Elaia Travel’s philosophy is to design extraordinary itineraries that take you exactly where you dream of going, with extra consideration of all the details you may not have thought of, leaving plenty of room for those surprising elements of every journey that are often the most memorable. Based in Santa Barbara, CA, this boutique travel company specializes in exceptional trips to Italy and will assist you in all of your travel needs.
So many choices, so little time! Trip planning can be exciting, yet daunting. Train or rental car? Holiday apartment or boutique hotel? How to get advance tickets and find out about special exhibits? Cooking classes, bike tours, where to shop…Elaia Travel’s concierge services will guide you in making the ideal choices.
“Let’s chat about all the hopes you may have for your trip, then leave the research and planning to us,” Elaia Travel partners Shannon Kenny and Shannon DiPadova comment.
Family & Small Groups– “As parents and travel enthusiasts, we understand the challenges of planning a trip with children of all ages, multi-generational trips with grandparents, and group trips for travelers with diverse needs and expectations. Our complete group travel planning service includes carefully selected lodging options, ground transportation coordination, booking of tours and unique activities, dining suggestions, and travel logistics.”
Friends—“We are friends who love to travel. Does it get any better than that?” Having great friends to travel with is a gift. This duo is passionate about working with groups of friends to plan just the perfect trip that aligns with a range of hopes and expectations. From bike tours to artist retreats to culinary experiences, they will design a trip that will appeal to every traveler in your group. “We provide organizations, groups of individuals, schools, and corporations with careful attention to detail and consideration of every travelers’ need in the process of working together to plan memorable small group travel experiences and special events.”
Weddings & Events– Elaia Travel represents several locations in Tuscany, Umbria, and Puglia for planning weddings and group events for every budget. “Through our partnerships with local property owners and vendors our clients have access to resources for every aspect of their event, including flowers, rentals, photography, catering, clergy or officiants, lodging, and transportation.”
Hold your event or wedding near the famous beaches of Puglia, looking across a field of sunflowers, in the courtyard of a Tuscan villa with the countryside beyond, or in a rustic farmhouse. The beauty of these settings serves as the perfect backdrop for special occasions.
Student Groups– “When we are wearing some of our other professional hats, we develop curriculum materials, teach, and serve on administrative boards related to global experiential education. In this capacity, at Elaia Travel we work closely with schools to design educational student trips to select locations in collaboration with established local partnerships with property owners, educators, and cultural organizations.”
The parners have operated Arte al Sole, since 2007, a globally recognized cultural program for international children with 6 locations in Italy. They utilize the knowledge, experience, and relationships established through Arte al Sole to develop student tours for schools and organizations in alignment with the needs of the curriculum.
Founding partner Shannon Kenny received a Master’s Degree in Medieval and Renaissance History and has worked as a published author, editor, and educator in the fields of history, French and Italian language, the social sciences, and educational and boutique travel for over 17 years. After many years of traveling to Italy for both work and pleasure, Shannon founded the international children’s cultural program Arte al Sole in 2007 to serve the needs of families abroad.
To meet families’ demand for quality and trustworthy travel information, in 2008 Shannon launched Italiakids.com, an online resource for family travel to Italy.
Clients increasingly reached out to Shannon with requests for travel concierge trip planning for itineraries that included Italy as well as other destinations in Europe. Due to word-of-mouth referrals among her clientele, Shannon expanded beyond family travel to design all manner of itineraries, and Elaia Travel was born. Shannon spent summers in Forte de Marmi and the Lucca area for many years and lived in Florence and Rome. She now divides her time each year between the 6 Arte al Sole locations throughout Italy, with additional weeks in Italy and Europe scouting travel finds, and Santa Barbara, California, where she lives with her daughters Josephine and Isabella. Shannon speaks Italian, French, and, well, if you should have the need, Latin, as well.
Shannon DiPadova, Partner, VP Business Development & Marketing. A communications professional and entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the public relations, marketing, retail and e-commerce fields, Shannon began her love of travel while on her first trip to Europe in college. During her first job working as a press & marketing agent for touring Broadway theatrical productions, she began traveling extensively for business meanwhile continuing to travel for pleasure to places ranging from the beaches of Belize to the streets of Paris. After the birth of her first child, Shannon opened Due Maternity, a boutique chain of maternity apparel brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce website, continuing extensive travel for the company until its acquisition in 2010. Travel had become a major part of her life and that is when she knew that someday her love of travel would become her business.
Shannon has a deep love for several European destinations, but Italy holds a special place in her heart because she is of Italian descent with her ancestors hailing from the Liguria and Piedmont regions. She received her BA in Communications from San Francisco State University and after living in the City for more than 15 years, she decided to return to her hometown of Santa Barbara where she lives with her husband and three children.
We wanted a memorable trip to Spain and Italy with our 3 kids. We were looking for a boutique experience – staying off the typical tourist track, authentic but nice accommodations – smaller hotels in cool, fun, smaller towns. Ultimately we wanted a family trip that was meticulously planned by someone with inside knowledge so that we could go from amazing spot to amazing spot seamlessly. To plan this ourselves we came to realize would be literally impossible and even our poor attempt to become expert on a topic where we lacked expertise would have taken a massive amount of time and effort.
Elaia Travel is a true expert on travel in this region and I think will be particularly helpful for those looking for memorable trips that are not on the default, most heavily traveled tourist route. We recommend Shannon’s services without hesitation. Sam Chesluk, Santa Barbara, CA
1187 Coast Village Road
Suite 1, #744, Santa Barbara, CA 93108
Call for a travel consultation: 888.342.1116
For more information, visit the website: elaiatravel.com