Bell & Bly Travel is a boutique travel advisory for entrepreneurs, executives, families, and couples. We are an independent affiliate of Brownell Travel, a Virtuoso member, and the oldest, most prestigious travel advisory in the United States. Our team is made up of travel experts from around the world working together to specialize in you. Together, we have accumulated tens of thousands of hours of travel designing with personal connections in the industry to create unique experiences for you.
Meet Our Team
Sarah’s passion for travel began in 1st grade when she wrote, “I love traveling and speaking Spanish!” yet she had never stepped foot outside of Corpus Christi, Texas. Her travel experience now ranges from ultra-luxury safaris to nomadic home-stays, language immersion programs to luxury-chartered sailing expeditions and highly detailed itineraries to on-the-fly backpacking excursions. In all, Sarah has visited all seven continents, over 100 countries, and has countless hours of travel planning and worldly experiences.
In addition to her love for travel, Sarah has held positions in investment banking, private equity, venture investing, and with Uber. Sarah earned a MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business after graduating from the University of Texas with a BBA in Finance.
Sarah Groen founded Bell & Bly Travel in 2019 for entrepreneurs and executives when she found a gap in the market. There wasn’t a true advisor to effectively plan luxury travel for herself and her friends, even though they paid wealth managers, lawyers, and personal trainers. Sarah then decided to help her colleagues fulfill their travel dreams.
Sarah’s personal philosophy is to “travel bigger” and encourages clients to do the same. She loves to work with clients to plan not only once-in-a-lifetime trips but also long-term strategies to achieve bucket list experiences. The collaborative process between Bell & Bly’s travel advisors and clients results in magical trips, personal growth, and vivid lifelong memories. Sarah is proud to continue growing her business with an amazing team by her side!
Rachael jokes a lot about her “itchy feet,” a nagging feeling of unease or restlessness when a new adventure isn’t on the horizon. As a kid, she would complain to her parents that she “missed the smell of airplanes.” Some of her favorite childhood experiences included crossing the bridge on foot to learn how to haggle in neighboring Mexican border towns, scuba diving in the West Indies, and hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon (a feat she hopes to repeat as an adult!), and learning about quirky European eating habits (escargot and frog legs stand out). Later, while directing an on-location documentary about the return of eco-tourism to Colombia, Rachael discovered a talent and passion for travel design, and the rest is history!
Over a decade later, Rachael has spent tens of thousands of hours designing trips and working in virtually every role that goes into travel planning. Her sense of adventure is still the center of her spirit – from a polar plunge in Antarctica, coming eye to eye with a silverback gorilla in Rwanda, or eating street food on the curb in Vietnam, exploring the world and inspiring others to do the same is truly what fills her cup. She brings her personal travel experience and professional expertise into the role of General Manager at Bell & Bly Travel where she will help oversee the day-to-day operations of the business as well as mentor the design team.
Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Rachael has traded in year-long swimming holes and bar-b-que for the magical moss-covered forests of the Pacific Northwest and calls Portland, Oregon home. While not at the computer she enjoys hiking, visiting local vineyards and spending time with her husband, Scott. She enjoys laughing at her BFA Film & Television Production diploma – a regular reminder of life’s quirky roadmap.
Oscar Alcantara’s first stint as a travel agent was at the age of only nine years old. He helped his mother book a trip to New York City to race in the 2004 marathon. The proof is in a Spanish TripAdvisor hotel review, but don’t bother trying to find it!
Ever since then, Oscar became his family’s in-house travel agent, and eventually expanded his clientele beyond friends and family. Oscar has traveled to over 30 countries accumulating thousands of hours of trip planning. His puzzling organization skills focus on the nitty-gritty details behind a trip. Oscar consistently works to pleasantly surprise his clients.
Oscar earned a BA in Political Science from ITAM in Mexico City, with a study abroad at Sciences Po in Paris. He is a published columnist in US and Mexican outlets focusing on politics and travel.
Before joining Bell & Bly Travel, Oscar worked as a product manager and curator for a travel startup. This entailed arranging the world’s best destinations and what to do in each city–from cozy coffee shops in Mexico City to competitive football matches in London. He also has experience working with political and corporate communication agencies, where his positions directly coordinated with executives from publicly traded companies.
Jazmín Dalinkevicius was born in Argentina into a family of travelers where everyone lived or worked abroad. This shaped her mindset into home is where your heart is and roots are not static. At only six months old she made her first international trip and has yet to be stopped! Her family’s motto is, “traveling is never an expense, it is an investment,” and based on that, Jazmín built a passion into a professional career.
Jazmín made her first solo trip to study and live in England for two months at 16 years old. She studied Communication Sciences in Buenos Aires then moved to Qatar at 21. She worked at Qatar Airways for six years in the area of Aeropolitical Affairs. Her position promoted her professional background while growing her wanderlust spirit.
She believes each trip is an opportunity to encounter new cultures, flavors, people and experiences. Being part of the Bell & Bly Travel team allows her to share this possibility with clients and co-workers by her love of dreaming, planning, and designing the perfect trip!
Lucila Dana Smith
Endless traveler and dreamer, Lucila was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She graduated with a degree in Tourism and Hotel Management from the University of El Salvador. She had her first experience living abroad at the age of 17, as an exchange student in Seattle, Washington. From that moment on, she never stopped traveling and working with people from all backgrounds and nationalities.
She built great friendships and knowledge in her 20 years of experience working in the travel industry. She worked for companies such as Hilton Hotels, LATAM Airlines and Regus. Lucila has traveled across the globe to many countries in South America from Mexico to Chile, as well as Thailand, Dubai, South Africa, United States, Canada, and throughout Europe.
She is now based in Spain where she lives with her husband Matias and two kids, Martina and Salvador with whom loves to spend her free time. When Lu is not working she likes to be active, spend time with her family and travelling to a different place every chance she has.
Assistant Travel Coordinator
Cathy Ruiz was born in Santiago, Chile. Since she was a child, her dream was to travel the world and to know people from different cultures and backgrounds. This dream came true when she went to live in London for almost two years. In London, she studied to earn an MA degree in Creative and Cultural Industries. This time abroad allowed her to discover new places in Europe and make worldwide friendships. For Cathy, living in London was like having the world at her doorstep.
Before joining the Bell & Bly Travel team, Cathy worked in the Chilean cultural sector as a communications manager. At the same time, her longing for travel pulled her to work seasonally in the cruise industry. She led slow travel tours in Valparaíso, a coastal town in Chile. Now she favors the small town to be her work-from-home base.
Cathy’s traveling spirit is driven by her curiosity and desire to go beyond unknown borders. She firmly believes travel can transform you in so many ways. “I never come back the same after a trip,” she assures, and this is what she hopes to pass on to each traveler with whom she crosses paths.
Assistant Travel Coordinator
Ana Manrique grew up in Bogota, Colombia. At 11 years old, she traveled around her home country, meeting new people and volunteering with organizations. This first adventure opened her eyes to the joy of travel. Ana gained a deeper appreciation for the impact of tourism on society and development.
After Ana finished her studies in Political Science, she took a solo trip to Cape Town, South Africa to live and volunteer. Cape Town is now her favorite city in the world! Ana learned about community building, service work, and people skills during her time abroad. Upon coming home to Colombia, she earned the opportunity to work for the country’s tourism board. With her newfound love in the tourist industry, she saw how travel can change mindsets and create unique long-lasting memories.
Today, Ana is a member of the Bell & Bly Travel team as a Travel Assistant Coordinator. A dream come true! Her passions of promoting travel and helping others are working together to evoke unforgettable trips for clients to experience life in all its splendor.
Ana’s philosophy is to create a remarkable life by going beyond what you can see to indulge in the beauty and adventures our planet has to offer, all while making it a better place.
Assistant Travel Coordinator
Dydia’s family’s investment in tourism led to her upbringing being filled with trips to different parts of Mexico. As a dreamy child, born and raised in a small town in Northern Mexico, she was exposed to the beauty and diversity of her country, which sparked a desire in her to explore it even more. When she left home and moved to Mexico City to pursue a degree in communications, her goal was to use her skills to promote and showcase the wonders of Mexico to the world.
Despite her focus on communications, Dydia’s curiosity and eagerness to learn led her to explore different fields. From politics to Real Estate, however, her passion for travel never waned. Even when she was working in other industries, she always made time to plan trips with her friends and family. Her knowledge of Mexico’s tourist destinations, coupled with her natural talent for planning and organizing, made her the go-to travel agent for her loved ones.
Now, Dydia has found her calling in the travel industry. As a part of the Bell & Bly Travel team, she is able to combine her passion for travel with her professional expertise.
Born and raised in Panama, Ariadne Batista was exposed to travel at six years old when her mom decided to send her to visit a relative in Germany alone. This was the beginning of her passion for traveling. Her passion grew during high school when she was able to spend three months in France. Ari lived with a host family and learned the solo travel experience at 16 years old.
Ariadne graduated from Tourism Management & Hospitality school then completed an internship in Italy. Her experience in Italy brought new friends, tasting the local culture, and even more European adventures. As she says: “The good thing about traveling is that we always end up learning a thing or two about ourselves along the way!”
In her free time, she enjoys cooking for her loved ones, including her dog, listening to music and watching shows from different countries. She worked for ten years in a DMC designing Panamanian travel experiences before joining the Bell & Bly Travel team.
Social Media & Marketing Intern
Born and raised in the Florida Keys, Raffie Baker grew up longing for travel. She has been an independent traveler since nine years old since her parents were forbidden from chaperoning the annual school field trip.
Raffie graduated from high school in 2020, so after a few changes in college commitments she enrolled in the University of Florida online. Raffie moved to Anchorage, Alaska to live with family friends while completing school. She is majoring in Anthropology with a minor in Business Administration. Now in her junior year, she has spent one year in Alaska, a semester in England, and a summer in Montana with more trips in the works.
Raffie discovered Bell & Bly Travel through a Business Insider article sent to her by her mom hinting at a potential career path. In the summer of 2021, she reached out to Sarah hoping to intern for the company. Raffie now takes on the position of Social Media and Marketing Intern for the company, grateful for the opportunity to learn about business and travel from the best!
Born and raised in ex-Yugoslavia, Biljana comes from an adventurous region such as the South Balkan. Her first trip started on an airplane to London when smoking was still allowed in the air; this was her first adventure! On her way back home to Skopje, an opportunity for a new view of the world opened in an (un)fortunate turn of events. She found herself sharing the cock pit/the flight deck with the pilot. Yet, she didn’t become one.
Since then, Biljana continued her journey in both her personal life and professional career. She finished Law Faculty, and from the law sphere then moved to the world of marketing, in which she lived for 12 years. The home is where the heart is, and she found one in Bell & Bly as the Podcast Manager of Luxury Travel Insider, the first authoritative podcast on Luxury Travel! Luxury Travel Insider can be found on Apple, Spotify, or Google.
Her superpower is being in the right place at the right time!
Bell & Bly Travel is known for a focus on surprising and delighting clients, unequivocal travel experience, and for crafting amazing adventures.
Love Our Customers
We always do what is best for our clients and put herculean effort into surprising and delighting them along the way. We treat my clients like family and they do the same for us.
Always Be Learning
We are constantly traveling and learning all there is to know about new destinations. We spend time up front learning about our clients’ unique travel style and bucket list dreams. We help clients have amazing experiences on the ground that expand their knowledge of the world.
We help clients gently push the boundaries of their comfort zones and use our deep industry relationships to craft amazing adventures and experiences that cannot be found online.
Behind The Name
When deciding what to name the company, we wanted something that invoked a spirit of adventure and was a nod to inspirational travelers. Bell & Bly Travel is named after two travelers and world experts, who were well ahead of their time – Gertrude Bell and Nellie Bly.
Gertrude Bell was an English writer, traveler, and archaeologist at the turn of the 20th century. She traveled alone through the Arabian Desert and became the world’s foremost expert on the Bedouin tribes.
Nellie Bly also lived at the turn of the century and was an American journalist. Inspired by the work of fiction, Around The World in Eighty Days, she decided to make a go at it and traveled around the world in 72 days while documenting it for the popular press.
“We could not be happier to have planned our trip with Sarah. She thought of activities and off the beaten track destinations we would never have considered. The entire process was such a pleasure, I would recommend her to anyone!”
“Sarah planned a holiday trip for us to Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. Every detail was taken into account!”
“Sarah helped my family to plan a surprise birthday trip for my father. It was all so well thought out, it couldn’t have gone better.”
“I was a little nervous to visit India, but it has always been on my bucketlist. I worked with Sarah to plan a trip that was two parts luxury, one part adventure. I went hiking in Ladakh and did homestays in small villages, and also was treated like a VIP on my visit to the Taj Mahal.”
“I run a startup and I have zero time to dedicate to planning a trip. The information out there is so overwhelming! I worked with Sarah to plan my honeymoon and it was one of the most amazing experiences. She took all the trouble out of planning and made the trip so enjoyable for my husband and me.”