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Shelly Bunge

Beverly Hills, California Travel Agent

Soft Adventure and the Luxury of Seclusion

I am a travel advisor with an unusual specialty: I am a remote and exotic destination planner. My passion for travel centers on planning soft adventures, encounters with wildlife and non-Western cultures and super-deluxe retreats in remote parts of the world. For 27 years, I led a dual life. In my professional life, I headed the Music Business & Legal Affairs Group at Sony Pictures Entertainment providing musical content for all of Sony’s film and television productions. My job was exciting and rewarding and I loved it! But it was also challenging (as was my partner’s job, as she too was a high profile entertainment lawyer). As such, in my personal life, I planned elaborate itineraries to far-flung, bucket-list destinations and as often as we could, we ventured to remote locales where there was often no phone or internet service to immerse ourselves in nature and seclusion to recharge.

We’ve been to all seven continents at least twice and visited nearly 50 countries. Wherever we go, we seek out the ways to engage with culture and nature, whether it’s joining a tribal ceremony in Papua New Guinea or participating in a Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We love observing wildlife, both on land and underwater, like snorkeling and scuba diving in Palau, Raja Ampat, Indonesia, and the Similan Islands. And of course, we love the Polar Regions, having made four Polar journeys to Antarctica, Svalbard, South Georgia and the Canadian High Arctic and Baffin Island. However, we like to combine our adventures, like swimming with humpback whales in the Silver Bank off the Dominican Republic or temple exploring in Angkor Wat, with a stay at a remote and exclusive hideaway such as one of the Aman or Six Senses resorts.

Several years ago while cruising on a 36-passenger ship in the Kimberley of North Western Australia, a region where few Americas visit, we befriended a U.S. travel professional who was surprised to learn about the extent of our travels, where we’d been as well as the many exclusive resorts we’d stayed. She suggested that if I ever wanted to leave the entertainment business, I should consider a position in the travel industry and she gave me the phone number of the head of Protravel’s western region.  Last year, when I decided to retire from Sony, I made that call. Since I was known at Sony as someone who had “been everywhere” and the go-to person for advice about trips to Africa, the Galapagos or anywhere else exotic, it seemed like the next logical step for me. Despite the fact that I loved researching my own trips, I knew firsthand the value of a good travel agent. I had a trusted advisor who booked all of my travel. Like me, she was well traveled and there was peace of mind knowing she was there for me if I needed help rebooking a canceled flight or with any other issues while on a trip. Plus, as a Virtuoso agent, she provided value-added amenities such as free room category upgrades, spa credits, breakfasts, and other extras and VIP recognition that travelers booking on their own cannot secure.  

I met with Protravel and immediately knew it was the perfect fit for the adventurous and upscale traveler I wanted to serve. Not only is Protravel a Virtuoso agency, but it is also one of the largest and most respected travel agencies in the country and offers significant additional benefits to my clients in terms of vetted suppliers, buying power and clout. I have resources I never imagined and the experience of fellow agents at my fingertips.

As a lawyer and a deal maker, my job was to head off problems before they happened and find solutions that made everyone happy. As a travel advisor, I now apply those same skills and strategic thinking to every trip I plan. I think through every detail so my clients don’t visit a much-anticipated city on the day when five cruise ships are in port or plan a stargazing evening on the night of a full moon. I may suggest shifting your itinerary slightly to catch a fascinating local festival and I know ways to save money and which experiences you will find worth the splurge. I’ve had some extraordinary travel experiences with wildlife and cultural encounters in my lifetime. Sharing those stories and planning trips that will rock your world is what excites me about being a travel advisor.

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South Georgia: Remote and Remarkable

During a trip to Antarctica, our guides kept talking about how amazing the subAntarctic island of South Georgia was. In fact, they’d placed DVDs of David Attenborough’s visits there in our rooms for us to watch during the downtime crossing the Drake Passage, whetting our appetite for what was in store ... Read more from my South Georgia: Remote and Remarkable story.

Reviews

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Thank you Shelly for a wonderful trip!

Reviewed By Bobbie - Scottsdale, AZ | Traveled to Arctic Ocean ~ At Sea ~ At Sea
Shelly was so very helpful in planning my trip to the Arctic. She has experience and knowledge of so many destinations so she could personalize my trip for me . . . the right ship and activities. She advised me on what to expect and even had great tips on what to wear. Her travel experience made my trip the best! I am now enjoying working with Shelly planning my next trip to Thailand.
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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3 of 5 people found this review helpful

What a trip of a lifetime!

Reviewed By Holly - San Diego, CA | Traveled to Arctic Ocean ~ At Sea ~ At Sea
I have used Shelly Bunge for two amazing travel trips. One to the Arctic and one to Loreto, Mexico. I highly recommend her services. She is awesome! The recommendations, attention to detail and response time to all my questions is incredible. She is my go to person for booking my dream trips! Not only has she seen so many places in the world, she also has the best taste! I know she would never steer me wrong with travel plans.


I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Amazing Custom-Designed Trips!

Reviewed By Sandy Williams - Los Angeles, CA | Traveled to Thailand ~ East and Southeast Asia
Shelly has planned two trips for us -- to Fiji and to Thailand. Shelly's attention to detail, thorough research, meticulous planning, patience and willingness to listen to what kinds of trips we wanted insured that our trips were custom designed for us. Both trips far exceeded our expectations. We wouldn't think of going on a travel adventure without Shelly's creative and careful guidance!
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Best Trip EVER!!!

Reviewed By DJ - Fountain Valley, CA | Traveled to Loreto ~ Baja California Sur ~ Mexico
I’d long-heard about the many wonderful trips Shelly planned over the years, but I’d never had occasion to engage her services until now, and she did NOT disappoint! I had a life-long bucket list of looking into the eye of a whale while “petting” it, and after a tough personal year in 2018, I decided to go for it in 2019. Enter Shelly who knocked it out of the park! From the perfectly quaint & charming 1 bedroom, full-kitchen Casita in – and tour of Loreto, to the ABSOLUTELY mind blowing excursions she planned with THE most knowledgeable guide (THE go-to guy when National Geographic comes to film) which resulted in my being able to finally check it off, and a few others as well! She even found and recommended the most amazing restaurants! Everything planned went off without a hitch – from the land & air transportation, to our tours, to our excursions – and her communication was superb. I’m forever grateful & appreciative – and look forward to all of my future trips – planned by Shelly!
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Shelly is the best

Reviewed By chris - los angeles, ca | Traveled to Mexico
I have relied on Shelley’s advice for years and have benefited from the astonishing range of travel experiences she has had her self and she has arranged for others. Shelly has arranged multiple trips for me, both domestic and international (the review form doesn’t let me list them all). She is truly exceptional on every dimension. She is incredibly thorough, detail oriented, knowledgeable about a wider range of destinations than I will ever travel to, and also a complete pleasure to work with. She has amazing taste. I will always work with Shelly.
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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