Molly Ottersen and Virginia Saunders have more than 30 years combined experience creating and marketing travel products for companies like Royal Caribbean Cruises, Private Jet Expeditions, Westin Hotels & Resorts, The Australian Tourist Commission, Holland America Line, and Society Expeditions.

Their experience includes retail travel (Virginia started her career as a travel agent), tour planning and operations, and frequent guest programs.

Given their backgrounds, you'd think that vacation planning would be a snap for these two. But just the opposite was true. Because they prefer to travel independently, arranging a two-week trip anywhere took months of research and preparation.

The partners realized that the internet offered unrivaled access to travel planning tools — but that the information was scattered far and wide.

So they decided to create a web site that made it easy for travel agents to plan independent trips for their clients. They launched Tripaddiction in April, 2001 as a subscription-based service for travel agents.

But along the way, the pair decided that they could help a lot more people realize their travel dreams if they opened up the site to everyone and made the content available without a subscription. They recoded the content so that it was no longer password protected, updated the tags to improve their search engine placement, and sent out some press releases to help spread the word.

When Molly and Virginia aren't traveling the world in search of the perfect plate of pasta, they're at home in Westlake Village, updating content, pouring through photos, or planning their next trip.