There are a few personal goals I (Anthony Crosby) have for my life. I desire to raise my daughters to be happy and prosperous, and I’m striving to build AAT into an uber-successful brand. However, there is one item on my bucket list that I’m very much looking forward to checking off—going on a cruise! Yes, this is a goal I’ve always dreamed of living out. To set sail on my maiden voyage to a warm, tropical destination sounds so lovely. My family has gone on multiple excursions in the past, but I, for one reason or another, have always been left at port. Thankfully, I have a friend in this week’s guest who has the expertise to help turn my wishful thinking into a reality!
This week, we’re sitting down with the fantastic travel agent, Sue Bradford! Sue has helped many of our neighbors see the world throughout what will be five years this March. Sue does this through her Spring Creek agency, Journeys Around the World. We’re thankful she made time for us this week because she’s currently in the middle of “wave season,” which is the busiest vacation booking time of the year! So, I don’t want to waste any time. Let’s set sail on this conversation!
Thank you for fitting AAT into your busy schedule this week, Sue! Before we discuss how you help other people travel, can you tell us of the journey you had to embark on to finally land in the Elko area?
“I am a native transplant by way of New York. I moved to Yerington, Nevada when I was thirteen. Before the move, I had grown up in Long Island, New York, so it was a complete one-eighty for me. My dad was raised in Reno, but the military took him to New York; he always wanted to come back to Nevada. It was a fun and difficult transition. Everyone would tease me about my accent, and I missed my family that was still back in New York. However, I went through the transition and ended up loving it in Yerington.
“I eventually moved away for school but would come back to Yerington and start working for State Farm for fifteen years. In 2013, we moved up here to Elko, and I was still working for State Farm, but it wasn’t working out the way I wanted. I had to have a long talk with myself and decide what I wanted to be when I grew up! My journey to becoming a travel agent began when I left my position at State Farm. It was something I had dabbled in the past for friends and family, so I thought I’d give it a try and see how it went. At that time, travel agents were making a comeback, and the local agent here ended up shutting down. So, March of 2015, I made it official!”
Sue, I’m sure many of our readers who don’t already know you may be surprised that the job of travel agent still exists. One might assume that the internet and its array of travel websites may have rendered that position obsolete. Can you tell us a little bit about what you do and how you stand out against an Expedia or Booking.com site?
“My job is to help every client find the best trip for them. I always sit down and have a conversation with them because everybody travels differently. I could send ten different families to New York City, and they could have different experiences depending on what they like to do. I want to know where they want to go, what they want to do, and why they want to go there! I’ll have a conversation with them, and the internet is not going to talk with them. You can only base things off what you see on the internet, and sometimes, things can be deceiving. The pictures you see may not be what they appear to be. I have been to several resorts and numerous cruises, and I rely on my clients when they come back to share with me the good, bad, and ugly.
“I want to be a personalized contact for people. One time, I had a client book a small trip to Athens, Greece. When she got to her hotel, they told her she didn’t have a reservation. She messaged me on Facebook; it was two in the afternoon there but one in the morning here. Thankfully, I heard my phone go off, and I got up and told her I was on it! I rolled out of bed, got on the phone, and discovered that it was just a glitch with the computer system. If she had booked that trip on her own, what would she have done? She told me that if she hadn’t had me, she would have been lost! That’s the reason why I’m here!”
That’s fantastic! As I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, March 2020 will mark your fifth year in business. What have you loved the most about your time as a travel agent, Sue?
“I love seeing the pictures of my clients on vacation, or when they message me and tell me they can’t believe they are where they are! It brings me joy to know that things are going well for them and that they’re having a good time. I have some clients who are in Jamaica right now, and one of the couples got married. They sent me some pictures of their wedding on the beach! It was like I was there with them, except I wasn’t; I was here, freezing instead!”
Some people may assume that you travel a lot because of your job title. Is that an accurate assumption?
“I don’t travel much because my boys are still at home, and I’m busy with work. When you’re busy planning everyone else’s trip, you don’t get to travel a lot. Me traveling is not what this is all about; my clients traveling is what this is all about.”
Where do our Elko/Spring Creek neighbors love traveling to the most, Sue? What are a few of the most popular locations?
“My most booked destinations are Hawaii, Disneyland, and Cancun. Salt Lake City has an amazing flight through Delta, so if someone times it right, the can catch a flight out of our airport, get on a plane in Salt Lake, and be on a Cancun Beach by four o’clock in the afternoon!”
That’s good to know! I’ll be keeping that in mind! In the meantime, what else would you like our readers to keep in mind before we let you get back to tackling “wave season?”
“Give a travel agent a chance! Let them have an opportunity to at least look at what you’re doing. I know a lot of people like to do things themselves, but I’m not going to take the control away from your planning. My job is to assist in the planning process and find you the best value for your money. There’s a lot of stress involved with planning a vacation, but you can turn that stress over to me! What do you have to lose?”
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See you around, Elko
Written by: Anthony Crosby
Edited by: Nadara Merrill