Best Travel Agencies In The South Bay

August 29, 2015 5:00 AM

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

eiffeltower Best Travel Agencies In The South BayEiffel Tower (credit: Randy Yagi)

With seemingly endless choices of online travel sites, travel planning is easier than ever. Still, not all consumers or Silicon Valley companies have the time nor the personnel to spend hours upon hours in putting together the perfect getaway or corporate trip. What’s more, consumers or staff members trying to devise the perfect itinerary might not be getting as good a deal as what could be found from an experienced travel agent. Using the services of a top-rated travel agents offers a wide range of benefits from saving money to perks not commonly associated with typical online booking. Although many local travel agencies are worthy of mention, here is a sampling of five of the best travel agencies in the South Bay.

Casto Travel
2560 N. First St., Suite 150
San Jose, CA  95131
(408) 984-7000

Headquartered near downtown San Jose, Casto Travel is described as the largest travel agency in the Bay Area and the largest privately-owned travel management firm in Northern California. The award-winning business was founded in 1974 by Maryles Casto, who also serves as CEO, and offers a variety of travel services, such as vacation travel planning, cruise packages, corporate and group travel and services for passport and visa processing. Collectively, the staff of 200 has traveled to more than 100 countries and 25 travel agents have at least 17 years of experience in the travel industry. Over the years, Casto Travel and Maryles Casto have earned numerous industry awards, including Top Producer of the Year, second ranked among Top 50 Women-Owned Businesses in the Bay Area and one of the Top 50 Travel Management Companies in the country for more than 15 years.

bigsur Best Travel Agencies In The South Bay

Big Sur (credit: Randy Yagi)

Los Gatos Travel
644 N. Santa Cruz Ave.
Los Gatos, CA  95030
(408) 395-3811

Serving the upscale community of Los Gatos and the rest of the Bay Area since 1980. Los Gatos Travel is a highly rated full-service travel agency. Founded by Maureen Conlin and later joined by her business partner Kristy Sion, the travel agency located not far from the city’s popular Vasona Park has been affiliated with the Signature Travel Network, a cooperative network of travel professionals, for 30 years. The coveted affiliation allows Conlin and her staff of knowledgeable travel experts to offer the best deals for hotels and cruises to destinations worldwide. Among the hotels and resorts offered by Los Gatos Travel are St. Regis Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel and the Signature Luxury Hotel Collection, including fabulous luxury properties like Meadowood in the Napa Valley, the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur and the Beverly Hills Hotel. International properties include the Peninsula Paris, the Dorchester London and Mandarin Oriental Tokyo. Last year, Maureen Conlin was featured in Luxury Travel Advisor magazine, highlighting her successful business as a top producer for several luxury properties, including Starwood Hotels, Fairmont, Four Seasons and luxury cruises such as Crystal Cruises and Silversea.

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Diamond Head (credit: Randy Yagi)

Planet Hoppers
233 E. Weddell Drive
Sunnyvale, CA  94089
(415) 787-2835

Powered by an impressive collection of positive reviews via social media, Planet Hoppers specializes in land, cruise and tour vacations, including dream vacations, honeymoons, family reunions and group trips. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Planet Hoppers was founded in 2002 by Amy Tan, who has gained valuable travel experience by visiting 55 countries “and counting.” With her firsthand knowledge of the countries she’s visited, she can help plan any customer’s itinerary regardless of the length of time or destination. A former scientist who worked for NASA, Amy holds certifications as a Honeymoon Specialist, Cruise Specialist and Hawaii Specialist. Customers can create their own itinerary through Planet Hoppers and all vacation packages include flights with hotels, cruises and tours.

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Reclining Buddha, Bangkok (credit: Randy Yagi)

Travel With Me
950 S. Bascom Ave., Suite 3120
San Jose, CA  95128
(408) 297-6600

San Jose-based Travel With Me is a well-established South Bay travel agency founded in 1985 by well-respected travel expert Nancy Ganz Lindley. Located just outside of the city of Campbell not far from San Jose City College, the highly praised business offers a number of travel packages including cruises to nearly 400 destinations worldwide, including Sydney, Beijing, Paris and Bangkok. Recent promotions offered by Nancy included accommodations at Bora Bora Beach Resort and Spa, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Hilton Hawaiian Village and Warwick Fiji Resort and Spa. Nancy is fluent in Spanish and even has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies. A recent customer of Travel With Me said Nancy was “by far the best,” adding she appreciated her “availability at any time to discuss our trip.”

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Cruise Ship (credit: Randy Yagi)

Travel Advisors Of Los Gatos
56 N. Santa Cruz Ave.
Los Gatos, CA  95030
(408) 354-6531

Celebrating its 52nd anniversary this year, Travel Advisors of Los Gatos is a full-service travel agency featuring some of the top travel agents in the Bay Area. Located near Old Town Los Gatos, the business led by longtime resident Ed Stahl specializes in Caribbean destinations but also offers leisure and corporate trips worldwide. Recent promotions included excellent cruise packages from Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises, with departures from San Francisco to Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii and the Panama Canal. Travel Advisors of Los Gatos is affiliated with Ensemble Travel Group, a member-owned organization comprised of 850 travel agencies within the U.S., Canada and Australia/New Zealand. Just recently, Ed Stahl was named the 2015 Businessperson of the Year by the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce. The annual award honors a businessperson who has made significant contributions to the community of Los Gatos.

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on