Ask A Local

Travel has changed immensely over the past decade, and even more-so, after COVID. There are tons of options to sift through online whether through Facebook forums, Yelp reviews and Trip Advisor when looking for authentic experiences. Ever wonder what friends and families do when visiting a local in a tourist destination? I can almost assure you that it is not listed in the top ten activities on any of these platforms. Have you ever heard that a place is a fabulous place to live, but a horrible place to visit? Think of your own hometown, are the “World Famous ____________ (insert any word here: BBQ, Fish Tacos, Margaritas)” actually where you would take your loved ones? Have you ever met a person while traveling that shared with you their favorite venue, activity, restaurant or beach, only to realize that you only have two days left to explore? Let Custom Coastal build your trip, so you can enjoy it to the fullest.

Have you ever left a destination with the feeling that you’ve only scratched the surface of where you visited?

Whether you thinking of visiting Galveston, Southern Baja, or Southern Florida for the first time, or for the 50th time, Custom Coastal can give you the “word on the street” for many unique activities, attractions, events, and restaurants.

From There to Here

Bio – taken from Air BnB Live Anywhere contest entry

Hi, my name is Emily and I am passionate about immersive travel, education, hospitality, and marketing. I can show people a lifestyle that dreams are made of. I used to not like aquariums, but that was when I was getting paid to lead snorkeling trips in the Sea of Cortez. I didn’t pay rent for ten years but now I own a house and teach people how to buy and sell coastal real estate. 

National Geographic spawned my wanderlust. I yearned to see and learn about all of this world, especially the oceans. This led me to seek creative ways to finance my travels. I learned Spanish, confidence, and empathy working at restaurants. The hospitality industry taught me to anticipate needs and it taught me how to connect with anyone, anywhere. I went professional nomad after graduating with a degree in Ocean and Coastal Resources from Texas A&M in 2004 when most grads were going to work for an oil company. After living in half of a trailer on the shore of Catalina Island for a year, teaching kids about science in an immersive environment, there was no way home. I managed to live on Folly Beach, then Dominical before I landed a job that forever changed my life. I went as a bilingual field science instructor and ended up living in La Paz, Baja California Sur for six years guiding whale watch, snorkel, and kayak tours in UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Baja Expeditions became my family, literally. I felt like I belonged in Baja, and I loved sharing its secrets with hundreds of curious travelers. I may have made my money as a custom trip planner, teacher and a guide, but the real reward was all that I learned while traveling, or more so facilitating their travel. 

I want to teach people how much there is to learn through living authentic experiences in diverse places. 

One thing about living and working in a tourist destination is that you don’t often go on vacation – you visit family or get supplies. After my ‘domestication’ I began to travel again and I didn’t really like what I saw. Boats left the dock with just a captain, no guide. This seemed blasphemous to me after my time running eco-trips in Baja – we never let clients get in the water or go hiking unaccompanied. Not only for their safety, but also to make the most of each outing, they liked to be guided. I have been working on a short essay observing the different types of travelers. And if you are still reading this, you are my kind of traveler. 

From Six Solo Weeks in Spain

It was in a National Geographic Explorer magazine on a plane to Spain in 2012 that I saw my first advertisement for Airbnb. I had only reserved a hotel for my first night in Madrid. That night I booked my train to Barcelona and my first of many Airbnb nights. 

I spent six weeks in 17 different cities, 28 different beds. I didn’t feel alone on my journey to explore history. I found that looking into a whale’s eye isn’t the only way to simultaneously feel small and fearless. 

My whole working life has been successful because I’ve thrived by effectively sharing my passion and findings. My friends know me as a problem solver, negotiator and mentor. Perhaps people feel like they can tell me anything because I am a genuine and open person.

I am a pro-packer, seeker of worse case scenario solutions, and teacher of what it means to travel and explore new places. 

How, Why, and When to Hire a Travel Planner?

It has been decided – you need a trip, stat. Whether you are looking for a solo adventure, inviting your crazy mix of girlfriends, hanging with the family, or taking a romantic getaway we will take the stress out of the equation, and ensure your adventure is a success. Instead of letting your OCD, on the verge of bossy, _________ (sister-in-law/best friend/niece/uncle) plan the entire trip and lead it like a drill sergeant, let us be the director of your adventure. After our initial conversation which will provide the broad outline of your trip, a questionnaire will be sent to each member of the group. Itinerary options will then be presented to the group and once agreement has been achieved we will weave together all aspects in a clear and descriptive manner – including a sample packing list. We will be here to answer all questions leading up to the trip and if something goes awry while you are traveling we will help in any way we can. This service is not for everyone. If your idea of a coastal vacation is complete with eating at chain restaurants, lugging your cooler across the seawall to a pair of rented chairs, listening to Jimmy Buffet while getting wasted with a bunch of tourists – this site may not be for you. But if you are not satisfied with this level of travel, please read on and contact me today. 

In this highly informative article “When to Hire a Travel Agent to Plan Your Trip” in Kiplinger they referenced travel agents, I am not a travel agent. I am a traveller who loves to share the soul of places with curious people. People who want to travel like a local. They also referenced a site called Travel Sense, but I couldn’t help but notice they advertised a couple fancy hotels near Cancun, but had no destination marked Mexico – I clicked on Central America, and there they were, two soulless hotels on Riviera Maya, Mexico, North America. (mic drop)