Laura Reece photographed by Nicholas Mele.
As a network of more than 3,000 small businesses, we’re paying close attention to how they’re faring in an age of stay-at-home orders and social distancing. In an effort to stay connected to our TSG community and share their stories, we’re “catching up with” different business owners every week to hear about their challenges, learn how they’re coping, and find out how they’re spending their time at home. Today, we’re checking in with Palm Beach, Florida-based Laura Reece, owner and CEO of Reece Worldwide Travel, a boutique travel agency that offers carefully curated travel experiences for clients, specializing in travel for family and couples to destinations in the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe. Here, she discusses staying on top of resort openings and closures, dreaming about her next family travel adventure, and finding joy in horseback riding.
What’s your business up to right now?
Currently we are doing an enormous amount of reading and research. COVID-19 has turned the travel industry upside down, and policies and procedures along with country entry requirements change daily. We try to keep up on current trends, resort openings and closures, airline policies, cruise line suspensions, and international travel restrictions. We consider ourselves an authority in the business and want to make sure our clients have the most up-to-date information so they can make educated decisions on future travel plans. We are managing our clients’ current travel plans—troubleshooting any necessary changes and booking vacations for 2021.
Your biggest challenge, professionally and/or personally:
My biggest challenge right now is no surprise, COVID-19. However, people are starting to slowly return to leisure travel. Mexico is a popular destination right now, as they require no testing prior to arrival, and we are seeing a huge uptick in local and domestic vacations—family resorts in the mountains, active adventures in the western states, and beach vacations at small and unique hotels along the coastline.
What’s bringing you joy:
So many things bring me joy! It’s always been about the little things for me—my children, my husband, my dog. But I have to say being able to ride my horse every day in the Florida sunshine brings me great joy and relaxation. It’s easy to socially distance when you’re riding, so that’s something that I’ve been able to continue without interruption. I own a 7-year-old Friesian Appaloosa mare. Her nickname is Dani and she’s a leopard. She is sweet as can be and is a joy to ride. I sometimes forget how unusual she looks. She is quite a spectacle at times to humans and to horses!
What you’re watching/reading/listening to:
Watching: I’m a sci-fi junkie! I just finished binge-watching the new Amazon series Hanna, which we picked up after finishing every episode of Snowpiercer, See, and Billions. I know Billions doesn’t fit the sci-fi mold, but I loved it too!
Reading: I have a few books next to my bed—The Perfect Horse, The Goldfinch, and Crazy Rich Asians. I usually read a few books at a time. My favorite book I read recently was Ready Player One. Definitely read it before you see the movie. It’s a great book.
Listening to: I was just interviewed for a Podcast with Say It Southern. These ladies are a hoot! So informative, and they cover a wide variety of topics. I love listening to them! You can listen to my episode with them here.
For music, I have a “playlist” that includes all of my favorite songs, and I’m forever updating it. It contains everything from Harry Belafonte’s “Jump the Line” to “Butterfly” by Crazy Town to Queen’s Radio Gaga to Dua Lipa’s IDGAF. It’s so eclectic, but it’s fun and it’s truly me. It’s great for dinner parties—it just makes you want to get up and dance!
Your go-to snack:
I’m allergic to eggs and wheat and I try not to eat too much dairy, so my options are narrowed. I usually grab a KIND bar, some watermelon chunks, tortilla chips and guacamole, or I am obsessed with these Sugar Bombs grape tomatoes on the vine! They are so delicious.
Your favorite family activity:
Well, our favorite family activity used to be traveling—we take our kids everywhere. We’ve seen our kids fly kites at the Castillo in Puerto Rico, ride a cable car in San Francisco, climb the steps at the Jefferson Memorial in D.C., hike Machu Picchu, and eat pancakes in Amsterdam. We know that our lives are richer as a result of the experiences we’ve had.
Right now, we’re spending more time sitting around the dinner table, playing board games, taking a dip in our pool, and dreaming of where we can travel to next.
The local businesses/services you’re using this week:
I am a huge fan of supporting local, especially women-owned businesses. Right now, I am working with Lauren Bender of the Social Hour on developing our social media presence and extending our reach with other media channels in our area. I’m also contributing monthly to Jana Angel’s Living Local South Florida platform as a local “insider” for the travel industry. You can learn more about it here.
For eats, we always support La Masseria on PGA Boulevard. A friend’s parents own the restaurant and it’s a lovely place to grab a glass of wine with friends. We always run into someone we know! I’m also a big fan of Pinder’s Seafood—the fish dip is legendary! And I’ve been shopping for groceries at Doris Italian Market, getting stone crab claws from Outclaws, and ordering acai bowls from 3 Natives. We’re not eating out too much, but once restrictions have been lessened I’m dying to go to Chubby Salmon in Jupiter and Taylor Farmhouse Cafe in Jupiter Farms.