3 Destinations to Explore this Spring

Brownell Travel associate Kathryn Burns shares some of her top getaways for couples and families. Whether you are seeking rest and relaxation or an exciting adventure, there’s no better time to start planning than right now.

Resort in the Bahamas

The Bahamas

Why go?
You can get there quickly! Only a two-hour, nonstop flight from Atlanta, the Bahamas is great for travel any time of year. You can escape the cold in the winter, and it’s not too hot in the summer.

Where to stay?
For couples: Four Seasons Ocean Club
For special occasions: Rosewood Baha Mar

For families: Grand Hyatt Baha Mar or Atlantis. There’s a brand new water park at Baha Mar, and the resort’s three hotels (SLS, Rosewood, and Grand Hyatt) share a lot of amenities, including a casino. Atlantis offers a water park with several hotel options and loads of celebrity-owned restaurants.

What to do? 
In addition to visiting the water parks, restaurants, and casinos, you can swim with the dolphins and turtles, go on a fishing excursion, or take a snorkeling tour. 

- Sponsors -
Lisa and Matt Costanzo

Take it from Lisa and Matt Costanzo:
“We stayed at the Four Seasons Ocean Club in the Bahamas for our 20th anniversary this past fall. The resort was fabulous—very quiet and peaceful. Opening our patio doors in the mornings and looking out at the ocean beyond was a wonderful way to start each day. We spent most of our time by the pool, where we also had a spectacular view of the Caribbean.” — Lisa Costanzo



Why go?
A trip to Italy is ideal for families, friend trips, and couples. The people are incredibly friendly and very welcoming to tourists. Destination highlights include Rome, Venice, Florence, and the Amalfi Coast.

When to travel?
Italy is great any time, but summer is the peak of tourist season. Spring break and fall are also good times to visit, especially if you want to avoid larger crowds.

What to do? 
Take a gelato bicycle tour or a pasta-making class. Don’t miss the Colosseum and the Forum in Rome. The city of Pisa is also a fantastic spot. In northern Italy, it’s fun to charter a boat for the day on Lake Como.

Brown family photo

Take it from the Brown Family:
“Kathryn planned our upcoming spring break trip to Italy. My husband, Matt, and I are traveling with our three children (ages 8, 11, 13) to Rome, Florence, and Venice. Kathryn has thought out a very kid-friendly way for us to appreciate all the beauty and history of these three Italian cities. I am most excited about the gondola ride through Venice and cycling through the wine country in Chianti.”  —Taylor Brown

Utah National Park

Utah’s National Parks

Why go?
Utah is life-changing with a landscape that seems otherworldly. A trip here involves a good bit of car time, but it’s a fun reminder of the old days when we packed up and hit the road as families.

When to travel:
Summer is tourist season. It’s busy and hot, but it is definitely the best time to go. 

What to do? 
In Zion, you must hike through The Narrows with a guide. Think wet boots, waist-high water, and poles for stability. For the brave, hike Angels Landing. In Moab, raft, horseback, and take a jeep tour. Touring Utah is a great, active family vacation.

How to see it all:
Divide your time between between Moab (Arches National Park) and Zion National Park. Schedule stops in Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef. 

Where To Stay? 
There are lodges in the national parks, but if you’re looking for a real adventure, try Under Canvas. It’s great for glamping. For a splurge, check out Amangiri, an upscale resort near Lake Powell.

Father and son in Utah national park

Take it from Sam and Trent Scofield:
“Last July, Kathryn helped us plan a very special trip for my son Sam (a high school sophomore) and me. We hiked The Narrows with a guide and learned and saw more than we ever could have just using a travel book. In Canyonlands and Moab, Kathryn set up guided, off-the-beaten-path adventures. The views were breathtaking.”  — Trent Scofield

Travel agent Kathryn Burns and family

Q&A with Kathryn Burns

Why do I need a travel agent? Can’t I just book everything myself online?
The perks of a travel agent handling your reservation way outweigh the cost of the service. Most agents only ask for a small fee for expertise and planning, but the benefits to the traveler are enormous. At Brownell, we are part of the Virtuoso consortia. Virtuoso has partnerships with top hotels and tour companies and provides perks like upgrades on arrival, complimentary breakfast, and hotel credits for spa and dining.  Additionally, agents have relationships with hoteliers and can open seemingly closed doors. There’s always someone to call (my work phone is my personal cell phone) if you hit a snag with the room or flight. Also good to know: An agent also can help bypass long hold times for hotels and airlines.

How have things changed since COVID? Does this make travelers need you even more?
Yes! COVID will ultimately work in the favor of the travel agent (though we’ve definitely paid our dues in canceling and rebooking since 2020).  COVID has caused travelers that have never used an agent to reach out for the first time due to things such as testing logistics. Many people have figured out that it’s worth it to have someone serving as your advocate when embarking on a special journey.

Aside from planning, what else do you do to help ensure a trip is successful?
I start by scheduling an initial conversation so I can learn about what kind of trip you are seeking. Then I can offer insights you may not have thought about. I also meet with groups such as high school seniors who are trveling internationally to talk about risks. In addition, I have access to special tours, room amenities, and upgrades. And I have some sweet baseball hats that say “Kathryn Burns Travel” that I hand out pretty liberally.

a little about you:

How did you get the travel bug?  
Prior to travel, I was in the wine business and worked for Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (champagne and cognac) and E&J Gallo. I traveled extensively to the wine regions of France, Italy, Napa, Australia, and New Zealand, among others. Eventually, I realized my love for travel matched my love for wine.  I started with All Seasons in Mountain Brook Village, and then set up my own LLC as Kathryn Burns Travel.  Now, I’m under the Brownell umbrella. Brownell is one of oldest and most prestigious agencies in the country.  I wanted to work for the best.

Most favorite trip ever?
That’s hard to narrow down! I love the mountains, anywhere out west, Italy, Austrailia, and New Zealand. I especially loved my time with my family in Costa Rica last summer (pictured above with husband Steven and daughter Katie in front of Arenal Volcano).

On your bucket list?
I have so many places I want to go! Alaska, Canada, Greece, and Antartica are at the top of my list right now. There are so many amazing destinations! My list changes all the time.  

Kathryn Burns

Independent Associate, BROWNELL TRAVEL, a Virtuoso Agency

205.540.5005, [email protected]

Get the best of Birmingham delivered to your inbox

Stunning local homes, inspiring before & after projects, southern-style recipes, entertaining ideas and more!