2019 in pictures and words
2019 was another great year for Starship Travel. Going into its second year, Starship Travel’s newest location has proven to be very successful. With so many travel agencies closing, it has been refreshing to get such a positive response from the neighbors of the South Elgin area and beyond. Starship ventured 30 miles west of its original Arlington Heights location because many of the clients were from this area. It is proving to be a very successful venture due to increasing business from the South Elgin location.
To kick off 2019 on the right foot, Starship Travel gave back to its community by sponsoring the O’Keefe family McDonalds. We enjoy doing these give-back programs in our surrounding area because it allows us to connect with our community and make a lasting impact.
Karen, Robyn and I raced around Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay trying to catch everything possible. One day we “walked the strip’, yes all 11 miles of it. Our walk on the strip showed us all of the iconic landmarks of Vegas like the mini Eiffel Tower, Hell’s Kitchen and a miniature New York City. This was a venture to see as many of the hotels as possible. The Starship Travel slogan, “We know what we sell because we have been there”, really tells the tale, because we saw too many to count. By actually visiting the locations we sell, we are able to give unmatched expertise for our clients. Of course we stopped to snack, gamble a bit and just have some rest and fun while in Vegas.
March was a time for celebration, and for showing off our hard work. Karen won the Star Agent award from Funjet 500 Club. We also had our 4th Annual Travel Show at the Elgin Country Club. We had over 50 vendors selling travel, giving away prizes and educating people on travel, and we expect another great turn out. This was a huge success, and we are preparing for our 5th show on March 8th, 2020.
We attended MAST’s Conference in Downtown Chicago for their 50th Anniversary. Going to the conference was a sheer pleasure. We loved not having to get on a plane to go somewhere and just playing “tourists” in our own city. What fun! We stayed at the Renaissance where the conference was held, then we had the opportunity of seeing our great city from a different vantage point- the underground. The Chicago Walking Tour was an amazing experience that showed us the city in a whole new way. https://freechicagowalkingtours.com/chicago-walking-tours/ We had a great night at the Untitled speakeasy with a fabulous Roaring 20’s theme! We all dressed up for the occasion in fun, 20’s themed outfits. https://www.untitledsupperclub.com/ The Second City comedy club was another outing, unfortunately it was not well-suited to our travel agency family. It was just not our cup of tea! Whenever offered the chance, our beautiful Downtown Chicago is a must-see!
To kick-off the summer of 2019, Starship Travel traveled to Jamaica with Funjet for their 500 Gold and Platinum Trip. Funjet hosted a Cocktail Gala Reception and Dinner, which was a very fun night, and a presentation. During their presentation, they set up a give-back opportunity for a local family whose home was burned down. The family was given clothing and donations from all the travel agencies to help them get back on their feet.
Karen and I went to the Bellefield Great House, did several site inspections of hotels, and relaxed at the beach. We stayed at the gorgeous Secrets St. James hotel in Montego Bay. We also golfed at the Cinnamon Hill golf course and swam with dolphins at Dolphin Cove. Jamaica is one of the best vacation spots, and one we keep returning to!
This summer, Karen and I took the family to Disney World. It was the first time visiting for Kelli and Brooklyn, so Karen and I took them to all our favorite spots like Chef Mickey’s, the iconic Cinderella’s castle and to meet the princesses. The whole family walked the walk and saw everything possible in a week at Disney. We stayed at Saratoga Springs Resort, right across the way from Downtown Disney, where there is something fun for everyone. We visited Animal Kingdom, one of my favorites and, of course, Magic Kingdom for the little one! Pool time was enjoyed by all, time to rest and get off our feet!
Len and I went to the TRS Coral in Costa Majerus for Palladium Master Experience- a three-day conference to learn all about the resort. They showed us what they have to offer for weddings, fun activities and everything to make a perfect vacation for our clients. TRS resorts are adults only whereas the sister properties of Palladium are family resorts. We are always trying to become more experienced and more knowledgeable for our clients; just as our slogan says “We know what we sell, because we’ve been there”!
Len and I had a relaxing and fun three-day trip to the Arkansas Golf Outing in Fayetteville, Arkansas and its surrounding area. Starship has clients nearby that we were happy to be able to mingle with and spend some quality time.
This was our biggest trip of 2019. Starship Travel took 20 people on a group tour of Dubai and South Africa. We explored Victoria Falls (one of the Seven Wonders of the World!), saw the countless animals roaming the land and even got to walk with the elephants. The friendships and the memories built throughout this trip will last a lifetime.
We started with three days and two nights in Dubai, the land of opulence. We experienced the tall building in the world and the second largest Mosque in the world in Abu Dhabi. Seeing the Indoor Ski Area was incredible- it is the only one in the world! I wanted so bad to put my skies on.
Our next stop was Cape Town, South Africa! Cape Town was beautiful and our lodgings were fun. We stayed at the Radisson Red, which is a new type of hotel and very modern! We visited Penguin Cove- tiny birds but oh so cute. We took the cable car to the top then walked Table Mountain with breathtaking views. The Waterfront was fun with lots of restaurants, shops and entertainment. The food was unique, we sampled a wonderful dinner of game such as Ostrich, and various others.
After Cape Town, we flew up to Kruger National Park for two land safaris and a river Safari. We were fortunate to see “all of the Big Five Animals” which is not often accomplished. They are elephants, rhinos, water buffalo, leopards and hippos. Oddly giraffes, which are my favorite, are not included in the Big Five.
Zimbabwe, where Victoria Falls is located, was next. Unfortunately, the Seventh Wonder of the World is disappearing due to two years of drought. When we saw it, it was absolutely stunning.
Our last stop was Chobe National Park in Botswana. We took a beautiful boat safari here!
Our trip was made up of 7 flights, 4 countries, 3 land safaris, 2 river safaris, great bus sightseeing tours and a great experience. This was my 3rd time personally going to Africa; all 3 very different trips to remember. Africa is a huge continent, it would be very difficult to see it all!
As my last trip of the year, I visited New York City over Thanksgiving with my daughter, Robyn. This was a great wrap up of this wonderful travel year. Robyn and I walked from 34th Street seeing the Macy’s window to 50th Street to Rockefeller Center for the famous tree and ice skating rink. We shopped at Bryant Park, saw 2 Broadway shows, Frozen and Tootsie and the Rockettes Christmas presentation. What a great way to spend Thanksgiving, as mother and daughter. Such fun!
In all 2019 proved to be very successful and fun! There were a few challenges that they were able to overcome, but that is just part of the job. Starship Travel works directly with their clients to give them the very best experiences possible. When things come up, they are here to solve the problems. Working with real travel advisors is the only smart way to travel.