Marylou Calnin-Sek

Luxury Travel Advisor

Marylou Calnin-Sek

I’m originally from Central Wisconsin, where I grew up on the family farm and then attended college in Madison/Milwaukee. All through college, I had this burning desire to travel. My first flight was to Europe in 1986. I spent a year aboard - 11 months longer than what I had planned! I was hooked! When I returned, I took a part time job at a travel agency while I was still going to school and waitressing. The travel agency position won out! That was 30 years ago. Lake Forest Travel has been my work home for the past 24 years and I find it so exciting to help my long time clients figure out what destination they should explore next!

My travel passions are skiing and warm beaches- very different! Since my husband is a ski fanatic, he has pushed my daughter and me to ski every year so I am extremely familiar with almost all the top ski destinations in the US. My most recent ski adventures have been in Aspen, Deer Valley, Jackson Hole, Vail, Sun Valley, Taos and Beaver Creek in the U.S also Lake Louise in Canada… - all amazing and very different for every level of skier.

I am sure my love for warm beach vacations comes from the fact that it is the opposite of where I grew up… a far cry from the farm land in central Wisconsin. I have recently explored the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Bahamas and Jamaica before that. In Mexico, Cabo San Lucas, the Hawaiian Islands of Kona and Maui... a bit more exotic, cruising French Polynesia and Bali - where I found my inner peace- "Namaste"

I am fortunate to experience fascinating trips to Africa- on Safari in Botswana and South Africa. Stays in Cape Town and the Winelands soon became a favorite destination! Thailand- the beautiful Island of Koh Samui, Cambodia- to visit the Angkor Wat Temples at sunrise and Laos to give alms to the Buddist monks in Luang Prabang. I have also been to Peru and made it to the top of Machu Picchu by way of the amazing Hiram Bingham train, rode ATV's in the Sacred Valley and watched the amazing sunsets in Lima, over the Pacific, with a Pisco Sour in hand!!

Europe is also a favorite of mine, since that is where it all began...that desire to see and experience all that life has out there for us!! Keep on traveling!!


Very knowledgeable and help create a personalized itinerary for my family. Exceptional talent.
PGV | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Mary Lou is a true professional who has the experience to guide us to the best trips available. She is a delight to work with and I highly recommend her services.
DN | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Marylou took care of everything and we couldn't be more pleased with her service. We received a fabulous upgrade upon our arrival at the resort and all of our transportation transfers and details went smoothly.
Bunnybunny | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
We had a lovely weekend. Mary suggested we do the expedited arrival at the airport in Montego Bay which saved us from long lines at immigration. We were upgraded and enjoyed every second at that amazing resort!!! Thank you Mary!!!
Sue K | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Marylou is a wonderful travel advisor. She is knowledgable, professional, and efficient. Marylou is very responsive and attentive and is great to work with. I would recommend Marylou to anyone planning travel.
intrepid | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Marylou was very knowledgeable and helpful and found the perfect villa agency to help us find a vacation home in which to gather and celebrate my husbands 60 th birthday. We were traveling with 2 toddler grandchildren and a daughter who has been trying to get pregnant, so wanted an environment free of mosquitos ( and the threat of Zika ). When I found the Caribbean islands free of Zika, she helped us settle on an agency and home and made sure we had the right contacts and then we planned our activities after settling on a house.
Becky Hamlin | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Marylou was amazing to work with. She took care of every little detail of the trip, from coming off the plane to arriving home. There was absolutely nothing we had to worry about and that left time to enjoy the trip of a lifetime. We felt safe, we had great accommodations, when we arrived, the staff at the front desk got our information and knew just what to do…….I can’t say enough.
Barb Bucket List | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
I have worked with Marylou for years and would not consider working with anyone else!! She is fabulous and has "surprised" me with extra goodies numerous times. I am beyond pleased!!!
Linda M | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Marylou responded on the same day for a last minute hotel request in Japan. She is always quick and thorough and it is much appreciated! There was a nice welcome amenity waiting for us for Father's Day.
on the road again | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Mary was easy to work with, was willing to research our questions if she didn't already know the answer. Our Oceania cruise (NYC to London, 4/5-4/19) was a very enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, severe weather in the Canadian Maritime Provinces forced the cancellation of our stop in Newfoundland, and rough seas and storms also meant Oceania had to cancel the Dublin, Ireland stop. But these were done in the best interest of safety, so we're ok with skipping those stops.
Dick | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Amazing! She helped to plan a fabulous vacation, excluding air travel. And when we had issues with the airline, she was right there to help us through it, even though we had purchased our tickets on our own! She’s the best!!!
Mitzie | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Working with Marylou is great. She is knowledgeable and responsive. We have worked with Marylou on many trips, for business and pleasure, and we are always very pleased with the plans she helps us create.
Clyde | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Patient, informative and a great sense of humor. So nice to have this long-standing relationship (10 years plus), so that I can receive frank and timely advice. She knows who to contact in each situation, and the agency provides wide-ranging support.
Lincoln Park Spinster | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Everyone needs a Travel Advisor like Manylou. On my latest Cruise with my daughter, she was there for us every step of the trip. Need to change a plane reservation? No problem! Need a ticket to the play that is completely booked? No problem! How about a "comped" dinner at a 3 Star restaurant? No problem! I have worked with Marylou for a number of years and I've never had a problem that she couldn't solve. She saves me money and she saves my sanity. She is incredibly patient with my many questions and, best of all, she has a fantastic sense of humor! I could continue my kudos to her but, suffice to say, "I won't leave home without her".
Miss Elllie | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Mary Lou is level-headed, which means she can advise on the main event (usually a cruise) and the pre- and post-, and keep me on a reasonable path. She has excellent contacts with the cruise lines and is familiar with many ships. Her agency colleagues can advise on the destinations Mary Lou hasn't seen. Her sense of humor is invaluable! We've never met in the 10+ years, but I'm glad she is in my corner.
Lincoln Park spinster | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Marylou is very knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with! We trust her to plan the best trips for our family. Recommend working with her highly.
M | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Fabulous as always. She took care of all our airline travel to Peru and shared information about the country and Machu Picchu. I always use Mary Lou for any and all travel I do.
diana | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Marylou was absolutely amazing to work with. She was responsive to my questions and had many recommendations that made planning my honeymoon much easier. Not to mention, as a preferred partner the benefits we received as a result of booking with her were a welcome surprise. Would absolutely recommend to a friend.
Blair G | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
We always love working with Mary Lou. She is efficient, organized and will help us at the drop of a hat if something goes wrong. Never before seen such an experienced and dedicated travel agent.
KB | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
It is a pleasure to work with Marylou Calnin-Sek. She is professional, knowledgeable, prompt and responsive. She has been an asset in our travel planning. Thanks
Fan of Marylou | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
I have worked with Marylou for years and would highly recommend her. She is very responsive and creative and very easy to work with. Many times she has even secured an upgrade for us without our even requesting it. She understands what I look for in a property or cruise and makes sure to find it for me.
Linda | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
The best travel agent in the US...Marylou Sek. She is the very Best period!!!!! So love this woman!
Karen Turnet | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Mary is great to work with. She helped us plan a fantastic vacation. She knows her stuff which made it turnkey for us. Everything went flawlessly. We are so fortunate to have her!
Sue | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
She was very knowledgable, professional, and courteous. She did not push us past our budget but suggested options just beyond that turned out to be very pleasant. All of our reservations were perfect
Becky Hamlin | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
It is such a pleasure working with Mary Lou. She takes care of all the worrisome details, gets us the "best" deals and patiently answers all our questions [sometimes the same question more than once]. At our advanced age [88] it's comforting to know that she understands our situation and takes it into consideration in her planning. How great to be sure she is always there for us if we run into a problem!
The Red Head | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
My husband and I love working with Mary Lou. She is professional, always accommodating and all around just the best travel agent we have ever had. She triple checks that our trip is always going well and will provide alternatives for us as we change our plans. She is spot on! Mary Lou has helped us figure out how to solve many a travel problem and if an emergency comes up she is the first to figure out how best to make it work for us and give us valued suggestions. She knows her way around the travel community. Since we have been using Mary Lou for our travel needs, our trips have been more organized and less stressful. That is why we would never travel a trip without her. She really is the best and my husband and I travel a lot.
KB | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Best ski trip ever! Marylou didn't outstanding job in planning this wonderful trip that we were on. Her years of experience definitely paid off in many aspects of this trip. She is great to work with and I recommend her highly to anybody as she is worth her weight in gold!
Darreld | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Marylou suggested the Raffles hotel and it was an excellent choice. It's a beautiful older hotel with outstanding service. It was within walking distance to major sites, an incredible shopping street and the exotic night market. Marylou also included a tour package and I am so happy she suggested it. There was no way we would have been able to enjoy all there was to do in Beijing without a guide and a car. Marylou has helped me many times in the past and I have always been happy with her choices.
Tim | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Everything on our trip went smoothly, all details such as transfers and pickups were covered perfectly by Marylou, the rooms were fantastic, and as a result our entire family had an amazing vacation. Can't wait to book our next trip through Marylou.
Mark H | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Mary Lou was very helpful in arranging a cruise, shore excursions, ground transportation, tours, and special meals for our large family group. She is a winner!
Windy City Gang | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
We have used Lake Forest Travel and Marylou for several international trips for our family of 6. Without exception, the travel planning and execution is superb. Marylou understands our preferences and designs travel plans consistent with those preferences. She provides extraordinary customer service, helping with all aspects of our travel. For this trip, she helped us decide on an area based on a few we had narrowed down, and then set everything up to match the award travel we were arranging for the international flights. She carefully worked with us and A&K (patiently, through 5 drafts of the itinerary) to make sure everything was just right. We highly value her insights and recommendations. She is extremely prompt at getting back to clients. We also really appreciated her helping check mis-information we received from United when our return flight was significantly delayed and likely to be cancelled. It helped us make the decision to take a different flight. Marylou is the best!
6Wynns | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Marylou was so kind and courteous throughout the planning process and she was incredibly thorough and meticulous with all the trip details. Furthermore, she checked in during the trip to make sure all was ok with our hotels. I really enjoyed working with her and appreciate her amazing professionalism. Thanks!!
Kim23 | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Marylou: Everything was PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Including your smile!!
BOB | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
The Four Seasons Gresham Palace in Budapest was an excellent choice and I am glad Marylou recommended it. The service was outstanding and the rooms were beautiful. I was very impressed that Marylou contacted the hotel prior to our arrival to make sure all was in order and that we be given the best service possible. Great job Marylou!
TL | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
I have stayed at number of Four Seasons properties for conferences and vacations over the years and this one had the most sincere hospitality. We were there for a field hockey tournament and needed to be near ESPN zone, but only wanted a taste of Disney. This was the right choice. The Italian restaurant was amazing, the pool has a great lazy river and the adult pool was beautiful. The hotel is only one year old and in great condition. The rooms were not large, but that was ok - we were at the pool, the parks or the tournament. No need to rent a car - they have drivers waiting to take you to your destinations for a small fee which ends up costing not much more than a rental car. Request Daniel and he will get you to wherever you need to go and you just pay him at the end (instead of through the hotel where they may tack on a service charge). Great stay!!!!
Sue | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Mary Lou was adept at coordinating flights and travel within Spain and routing different family members to their destinations outside of Spain. We spent the night in a different city every few days so her bookings and advice enhanced our travel experience We stayed for the second time in the same hotel in Madrid that Mary Lou originally booked for my daughter and me 5 years ago. We love it and will always stay there when we go to Madrid. I always contact Mary Lou for travel in and outside of the U.S.
AKB | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Mary Lou has always been great for us and goes the extra mile to get us the best amenities, upgrades, etc! Love this travel agency and highly recommend to others. Have referred several friends to her and will continue to call on Mary Lou to help with travel planning!
Jen | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Marylou is priceless! MaryLou planned our trip from beginning to end. Her helpful advice and guidance was crucial to creating a wonderful travel experience. She has extensive knowledge and familiarity with the trip that she recommended and she was able to provide us with professional, courteous and skilled advice throughout. She was readily accessible and happy to answer any questions or address any concerns. Being able to rely upon her during her trip put my mind at ease and helped me relax and enjoy my vacation. I would give MaryLou the highest recommendation possible for planning your trip and helping prepare you for any contingency. I would recommend her to friends and family members without reservation. She was also able to direct me to competent and affordable tour guides to enhance my experience. MaryLou is excellent! A++++
MarkJC28 | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Marylou is the best - worked real hard for us. Our flight was cancelled the day we were traveling and we had a cruise to catch. Marylou spent most of her morning rearranging our flights so we could get out. Thanks Mary.
65Mustang | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Mary provided us with an amazing trip! Everything went superbly! She arranged everything with such ease and made it so special as she always does, to travel with Virtuoso. Would definitely use her again. Best ever!
Benhof | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Thank you Marylou for your help in making arrangements for my trip. After giving the wrong destination to you, you helped me go where I wanted to go. And you did it with a smile and patience.
Leanie | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Miraval was like Disney World for me! This was my second trip to Miraval and it was just as outstanding as the first! The services, sessions, treatments, workshops, exercise, yoga and meditation classes make for a Disney World like experience for an adult! The food is so healthy and delicious. I cannot eat dairy products and they were extremely accommodating. I Cannot wait to go back again next year!
Laurie | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek
Working with Lake Forest Travel has always been a good experience for me. Marylou was so helpful to me and, believe me, you need patience and lots of explanations to deal with an older woman that does not like computers. Also, Dyane helped me on the first part when somehow I was heading to Ft. Lauderdale rather than Ft. Meyers. You have a great travel service with special agents. Thank you.
Ei | Agent: Marylou Calnin-Sek