It’s so 2014: With a simple click of the mouse, and guidance from Mound-based travel planner Candy Lack, the getaway of your dreams is now right at your fingertips. Two years ago, Lack decided to use her travel advisory background in a new way by founding ImagineYou Traveling, a travel planning company that caters to women. “So girls can be girls,” she says. “I love working with individual travelers and women.”
Since 1988, Lack has worked in different facets of the travel world. In fact, it’s the only industry she has really known. Her time with Dayton’s Travel spurred the idea for her current venture. While there, Lack noticed women would stop in after they traveled, all smiles, eager to show her pictures. That fact, plus Lack’s love for planning events and creating itineraries, led her to open ImagineYou Traveling nearly 25 years after beginning her career in travel.
Now, Lack plans getaways for groups of anywhere from 12–28 women, and also offers a hand in planning personal trips. She takes the work out of traveling by purchasing the flights, booking the hotels and setting the itinerary, leaving an itch to travel the only thing necessary. Imagine. Click. Travel.
Lack says she often finds herself researching new must-see places into the wee hours of the morning. For each trip she plans, she tries to pick out-of-the-ordinary spots including hidden-gem hotels and restaurants, and incorporate a few surprises. “It’s fun to find quirky little places,” she says.
Mickie Duffy, a good friend of Lack’s who has lived in Argentina and England, and has traveled extensively in South America and the United Kingdom, often helps Lack with her travel writings. What is most unusual about ImagineYou Traveling, Duffy says, is that Lack focuses on smaller group travel. “Because it is small, she really listens to what her travelers want and what makes it special for them,” she says. Each trip is based on activity level, and Lack says comfort is key—the prices include airfare, lodging and some meals and activities. Because of that, Lack says, “I think about where the money should go.” For each adventure, Lack always hosts a welcome dinner and farewell reception to exchange stories.
And those stories last long after the return flight home: Many of her groups continue to meet up, including the women who went on Lack’s very first trip.
ImagineYou Traveling’s first female-only trip was to Greece. Then 68-year-old Judy Pavik snagged Lack’s postcard from a shop while in St. Cloud and stumbled across it again when she was cleaning out her purse a few weeks later. Pavik had never been to Europe and decided to take a chance. For her, the biggest perk about ImagineYou was that the trip was fully planned and prepared for her. “[Lack] took care of everything,” Pavik says. “I just sent her the money and off I went.”
That first was only the beginning for Lack. She has two trips, one to Italy and one to Wisconsin, in the works for this summer and fall. She also recently decided to focus on a different form of travel: Motorcycle rides. This adventure took her and a group of women around Lake Michigan in summer 2014. On the docket for 2015 are trips to New Zealand, Savannah, Ga. and Charleston, South Carolina, Paris, London and Iceland. She also hopes to add a few Minnesota trips in the years to come.
For Lack and for many avid travelers, the desire to explore someplace new never falters after that first adventure. “Once it’s in your blood, you want to keep going,” she says. “Don’t deny yourself that right.”
ImagineYou Traveling is now filling slots for its 2015 trips. For more information, visit imagineyou traveling.com or contact Candy Lack at 763.442.7303.