OUR SPECIALISTS

From archaeological digs to kayaking, from countryside walks to wildlife safari adventures – our travel advisors know the world and all the ways for you to discover it. Our advisors have:

  • Imagination
  • A passion for travel
  • An ability to think outside the box
  • An uncompromising commitment to service

 

Randy Ney

Randy Ney

President & Founder, Houston/Beaumont
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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
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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
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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.

Karen Schmiser

Karen Schmiser

Manager, Fort Smith
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Karen Schmiser

Karen Schmiser

Manager, Fort Smith

Interests & Specialties
Corporate and Leisure Travel

Karen started her career in the travel industry in 1987. In 1993, she earned the designation of Certified Travel Counselor from the Travel Institute in Wellesley, MA.  She serves as Manager and Travel Advisor in our Fort Smith office.

Throughout her career as a Travel Advisor, Karen has been fortunate to visit many destinations rich in culture, history, art, architecture, cuisine and incredible natural beauty. A few highlights of her travels have included walking on the Great Wall of China, traveling on the Hiram Bingham train to visit the breathtaking Incan citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru, a visit to the gardens of Villa Carlotta at Tremezzo and a private boat cruise on Lake Como in Italy.

For destinations she has not experienced, she says her affiliation with Virtuoso grants her access to local experts around the world who arrange exclusive tours and excursions for her clients.

Whether you desire over-the-top luxury or something more scaled back, she listens to what you want in designing the trip of your dreams. She is focused on every aspect to ensure your time and money are well spent.

Laurie Bourque

Laurie Bourque

Travel Advisor, Beaumont
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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.

Lisa Anne Chapman

Lisa Anne Chapman

Travel Advisor, Houston
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Lisa Anne Chapman

Lisa Anne Chapman

Travel Advisor, Houston

I engage with clients in a uniquely personal way. Learning of your personal interests, style and taste and wrapping this knowledge into curating unique travel experiences. Drawing from a lifetime of personal travel experiences, two decades of service as a luxury travel advisor, and a dedication to delivering evocative memories worthy of your coveted leisure time.

Texas born and Midwest raised my passion for travel started at a young age. Mapping out many road trips across the United States, researching interesting food and culture to explore when sailing the Caribbean, and figuring out the best route to walk around Disney World opposite the crowd. At twelve years old I spent a summer travelling through Europe with my mother. This introduction to the tantalizing variety of food, language, scenery, and hostory solidified my answer to the “what do you want to be when you grow up” question.

My most recent travels included stargazing in the Atacama Desert, Chile; exploring the Galapagos Archepeligo through the eyes of my 10-year-old son; meandering slowly along the coastal Scottish Highlands; delving into the ancient traditions and culinary mastery of the Basque Culture in Northern Spain; and excelling my golf game on the challenging courses of New Zealand.

I have enjoyed exploring this big and beautiful globe under the care and guidance of travel legends. It is a privilege to use this wisdom in assuring every client enjoys a seamless experience with complete trust and peace of mind.

Lisa Daumann

Lisa Daumann

Travel Advisor, Houston
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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.

Margaret Larkin

Margaret Larkin

Travel Advisor, Houston
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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.

Stefanie H. McIntosh

Stefanie H. McIntosh

Travel Advisor, Houston
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Stefanie H. McIntosh

Stefanie H. McIntosh

Travel Advisor, 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.

Jerrilynn Miller

Jerrilynn Miller

Travel Advisor, Beaumont
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Jerrilynn Miller

Jerrilynn Miller

Travel Advisor, Beaumont

Jerrilynn’s love for travel was instilled in her at a young age as her family traveled often. Her love of travel was the impetus for her to attend a travel agency training class which led to a full-time job as a travel counselor. After a twenty-year stint as a high school English and World Geography teacher she chose to return to travel. Some of her most memorable experiences include spending five weeks in Europe visiting historical sights.

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.

Jordan Bumstead

Jordan Bumstead

Affiliated Agent, Houston
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Jordan Bumstead

Jordan Bumstead

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.

Sarah Katherine Hoopes

Sarah Katherine Hoopes

Affiliated Agent, Houston
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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.

Ara Cromwell

Ara Cromwell

Travel Advisor, Fort Smith
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Ara Cromwell

Ara Cromwell

Travel Advisor, Fort Smith

Interests & Specialties
Luxury Travel

Are you dreaming of an intimate beach hideaway?.....a villa in the Tuscan countryside?.....an oceanfront room on an exotic Hawaiian beach?.....a tour of fascinating old world Europe?.....an adventure cruise to the Antarctic?  Whatever your destination and dream, Ara says her greatest joy is designing the perfect itinerary that places her clients in the world's Best Hotels, reflecting the history, art and culture of that country.

As a 1970 graduate of Kansas City Travel Academy, Ara's personal travels and industry certifications have given her the expertise to design itineraries that will exceed your expectations and delight you with the highest level of service and quality. 

Landy Westphal

Landy Westphal

Travel Advisor, Fort Smith
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Landy Westphal

Landy Westphal

Travel Advisor, Fort Smith

Landy has been traveling the world the last few years and decided to turn her love of travel and passion for planning into a career. Her desire is to help her client's travel dreams come true through unique experience, stress-free planning and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Landy travels to meet new people and open her world up to surprises and adventures. Her favorite travels have been "off the beaten path" adventures. Travel is the best way to learn and experience different cultures and places - it expands your mind and enriches the soul. Landy pays attention to detail and follow up. She is a good listener to client's travel requests. The BEST moments in life happen when you are seeing the world with people you love!

Let your BEST travel begin with LANDY!

Carole McFarland

Carole McFarland

Affiliated Agent, Houston
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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.

Cindy Snell

Cindy Snell

Affiliated Agent, Houston
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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.

Connie Burke

Connie Burke

Retired, Houston
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Connie Burke

Connie Burke

Retired, 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.

Laura Madden

Laura Madden

Affiliated Agent, Houston
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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.