Travel Consultant Tuesday: Ashley Gardner
As the Team Leader of Liberty Group Travel in Cherry Hill (NJ), Ashley's attention to detail and passion for helping her clients make lifelong travel memories shines through in all she does.
What inspired you to become a travel consultant?
I became a travel consultant because when I was younger, my family did a lot of travel. We once did a 22-day cross-country trip where we flew from Boston to San Diego. Then, we drove up the California coast as we drove home, stopping along the way. We also have family down in Florida and friends in Kansas, so I grew up traveling quite a bit.
I was lucky enough to also study abroad in Australia in college. When I returned from my five months there, I began working at my college’s study abroad office where I truly found my passion for travel and sharing that with others. And while my degree is actually in Marine Biology, after moving to New Jersey, I found myself applying to Liberty Travel. It’s been almost four years with the company and I absolutely love it.
Watch our full interview with Ashley here:
How did your experience living and traveling in Australia impact the way you saw the world?
The entire experience was fantastic. We did our study abroad orientation along the Great Ocean Road, then, we went camping in the Outback. I was also able to travel to Sydney and Brisbane. I went scuba diving, skydiving and even bungee jumping! It was life-changing. I realized I could do it all on my own and see the world.
Why do you believe #VacationsCount?
We need an opportunity to see and explore new things. There's so much culture, history...everything in different places. If we're sitting at the same desk, in the same office everyday, we're not experiencing those new things that will help us relate to new people. The more that we can learn and explore on our own, the more that we can share with everyone else. There's so much world out there and I don't think that one of us is going to be able to see all of it, so we might as well share it with everyone.
What did your journey to becoming a Liberty Group Travel Team Leader look like?
I began with Liberty Travel as a retail consultant here in Cherry Hill in 2014. But the more that I saw how the Groups team specialized in destination weddings and family reunions, I really took an interest in this position. I loved the idea of specializing in this type of travel specifically.
How does it work to book a trip with Liberty Group Travel?
When a group leader comes to us looking to organize a trip, we can help with narrowing down the different options and streamlining the entire process. Whether you’re going to an all-inclusive resort or on a cruise – or even Australia! – we can assist in planning the special event for you and your guests. We can do everything from the flights to the ground transportation to the rooms to the travel protection.
We also assist setting up a personalized website where your guests can check out the pricing and different options for the trip. This way, the communication around the group’s itinerary is all in one centralized place. For instance, our team can help set up excursions, so you can explore the destination.
Do you have a favorite spot to travel to when you’re on vacation?
My favorite destination for my own personal travel was Belize. I went there for my honeymoon and absolutely loved it. It gives you a little bit of an inland adventure with some Mayan ruins, cave tubing, ziplining, but also that island vibe. I’m an avid scuba diver, so the Blue Hole was a big-ticket item for me to go check off my bucketlist.
What about the top destinations for your customers?
But when it comes to my customers, the most popular destinations tend to be Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. I have been to all of them myself, and feel that they each have something unique to offer.
Mexico is the destination that’s going to get you history and adventure, but also that relaxation on the beach. You have your all-inclusive resorts, but if you want to get off property and visit the ruin or go snorkeling, you can do that too! Jamaica is completely a different feel, but will still give you that opportunity to go on an island adventure, for instance by hiking Dunn’s River Falls. The cuisine is amazing, so I always recommend it for foodies. Lastly, the Dominican Republic is definitely a more relaxing destination. You can still do an excursion, for instance ATVs, but there are more watersports and activities that keep you busy on resort property.
How can travelers interested in planning a group trip get in touch with you?
If you have a group of ten rooms or more, don't hestiate to reach out for complimentary vacation planning. I am best reached via email at GardnerA@libertytravel.com. I can't wait to hear from you so that we can begin to plan your next big adventure!