about us


Our Story


“Wow, that’s beautiful!”   

“That’s great, what does beautiful look like?”

Welcome to The Travel Nook,®  a  custom tour & travel company with family values.    The concept began when I was in Kindergarten.  Born to Greek immigrant parents and a mom who is blind, my entire life has revolved around utilizing all possible resources to show, to teach and to share.  When I was five, I learned how to read.  The very next day I had a crash course for my first job.  I instantly became a bilingual, travel companion for someone with special needs. -- Although I had immense responsibility growing up, I relished the opportunity to learn and explore.  I had quickly mastered the New York City bus &  subway routes, short cuts and became a sponge for knowledge.  Every outing was an intimidating, yet empowering adventure.      

Our family was very active.  For each road trip, my mission was to research, find the hidden gems, help get us navigate, translate & paint the perfect picture so everyone could partake.   When I was a kid, our family took our first escorted tour through California.  I was completely smitten by the sights, experience & world of hospitality and thought, "Wow, this driver gets to go to so many places!"  On one particular day in Monterey, I noticed we were missing people & alerted the bus driver.  He didn't take me -- an 11 year old seriously until I said... "The honeymooners from South Africa - They are not on the bus!"  Realizing that he indeed left people behind, we made the 30 minute trek back to get them.  My innate sense of responsibility was a clear sign of my calling.  My parents got a nod of gratitude from the driver & I got an ice cream cone.    

The journey only got better after I learned to drive.   Mom & I packed up dad's Chevy & headed to Disneyworld.  I had the reins & without any internet, or guide I went into autopilot.  I navigated strategically through all the stimulating sights, smells & sounds...  Each day was spent describing each attraction, parade, character & vibrant experience with  precision and detail.  I don't know what was more exciting... Getting to enjoy this magical place, or witnessing the joy it brought to my Mom. It was a such a rewarding trip for us.  With each trip, I expanded my awareness, skills and global repertoire.   We traveled further;  by plane & ship, making it all the more enriching for us.  Providing this confidence, peace of mind and standard of care for our family and anyone else who joined us on the journey, made each experience truly remarkable.  And even better than the last.    

The diligence to provide memorable travel experiences and passion to explore, took me to the professional travel world where I worked for various tour companies.  During this time my husband Steve & I took vacations.  Lots of them!  In lieu of birthday, holiday & anniversary gifts, we saved for travel.   The thrill for life experiences, adventure & the contacts we made along the way gave us the confidence and motivation to pursue this passion professionally. After over 17 years of planning trips, packing & unpacking, touring & working with students, seniors, families and suppliers across the globe for others, it was only natural that we would take our experience and passion to build a company with our values and ideals.  So together in 2014... ​The Travel Nook ® was born.   And we have been making memories ever since!  

There's so much out there to see & everyone should get a chance to see it.   No matter your travel style, we're sure to match up your wishlist & help you find some hidden gems while we're at it.   We'll prepare you for your journey & leave all the discovery and seizing of opportunities up to you!   And although we put in a call for good weather, you might get some rain...  How else are you going to witness that beautiful rainbow??   

We'll do all the hard work for you.  All you have to do is pack & enjoy!    And that is something that NO online agency can  ever deliver.   The Travel Nook looks forward to having you join our family.

Ria & Steve Maratheftis 

The Travel Nook