Travel expert Shawna Huffman Owen finds serenity here at home
When it comes to travel, it’s easy to follow a guidebook and have a run-of-the-mill vacation. But jetsetters who want a trip that stands out from the pack turn to Shawna Huffman Owen. As one half of the team behind Huffman Travel — she runs the company with her father, Tony — Owen crafts unique experiences that can’t be captured on postcard.
“We’re where people come when they want to take travel to the next level,” says Owen of her boutique consultancy. She collaborates with clients, taps into her vast network of resources and pulls strings to craft memorable and exclusive experiences with a special focus on families. “I want to help people like me who used to travel a lot but now have kids and went into this state of paralysis,” says Owen, a lifelong traveler and mother of two children. “I want them to get back into it.”
Owen crafts experiences that are straight out of a children’s book: For a family touring the Louvre in Paris, she’ll work with a guide to create an art scavenger hunt for the kids; in Rome, she might organize a gladiator training camp that families can visit while walking from the Colosseum to the Vatican. Her plans keep kids to be engaged — and keep parents from hearing the oh-so-awful, “I’m bored.” Because Owen spends the majority of her time getting to know her clients and what’s important to them, each experience is expertly catered to individual and family needs. “It’s the best job in the world to work with people who are planning something special,” she says. Here’s how she spends her leisure time.
To learn more, visit Huffmantravel.com.
Owen, her husband and their two kids head to mass at St. Clement church (642 W. Deming) in Lincoln Park.
The Owens enjoy brunch at The Peninsula Chicago (108 E. Superior). “It has something for everyone,” she says.
Owen’s husband and kids (along with their friends) visit The Peninsula’s indoor pool while she enjoys a Thai massage at the spa.
The family walks to their Old Town home, stopping at Whole Foods (1550 N. Kingsbury) to get supplies for Sunday dinner. On the menu? Chili, corn bread and a green salad.
While Sunday football plays in the background, the family cooks dinner together.
While the kids watch a movie, Owen reads the newspaper and catches up on favorite travel magazines such as Departures and Afar.