Lisa McCarthy and her husband Lee are dog-loving outdoors enthusiasts who’ve owned and operated Mad Travel in Naples since 1994, when they bought it from the original founders. Like many couples who work together, they’ve figured out their groove: Lee is on the front lines with clients while Lisa handles the back-office stuff, and together they manage a team of selling agents.
Lisa landed in Naples in 1985, when she came to check out her parents’ new digs on Marco Island. Lee hails from Michigan and moved to Southwest Florida to be in the hospitality business. After they met, they realized they were each other’s ideal travel buddy and life partner. “Our first big trip together was to Africa,” Lisa recalls. “We had the incredible opportunity to go on a safari.”
Thanks to COVID-19, much of the McCarthys’ work throughout 2020 and into 2021 involved cancelling and rebooking clients’ trips. Now, Lisa is happy to report, “We have interest in future travel. People see value in what we do, and they wouldn’t want to navigate it themselves.”
Recent clients are seeking domestic destinations with international vibes. Being wonderful researchers with long-established connections to travel suppliers, the McCarthys can send their clients “places in the U.S. they’ve never been to before,” Lisa notes. “We know where to go and we have people on the ground in those places to make recommendations and give personal service, so our travelers are always taken care of,” she adds.
Although summer travel to Europe looks iffy, since some countries are still in and out of lockdowns, Lisa remains optimistic. “A year from now, European travel is going to explode from pent-up demand,” she says. “People are looking forward to seeing something different and getting out there again.” In the meantime, she’s excited about the future of her agency and is bringing in new people to keep up with demand.