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Spellbound Vacations, LLC.

How Did I Get Here? My Travel Advisor Journey

If you had told me when I started this career journey that I would be a small business owner, working from a home office, and living out my travel dreams, I would have thought you were crazy! 

In the Fall of 2009, I left my job at ABC News’ affiliate news service, NewsOne. I loved this job. I loved my co-workers. I felt the exciting news industry was where I was supposed to be.  Looking back now, one of my favorite things was traveling to news events. I’ll never forget the fun of the Democratic National Convention in Boston! Those were great times!  

But the pull of two small children at home outweighed the love of my career. My husband and I both worked in this industry and traveling to Manhattan five days a week, being gone for at least ten hours during those days while leaving my kids with a babysitter (a very loving one at that!), was not how I wanted to raise them. I decided to leave.

Once home, I had to explore the idea of “what next”? What were my passions? I kept coming back to travel. Seeing different locations, meeting different people. Oh, and Disney. I can’t ignore my love of all Disney destinations.  

I took an online course to become a certified travel agent. However, before I took the final exam I was hired at Liberty Travel in Clifton, NJ. This began a journey that would lead me to so many amazing destinations, to so many incredible colleagues, and to being able to raise my kids while still having a career. 

I only stayed at Liberty Travel for one year. Again, I loved the job. I loved my co-workers but the hours were killing me. And the pull of my kids was just too strong.  

Six months after leaving Liberty Travel I joined a Disney Earmarked agency and started my small business, Spellbound Vacations, LLC. This would be the first of two Disney Earmarked agencies that I would be an independent contractor for. In 2013, I thought I had found my “home” and spent 7 years working as Melissa’s Magical Moments Vacations.  

When 2020 arrived, so did Covid. My business was wiped out. I had no one traveling and no one booking. By the Fall of 2020, I had lost everything I had built. It was time to re-evaluate and re-focus.  

This brought me to the return of Spellbound Vacations, LLC. I knew I wanted to have my own identity as a business owner. I wanted to be working with local supplier representatives, and I knew I wanted to control how I ran my small business.  

Before the end of 2020, I had become an independent contractor with Independent by Liberty Travel. ILT offers independent contractors the ability to have their own business identity while having the resources and support of a large international company. 

In the last two years, I have built my business back up from scratch. I was voted a 2022 (201) Magazine Best of Bergen top 3 travel agent. I started traveling again, visiting all the destinations I specialize in, and I have sent hundreds of clients on incredible vacations. And the biggest kicker of all, I have watched my children grow!

My son is now finishing his junior year of college and in June my daughter graduates from high school. I have never regretted the career choices I made. Being a Certified Travel Advisor is a dream job. It can be hard sometimes, and it can feel impossible other times, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world! 

This Fall my husband and I will become semi-empty nesters (our son will move back home in January). Because I can work from anywhere, this opens up a world of possibilities! I am excited to see where Spellbound Vacations, LLC goes! 

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