Lynda Reich of Master Travel and Cruises has been a Wellington fixture for three decades. In her 30 years as a travel agent, she or her clients have experienced it all.
She works beside her husband, Michael, who handles all corporate travel, whereas she focuses on leisure travel. “Working together has been great,” she said. “We complement each other.”
Lynda and Michael have been together 41 years and will be celebrating their 39th wedding anniversary in December. Their son, David, is a graduate of Forest Hill High School who currently resides in Melbourne. Their daughter, Allyson, now lives in Blackstone, Mass., with her children Madison and Jackson.
Prior to moving to Florida, the couple lived on a farm in Medway, Mass., about an hour southwest of Boston. At the time, Michael was a special education counselor, but the couple soon opened a video rental store. “It was a great run,” Lynda said. “It was lots of fun. We loved going to work.”
The two alternated shifts, with one running the store during the day and the other in the evenings.
When it came time to plan their honeymoon, they were on a limited budget, but their experience with a local travel agent would change their lives forever. With the help of their agent, they were able to book a cruise to Bermuda and have the wedding celebration they dreamed of, but didn’t think they could afford. “The travel agent made it happen,” Lynda said. “Without her, we wouldn’t have had a honeymoon.”
At the same time, a company named Blockbuster was beginning to expand, and they saw the writing on the wall. The experience with their own travel agent inspired them to get out of the video business and become travel agents.
“I thought it was exciting,” Lynda recalled. “What an exciting career it would be, and you get to travel a lot as well.”
They were also making regular visits to Palm Beach County in the 1980s, both to visit Michael’s mother in Lake Worth and to attend polo matches in Wellington. “Polo is a great fun, Sunday thing to do,” Lynda said. “When we moved here, we were able to ride our bikes to the former polo fields.”
Wellington has transformed dramatically in the 31 years they have lived here.
“Wellington now has everything,” she said. “The growth has been tremendous. It has grown to be the perfect size. There’s very little reason to head north, south or east anymore. Anything you wanted, you had to go out of Wellington for. Everything is here now.”
Master Travel and Cruises moved to their current Wellington location six years ago but will soon be moving to a new location — staying in Wellington, of course. “We love Wellington,” Lynda said. “Our clients are from Wellington, and it has made it easier for them.”
It is not just Wellington that has transformed since the Reichs moved to the village. The travel industry has seen its fair share of changes as well — most notably in regard to the internet.
“The internet has made people more aware of where they can go,” Lynda said. “And how easy it is for them to get there.”
Despite the growth of internet travel sites, booking through a reputable travel agency, such as Master Travel and Cruises, offers certain perks and advantages that do-it-yourselfers cannot obtain.
“We belong to the oldest and best group of travel agencies in the world,” she said of their affiliation with Travelsavers and the Affluent Traveler Connection. “They negotiate specials for our clients. There are many value-added benefits for booking with us, including upgraded amenities and shipboard credits. We have great relationships with cruise lines.”
The Reichs offer personalized service and carefully curate each trip for their clients. A customer recently came to Lynda with no destination in mind — just a budget. She put together a trip to California wine country that was not just memorable and within budget, but also unique and crafted just for them.
South Africa remains her favorite destination. The safari she embarked on there is her favorite adventure in a lifetime of travel. She recommends that travelers to Africa go as part of a luxury tour that takes care of accommodation, baggage and some food.
“You need an unlimited budget to go to Africa on your own,” Lynda said. “The most expensive travel I ever facilitated was a month in South Africa, Tanzania and Botswana.”
In addition to Africa, Italy has remained a popular tourist destination for clients of Master Travel and Cruises. However, another memorable destination is rising in popularity once again.
“Hawaii is back on people’s radar,” she said. “No passport is required. There’s a lot to do. There’s adventure. And people perceive it as being safe. Safety is important.”
Master Travel and Cruises’ clientele is split roughly 50/50 between land vacations and cruises. One type of vacation seeks to combine both and is seeing a boom at the moment.
“River cruises are very hot right now,” Lynda said. “No seasickness. You stay in a different place each night, and the ship is your hotel.”
Millennials are experiencing life quite differently than their parents’ and grandparents’ generation. Travel is no exception.
“The generation today wants adventure,” she explained. “They want ziplining. They want white-water rafting. They have so much energy. They’re very active. They want to go wherever there’s going to be an adventure — something different.”
Lynda has seen this vacationing trend affect the way young couples are taking their honeymoons. One of the most popular destinations might be a surprise. “Costa Rica,” she said. “There’s a beach. There’s mountains. There’s ziplining over trees with monkeys underneath.”
Gone are the days of newlywed couples relaxing on a beach during their honeymoon, but some traditional locations such as Venice and Tahiti remain popular.
“The sky’s the limit, depending on the budget and the desires of the couple,” Lynda said. “It’s their time to celebrate their wedding.”
Destination weddings are becoming popular and make for memorable weddings, but she pointed out that booking a destination wedding or a honeymoon through an agent can make for one less headache before the big day.
“People are always getting married,” Lynda said. “Booking through us gives them one less thing to worry about. They have confidence behind experienced professionals. We make sure everything is perfect, and we’re someone they can contact if they’re not.”
Master Cruises and Travel is currently located at 13833 Wellington Trace, Suite E13, in the Wellington Marketplace, but is soon relocating to the Wellington Professional Centre at 12161 Ken Adams Way, Suite 170. For more information, call (561) 798-0505 or visit www.mastertravel.net.