Our team of luxury travel specialists have spent almost three decades in the travel industry, and our knowledge of the world’s most inspiring places is unrivaled. We are experienced, opinionated, and discerning, and we believe that travel is one of life’s ultimate joys—it never fails to thrill us, expand our perspectives, or fill us with wonder and gratitude. We love exploring the world, and we know it intimately.
We’ve ridden motorcycles through Bangkok’s storied alleyways, paid our respects to Maasai warriors in Tanzania, danced through sunset and sunrise in Ipanema Beach, and sung as loud as we could as we crossed the Jordanian desert because the only other soul within miles was our camel, and we knew he’d never report just how terrible we sounded. Every person on our staff had their lives altered by travel; we abandoned our original plans—Wall Street, law school, you name it—because we took a life-changing journey, and now all we want to do is create life-changing journeys for other people.
Our diverse staff includes award-winning travel advisers who specialize in areas such as wellness, family travel, and safaris, and in different areas of the world, such as Bhutan and Tunisia. We have offices in New York, Cape Town, and Bangkok to make sure that our global knowledge is current and cutting-edge. We are always on the move, visiting places for the fifth or first time to make sure we can provide you with the most up-to-date and exciting travel recommendations so that you don’t just skim the surface of a country, but explore its depths. We know the best restaurants in Buenos Aires, Cape Town, and Tokyo, and we can actually get you a table at that Michelin-starred hole-in-the-wall. We know the most stunning jungle resorts in Thailand, Brazil, and Madagascar, the hippest galleries in Istanbul, Rio, and Phnom Penh, the best vineyards in New Zealand, the most luxurious yacht in the Galapagos, and even how to find Papua New Guinea’s “lost” tribes.
Seeing the world has enriched our lives in ways we can’t ever measure, and we believe that seeing the world with us will do the same for you. Give us a call and tell us where you want to go—we’ll share our stories, adventures, and expert opinions, and make informed recommendations that you won’t find anywhere else.
We are happy to work with travel agencies and travel companies who want to offer their clients the kind of extraordinary journeys that we specialize in. Additionally, if you are someone who prefers to work with a particular travel agent or travel adviser, we can easily coordinate and consult with them so you can take part in the unparalleled experiences that only we offer.
– President & Founder
Ken’s passion for travel revealed itself when he exited his Wall Street career early for an adventure in Australia. He never looked back. Driven by his sense of discovery and fearless spirit, he continues to explore the world while inspiring others to do the same. In 1989, he founded Absolute Travel and under his leadership, the company has grown to be the recognized worldwide leader in private luxury travel, symbolized by Travel + Leisure naming them the 2013 World’s Best Tour Operator. That success stems from the pioneering mentality that he first brought to his early travels and then the company he founded, an approach that is deeply embedded in the DNA of Absolute Travel. They were the first U.S.-based company to sell trips to Vietnam and Cambodia, and have continued to forge an intrepid path by bringing travelers to remote parts of the globe and innovating the luxury travel experience. When he’s not running the world’s best travel company or serving as a spokesperson for the industry, Ken is a member of Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture’s Advisory Board, and unpacks his bags in New York with his wife, Kyoko, his daughter, Kazumi, and son, Keizo. His traveling mantra is “Travel light and with a smile.” Whether at home or traveling, he appreciates wherever he is in the world.
– Operations Coordinator
Born in Guyana, Greg Chan moved to the United States at the age of 11. He has always been passionate about international travel and especially loves any destination with sunny weather and a gorgeous beach. Among his favorite places to visit are the Caribbean, Spain and Mexico, and he is a diligent researcher of the nightlife wherever he goes! Greg started at Absolute Travel as an intern in 1999 and became a full-time employee in the Operations Department the following year; he is easily the most popular employee at the company.
– Administration Manager
Ilene was raised on Long Island and today she lives in the same neighborhood she grew up in with her husband and their son, Luke. She loves taking advantage of the adventures the region has to offer, from skydiving and wineries on the east end to Eisenhower Park near their home. As a child, Ilene was fortunate to spend summers in Israel and Greece with her family and in her adulthood she was able to experience gorgeous Caribbean Islands on many vacations. These days she hits the road on trips so she can show her son all that the United States has to offer.
– Systems Analyst
Christie Mealo graduated from Boston College with a double major in Marketing and Studio Art, but has passion for many things. Known in her hometown of Atlantic City as an artist and children’s book illustrator, her other major interests include design, philosophy, kickboxing, and of course, world travel. After a month-long course in Bali Indonesia, and a semester abroad in Australia, Christie’s passion for Southeast Asia and the South Pacific grew into a love for exploration and cultural immersion. Christie works as AT’s systems analyst, helping with internal operations and all things technological; she also assists the marketing department with campaigns and creative projects.
– Sales Associate & Cuba Expert
After moving to the United States from Ukraine with her family, Maryana spent her childhood taking road trips around the country with her parents, learning to appreciate charming hamlets and big cities alike. It was her first solo trip to the West Coast, however, that sparked her passion for wandering and discovery, leading to a semester abroad in Florence, Italy her senior year of college. While traipsing to different European cities on the weekends, Maryana’s insatiable interest in food blossomed into a culinary obsession, leading her to partake in a culinary trip to Israel. You can always find her in a restaurant, by a food cart, or at someone’s dinner table, trying something new—the steady stream of unusual foods in her family’s kitchen has only strengthened her iron stomach! After interning with Absolute Travel for a semester, Maryana came on board full-time. She hopes to help people discover the intrigue of travel as she has, and is always looking for the next beautiful thing, at home or abroad.
– Chief Operating Officer | General Counsel
Guy is a graduate of Albany Law School, The Johns Hopkins University (where he and Ken met) and Phillips Andover Academy. He has been involved with Absolute since its inception, when he filed the original Articles of Incorporation in 1989. In the interim, Guy has been a chef, a sommelier, a hotelier, and an attorney in both private and government practice. Guy and his wife Pawalee (newlyweds!) split time between their upstate home and NYC apartment.
– Sales Associate
Laura’s passion for travel first came in the form of trinkets gifted to her when her parents would return from work trips. Her own global adventures bloomed when she spent a semester studying abroad in London. At the time, her then boyfriend, and now husband, was simultaneously studying abroad in Milan. They spent weekends meeting one another in European cities from Prague to Paris. After college, she toured competitively within the pro golf circuit, during which time she traveled throughout the United States until settling in New York City. Although no longer a competitor, she continues seeking out the ultimate golf greens near and far.
– Operations Associate
Wendy’s desire to connect with others through teaching and learning led her far from her New Jersey home to Kenya and Thailand. In Kenya she had a life-changing experience volunteering in the Kibera slums. For three months she assisted HIV-positive families and learned to appreciate that small joys each day can create a great deal of happiness in a lifetime. After graduating from the University of Vermont with a BA in Early Childhood Development she moved to Thailand where she taught at an international school. From her Bangkok base she would pursue outdoor adventures across Cambodia, Vietnam, and the stunning islands of Thailand. Brimming with patience and humor, Wendy brings her love of travel and communication to Absolute’s Operation team. An avid skier all her life, when she’s not making friends around the world, you’ll find her hitting the slopes from Vermont to Utah.
– Sales Associate
Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania, Lauren always loved exploring the great outdoors. Her passion for travel turned into a career after embarking on a year-long exploration of Peru, taking her to ancient archaeological sites along the northern coast, pristine glacial lakes in the Cordillera Blanca, and everywhere in between. Lauren continued her search for new places and experiences when she moved to NYC in 2013, and despite the lack of green space, she fell in love with the diverse culture and culinary scene in and around the city. Lauren’s passions include cooking, hiking, yoga and photography.
– Operations Associate
When Annie’s best friend proposed an impromptu trip across India, she couldn’t refuse. She counts saying yes to the adventure as one of her best decisions yet. She hasn’t stopped exploring since. After graduating from Connecticut College she moved to Cambodia to teach ESL and later worked as the Education Director for a program facilitating volunteer experiences for American teenagers. With Phnom Penh as her base, she threaded her way through Southeast Asia making stops in Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia. Her greatest travel passion is discovering good music wherever she goes. Which musical destination tops her list? Cuba!