg because we covered so much more with our guide, Tatiana - she could cut through all the tour groups and get us in and around much faster. Personal guides can be expensive, but worth it to us.  We also loved the location of both the hotels in Copenhagen and Stockholm which were lovely, smaller hotels.
Tom and Robbie A," June 2018

"We had such a great trip, thank you so much!

The fjords are so stunning, they are the clear highlight, but truly the whole trip was just fantastic. All of the many moving parts you put together for us came together flawlessly, and we now have four favorite new cities...with Copenhagen at the top of the list. 

As we wrote you, Charlotte was the best guide we've ever had, I can't imagine anyone better suited for that role."

David and Chris, August 2018





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