HANSVILLE — Traveling in a post-Sept. 11 world has become increasingly frustrating and tricky as the list of what travelers can’t bring on the plane grows long, and waits grow even longer. But Hansville travel agent Neal Kellner said the plane trips and travel itself is why he loves his job so much, and he’s working hard to help people rediscover the joy of vacations.
With his business, CM Travel 4 Fun, open just over a year and a half, he said he’s learned a plane full of ins and outs to make the traveling experience that much more pleasant.
“The way I got into the business is I was tired of working for others and not being able to travel as much as I wanted,” Kellner said. “I met a travel agent while I was in Hawaii, and I asked what she did… It put the bug in my brain, and though it took a couple of years, I transitioned into my own business.”
He said since the Internet and Internet travel Web sites have been created, the travel agent business has changed completely and drastically. It can be difficult for an actual office sustain itself, when all that’s needed is a computer and a credit card. Kellner cautions residents on booking their own vacations, though, stating an agent can help get them the lowest prices possible and all kinds of protection and insurance most travelers would not consider.
“When I book a trip, I have a complete set of documents I send that sees the person door to door,” he said. “There is a difference between travel being stressful and pleasant. When you step out the door, I provide not only tickets, but a guide. The other part is there are all kinds of travel advisory changes all the time. A large part of my week is spent keeping abreast of those.”
Kellner said in addition to the documentation he provides, he also draws up several lists regarding what can and cannot be taken on a plane, how to pack effectively to work within those restraints and even what to do to secure the home before leaving on a trip.
Traveling should be fun, he said, even traveling for business, which can be stressful enough without the common airline worries. The name of his business is derived from “See them travel for fun,” and Kellner said he works for that every day. He also enjoys the flip side, traveling himself to see new areas and getting to know the different places his customers visit.
“It’s neat for me for four reasons,” he said. “One, the people, if a person is in complete control of the business and its outcomes, I can really provide a high level of service that way. Two, another part is I get to travel. Three, booking travel is the next best thing to traveling… And four, it’s a plain nice way to make a living.”