Meet Our Travel Advisors
DariaWesterfield, Owner of West University Travel I love to travel and love planning my client’s trips equally. I base my planning process on three important principles – listen, research and execute with excellence. My professional career has been in the travel field for over 25 years. My varied travel planning experiences range the gamut - from planning and escorting trips for geologist expeditions/hunting and fishing trips in the Russian far east and Kamchatka peninsula; to planning, overseeing and accompanying trade missions for governmental organizations and oil and gas companies; and organizing and executing large events for visiting governmental dignitaries. But most of all, I love to help people discover new places. No travel assistance request is too big or too small for me. I apply the same care and diligent effort for all assignments - from the quick trip to New York, to the intricacies of an African Safari, or to the far reaching aspects of large corporate or group travel. My personal favorite planning destinations are many, as I have been fortunate to travel to all of these places and more… Whether it be England, France, Portugal, Italy, Eastern Europe, Canada, China, the Caribbean, Mexico, and, of course Russia, I happily and excitedly personalize these travel destinations for all my clients.
Luxury Travel Advisor Specializing in Italy, Spain, France, UK, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Japan, China. Event Planning, Corporate Travel, Groups.
Samanthabelieves that every trip is literally once-in-a-lifetime, and strives to ensure that your vacations are enriching and unforgettable. Growing up in a highly mobile Navy family, she quickly realized that it is only through travel that we can find and understand our place in the world. Travel transforms the exotic into the familiar, the stranger in to a friend, and should return you home forever changed. After graduating from Texas A&M University with a degree in Biology, she briefly pursued a PhD in Biochemistry before deciding to focus on her real passion: travel. While her route to this industry was circuitous, she now has the distinct honor of turning your travel dreams into realities as both a Travel Advisor and Office Manager to West University Travel. She specializes in honeymoons, destination weddings, and adventure travel, as well as trips to Hawaii, Alaska, Tahiti, New Zealand, Central & South America, and Europe.
Luxury Travel Advisor Specializing in New Zealand, Tahiti, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, and Europe, as well as Honeymoons, Destination Weddings, and Adventure Travel
Stephaniehas traveled extensively and lived internationally. She has taken yearly family vacations internationally with her three children and husband. Her favorite destinations are New Zealand, South Africa and Europe. One of her most memorable, and off the beaten track vacations, deep sea fishing in Sao Tome and Principe. Stephanie has lived in both Africa and the Middle East and has had the opportunity to experience the many different cultures, as well as traveling to multiple countries while living in these regions. Stephanie started her career in private banking, and now enjoys planning family travel as well as group vacations.
Luxury Travel Advisor Specializing in New Zealand, Australia, Africa, Asia, Middle East, South America, Caribbean, Mexico, Europe. Custom Planning for Family Travel, Groups and Incentive Travel .
Taylorcomes from a family where a love of travel and adventure runs deep. Birthdays and holidays were often celebrated with family trips in lieu of gifts. Some of her most memorable experiences include zip-lining through the rain forest in Costa Rica and hiking Rota Vicentina, an immensely beautiful network of trails located along Portugal’s southwest coast.
After earning a B.S. in Neuroscience from Indiana University, Taylor moved to Manhattan and worked in the editing and publishing of scientific journals. It was an unexpected move to Houston that provided Taylor with the opportunity to join the travel industry. She is thrilled to be the Office Assistant for West University Travel and is eager to help make clients’ travel dreams come true. .
Luxury Travel Advisor Specializing in Adventure Travel, Beach & Sun, Destination Weddings, Honeymoons, Hotels
Michelehas personal experience with more than 42 countries and 45 states, living in England and France, and working in several countries in Latin America. She started her career in Management Consulting, working around the world, and now enjoys planning trips to these destinations. She speaks French & Spanish.
Michele is a mother of 2 teenagers whom she has taken to more than 10 countries. She is passionate about cooking and dining, and seeks out interesting and memorable restaurants around the world. Her best vacation ever – an African Safari.
Luxury Travel Focused on France, Italy, Spain, the UK, Turkey, Africa, South America, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
Fredhas traveled the world several times. He has lived and studied in Europe (London School of Economics, The Sorbonne and even, briefly, in Sweden). His travels have taken him to Antarctica (twice), Tibet, trekking in the Himalayas (Anapurna) and many other off-the-beaten-path areas. He was also in Berlin when The Wall fell and in Prague for The Velvet Revolution.
Fred has a special fondness for Paris and the countryside of France. He is a Switzerland specialist and is extremely familiar with Italy and almost all areas of Europe. He has been to China more than a half dozen times, including quite a few of the more remote areas. He was invited to Japan to help design trip itineraries and even made one of the local papers for being one of the first foreigners in a local tea ceremony. India and Thailand are also among his favorite travel destinations.
Fred has been with West University Travel for almost 20 years, following his retirement from the corporate world.
Group Travel, Custom Europe Trips, Unique Destinations
Donnais a true travel “junkie”. She has, and will, travel almost anywhere in the world. Born in Hawaii to a Navy family, she has lived in many places, including Japan. Her extensive travels have made her very familiar with the United States and Mexico. Donna has been in the travel business for 15 years.
She and Fred Braun have formed a remarkable team providing travel wisdom and service. Together, there are few places in the world where they cannot offer professional advice.
Group Travel, Luxury Personal and Family Travel
Julie's love for travel has taken her to more than 50 countries across 6 continents. She was an elementary school teacher for 8 years and spent 3 of those years teaching overseas in Korea and Saudi Arabia. Some of her most memorable experiences include shark diving in South Africa, paragliding in Nepal, deep sea fishing in Hawaii, and going on Safari in Kenya. One thing Julie loves about traveling is finding great restaurants and tasting regional wines. Some of her favorite travel destinations include Greece, Spain, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, and Argentina. She enjoys planning trips for all types of travel, especially to cities where she has visited, so she can customize her clients’ experience with first-hand knowledge. She eagerly joined the travel industry so she could help make travel dreams come true for others.
Adventure, Safari, Beach & Sun
Marlais originally from Southern California and began her career as an apparel buyer. Her love of travel to international destinations started here. She came to Texas in 1991 due to a corporate consolidation and continued on as a buyer and then later, a sales representative in the apparel and gift industry. This is where she gained her sales experience.
In 2001, Marla met her future husband, Rick, on a dance cruise. Rick was the group leader. An opportunity arose to become the group travel agent for her husband's dance cruises the following year. Marla has been the agent of record for these group travels since January 1, 2003. Marla has been responsible for 31 group trips and over 2,200 guests.
In addition to group travel, Marla has helped many individuals make their travel dreams come true--whether it be cruising or destination travel.
For more in depth information and background, please refer to her website: http://www.ssqq.com/.
Group Travel, Ocean and River Cruises, Caribbean and Europe Destinations
Suestarted with West University Travel in April 2002 and had previously worked for American Express Representative offices as a Sr. Leisure Consultant, VIP Corporate Agent, and also Team Leader of the Leisure Department. Her passion for the South Pacific has led her to become a Certified Specialist for various destinations such as Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii and The Cook Islands, as well as Egypt and Peru. She is also a Certified Specialist for certain travel operators like Paul Gauguin Cruises, Sandals and Beaches Resorts, and Captain Cook Cruises. Because of her many years in the industry, Sue can plan any type of vacation, but her other main areas of interest are Beach destinations, Asia, Honeymoons and Romance Travel, Luxury Travel, and Expedition Travel such as the Amazon and Antarctica.
Australia & New Zealand, Tahiti, Egypt
Laurais originally from Hong Kong and is bilingual in English and Chinese. She moved to Houston, Texas in 1970 for higher education at the University of Houston where she received a Master of Science degree. Laura’s travel career began more than 30 years ago at Atlas Travel, Inc. in Houston. During her certification as a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC), she achieved the highest score in the entire nation and won the Bette Sweeney Friedheim Travel Award in 1990. Prior to joining West University Travel in 1997, Laura had worked at Thomas Cook and later American Express for corporate travel. With over 30 years experience in the travel industry, Laura is familiar with all your travel needs. Her areas of expertise include Asia, Hawaii and Europe where she has traveled extensively. “Pursuit of excellence” is always her top priority when planning travel. She has been selected by Travel + Leisure’s A-List of the World’s Top Travel Advisors for 12 consecutive years.
Asia, Hawaii, Europe, Itinerary Planning, Family Vacations , Event Travel
Kristenloves to share new places, cultures, languages, experiences and foods with her 7 and 11 year old children. She has traveled with her family to destinations throughout the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe. She is a Disney College of Knowledge graduate and a Princess Commodore and thinks cruises make great (and easy!) family vacations.
Family Vacations, Ocean Cruises, Disney
West University Travel would be delighted to have the opportunity to enhance your travel experience, from the planning process to your return home. It is our goal to truly know our clients so we can best customize our recommendations for each trip, as well as help you develop your long term travel goals… and make them a reality!
We’d love to get started with an initial phone call or an in-person meeting. This consultation is complimentary, and from this conversation, we can determine the best steps to move forward. A planning fee or good faith deposit may be required, and would be discussed at this time.Let the planning begin! Your trip is fully customizable for you, and the more we know about you, the better we can tailor your experience. As proud members of Virtuoso, the travel industry’s leading luxury network, as well as other preferred partnerships with hotels, cruise lines, and tour operators around the world, we can enhance your travel experience through complimentary upgrades, meals, credits at hotels and resorts, unparalleled guides, and unique and unforgettable experiences through our on-site partnerships.