Hugh Sheppard

Banner Elk, North Carolina Travel Agent

Encore Travel - Luxury Travel Concierge, a Travel Leaders Network affiliate agency

Hawaii and Western Europe Specialist

I LOVE to travel, see the world and experience new places and people. I share that passion with my clients.

In our initial conversation I will get to know:

  • what you like & don't like while traveling
  • how you prefer to travel
  • how you like to spend your time
  • what your travel experience is
  • what we need to avoid 
  • what will make this trip awesome for you
  • what special events you're celebrating while on this trip

Your journey will be custom built just for you.  Typically I find most clients perfer a combination of some planned activities along with plently of open time to explore on their own, relax by a streetside cafe, or be able to book on the fly an adventure mentioned by another traveler along the way.  Some prefer to have every day planned and some prefer to have nothing planned.  Your itinerary will be created just for you.  

My passion for the Hawaiian Islands as well as for Western Europe provide a nice canvas in which to create your journey and those to come in the future. I travel to both regularly and gain insights and uncover hidden gems that I will share with you.

While I specialize in these two areas, my clients have traveled throughout the world to include Luxury All-Inclusive Cruising, South Pacific, South and Central America, Asia and the Caribbean.  Wherever you desire to travel my team and I will help you develop an itinerary that you will remember as nothing short of amazing! 

Let's have a conversation to see if we're the right fit. If so we can proceed, if not maybe we can steer you in the direction of another agent who is the right specialist for your journey. I look forward to meeting and getting to know you.

Why I Love To Travel

Sunset on the Big Island of Hawaii
Sunset on the Big Island of Hawaii

The vast array of cultures, languages, customs, traditions and history is amazing and there is no end to it.  Not to mention the food!  Setting off on a new journey to discover a new place or maybe to re-connect with a place I've been before is always exciting.  The unknown...the anticipation of who or what I will encounter along the trail that will so richly fill my next story is what makes traveling so exciting.  While there may no longer be uncharted waters or unknown frontiers....there are undiscovered gems throughout the world for the individual traveler just waiting to be found.  Let's go there together........

My Reviews

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

Scotland Honeymoon

Reviewed By Michelle - North Carolina | Traveled to
We found Encore Travel though the American Society of Travel Agents. The ASTA is an associate that upholds high quality standards for its members. Hugh Sheppard from Encore Travel is a member of the ASTA. Through the ASTA’s website, we submitted our plans for our honeymoon and received several quotes and itineraries from various travel agencies. Encore Travel hit the mark for what we wanted in service, travel planning, and within our budget. Working with Hugh as our travel agent was easy, informative, and a pleasurable experience. Hugh was able to design for us a travel itinerary that absolutely met our dream honeymoon expectations. His package was as all-inclusive as possible when traveling abroad. He was able to work with local tour guides to give us a truly customized trip while in Scotland. Hugh was easily accessible by phone and email, and was accommodating to all of our requests and needs. We had an amazing time in Scotland for our honeymoon, and that is in large part due to Hugh’s expert planning.
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Hugh is awesome!

Reviewed By Amber L - Des Moines, IA | Traveled to
We used Hugh for a family vacation and he was great to help us organize across the states to get the perfect cruise and all the details! I would highly recommend his services!
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Great Trip

Reviewed By Chuck - Des Moines, IA | Traveled to
Great Trip
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Iceland was Awesome Hugh made it so!

Reviewed By Dan - Chicago, IL | Traveled to
I am starting to plan my next vacation and realized I never gave a shout out to Hugh. I am 50 years old and have done a significant amount of travel in my life. This was the best travel agent experience ever! We went to Iceland, Hugh knew many things, but what Hugh didn't know he found out. He answers his phone and returns calls (if you like that stuff)! Provided a detailed vacation plan up front! Hugh answered all my stupid questions and was never condescending. It was a trip of a life time! I'll be talking to Hugh soon!
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Best Trips Ever!

Reviewed By The Evoy's - Adel, Iowa | Traveled to
Hugh has help my family plan 2 trips to Hawaii and 1 to the Bahamas. These have been some of the best trips we have taken as a family. Hugh was able to take our initial budget and ideas, make some great suggestions and get us 3 trips we will never forget. We had one bump with a pre scheduled excursion and one call to Hugh was able to get the whole thing turned around with out taking any time away from the rest of our trip. His final updates on flights, schedules and possible delays gave us plenty of heads up as to gates and check in times! We even found a few extra surprises in our rooms along the way which really made a big impression on my family. We look forward to planning our next big vacation with Hugh sometime soon!
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Hugh turns on a dime to make anything happen

Reviewed By Susan - San Francisco, CA | Traveled to
Hugh has made accomdatations and needed changes for multiple travelers in our group(s) for various trips - we have been using his travel services since a multi leg trip to Europe in 2012; he has planned individual itineraries for family to India as well as a luxe birthday celebration holiday to Antigue in the Caribbean; sometimes we ask him to figure it out and sometimes we know what we what he makes it happen, coordinating a detailed itinerary; recently he was of much appreciated assistance in rebooking a flight for two after a last minute cancellation due to a snow storm, we arrived home only 45 minutes later than the original flight schedule! Grace under fire...and with follow up communication as we travel to see how all is going.
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

First trip to Europe was amazing

Reviewed By Sue - Richlannd, MI | Traveled to
I wanted to plan a trip to Europe that my husband and 3 girls would always remember, but became overwhelmed with doing it myself. I was so glad that I found Hugh. He was able to combine all of our interests into a wonderful trip to London, Paris and Frankfort. We had a personal tour guide for Versailles instead of having to elbow our way thru the masses. We also had another very knowledgeable guide for our trip to Normandy. Even when the hotel in Paris made an error with our room reservations, Hugh was able to remedy the situation plus get us a reimbursement for our inconvenience. My husband and I look forward to returning to Europe when we retire in a few years. We will definitely consider contacting Hugh at that time.
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Trip to Maui and beautiful resort

Reviewed By Jeff - Urbandale, IA | Traveled to
My wife and I were looking for a special way to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, and we had selected Hawaii as the destination. Hugh worked with us on finding the right itinerary to match our interests, and we were really pleased with the ultimate outcome. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we had to cancel our original trip, but Hugh helped us through the travel insurance claim process, so we could get reimbursed and re-book the trip 3 months later. The trip turned out to be just what we wanted. We stayed at a great resort and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and weather. We came home with special photos and memories and will try to get back there sometime in the future.
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Europe Rome

Reviewed By Craig - New York | Traveled to
Hugh set up a great trip to Rome including Opera! Great service, responsiveness and knowledge. Strongly recommended if you don't have time to research everything yourself.
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Wedding and Honeymoon made easy!

Reviewed By Wedding and honeymoon - Atlanta, GA | Traveled to
Hugh went about and beyond for my Destination wedding and European honeymoon!
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great Holiday Planner

Reviewed By Jim - Los Angeles, CA | Traveled to
Hugh has planned several trips for us including two trips to Europe. On our first trip, we needed to plan an itinerary for driving through England and Wales, with interesting sight-seeing points along the way. The second trip was selecting a Cruise line for our first ever river trip. In each instance, we drew on Hugh's experience and knowledge of the areas. I don't believe we would have done nearly as well tring to design the trips on our own. Hugh has always been responsive, and helpful in sharing his thoughts about our conceerns. I never feel pressured to make a decision. We've been very pleased.
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Hugh makes planning a trip so easy and enjoyable!

Reviewed By HappyHoneymooner - Scottsdale, AZ | Traveled to
We used Hugh to plan our honeymoon to Bora Bora and Tahiti. We gave him things we were looking to get out of our trip, accommodation preferences, and a budget, and he came up with package options for us. It was so easy and fun with him at the helm, and he responded immediately to any questions we had. In addition, he watched our flights for us and gave us travel updates throughout our trip. It was so reassuring to have someone looking out for us while we traveled, especially someone as knowledgeable as Hugh. He is very plugged into the different resorts, restaurants, flights, and extras for the locations he plans trips for. I would and have recommended him to anyone and everyone who asks how we planned our honeymoon. You will not regret your choice to use him as your travel agent!
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

My trips have been fantastic!

Reviewed By Aarti Ranganathan - Vienna, VA | Traveled to
I have come to rely on Hugh Sheppard to help plan my Europe vacations. He has been a wonderful guide - he has provided great ideas, and has also been flexible with my changes (based on preference or cost). I usually have a lot of questions, and he answers all of the,. He is extremely thorough with the booking process, and is also available during the trip if / when things go wrong . For e.g., he set up a photography tour for us in Rome in 2013, it did not happen as the photographer did not show up in the last minute. His wife had a cardiac arrest and he had to rush to ER. We contacted Hugh, and he got the money refunded to us within 1 day. Also, he remembered that we wanted to do that, and he set it up for us in our France trip in 2014. It was phenomenal. I have no problems recommending his services to friends.
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

South Sudan/Tanzania

Reviewed By Dr Dave - DesMoines, Iowa | Traveled to
We did a self guided mission trip to South Sudan to visit a Bishop and build him an addition to his welcome center. Hugh set up the many flights required and after the 30 days in South Sudan set up a once in a lifetime safari in Tanzania. Every part of the trip was planned perfectly and Hugh followed our instructions to a T. Best trip of our many overseas adventures.
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

always a great trip!

Reviewed By Jon L - easton, pa | Traveled to
We have worked with hugh for years and have never been disappointed. Hugh always makes sure we get the best price possible and makes planning a trip hassle free. We are given peace of mind knowing if something needs his attention he will make sure to be on top of it immediately.
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Trip planning made easy

Reviewed By Huge - Des Moines, Iowa | Traveled to
Hugh took the anxiety of researching & planning a family trip out of our hands and made it a nice adventure in itself. We gave him our parameters & he gave us options that met them. He suggested some choices that we would not have found ourselves. Once the trip was scheduled, he continued to check with us with trip tips, updates & additional info about the places we were going. His personal travel experiences has made him very knowledgeable about a lot of fun destinations. We were very pleased with our entire experience from early planning thru actually travelling.
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

He made better plans than we could have.

Reviewed By RH - Des Moines, IA | Traveled to
Hugh has helped my wife and I plan two trips. Both times we knew where we wanted to go, but did not have knowledge of hotels, best times to travel by plane, and some of the unique local things to see and do. We gave Hugh total freedom to plan fun and interesting trips. He came back with complete itineraries that we could review and adjust as necessary. Due to the fact he had much more insight in to fun places to stay and things to see we did not change the plans, just signed up and went on the trips. Each trip worked out just as planned. The hotels were great, tours he signed us up for were excellent, the local sight seeing was better than expected and we came home with memories from wonderful trips. Because we paid for flights, car rental, hotels and special tours up front the expenses during the trip did not seem to be as shocking as other trips we have taken. We have talked to others who feel they save money by booking their own flights, hotels and plan all the details. Maybe they did save money, but often they tell us of problems encountered during the trip. From our experience when our travel agent Hugh plans the trip things go very well. I know he can't control any of the companies that he books us with, but he does have the ability to choose the best available services in each industry, which results in less problems. We will use Hugh Sheppard the next time we go on vacation.
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 3 people found this review helpful

Trip to Guadeloupe

Reviewed By Tony - McLean, Virginia | Traveled to
Hugh arranged for us to go to Guadeloupe. All the connections worked perfectly including airline and in-country transportation.. We decided on another hotel than the one he recommended which worked out fine. I found a better flight to Guadeloupe than the one he recommended and he was able to make the change with no problem. So all in all it was a problem free experience to a gorgeous location.
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 5 people found this review helpful

Great travel agent!

Reviewed By Monica H - Albuquerque, NM | Traveled to
My husband and I never thought we would hire a travel agent, but when we were planning our wedding we decided that we couldn't plan our honeymoon, too. We found out about Hugh and decided to give him a shot. He listened to us and took our vision of a perfect honeymoon and made it into a reality. Our trip to Costa Rica was magical and the perfect honeymoon for us. We plan on hiring Hugh for our next trip!
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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0 of 6 people found this review helpful

Took my ideas and crafted a wonderful experience

Reviewed By Tom - Chicago, IL | Traveled to
I was looking for a river cruise to celebrate 45 years of marriage. After a couple of weeks of DIY investigation, I came to realize that I simply didn't have the necessary knowledge to ensure that a trip would be satisfying - much less memorable. So, I looked for an travel adviser and found Hugh. I was immediately put at ease by his interest and insight into what might make for an unforgettable trip. We talked about my ideas and my priorities. Hugh quickly provided suggestions and we refined the trip quickly. Hugh also provided materials about places we would visit and have time to ourselves (Prague, Amsterdam, Budapest). All of the planning was 14 months in advance of the trip. As the time approached, Hugh made it very easy for us by assembling documents so that we had no worries anywhere along the way. The trip came off without a single hitch and was exactly what I wanted. My wife and I had the unforgettable experience that I had sought. We are sure to use Hugh again when we plan a major vacation overseas - he took all the anxiety out of it!
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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