Just 2 weeks ago I had the great good fortune of seeing elephants in their natural environment in Samburu and Maasai Mara National Reserves in Kenya. They are truly magnificent and majestic creatures.

Later in the week, I visited the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust orphanage in Nairobi adjacent to Nairobi National Park. The Shedlrick orphanage does incomparable work in rescuing orphaned elephants and returning them to the wild when they are old enough to survive on their own.

Unfortunately, too often their efforts see only tragedy as the elephant they rescued is killed by the same ivory trade responsible for it becoming an orphan in the first place.

Right now, the number of orphans at the Sheldrick facility is at a record high, indicating that poaching is not abating, but on the increase.

That evening, over a few glasses of wine on the patio of Macushla House, I was discussing the problem of ivory poaching with Shelley Waterland of the Born Free Foundation, and Dr. Clay Wilson, wildlife veterinarian and founder of the International Wildlife Rescue. Both of these individuals are on the front line working to end the decimation of elephant herds to ivory poaching.

The solution, they say, is to eliminate the end market for ivory products. The largest markets for ivory are China, Japan and, surprisingly, the Catholic Church!

That’s right — rosary beads made of ivory are much prized by Catholics worldwide. A Catholic myself, I can’t believe that any Catholic would want their prayers heard at the destruction of these beautiful and intelligent creatures of God, as seen in this video!

It would be wonderful if the Sheldrick orphanage was unnecessary, but it will be in business as long as ivory poaching remains a lucrative industry.


Earn up to $25 Contribution to Your Non-Profit Group for Referrals

resulting in a vacation or cruise booking of $5000 or more, $10 for bookings of $2000.00-$4999.99.*

Name your non-profit group as recipient of your contribution when you contact me about your travel arrangements.

Then tell your friends, family and associates about the value of PROFESSIONAL vacation travel planning.  Ask them to name your non-profit when booking a vacation or cruise package with me.  Your non-profit will earn $$$ with every booking!

*NOTE: Non-Profit group MUST be mentioned at time of first contact for any travel booking.  Judy Duran, CTA, must have non-profit name and contact information on file. Contribution offer is subject to approval of non-profit organization and subject to cancellation at the discretion of Judy Duran, CTA.  Contribution money credited to non-profit account after travel completed and commission received from supplier. Contribution based on NET package price exclusive of taxes & fees, air fare (unless commissionable), gratuities and non-commissionable amenities and arrangements. Contribution paid quarterly by check directly to named non-profit.  This contribution offered exclusively by Judy Duran, CTA.  Polk Majestic Travel Group and any travel suppliers used in providing travel arrangements, or their affiliates, are not in any way responsible for redeeming this contribution offer. Contributions NOT combinable with any other offer from Judy Duran, CTA, including Earn up to $50 VISA Bonus for Each New Referral  promotion.

Your Business & Referrals are ALWAYS appreciated!

Earn up to $50 VISA Bonus for Each New Referral

resulting in a vacation or cruise booking of $2000 or more, $20 for bookings of $2000.00 to $4999.99.*

Book a vacation or cruise package with me.

Then tell your friends, family and associates about the value of PROFESSIONAL vacation travel planning.

NOTE: You must a travel client of Judy Duran, CTA, the author of this blog, or Polk Majestic Travel Group. Bonus money credited to VISA Reloadable Prepaid Card. Some personal information required to obtain card. All bonuses paid after first bonus will be loaded onto the original card. Bonus offers are subject to cancellation at the discretion of Judy Duran, CTA. This bonus offered exclusively by Judy Duran, CTA. Polk Majestic Travel Group and any travel suppliers used in providing travel arrangements, or their affiliates, are not in any way responsible for redeeming these bonus offers. 

*First-time referral only.  Referral MUST be mentioned prior to or at time of initial contact from new client.  Bonus money is paid after travel is completed and commission is received from supplier.  Bonus is based on NET package price exclusive of taxes & fees, air fare (unless commissionable), gratuities and non-commissionable amenities and arrangements.  Not valid for referrals of current clients with bookings on record with within the past 3 years. Bonus NOT combinable with any other offer, from Judy Duran, CTA, including Earn up to $25 Contribution to Your Non-Profit Group for Referrals promotion.

Your Business & Referrals are ALWAYS appreciated!

Check back regularly for Travel Values from Trypp!
Providing planning services for all types of travel, meeting and event arrangements. Specializing in leisure travel and unique custom itineraries for individuals and groups; planning and escorting group tours.
WE WELCOME CONTRIBUTIONS FROM OUR READERS!  Earn VISA dollars for your contributions while other readers benefit from  your travel experiences!  Report your trip, recent hotel stay, travel tips, travel deals, etc., by e-mailing your submission to, or making a quick observation in any comments box on this blog.  See Trypp’s VISA Dollars Giveaway in the “Categories” at right for details.
Earn VISA $$$ for your referrals, non-profit, or contributions to this blog! See Trypp’s VISA Dollars Giveaway in the “Categories” at right for details.

The advantages of using a travel agent are manifold.  But I don’t have to blow my own horn!  Suppliers will do it for me!


Travel Agent Appreciation Month

By Gina West, May 12, 2011

Every year, Apple Vacations celebrates Travel Agent Appreciation Month during the month of May. This year is no exception. As a Senior Sales Manager with Apple Vacations, my primary role is to work hand-in-hand with our travel agent partners to keep them up-to-date on any new destinations, resorts and the
latest hot deals. Yet, whenever I meet someone new and they discover what I do for a living, I’m often asked, “With all of the resources on the internet, why would anyone need to use a travel agent?”

Travel agents literally spend hundreds of hours each year continuing their education of destinations and resorts by participating in educational seminars and familiarization trips (FAMs) to keep their knowledge current. The internet is a great tool but the information is often conflicting, contradictory and confusing. A good travel agent uses all available resources plus their personal studies and experiences to ask the right questions and recommend the vacation that best fits your needs. In the long run, planning your vacation takes less time to qualify you and your family for the right vacation by using a travel agent.

If you’re still not convinced that it makes sense to use the services of a travel agent, consider this … Apple Vacations considers the travel agent’s input so critical to successful vacation planning that the cost of the travel agent’s services are already included in the cost of each and every Apple Vacation. That’s right – the cost of your Apple Vacation includes paying your travel agent to book your vacation with us for you so by not using a travel agent, you are in essence short-changing yourself and not getting the full benefit of the Apple Vacation product and service. Since your travel agent’s service is included in the cost of your trip, why not get all of your monies worth?

So, during the month of May, I hope you’ll join Apple Vacations and say “Thank You” for a job well done to the person who cares so much about you and your vacation experience… your local travel agent!

Leave Vacation Planning to the Professionals 

Consumers are more inundated than ever with seemingly too-good-to-be-true vacation prices, especially on-line.  How can even the most seasoned travelers be expected to cut through the clutter and make the
right decision?  Part personal shopper and part matchmaker, a professional travel agent can match up options from hundreds of travel deals with your personal preferences, and take the stress out of the vacation planning process. Consider the following:

  • First-Hand Experience – Chances are good that your travel agent has experienced the resort first-hand or has received personal feedback from clients who have. With so many websites      containing outdated or misleading information, the expert advice and personal recommendation of a travel professional can be far more reliable and less biased than a travel brochure or web posting.
  • Interpreting the Fine Print – Professional travel agents are familiar with the disclaimers and hidden      fees that could cost you far more than you bargained for. They’ll provide expert advice on everything from optional resort excursions to the real value of travel insurance.
  • Convenience, Cost and Value Recognition – By sifting through the web or making countless phone calls to hotels and airlines, you may be able to find a lower price on your own. But more likely, a travel agent will find you the best value in far less time, and you can avoid making a decision that may cost you dearly. Knowledgeable travel agents can discern the difference between a low price and a good value. When you book a vacation, you’re investing not only hard-earned dollars but also valuable vacation time. It pays to get it right.
  • Clout – With a travel agent, you have someone who will go to bat for you should the unexpected happen.  Experienced travel agents have long-standing relationships with travel suppliers. They have the right contacts and know how to get things done in the most efficient and timely manner.

Apple Vacations, one of the nation’s leading wholesale vacation companies, recommends booking through a professional, retail travel agent for the right advice and best price.

So why use an agent when you can go online and book yourself? Perhaps the question should be, why not?

With so many vacation options available, it’s helpful to work with someone who has “been there, done that” and can guide you through the entire planning process – finding the right destination, choosing the perfect hotel…a friend in the business who can give you insider tips to help you have a unique and memorable experience.

So, even if you like to do your own research, we recommend discussing your options with a professional travel agent. Apple Vacations provides you with a free listing of travel agencies that specialize in our destinations and can give you great advice throughout your planning process. The expertise, guidance, and personal service these partners provide are invaluable. All you need to do is . . . find a travel agent ready to help.

Golden Apple – These are agencies that send hundreds, sometimes thousands, of passengers on Apple Vacations each year. They receive one-on-one training from us about our destinations, products, and services. Some of these agencies may have nationwide affiliations and industry endorsements.

Red Apple – These agencies are also highly qualified to book Apple Vacations. In addition to receiving ongoing product training, they also send large numbers of passengers to Apple destinations. These agents may have a more local customer focus and are equally capable of finding the perfect vacation for you.

Trypp the Intrepid Traveling Elephant


March 19, 2011
Judy Duran, CTA
Contact:  720 270-5767;

Centennial, CO. Trypp the Traveling Elephant today joins professional travel planner, Judy Duran, to create unforgettable journeys.

Trypp will assist Duran with planning and escorting group travel; marketing; designing incredible and unique itineraries; leisure and cruise travel planning; fam trips; advising clients on travel issues and concerns; and contributing to Duran’s travel blog. “The blog,, was named especially for Trypp.”

With almost 20 years’ experience in the travel industry, Duran joined forces with Flat Stanley ( on a Los Vegas trip in 2009. “I immediately saw the advantages of traveling with a fictional character,” says Duran. “Stanley opened up doors and broke the ice. People who saw us together either had met him before or wanted to know who he was. I really had a lot of fun traveling with Stan and met a lot of people because of him.”

Duran has been searching for another travel partner and assistant since Flat Stanley returned to his second grade colorist, Sebastion, to attend Catholic School near St. Louis. After searching for more than a year, Trypp was selected to fill flat-footed Stanley’s shoes.

“My family has a long history of travel,” says Trypp. “My Pliocene ancestors, the Mastodons, started traveling in 35,502,376 BD. My Pleistocene Mammoth forefathers journeyed widely in their era and the family travel tradition remains active today.” Trypp notes the elephant participation in the annual Great Migration on Africa’s Serengeti Plain as just one example of the elephant’s remarkable travel stamina.

Of the many applicants applying for the position, Duran says she rejected several outright. “Lucky Leprechaun isn’t focused,” she says. “He is always chasing rainbows.”

“I couldn’t afford to offer Grizwald the Grizzly as good a benefit package as he is getting at Frontier Airlines.” She adds that the Evil Twin was a real troublemaker responsible for the overthrow of several governments, and “Not the kind of person I’d trust escorting a group tour in politically sensitive situations.”

Duran admits that she dismissed Hugh Jackman’s application as “A figment of my imagination.” “Trypp just rose above the pack,” says Duran.

“I have quite an extensive elephant collection and she makes an excellent addition. And she’ll work for peanuts.” “I feel right at home among Judy’s herd,” adds Trypp.

Duran noted the Elephant’s readiness to start work as a deciding factor. “She came to the initial interview with passport handy and trunk packed.”

Trypp’s first assignment with Duran commences next week when she travel to Costa Rica and cruises aboard the Wind Star with Duran and her husband, Pat, during their 40th Anniversary celebration. “I won’t impose on their time together,” says Trypp. “And with me along to do some of the work, Judy will have more time to enjoy with Pat.”

Trypp was conceived at Folkmanis Puppets in Emeryville, California, of African Elephant parents. Like most elephants, she claims to “never forget.”

“With her African roots, I like that she can walk a bit on the wild side,” says Duran. “I will really enjoy tripping with Trypp.”

“The unique perspective, background and extraordinary memory Trypp brings to the position is sure to have a mammoth impact on creating UNFORGETTABLE journeys for my clients.”