Published On: Mon, Feb 12th, 2018

A Carpe Diem Travel Spirit

Kim Everett always had a passion for travel and exploring the world.

She became a travel agent to help share that passion with other people. It was after she finished her MBA and a Masters in Global Management when she knew she wanted a global career, but she needed the flexibility of a laptop lifestyle to be able to work around her kids’ schedules.

Since travel planning had always been in the back of her mind, she realized that it was the perfect time to start her own travel agency business.

So began Keepsake Travel Designs in Torrance, California, where she finds her clients ‘unique, culturally charged experiences to add to their vacation journey.’

“I love the adventurous spirit of my clients that can range from an after-hours tour of the Louvre to tea with a local baker and his family, or wine blending lessons from the winemaker himself,” said Everett. “My kids have dealt with health issues since birth, and their amazing attitudes have inspired me to have a carpe diem approach to life that has given me a new appreciation for life and travel.”

Everett remembers helping one couple celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary on a trip with their children and grandchildren: “One of the highlights of their trip was a multi-course private dinner in their villa featuring a photo slideshow for the whole group. Even though everything had been confirmed well in advance, the restaurant canceled at the last minute, leaving us with very few options.”

At the last minute, she was able to find a private chef: “Together we created an exclusive, local menu, and the clients and their family were able to enjoy a wonderful dinner in their villa exceeding their expectations.”

Everett also loves to plan unique experiences that take her clients off the tourist path.

“One of my favorite vacations to plan was when a client called and asked for a last-minute week-long itinerary in Paris full of non-touristy, anything-goes, unique experiences,” she said. “I had so much fun working with them to put together the perfect itinerary, and I loved following along on their trip while they traveled. I couldn’t wait to talk to them when they got back.”

She said the biggest obstacle that travel agents face today is awareness: “So many people seem to think that vacation planning is something they should do themselves because they don’t know a good travel agent and don’t know how to go about finding one. Much of our business is repeat clients and referrals; Once people start using a travel agent they realize how much easier the planning process is and never look back.”

When she’s not working, Everett loves traveling to Spain:

“I love the culture and the history in Spain. The country is beautiful and the food is absolutely amazing. I have a hard time adjusting to such a late dinner hour, but the food and the wine are well worth the wait. And with the vibrant nightlife, it never seems as late as it actually is.”

Hawaii also holds a special place in her heart: “When I was a child, my family and I would visit Hawaii every few years, even spending Christmas on the island watching Santa come in on the outrigger canoes. My husband and I got married on the beach on Oahu in a small ceremony with our families.”

The best advice Everett has for others who want to be a travel agent is to make connections.

“You can’t do it by yourself,” she said. “It’s important to find your tribe and establish relationships with other travel agents, suppliers, and even other entrepreneurs.”

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