OUR STORY

UNIVERSAL TRAVEL and the Ney family, can trace its origin back more than 140 years, to the family’s establishment of the Boston Store Dry Goods Company, in Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1879. From its founding, the company grew to be one of the largest and most prestigious family-owned department store groups in the Southwest, with stores in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas, and Louisiana, until selling its stores in the 80s and 90s and converting its resources to the luxury travel business.

Randy Ney, the current owner and president, opened the first Universal Travel as a small “department” in the Fort Smith Boston store in 1969 and the second two years later in the White House in Beaumont, Texas.

Our success is due in part to utilizing the skills in customer service Mr. Ney learned in the retail business to develop and expand our five-star luxury travel business. Universal Travel has now grown to achieve national recognition as one of the finest purveyors of bespoke, or luxury, travel in the country and has clients nationwide.

Our travel advisors have a passion for travel, ingenuity, and an uncompromising commitment to service. Over the fifty years in the travel industry, we have developed relationships all over the world that gives you confidence in working with us. And our dedication to excellence combined with our expertise and industry contacts ensures a superior travel experience time and again.

OUR EXPERIENCES AROUND THE WORLD:

Let us take you there.

OUR PARTNERS

World-wide buying power and supplier networks back Universal Travel’s world-class service.
Our travel provider relationships give you the access, values and extra benefits you deserve.

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OUR SPECIALISTS

Randy Ney

Randy Ney

President & Founder, Houston/Beaumont Read More
Randy Ney

Randy Ney

President & Founder, Houston/Beaumont

As founder, owner and president of Universal Travel, Randolph Ney entered the travel industry in 1969 when his family’s store opened a travel agency department in their retail store. At a young age, Mr. Ney collected stamps from all over the world, and that combined with his interest in geography, generated an interest of seeing the world. Today, Randy enjoys traveling the world discovering new and exotic destinations, outstanding hotels, unforgettable guides, and favorite neighborhood restaurants and shops.

His most memorable travel experiences include traveling on the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, visits to Amritsar and Varanasi in India, and spending the night in the Sahara Desert in Morocco. Randy has extensive knowledge of most areas of the world including train journeys, East and Southern African safaris, India, Turkey, New Zealand, Antarctica, Morocco, Europe, and particularly educational, group and family experiences.

Kristie England

Kristie England

General Manager, Beaumont/Houston Read More
Kristie England

Kristie England

General Manager, Beaumont/Houston

Kristie serves as Universal Travel’s general manager of the Beaumont and Houston, Texas offices. Kristie is a Certified Travel Consultant, Accredited Cruise Counselor, and she is honored to be an IC Bellagio Silver Ambassador.

Whether you’re seeking a private yacht, an expert guide in a faraway land, a wonderful family trip or that perfect weekend getaway, Kristie can seamlessly plan the perfect trip. Kristie’s extensive knowledge of the travel industry combined with her attention to detail and relationship with her clients ensures every trip is full of memories to last a lifetime.

While Kristie has been fortunate to experience many memorable trips, her unforgettable experiences include a hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara in Kenya, visiting the Vatican with a private guide, holding a koala bear in Australia, and an entrance to the Taj Mahal before the general public.

Jill Goldstein

Jill Goldstein

Manager, Houston Read More
Jill Goldstein

Jill Goldstein

Manager, Houston

Jill Goldstein serves as the manager of the Houston office. From her experience in luxury retail and the knowledge she gained from her educational background, Jill has outstanding attention to detail and commitment to customer service. Jill excelsin planning African safaris, trips to New Zealand, ocean cruising, multi-generational travel, group travel, and custom designed trips. And she was honored to be selected as a Virtuoso 2018 Rising Star Cruise Finalist.

Some highlights of her travels include Gorilla trekking in Uganda, wildlife safaris to East and South Africa, and enjoying the culture, food and wine Australia has to offer.

Laurie Bourque

Laurie Bourque

Travel Advisor, Beaumont Read More
Laurie Bourque

Laurie Bourque

Travel Advisor, Beaumont

With over 30 years of experience, Laurie is an experienced advisor with extensive product and destination knowledge to help you plan your perfect getaway. Laurie is an Accredited Cruise Counselor, Certified Travel Associate, and a graduate of the Disney College of Knowledge.

Laurie enjoys planning ocean and river cruises, trips to the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, and Italy, and memorable vacations for Honeymooners. One of her favorite trips was seeing the dramatic coastal scenery of the Cinque Terre and eating the delicious food Italy has to offer.

Connie Burke

Connie Burke

Travel Advisor, Houston Read More
Connie Burke

Connie Burke

Travel Advisor, Houston

In over fifty years in the travel business, with more than seventy-five trips to Africa and trips on almost every luxury cruise line, Connie has developed an expertise for creating individual, multi-generational, and honeymoon itineraries. While Connie is well-versed in all areas of the globe, she has expertise in travel to Africa and luxury cruises.

Known as Mama Safari and an honorary Kenyan, Connie fell in love with Africa on her first safari in 1970. Connie loves to show the world to others so they can experience the pleasure of travel.

Lisa Daumann

Lisa Daumann

Travel Advisor, Houston Read More
Lisa Daumann

Lisa Daumann

Travel Advisor, Houston

With years of experience, Lisa is a professional advisor who can help you no matter wherever you wish to travel.  From multi-generational family vacations, to luxury cruises, each trip is approached from a new perspective. Furthermore, Lisa has traveled extensively, and can leverage her destination knowledge and strong industry relationships to design detailed itineraries full of rich experiences.

Some highlights of her travels include hot air ballooning in Cappadocia, bungee jumping in New Zealand, biking through Brittany France, touring Myanmar, and wildlife safaris to East and Southern Africa.

Kylie Early

Kylie Early

Travel Advisor, Houston Read More
Kylie Early

Kylie Early

Travel Advisor, Houston

Kylie’s parents believed in introducing their children to the broader world through travel. They instilled a curiosity about the world and a love of travel in her. Through family vacations and multiple study abroad experiences, Kylie is well versed in travel across the globe. She is as comfortable tasting new food in a remote village as she is sipping champagne at a luxury resort and can coordinate all types of experiences.

Her favorite travels have included sleeping in a treehouse in the South African bush, exploring Provence by car, seeing the terracotta warriors in Xi’an, and sailing through the Panama Canal.

Margaret Larkin

Margaret Larkin

Travel Advisor, Houston Read More
Margaret Larkin

Margaret Larkin

Travel Advisor, Houston

Margaret began her travel adventures early in life, as she took many family trips growing up. After college, Margaret began her career in luxury travel at Neiman Marcus. Since starting her own family, Margaret has enjoyed family trips to Hawaii, Tanzania and South Africa being the most memorable.

Having visited many corners of the world either professionally or personally, Margaret is very familiar with the ins and outs of many destinations. Whether you are looking for an active adventure, escape to Europe, a trip of a lifetime to Africa or a beach getaway, Margaret can plan your unforgettable vacation.

Kim Van Der Beek

Kim Van Der Beek

Travel Advisor, Beaumont Read More
Kim Van Der Beek

Kim Van Der Beek

Travel Advisor, Beaumont

Kim has certification as an Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC) and she is a Certified Sandals Specialist. While she can help you plan a trip for any destination, she is passionate about beach destinations, honeymoons, cruises, Italy, Greece, and river cruises.

Her most memorable trip experiences include touring Northern Italy and Tuscany, visiting the ancient city of Ephesus, driving along the Amalfi coast, and exploring castles on a Rhine River cruise.

Laura Madden

Laura Madden

Affiliated Agent, Houston Read More
Laura Madden

Laura Madden

Affiliated Agent, Houston

From childhood travels with family, to working with Delta Airlines as a flight attendant, Laura’s favorite places are where you get off the beaten path and get active. She has extensive knowledge of luxury hotels and airlines and is particularly adept at booking air.

Carole McFarland

Carole McFarland

Affiliated Agent, Houston Read More
Carole McFarland

Carole McFarland

Affiliated Agent, Houston

At 18, Carole took a trip to Australia which awakened her love of travel, from flying, to seeing new and different places, and meeting people. With over 40 years in the industry, Carole still appreciates the diversity of travel - exploring new places, historical finds, wild animals or just relaxing.

Her most memorable experiences include taking a helicopter flight over the Kakadu National park in northern Australia, the first glimpse of Machu Picchu and the golden glow of Cuzco at night as the train descended the mountain; but truly every journey has left her with a memory to treasure.

Sarah Katherine Hoopes

Sarah Katherine Hoopes

Affiliated Agent, Houston Read More
Sarah Katherine Hoopes

Sarah Katherine Hoopes

Affiliated Agent, Houston

Sarah Katherine has a B.S. in Marketing from LSU and spent her younger years working for companies such as Gatorade, Merck, Inc. and Coldwell Banker. As a young girl, she loved to travel, and that love turned into a passion as she grew older. After experiencing many trips across the world, and dealing with the new "Covid way of travel", Sarah Katherine realized that it was time to turn her passion into a career.

“I have very high expectations when it comes to luxury travel and I expect nothing less for my clients. I use personal connections and firsthand expertise to craft luxury trips, including unique experiences, special values, complimentary perks, VIP treatment and rare access.”

Favorite vacation moments include: Swimming with manta rays in Hanifaru Bay, in the Maldives, riding a camel on the beach in Oman, shopping in the souks of Dubai, seeing the great pyramids in Egypt, and sailing through the BVI on a catamaran.

Cindy Snell

Cindy Snell

Affiliated Agent, Houston Read More
Cindy Snell

Cindy Snell

Affiliated Agent, Houston

Cindy was born loving travel. Fortunately, her parents shared that love and were wonderful enough to take her to the far reaches of the world. Cindy began working in the travel industry after the last of her children went to college and has thrived helping others plan trips. She and her husband have always enjoyed foreign travel, and many of their friends wanted to share their travel experiences. Cindy finds it rewarding to plan cruises, group tours and FIT trips for friends, family, and clients.

Jordan Solcher

Jordan Solcher

Affiliated Agent, Houston Read More
Jordan Solcher

Jordan Solcher

Affiliated Agent, Houston

Jordan has accumulated extensive experience abroad, thanks to regular family vacations and studying abroad in foreign countries. Having explored more than 35 countries across five continents enables her to create amazing journeys and share first-hand knowledge of distant lands with her clients.

Her most memorable travel experiences include snorkeling the shores of Mozambique, seeing the Pyramids and temples in Egypt, viewing the Great Barrier Reef from a seaplane, and petting lion cubs in Zambia.

Stefanie Walker

Stefanie Walker

Affiliated Agent, Houston Read More
Stefanie Walker

Stefanie Walker

Affiliated Agent, Houston

Stefanie's early career background was in Corporate Human Resources, which fed her love of working with people. After a 16 year hiatus from working in the corporate world to raise her family, she landed in the travel industry in 2016, and has since fallen in love with this as a full time career.

Stefanie loves the challenge of researching a destination to perfectly match her clients' travel wish lists. Her astute attention to detail and customer service shines with repeat, satisfied clients. The travel industry feeds Stefanie's passion to learn about our big, beautiful world, while allowing her to enjoy her love of working with and getting to know people.

Stefanie specializes in group travel, multi-generational family travel, and romantic vacations for couples. She is also a Certified Accessible Travel AdvoAdvocate, which helps her to plan smooth and enjoyable vacations for people with any type of special travel needs.

BEFORE YOU GO

PASSPORT and visa information

The Department of Homeland Security and TSA require your passport be valid for 6 months beyond your return date andhas at least two blank pages.

Some countries require additional blank passport pages.

Many countries require a visa in addition to a passport to enter and exit immigration.

To check country specific entry and exit requirements, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages.html

Universal Travel recommends CIBT for passport and visa processing

TRIP INSURANCE

No matter how carefully planned, unforeseen events can cause you to cancel or leave your trip early.  We recommend our clients purchase trip insurance whenever they travel out of the country.  To learn more about the benefits or how to purchase travel insurance contact one of our luxury travel advisors.

TRAVEL INSURANCE WAIVER

If you decide not to purchase travel insurance, click below to submit a waiver.

INSURANCE WAIVER

medjet

MedJet is the premier global air medical transport and travel security membership program for travelers. Contact your Universal Travel advisor for more information.

IMMUNIZATIONS

We recommend that you visit your personal physician or a travel medicine specialist at least one month before international travel to get vaccines and medicines.

For the Center for Disease Control’s required and recommended immunizations by country, please visit Center for Disease Control.

HOUSTON
1717 St. James Place, Suite 310
Houston, Texas 77056
713.621.2233 | office

BEAUMONT
2615 Calder Ave., Suite 630
Beaumont, Texas 77702
409.892.1077 | office

HOUSTON
1717 St. James Place, Suite 310
Houston, Texas 77056
713.621.2233 | office

BEAUMONT
2615 Calder Ave., Suite 630
Beaumont, Texas 77702
409.892.1077 | office