MOUNTAIN AREA — As if you need another reason to plan a great getaway, here’s a reminder that studies show vacations are a healthy choice, and even the anticipation of a trip in its planning stages can give your life a boost.
Ah, but the planning stage can be stressful, unless you’re working with professionals who can guide you through the myriad details of putting together the perfect vacation for you and your family. Or just you!
Two local women have embarked on a new business venture that reflects their love of adventure. Nancy Gunning and Dee Gardetti are former Silicon Valley professionals who are now allowing a shared passion for travel to inform their business future. Each of the experienced travelers is a franchise owner of Dream Vacations, under the umbrella of World Travel Holdings, with one taking bookings primarily on the land, and the other mostly on sea.
“We are a full service travel agency and book land and cruise vacations,” explains Nancy. “Dee specializes in the land vacations and I specialize in the cruise vacations and we make an awesome team! By each of us specializing in one area we are able to provide excellent service.”
Nancy and husband Michael purchased the business in December of 2015, and Dee became interested not long after that.
“For the last year or two, I had been contemplating retiring but was not quite ready to take the leap to not working at all,” Dee says.
“One day Nancy and I were chatting and she introduced me to her new career, the franchise DreamVacations. It was exactly what I was looking for so I decided to purchase a franchise as well.
“The company offers a tremendous amount of support and tools to help find that dream vacation for our clients. We complement each other because her interests and strengths are in planning cruises and mine are in planning land vacations. Plus we will be a backup for each other when we are on our own vacations.”
While the web provides many opportunities for vacation planning, the women agree it’s helpful to have the guidance of a professional travel agent.
“It makes good sense to go through a travel agency because you get that personal attention that you don’t get when booking online,” Nancy notes. “You can call me and get answers right away and things will get handled in a timely manner.”
Plus, says Dee, they have the ability to source vendors and tools that a client doesn’t have access to.
Nancy specializes in cruising of all types, including cruise ships and river cruises.
“Cruising is very relaxing and good for everyone,” Nancy points out.
“You are on a floating hotel and you only have to unpack one time. You can do as much or as little as you want to do since there are so many choices on the ship or shore excursions. We all need to relax once in a while! The ship takes care of your cooking with great food, cleaning, endless activities, several pools for relaxing and much, much more.”
She says cruising is a great value for a vacation because it includes all meals with a fabulous buffet and shipboard activities, which could keep you busy all day or you can relax and do ‘nothing’ all day. When it comes to cruising she says it’s best to book as far in advance as possible in order to get precisely what you want in terms of the cruise in general, and the cabin specifically.
“If you wait until the last minute, there might not be space available in the category or price range you are looking for.”
Dee also emphasizes the importance of planning, and has some other tips for would-be travelers.
“Be flexible on dates and be open to new experiences. Try to plan ahead, although there are some great last minute deals especially if one is flexible for these deals. Think about do you want tropical and relaxing like Hawaii or Belize, or do you want site-seeing such as Paris, Rome, or New York City? Do you want ‘adventure’ like an African safari, or maybe an ‘all inclusive’ cruise or resort?”
Dee says a lack of helpful information may be keeping people from getting the vacation they want and need.
“I think that for people that have not gone on a cruise or to an all-inclusive resort, they don’t realize that for the most part, everything is paid for upfront. So, there is very little pulling out the wallet at every meal or to see a show on the ship or resort property.”
Nancy and Dee are firm believers that going on vacation is a must.
“It is such a great way to see the world and experience culture, food, entertainment and meeting people and making new friends,” says Dee. “From my own travel experiences, it has given me such pleasure in knowing that the world is full of wonderful people that are just as curious to meet you and talk to you as you are with them.”
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