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Julie Arbelaez : Founder, Travel Consultant & Chief Frog : since 1993

I opened Peace Frogs Travel/Outfitters in 1993 after a year spent travelling in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. That year truly opened my eyes to the many incredible aspects of travel. I immersed myself in various cultures and new experiences and, above all, cherished my interactions with the people I met from all corners of the world.

That first stamp on my passport truly changed my life and became the foundation for my life’s work.

I, and the travel consultants and packing specialists at Peace Frogs Travel/Outfitters, spend every day creating custom-designed travel experiences for our clients as well as gearing them up for any adventure with our curated selection of top quality travel products.

When I established Peace Frogs Travel/Outfitters and created an overall mission for the company it was important that my business stay focused on

the joy and inherent discovery created through travel

that feeling of leaping into the unknown followed by the thrill of landing on one’s feet. Whether going to relax on a beach or immerse oneself in a new city, I believe the ultimate reward to travel is gaining distance from and perspective on our daily lives while also tapping into the joy and liberation of experiencing something new. That is why, at Peace Frogs Travel/Outfitters we focus on planning trips to destinations around the world and have cultivated relationships with other travel providers to enhance our client’s experiences in a multitude of destinations.

At Peace Frogs Travel/Outfitters we recognize that the time dedicated to travelling for pleasure is precious. Therefore, it is our goal to make the trip planning process an exciting and fulfilling part of the entire travel experience. Our approach is collaborative and, we hope, fun. Throughout the years we have remained acutely aware that we are planning or outfitting your vacation. We simply want it to be the best vacation ever.

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Our shop is designed for travelers to plan, and gear up for adventures.

When you enter our space, we want you to feel energized by the travel experiences that await you and be inspired by our carefully selected travel products.

All of us at Peace Frogs Travel/Outfitters are passionate travelers who also embrace the idea of simply taking a day off to play, hike, bike, rappel, raft, float, skydive, sample craft beers, sip wine, or hike the entire Rivanna Trail loop (which takes about 5 hours without stops).

The choices we’ve made in our retail shop display our passion for well-made, thoughtfully designed gear – and create conversational spaces for our travel consultants to meet with you and plan tailored vacation experiences. It is also a space for our packing specialists to showcase their knowledge through Packing Demonstrations. Watch our Happenings page for these and other in-store events.

We are available to help with ideas and gear for vacations that are far-afield, or in our own backyard. As a full-service travel agency, we are ready to help you book your next great getaway – be it by car, plane, train, ship, or rocket (coming soon). Julie and Rochelle have travelled the globe and forged terrific relationships with travel providers to offer our clients a complete travel experience, where you do the dreaming, and we do the planning.

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Rochelle DeBaun : Travel Consultant : since 1995

I’ve been creating vacation experiences at Peace Frogs Travel/Outfitters for over 20 years. I’m a trip designer, a lifestyle associate, an ambassador of travel and of the world. My work as a travel consultant focuses on collaboration with clients, conception of travel ideas and ultimately the design of an exceptional trip to meet each travelers wants and needs.

In addition to making the trip planning process seamless and enjoyable, our goal at Peace Frogs Travel/Outfitters is to establish a well-rounded personalized, experience. As a new client, from the moment you’re introduced to Claire, our Travel Concierge through the trip planning process with me or Julie to the high-touch retail shopping experience,

We aim to be your one stop shop for travel.

If you are a new travel client planning a trip with Peace Frogs Travel/Outfitters, we’ll first meet in person or talk on the phone. It’s during this time that we’ll establish the why of your vacation. I feel this is the best foundation. Why here or there? Why now? A special celebration or much needed rest and relaxation. Then, we’ll discuss the what of a trip. What do you want to see or do? What type of destination, resort or hotel? What pace do you want to set? What expectations do you have? I’ll begin the research process, utilizing my years of personal and professional travel experiences, and connections with hand-selected travel suppliers throughout the world. The objective is always a well-designed trip that exceeds your expectations.

I find special joy in designing South African vacations and African safaris. The African continent can change your soul, at least it did mine. Two other favorite destinations are Croatia and Morocco, and there is great enjoyment in picking the perfect tropical honeymoon spot for honeymoons and anniversary trips.

My best advice to travelers- allow for serendipity and build breathing room into your itinerary. Leave time to get lost and wander. Favorite travel moments often occur when you least expect them.

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Lindsay Craig : Packing Specialist, Marketing and Online Sales : since 2008

Our customer is often an intrepid traveler and they understand why quality travel gear is so important. With that in mind, Julie and I carry what we feel are the best luggage collections and travel accessories for a wide variety of travelers and their needs.

I spend hours pouring over details related to size, weight and overall design to make sure we have a curated collection of the best travel merchandise.

I do the research and train our staff so that our customer doesn’t have to.

It is our aim to offer the best, most unique travel products for the leisure traveler who seeks quality, innovation and modern design.

In understanding those products and how they work every packing specialist at Peace Frogs Travel/Outfitters can help improve how you plan and prepare for your upcoming trip.

We want people who travel to love their gear and we understand that the gear enhances the trip in some way. The luggage we carry is not only durable and well-designed but will also withstand the test of time. Our organizational items allow travelers to pack lighter and in smaller spaces, which can be liberating while also saving time and money at the airport. We know travel accessories and bags need to be extremely functional – but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring or ugly.

We also love to share what we know about travel and packing. We hold regular packing demonstrations and classes – or you can contact us to schedule a private or group session.

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Claire Fornaro : Travel Concierge : since 2012

As Travel Concierge it is my responsibility to make sure our clients understand how we work. I enjoy my role at Peace Frogs Travel/Outfitters because as a traveler, a mother, and a person who genuinely wants to assist, I get to speak with nearly every client before they’ve begun working with us. This sets the tone for their collaboration with our staff. I hear about all the unique travel plans people are trying to make happen, and I help clients with general travel questions and travel gear needs as they move through the booking process.

Our forte is creating a vacation experience that is geared to the way that you want to travel. We understand that everyone travels with different interests, tastes and needs and I keep that in mind with every client interaction.

Here are the basic steps to describe how we work on the travel planning side:

  • A potential client will call, email or come in and talk with me first. I collect basic information and then set up a 30-minute appointment to come in and meet with a travel consultant to begin planning their vacation (this initial appointment can happen over the phone, too). It’s important that we get a complete picture of a client’s wants and needs before the trip planning begins.
  • I generally ask a lot of questions about preferences for flights, types of accommodation (we start with 3-star hotels and go up to 5-star luxury properties and villas), and personal travel style. If a client doesn’t know all the answers at this time, it’s an effective way to get them thinking about the things that will make the initial travel consultant meeting most efficient.
  • Our travel consultants work by appointment and they charge a fee for service of $85 per person. This is a flat fee for recommending, advising and booking your air, hotels, car or rail, excursions, and travel insurance. We collect $50 of this total fee at the initial consultation.
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Marlena Simon : Packing Specialist : since 2018

As a lifelong traveler, I’ve learned a thing or two about packing for a wide variety of trips. I’ve packed for road trips across the US; flights to and from my home country of Jamaica; bi-annual family reunion cruises; and these days I pack for family vacations with my kids and husband.

At Peace Frogs Travel/Outfitters we look at packing as an art and a skill. I am here to help our globetrotting clients pack for their unique trips using the most effective packing strategies and tools that we can find. I know the products we carry in the store inside and out and am also always looking for the latest in travel gear innovation.

I host group and private packing demos, both virtually or in person, for clients interested in taking a deeper dive into packing tips and tools. but I am also happy to advise you if you just want to pop into the store for a look. 

I love that so many of the products that people invest in for a special vacation can also be used for a weekend getaway or even in their everyday lives.

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