‘Traveling’ always makes the short list of New Year’s resolutions. Not only do we understand the draw, but we’re in the business of making it happen. Our advice to kick off 2018: don’t wait. Travel plans don’t happen by themselves. And we never know what tomorrow will bring. Just do it. We’re here for you. Wishing you a rich and meaningful year ahead!
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
Our corporate and luxury leisure specialist Thelma Abhyankar grew up taking flying for granted. As soon as her parents moved to the U.S. from India, they made it a point to travel as much as possible. During summers, they would take young Thelma on overseas visits to London, Singapore, Hong Kong, and many trips to India.
“I’ve been to India at least 18 times,” she explains from her home in LA. “I’ve stayed everywhere from an ashram in Kerala, to the regal Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur. India is such a diamond in the rough – everywhere you look, there is a hidden gem.”
Thelma never outgrew her love of travel. After studying psychology at UCLA, she was lured into the travel agency world 12 years ago, and has never looked back. She just celebrated her one year anniversary with First in Service, and adores her blend of corporate clients including architecture firms and production agencies, as well as non-profits.
In particular, her work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation has made a lifelong impact. She shares, “There is no better job satisfaction than helping grant a sick child’s travel wish. I just sent a 15-year-old girl on a cruise to Antarctica. She had the time of her life, and the crew at Hurtigruten Cruises was completely taken by her. Those kinds of stories warm my heart.”
When she travels these days, Africa is top of mind. Thelma’s current goal is to visit the continent five times in five years. She’s half way through her mission, and hopes South Africa gets crossed off next on her list. So far she says, “Tanzanian safaris have been the greatest highlight.”
Having traveled the world so much, she’s full of inventive tips. Thelma’s current top tip for international travel: Bring along a power strip, in addition to a universal converter, when you know you’ll power up multiple devices.