Thompson Valley Spanish teacher launches mystery travel agency – Loveland Reporter-Herald

Adventurous travelers looking for their next big trip now have a new travel agency to plan their big getaway, but not in a conventional way.

SkipTown was started by Riley Ellis-Beach, a part-time Spanish teacher at Thompson Valley High School with a heart for travel. Instead of choosing the location themselves, Ellis-Beach organizes a getaway experience that is a total surprise.

Ellis-Beach said her love for travel started when she took a trip to Ecuador at the age of 18. She said that until then, while she had taken road trips with her family, she had never even taken a plane.

“I immediately hooked,” she said. “It was such an amazing experience.”

Ellis-Beach graduated from Colorado State University in 2011 and joined the Peace Corps, continuing to travel the world. After graduating from CSU in 2015, she moved to northern Colorado, but her love for travel never ceased.

She said the idea of ​​starting a travel agency came from her enjoyment of planning vacations and family trips. She said that one Christmas she surprised her husband with a ski trip and her reaction left her with good ideas.

“When I saw his face when he opened his package, the confusion, then a double take and then the excitement, I was like ‘this is really fun,'” she said.

According to her website, the idea of ​​SkipTown as a surprise travel agency arose out of a conversation with her husband. After her husband said he didn’t look forward to the next day at work, she joked that they could just leave town. That’s when she realized her twist idea; plan the vacation for the traveler and surprise him with the result.

“As adults we very rarely get a surprise, like a real surprise,” she said.

Interested travelers can visit the SkipTown website, complete a travel survey, and set their budget. From there, Ellis-Beach compares what vacationers are interested in doing or seeing and tailors a destination that best suits the specific group. She said she was building an entire itinerary and even booking unique experiences in advance.

Ellis-Beach said it has been a learning curve to start and get started with the travel agency, especially since the company started in November 2019 and only started really planning trips right before. the pandemic. far.

As the world slowly begins to reopen, Ellis-Beach said she expects vacations and travel to start to increase. She said that so far this year she has already had several people looking to her for a getaway.

“The interest is there,” she said. “People are still hesitant and it’s still a little confusing, but I foresee the return of travel.”

For now, Ellis-Beach has said SkipTown is sticking to travel to the United States. She said that while she enjoys international travel and is considering planning trips for people in other countries in the future, she hopes her travels will provide the “enriching experience” of learning about the United States. .

“Being able to find beauty in a place, no matter where you go (is important),” she said.

She said the unique experience SkipTown offers allows families or groups to take the stress out of planning the trip and embark on a surprise vacation.

“(Having) letting them go a little bit in control makes it really unique,” ​​Ellis-Beach said. “It’s a unique thing in life, that aspect of surprise.”

More information, as well as how to book a getaway, can be found at goskiptown.com.

Willie R. Golden