Get to Know Gehring Travel: Louisa Gehring

With the new year and new team members, I thought now would be the perfect time to introduce you to the whole Gehring Travel team! 

I’ll kick it off with a little bit about me. 

  • What is your favorite destination?  The Caribbean. I have a different island depending on my mood, but my top favorites are Mustique (in St. Vincent & the Grenadines), St. Barth (a slice of France with a side of beach – who can resist?!), and Anguilla.
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    Sarongs at a local market in Mayreau, St. Vincent & the Grenadines

  • What is a must have in your carry on?  A huge bottle of water (maybe two, depending on the length of the flight!). My thirst always outpaces the drink carts on flights, and it’s unbelievable how dehydrated one gets on the plane. This also kills jetlag big time!
  • Window or aisle seat? Window –I have to see the world, and I love to create a cocoon for myself and never leave!
  • Beach vacation or city exploring?  I’m supposed to say city because I’m a travel advisor and should be all things cultural, but I’ll admit it – a good beach vacation can’t be beat.
  • Where is the next spot you want to visit?  Botswana and Namibia! I’ve done Tanzania and South Africa already, but Botswana and Namibia are both so diverse, pristine, and different that I am dying to go.  
  • Do you prefer to visit the same place, or do you like to switch it up?  When I travel for work I am always switching it up and usually only stay in the same place once. This means my brain is ALWAYS on and I’m always taking notes for clients. Because of this, when I really want to relax with my family on vacation, I like to go to the same place where I already have taken all the notes I need!
  • If you could only stay in one hotel/resort, what would it be?  That’s a tough one, and changes daily! Today, I think it would be at La Residence in Franschoek, South Africa. It’s the most gorgeous wine country estate with incredible farm to table food and service, just 1.5 hrs from the vibrant Cape Town. I dream about the sunsets there.
  • Favorite hotel amenity?  I’m not really into fancy soaps or toiletries. I think my favorite touch is when there’s a welcome amenity that’s personalized to me – for example, when the hotel knows that I prefer white wine over champagne, or if they leave a treat for my kids.
  • What is the most unique travel experience?  There are so many! One that I think about a lot is taking a private helicopter from Marrakech to the middle of the Sahara, and having your own private desert camp set up for the night, complete with butlers, toilets, and extraordinary food, wine, and even entertainment. I also think attending true once in a lifetime events – the right way – are the most unique, too. With the help of one of my partners, my family was able to attend the Queen’s 90th Birthday parade in London this past June. Seeing all of the Royals up close in personal, with the world’s best Pomp & Circumstance, was an experience we will never forget.
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    The Queen (with Prince Charles and Princess Anne behind her) and the Trooping the Colour (her 90th birthday parade) in June 2016

     

  • Who is your favorite travel companion?  It’s a tie –my husband (who doesn’t get to travel with me nearly enough, as most of my trips are for work!) and my travel advisor colleagues, who are varsity travelers. When you travel with a bunch of people who are automatically relaxed in airports, know how to pack light, and are open-minded, positive people, it’s amazing the difference it can make on a trip!
  • When did you fall in love with travel?  I’ve come from a traveling family so I’ve always traveled, but didn’t really love it until I was old enough to plan it on my own terms (ie, wasn’t being dragged around on the agenda my parents planned). Being able to meet people from different cultures and see the places I have only heard about was truly transformative. When I get off a plane in a new place, I always have the same inner monologue: “so this is {Africa/New Zealand/Vietnam, etc}!” It’s so amazing, every time.
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    Playing with South Africa schoolkids

  • What is the most memorable travel experience you helped to plan?  Last summer, I organized a private tour and dinner after hours in the Vatican for a group of clients. It was incredible for them to have the entire place – normally filled with thousands of visitors – to themselves in complete silence.
  • What is the best piece of advice for someone leaving the country for the first time?  Don’t overschedule, and don’t stress about being bored. As my international travel friends say, “that’s so American !”. Too many times I have clients try to schedule every minute, only to come back more exhausted than before they left. Make sure you have free days just to explore or to ask locals what you should do!
  • Where did you honeymoon?  One &Only Palmilla in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It was before I worked in the travel industry, but was the first time I had ever stayed at a luxury hotel on my own dime. Despite leaving with empty pockets, the service was unbelievable, as was the whole experience. It was then I knew that you do get what you pay for!
  • Do you fold or roll your clothes in your suitcase?  Roll! And put in packing containers so I can easily find what I need each day.
  • What is your best travel gone wrong story? Not really travel gone wrong, but more like I lost my mind. I am the most risk averse person ever, but after 10 days in adventuresome New Zealand (where skydiving with your family is almost a rite of passage), I convinced myself bungy jumping was normal and not crazy, and did it! My husband and mom were not impressed…
  • What else should we know about you? Fun Fact: my first daughter saw Mick Jagger (while traveling in the Caribbean) before she saw her own father (who was deployed for the first 7 months of her life)! I have two precocious, smart girls and one cuddly baby boy, am a proud UVA wahoo, and the wife of a former Marine – turned P&G supply chain extraordinaire who knows every single Febreeze scent.