Odyssey Travel

CONTACT US: 386-672-8113 * 904-570-3000 * 800-333-8113 OR EMAIL US

Travel is experiential, so you want a fantastic travel professional to ensure that your next vacation or trip exceeds your every expectation and delivers the most rewarding travel - and life - experience possible.  Our staff consists of highly trained, well traveled and experienced Virtuoso travel advisors who have completed professional certification programs, making them experts in their fields.  We know that you rely on our recommendations, so we spend as much time as we can traveling, and are happy to share our knowledge, experiences and valuable tips.

5 Reasons You Need a Travel Advisor

Karen UpchurchKaren Upchurch
Email: karen@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
Karen is the owner and destination specialist for luxury travel. Karen's favorite odyssey is traveling with her family, including her grandchildren, and seeing the world through their eyes.
From Africa and Europe to the Far East, Karen and her family recognize that each destination has something very special to offer. Karen has chartered sailboats off the coast of Croatia and the Turquoise Coast, jogged the Great Wall of China, climbed Machu Pichu, toured the vineyards of South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and South America and biked through North Vietnam.

Karen is a travel visionary, opening Odyssey Travel in 1985. She has skillfully guided the agency throughout the years with her passion for people and for travel. Her vision for Odyssey Travel is to be the agency that does "what ever it takes" to give the client the best possible experience. Karen has traveled the globe and offers her clients personal experience, unparalleled service and a commitment to excellence.

Karen's travel destinations include Argentina and Chile, Poland, Croatia, Italy, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, China, Viet Nam, India, Europe (extensively), Africa, Peru and Machu Pichu, Bermuda, Canada, Greece and Turkey.

Alan Abelson
Email: alan@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
Alan has more than 21 years’ experience in travel planning and has become a Certified Sandals Specialist, Costa Rica Specialist and cruising advisor. His special interests include beach and sun, destination weddings, and honeymoons. Alan is very fortunate to be the designated Advisor for the Make A Wish Foundation for Northern and Central Florida.
Alan recently visited Italy and loved Rome.

Paula Besselink
Email: paula@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
Paula has more than 35 years of customer-focused business experience. She fully understands the importance of your travel plans and "dream trips." If your favorite agent is unavailable, you can trust that you are in good hands with Paula. She will field any questions or details related to your travel needs in a timely and professional manner.

Paula has traveled extensively in Europe, including Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. She has also made trips to Hawaii and Alaska. Closer to home she has cruised multiple times to the Bahamas and Eastern Caribbean. 

Paula joined us as our Administrative Assistant in the Fall of 2011 and has been an excellent addition to the Odyssey Team. Her cheerful attitude and bright smile rub off on everyone around her.

Marian BlessingMarian Blessing
Email: marian@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties

Marian's many years of experience in the travel industry has given her the ability to make your travel dream come true. Her specialties are tropical destinations worldwide, in-depth European vacations, multi-generational trips and milestone celebrations. Creating an exceptional and memorable vacation for you is her goal, and through the use of our Virtuoso member hotels and resorts, cruise lines and tour operators she is confident that goal will be achieved or exceeded.

Marian is a Caribbean Destination Specialist, and although the Caribbean holds a special appeal, she has traveled to England, Ireland, Wales, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Italy, Greece and Turkey, Hawaii, Acapulco, Puerta Vallarta, Cancun, Cozumel,Grand Cayman, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, Barbados, Aruba, Curacao, Bahamas, Antigua, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Panama and Canada. She has cruised on many lines as both a passenger and a group host.

Kathy Broderick
Email: kathyb@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
Kathy is in our Jacksonville office and has almost 20 years' experience in the travel business, including 10 years with Virtuoso. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY & now loves being a resident of Northeast Florida. She lived in Hawaii for 3 years while her husband served in the Navy.
They have enjoyed many cruises to the Caribbean and Mexico, and love the style & luxury of the small ship cruising of Alaska. Kathy has also traveled to London and is a specialist in Ireland, Hawaii, New York, Las Vegas, and cruises – Princess, Holland America, Carnival and group cruising, as well as corporate travel planning.

Bea ClaggBea Clagg
Email: bea@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
For 35 years, Bea’s passion and dedication to travel have come from her love of making other people’s dreams come true. "I love what I do. It is my goal to make your vacation experience flawless and extraordinary. It is very rewarding when my clients come home and tell me they just had the best vacation of their life!”

Bea's travel career began in Germany, where she was born. She has extensive background in all types of travel, and is an expert in European travel. Bea is a CTC - Certified Travel Counselor, ACC - Accredited Cruise Counselor, Princess Cruises Commodore, Regent Seven Seas Cruise Consultant and a Royal Caribbean Expert.

A savvy cruise counselor, Bea has planned world cruises or trips to remote and exotic destinations. She has helped clients plan 'around-the-world by private jet vacations,' escorted tours, and every detail of private tours. Customer service is paramount to Bea and her many repeat clients bear witness to her quality service.

Nancy Cushing
Email: nancy@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
Cruise and Adventure Travel is Nancy's forte - she enjoys expedition cruising, trekking, bicycle tours and safaris. Her favorite odysseys were heli-hiking the Canadian Rockies, cruising the Galapagos Islands and trekking in Nepal.
Nancy has been traveling the world since she was a child. She sailed on her first cruise in 1970 and hasn't stopped since. She has now been on more than 50 cruises and has traveled extensively all over the globe.

Robin Fleming
Email: RobinFl7@earthlink.net

Interests & Specialties

Robin's first childhood memory is walking down Main Street at Disneyland in California in the late 1950s. She has since stayed at all the resorts at Disney World in Orlando, Disney's Hilton Head Resort in South Carolina, Disney's Vero Beach Resort in south Florida and Hawaii's Aulani Resort. She recently graduated from the College of Disney Knowledge, attaining special knowledge of Disney Destinations, and is now ready to plan a very magical trip for you and your family.

Her other interests and specialties include train travel (in particular the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada), hiking in our National Parks out west, snorkeling and diving in the Florida Keys and the Caribbean - where she has visited most of the islands, and horseback riding. She enjoys cruising too, and would love to help you discover Adventures by Disney, sailing with AmaWaterways - Family River Cruises, which currently offers 8 destinations in 4 countries.

Robin's hotels and resorts experiences include the Plaza and the Waldorf Towers in New York; the Sundance in Utah, Hotel del Coronado near San Diego, the Mission Ranch Resort in Carmel, the Stephanie Inn in Cannon Beach, Oregon, and the Wackinnish Inn on Vancouver Island. She also enjoys staying at the beautiful and historic hotels in Canada and Bermuda.

Cathryn GarvinCathryn Garvin
Email: cathryn@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
Cathryn is our destination specialist for corporate excursions. She is an expert corporate advisor, providing travel services for a number of companies and colleges throughout the United States. Cathryn has a keen understanding of the airline industry and can offer the best schedules and fares for her clients. She is very familiar with all of the hotel, car rental and airline loyalty program and ensures that her clients are awarded all of the benefits therein. Cathryn's dedication to her clients' best interests is an invaluable asset which has benefitted many.
She has been enthusiastic about traveling for almost 20 years. She holds a BA in History, and her passion is studying the fascinating history of other countries. Cathryn's favorite odyssey to date was traveling through mainland China.

Jeanne Huth
Email: jeanne@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
Jeanne is a luxury travel specialist. She has traveled the world over and stayed in some of the finest resorts, including St. Andrews, Glen Eagles and the Inverlochy Castle in Scotland, the Luna in Venice, the Hotel Bora Bora, the Ritz Carlton in Jumeirah, and the Fairmont Nob Hill in San Francisco.

Her knowledge and thirst for experience make her a specialist, advising and planning travel for the most discriminating clients, those who love to be engaged in their travel planning. Jeanne can arrange details that are challenging for even the most savvy travelers, such as breakfast at dawn on the Serengeti, exploring the Black Abyss in New Zealand, bicycling through Viet Nam and dune boarding in Mozambique.

A native of Oregon, Jeanne's career started with a small agency there, expanding to 30+ years of travel planning, including an agenda for large groups of race car drivers and their cars to travel to Japan and South Africa. She has worked with individuals, groups and corporate travelers, and says she finds her career exciting because "I learn something new, absolutely every day. I get to see the world, and it is truly a gift to help people create lifetime memories." 

Jeanne has no favorite destination. "Everywhere I've been I take some magic home with me." She has visited Dubai, South Africa, Hawaii, Mexico, Japan, Tahiti, Europe (extensively), British Isles, Greece, Turkey, and Croatia, with heli-skiing in Canada, and sand skiing in Dubai.

Meg Kimble
Email: meg@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties

Meg started her career as a Travel Agent in 1979, and moved into management in 1982. She owned and operated Advantage Travel in N.J. from 1987 to March 2001, when she relocated to Florida.  Meg enjoys researching and planning independent travel arrangements for her clients. She has had the pleasure of serving as Travel Agent for Jesel Valve Train and its sponsored Pro Stock Race Team, as well as the Colorado Invitation Motorcycle Rally which is held outside Aspen. Meg is very experienced in various aspects of international racing.

Meg's specialties and interests cover all-inclusive and customized travel, independent and escorted tours, cruising (especially river cruising), beach vacations, family travel and honeymoons, sports and outdoor adventures, including the arts, antiques, festivals and events. Meg has attained the Sud de France Travel Academy certificate, Belgium/ Brussels-Wallonia certificate, and Puerto Rico Certificate of Achievement. She recently completed the Adventures by Disney course, and is experienced in all aspects of travel, both domestic and international.
Meg's favorite travel destination is Switzerland. Her husband was born in Geneva and is fluent in French, so France is a close second. Their many trips to Britain, Meg says, "about nine," have always been "a pure delight." She has also visited and loved St. Barth's, Bermuda, Hawaii and various other Caribbean destinations, South America, Hawaii, Canada,  Mexico, Greece and Italy.
One of their most memorable trips was sailing on The Rosa Barge, a Dutch Clipper that has an 8 passenger and 3 crew capacity. "A trip made in heaven, with gourmet food, wines and exceptional service."

Deb on the Great Wall of China - Visted with Abercrombie & Kent in 2011Deb Knopf
Email: deb@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
Deb is a Luxury Travel Specialist, Caribbean Destination Specialist, Regent Cruise Specialist, and Sandals & Beaches Specialist. She has traveled the world and brings a wealth of experience to the travel table. Her adventures list includes African safaris, cooking tours of Italy, eco tours of Costa Rica, and castle stays in the U.K. She has planned destination weddings and romantic, memorable honeymoons.

She recently completed her first trip to Fiji and discovered the incredible beauty of its more than 300 islands, where the people are amazingly kind and the food is absolutely delicious! Deb also visited a number of luxury properties there and would be happy to share their uniqueness with you until together, you find the perfect match.

To Deb, the most important aspect of counseling her clients is making sure that the destination and resorts or hotels at that destination are a perfect fit for them. She has skillfully accomplished this with even the most discriminating clients, helping them to create fantastic memories that will last a lifetime.

Deb's recent travel destinations include China - Abercrombie & Kent, Hawaii - Classic Vacations, and Galapagos - Adventure Associates. She has also traveled to Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, Hawiian Islands, Alaska, most islands in the Caribbean, Tahiti and the Society Islands, Africa, Costa Rica, Mexico and Canada.

Lucy Mennie
Email: lucy@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
For 28 years, Lucy has enjoyed the full gamut of arranging travel - from the beginning, when she chartered aircraft for clients that included rock groups, professional sports teams, college teams and corporate clients, to running a large corporate agency in Pennsylvania, and now working as a Travel Advisor for Odyssey Travel here in Florida. 
Lucy is a Certified Sandals Specialist, a Hawaiian Specialist, Caribbean Specialist, Princess Cruise Commodore, and a Celebrity Cruise Five-Star Agent, just to name a few of her certifications. 
Her goal is to always find the perfect fit for her client's vacation and travel needs. Cruising is her favorite vacation, from chartering sailboats to sailing on the new mega ships.

Jacky Murphy
Email: Jacky@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
Jacky is a native of the U.K., and a full service travel advisor, having traveled personally and professionally for the past 25 years.  She has escorted many trips to England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland. While Europe is her specialty, Jacky has enjoyed helping clients plan trips and getaways with many cruise lines, both in the Caribbean and Europe.
Corporate travel is also an area that, during her years in the industry, has given her exceptional insight and experience.

Maria PooleMaria Poole
Email: maria@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties

Travel has always been an exciting part of my life from an early age, which is why I enjoy my job as a travel specialist so much. I am excited to share with you my experiences along with the benefits I can provide as a certified Virtuoso Travel Specialist. I offer complete travel services that range from the simplest plans to some of the most sophisticated vacations you can dream of. I make it my top priority to ensure my clients are completely satisfied and leave no detail unturned. Through unique consulting and understanding, I am committed to ensuring a unique travel experience for you.

My expertise includes the following but not limited to: Family Travel, Multi-generational Travel, Groups, Europe, Hotel, Villa, Safari, Tours, Food & Wine, Weddings, Honeymoons, European River Cruise, Cruise, Rail, Wellness & Spa Retreats, Asia, Africa.

Julie Powers
Email: Julie@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
Julie is a Royal Caribbean Cruise Specialist, Sandals & Beaches Resorts Certified Specialist, a Princess Cruise Commodore, Celebrity Five-Star Agent, Caribbean Specialist and cruising advisor, as well as a corporate travel advisor.
Her passions are the love of travel, and exceptional customer service while assisting her clients with planning their vacations of a lifetime.
The Caribbean is her favorite destination, but she admits, "the world is so full of exciting adventures."

Ellen RaffertyEllen Rafferty
Email: ellen@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties

Ellen started her career as a travel advisor in the Pittsburgh area as a corporate agent and has been serving customers in the Daytona Beach area for over 35 years making dreams come true for her customers.  She specializes in customizing trips for groups and  individuals traveling around the world whether it be by sea, air or land.  Europe, Israel and Australia are only a few of the destinations.  Ellen's passion for the travel industry stems from the relationships she develops with her clients during the planning process. Her specialties include escorted tours for church groups where she is involved from the research phase to leading the group. 

As a European specialist, she has had the pleasure to lead groups to the Vatican and treasures of Rome to Paris and it's many great cathedrals.  Having traveled herself to Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and enjoying our own National Parks in the United States, she is always ready to give you firsthand knowledge.

Timmy RussellTimmy Russell
Email: timmy@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
When Timmy entered the travel business more than 25 years ago, she had 3 things on her bucket list: 1) Take an African Safari 2) Explore the Galapagos Islands 3) Walk the Great Wall of China. Not only has she visited all three dream destinations, she has since visited countries by sea and land all over the world.

Italy and France are Timmy’s favorite places in Europe and she has traveled extensively through both countries. She has been going to Costa Rica for 20+ years and has watched the country evolve into a top-rated ecological destination for birding, hiking, and enjoying the sheer beauty of the National Parks. 

Timmy feels cruising is by far the most relaxing way to travel. She has sailed to 6 of the 7 continents! She has sailed on Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Regent Seven Seas, Silversea, Seabourn, and Windstar, to name a few. Timmy would love to share her experience and passion for travel with you. She will make your next vacation holiday the best you have ever had!

Jessica Siregar
Email: Jessica@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
Jessica believes travel is living life in love. It is a quest for adventure, teaches us, and leaves us with lasting memories that bond the most important pieces of life to her. Travel bonds family & great friends, time, personal growth and relationships.

"I truly LOVE being a travel advisor because I get to create amazing “once in a lifetime” experiences for people who love adventure and romance through travel."

Jessica's specialties are honeymoons, destination weddings, romantic beach getaways and exotic journeys. She's planned honeymoons with stops in Dubai and sunsets in the Arabian Desert, visits to tea plantations and elephant orphanages in Sri Lanka, and complete relaxation and ultimate privacy in an over-water bungalow on the southern islands of the Maldives. From sailing through the British Virgin islands to surfing in Bali, Indonesia, Jessica can advise the best of adventure and romance through travel. #WildcatAdventures

Her most recent international adventures were touring a number of luxury boutique hotels and resorts in the British Virgin Islands, Riviera Maya and family adventures through Bali and Lombok, Indonesia

Currently living in the beautiful community of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, where she loves to bike, yoga and sail with her fiance. Jessica was named one of Travel Agent Magazine's the top 30 travel agents under 30 in 2014 for travel marketing and knowledge.”

Jeannie Smith
Email: jsmith@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties

Jeannie began her Travel Advisor career 25 years ago and never dreamed of the journey on which she would find herself, specializing in luxury ocean and river cruises, personalized travel itineraries in France and Italy, safari, and most travel adventures, including food and wine touring.

In 1998 Jeannie received her Certified Travel Counselor degree and in 2003 a Master Cruise Counselor Certification.  Her study tours have included the south of France and Provence staying in several of our Virtuoso hotels as well as enjoying many of the Michelin star restaurants. 

Argentina was her most recent tour, visiting Buenos Aires and Patagonia. She found the Virtuoso hotels fabulous as always, and the food and wine incredible, especially the Asado at the Estancia La Bamba de Areco. One of her favorite areas to visit is the Tuscany region in Italy, where she has planned many clients' vacations for food and wine tours, and cooking schools.

Cindy Tucker
Email: Cindy@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
Cindy's career in travel began at Palmetto Travel in Charleston, SC, in 1974. In 1979, she began her career with Delta Air Lines, working in three call centers as well as in the airport environment. Her understanding of air travel and its complexities was fine-tuned at Daytona Beach Airport where she managed the daily operation of inbound and outbound aircraft serving the flying public.

Today she enjoys handling corporate air travel arrangements for professionals and appreciates the knowledge she has gained from her 40 years of working with the public. She enjoys learning new things and has found that her well-traveled clients are great teachers.

Cindy has traveled to almost every major US city during her years in the industry. She has also traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean on scuba diving excursions and has enjoyed trips to Seoul and Hong Kong. Barcelona and London are among her favorite European cities. England is her favorite travel destination and, in addition to her love of London, she has suggestions to share with anyone interested in a trip to the English countryside or to outposts filled with history such as the area around Hadrian’s Wall.

Cindy’s travel experiences and her understanding of above wing and below wing flight operations give her an insight unique to only a few travel advisors in today's industry. This insight allows her to offer suggestions to her clients that will make the often complicated process of booking airline reservations, and then using them to fly around the world, simple.

John Upchurch
Email: John@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
John's specialties & interests intersect: Adventure, Escorted Tours, Spa Vacations, Sports, the Outdoors - and his clients enjoy and appreciate the benefits of his experience. "I have taken the organizational skills I acquired from practicing complex litigation and applied these skills to detailed planning of luxury vacations and group travel."
John has recently traveled, relaxed & played in Auckland, New Zealand; Barcelona, Spain; and Munich, Germany; as well as Bora Bora, Hungary, Portugal, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. He's also made frequent trips to Marathon, Florida; Vail, Colorado and Lake Tahoe, California.

Nella WardNella Ward
Email: nward@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties

Nella is our destination specialist for Europe, Africa, and the Pacific Rim. Paris, the City of Light is her favorite place on Earth. She loves any new destination, and especially enjoys Europe, Africa, Australia, Norway and New Zealand. Nella recently returned from a trip to France and Italy, visiting Normandy, Paris, Giverny, the Loire Valley, the Vatican, the Isle of Capri and the Amalfi Coast.

Nella has spent more than 40 years in the travel industry, a flourishing career that grew from the seed of a study abroad program in high school. She has always loved travel, history and culture, and has now visited more than 80 countries. From African safaris to the pristine shores of the Galapagos Islands, the Orient, Tahiti and Bora Bora, Nella has a wealth of personal experiences from which to draw as she carefully and thoughtfully prepares only the best vacations for her clients.

Nella has hosted many Virtuoso groups on a variety of cruise lines. She plans individual as well as group travel and enjoys the challenge of finding the right experience for each person, once coordinating an exceptional 6-week trip for a couple who wanted to visit Ireland and Norway, with just some carry-on luggage, booking many hotel rooms and lots of train travel. Nella provides excellent, professional services and delights in knowing that their trip will be exactly what they are looking for, and then some.

Nella's travel destinations also include the Mediterranean, Alaska, and Canada and New England cruises as a Virtuoso Explorer Club host, French Polynesia, Provence Riverboat, Costa Rica, South Africa, Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina, Egypt, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Hawaii, Alaska, Canadian Rockies, the Caribbean and Panama Canal.


Sherry Wilczewski
Email: sherry@odysseytravel.com

Interests & Specialties
Sherry is a Hawaii Specialist whose absolute favorite spot is Maui. "There is nothing like the spirit of Aloha." She is also one of our Certified Sandals Specialists and loves the 'all-inclusiveness' of the Sandals Resorts. Last year Sherry traveled to Jamaica and is drawn to island destinations.  Sherry loves to travel and explore new places. She has been in the travel industry for more than 15 years and has worked in both corporate and leisure travel. "I take pride in planning vacations to create lifelong memories for my clients."