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Expert Journeys Travel, LLC logo

✆: 630-803-4311 

Christie Kruchten

My love of travel hit hard at age 6 when I went to DisneyWorld for the first time in 1975.  I grew up near a small airport and marveled daily at the airplanes taking off and landing.  Fast forward to the 90's where I went to travel school, worked for a major airline, traveled the globe and discovered the joy of building and creating amazing vacations and holidays!

With over 30 years in the travel industry my experiences have provided me the ability to council clients on choosing the right vacation. I have traveled extensively and use this knowledge to provide my clientele with the best possible travel experience. Whether its to enjoy the beach and relax, try a new adventure or envelop yourself in history, I can create the perfect holiday.

Phone:   630-803-4311


Schedule an appointment with Christie

Kelly Brazis


Kelly believes that there is no single best anything out there. There's no one best cruise line, tour operator, or airline. But....there IS a best fit for each client. Getting to know a client's interests, style and travel goals helps her craft personalized vacations that ARE the perfect vacation for that client.

Kelly herself is a life-long lover of travel and has visited 6 continents. Personal interests are regional cuisine, wine and local culture along with architecture and music. Add in visits to meet the local wildlife and she's a happy traveler. She loves to travel local and get out of the tourist areas. With three teens and a husband of her own, she also is a specialist at crafting great vacations for not only families, but multi-generational groups.

Kelly is certified by ASTA (American Society of Travel Advisors) as a Verified Travel Advisor. She also holds many regional certifications, including: Aussie Specialist and a Gold Level "100% New Zealand" Specialist, along with a Hawai'i Destination Specialist with certification in all the islands. Tahiti, Fiji, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Ireland, Kenya, Peru, South Africa, and Costa Rica. Kelly holds certifications with most ocean and river cruise lines: Celebrity, RCCL, NCL, Windstar, Uniworld, AMA Waterway and Princess Commodore Agent are some of them. She also has trained with most of the major hotel and resort brands.

Phone:   847-208-0173



Kelie Fiala




Kelie has been vacation planning for 10 years. She is an avid traveler and is passionate about seeing the world. She loves all things travel related and sharing experiences and tips. Since joining Expert Journeys Travel, she has been able to expand her knowledge about different destinations including Europe, the Mediterranean, and Africa. She is committed to working closely with her clients in creating memorable trips tailored just for them. Contact her anytime for a destination consultation!

Phone:    815-263-6941


You can schedule an appointment with Kelie here

Benna Hermanson

“Traveling - it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller” ~Ibn Battuta

Benna’s love of travel began at a young age when her family embarked on many cross-country RV trips (seeing 43 of the 50 states so far) and continued planning trips after college for friends and family. She remembers the joy and awe in seeing a mountain, ocean or iconic destination like the Grand Canyon for the first time and was hooked on travel ever since!

She looks at travel as a way to enrich one’s life by going to new destinations, learning about different cultures and realizing that we are all more alike than different. Her most recent favorite trips have included touring South Africa (including a lifelong dream of going on safari) and experiencing the other-worldly architecture of Dubai. Favorite past travel highlights include Australia’s Great Ocean Road, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef and magical Kauai. Closer to home, she has traveled extensively to Mexico, the Caribbean, and loves Michigan beach towns and lake getaways in Wisconsin.

Benna specializes in customized itineraries including: beach getaways, honeymoons, experiential travel, intergenerational trips and has helped several clients rent fabulous villas in Europe for a vacation of a lifetime. She also plans to put together more groups for ancestral & religious-based trips, family reunions, golf trips and yoga/girl’s getaways.

With a professional background in commercial property management, Benna pays close attention to how resorts, hotels, cruise ships, etc. are physically maintained and designed. Benna holds the professional credential of LEED GA (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - Green Associate). As such, she is interested in how tourism helps the local economies around the world as well as the various green initiatives and sustainability efforts. She thrives on attending travel industry events to keep up to date on travel trends, networking with our travel partners and learning of new offerings/destinations.

Contact Benna directly:

Phone: 847-322-8270


Schedule an appointment here

Heidi Nugent

After many years working in finance and leadership roles, the opportunity presented to become a travel agent and join Expert Journeys Travel. She jumped right in! Heidi is a native of Pennsylvania, (currently living in the Chicago suburbs) a wife and the mom and bonus mom to three adult children. Heidi is excited to combine her passion for planning, organizing and traveling to help you experience your best trip to Walt Disney World, your first or tenth cruise, a destination wedding, an all-inclusive beach resort, group travel or a multi-generational trip to celebrate life’s milestones. The sky is the limit with what she can plan.

Prior to joining Expert Journeys Travel, Heidi planned and enjoyed many Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Celebrity cruise, Royal Caribbean cruise, Caribbean Islands, Puerto Rico and Hawaii vacations. Now it is time to share that knowledge with you. Naturally, specializing in Disney travel was a good fit, but she has also completed many travel certifications and will always continue to stay current on the latest training available so she can provide the most accurate information possible while planning your vacation.

Heidi is excited to help others experience the destinations she has experienced. You can rest assured she will take great care in planning your trip as if it were her own. Contact Heidi to get started planning your next travel experience.

Contact Heidi directly:

Phone: 814-688-6067


Schedule and appointment HERE

Karen Brandt

Karen discovered her love for travel while on a two week trip to Germany, Austria and Switzerland with her high school German class. She and her family also got to enjoy hosting exchange students from both Sweden and Spain and were able to visit them abroad. One of her favorite adventures included visiting Norway with her family to learn more about her heritage. 

She has recently planned her own family excursions to Europe. 

After years of experience working as a physical therapist in a hospital setting, she has excellent listening skills to understand the needs of her clients. She will use the same expertise in planning your dream vacations. 

Now that she is a certified travel advisor, she is excited to be able to help people create their best travel experience. As a mother of three, she understands how overwhelming and time consuming planning a trip can be. She would love to help take some pressure off using the resources she now has at her fingertips.


Contact Karen Directly:

Phone: 312-806-6168


Schedule an appointment with Karen here