Meet Natasha. She's the dynamo behind Travel Goddess International. Her full service travel agency specializes in designing personalized, affordable experiences for the beginner and savvy traveler. A born and raised Philadelphian, Natasha loves being a bit of a Nomad, having lived in several cities. Yet she says she always finds her way back to her first love - Philly.
Natasha has a deep passion for travel, and in this first ever two-part Travel Crush Series, she shares the deets on both business and pleasure of travel.
What motivated you to start a travel business and what do you love most about being a travel advisor?
I love sharing the story of how I got into the business, as I believe it’s a very non-traditional way, yet a very real way, at the same time. My motivation to start my own travel agency back in August of 2015, was primarily fueled by two reasons. First, at the beginning of that year, I vowed to myself that I would no longer wait for family and friends to help me bring my experiences to life and that I would instead, start traveling on my own, bringing them to me. Secondly, I was starting my Masters program and was in need of supplemental income to help me pay for books and tuition. These are the two real reasons. They may not be fairytale, but they’re honest. Fast forward almost 8 years later, having now shaped the agency from one single agent (myself), to a team of 35. Today, what I love most about being a travel agency owner, is the opportunity a mentor the travel advisors on my team and inspire them too take hold of their experiences, on their terms. The conversations we have, the stories we share, the laughs we enjoy together - the make the work never feel like work.
What's one myth or misconception people have about travel advisor and what should they know instead?
One of the biggest myths people have about being a Travel Advisor is that having this job automatically means you’ll be galavanting around the world. That couldn’t be further from the truth! I recognize that we live in a digital age now, where show and tell is a way of life. However, it’s important to know, traveling still requires funds and being a travel agent, your first few months and even years, you may not see the desired commission amounts that will pay for that amazing vacation you’ve been manifesting. Being a Travel Advisor is work. Yes, there is much play. But there’s also late night calls because your client is in a different time zone and having an issue checking into their hotel. The real! So while we can certainly grow to a place of receiving invitations to visit resorts and destinations complimentary, you have to put in the work first.
Why is travel important to you as a Black woman?
As a black woman, travel, and even further, sharing my travels is important to showcase representation. I absolutely love seeing woman of color living their best lives abroad. We are here. We are welcomed. We are the then and the now. The world is just finally catching up. Everyday I am inspired to be amongst such an elite group: Traveling Black Women. We show up and we show out. This is power and I am so here for it. The more we show, do and live, the more we inspire our sisters around us to do the same. I accept this task, understanding that the path I’ve chosen naturally acquires others along the way.
What helps you determine which destination to travel to next?
If I’m being honest, in all my travels, I’ve never been the person with a list of places I want to visit. Instead, I’ve always been the person faithfully checking Google Flights, receiving alerts from Scott’s Cheap Flights and letting the airfare rate choose my next destination. Note: I’m also not afraid to visit the same place twice, if the price is right. LOL! Nevertheless, for those that do have a travel bucket list that they’re hell bent on sticking to, I encourage you to find out what times of year are “low season” and “high season” for your destination of choice. This will help you determine the best weather and pricing, while also gauging how crowded areas and activities may be.
How do you prepare in the days leading up to a trip? What are some things you make sure to check off your list?
First things first, like any Black woman preparing for travel - let the appointment marathon commence! The days leading up to up to trip are kindly spent getting the aesthetics together, in addition to the suitcase. I’m actually grateful to have finally found a decent place in Philadelphia where I can get my nails, waxing and lashes done under one roof - Queen Eyes Company in the Mt. Airy section of the city. In addition to appointments, I always check the weather forecast, at least 5 days before departure, to determine if any last minute ordering needs to occur. LOL! I also check my passport validity, as there are some destinations that require your expiration date to be 3-9 out from your arrival date! Lastly, but certainly not least, I actually check the wheels on my suitcase. Why? Because those 360 wheels can decide at anytime that they want to move only 180 degrees and by me being team carry on always, I can’t afford for my suitcase to cause me trouble during my experience. If you have not gathered from all of the above, I’m definitely the person who packs the day prior, and sometimes even the day of, with no shame.
What would be your idea of a perfect summer getaway? Tell us about the destination and activities.My perfect summer getaway would consist of a private island rental in the Caribbean. I’ve recently been looking more into this offering and have been delighted to find rates to be very feasible, especially when splitting the cost with family/friends. Typically the island rentals include all meals (private chef), beverages (alcoholic &non), activities (boat rentals, water sports and more), all amongst beautiful accommodations. I can picture it now: a beautiful welcome dinner on the private beach that surrounds us, illuminated by small strings lights and candles. The next morning, we awake to find a private boat ready to take the group out sailing for the day. We stop to snorkel along the way and also come across a dope beach bar where we drink & hang with locals. Clearly I’ve imagined this perfect getaway long & hard and need to just go ahead and proceed with planning! LOL
Where else can folks find you?
Let’s continue this conversation! I can be found on Instagram & Twitter via @TashWils. You can also find my Travel Agency on Instagram & TikTok via @TravelGoddessIntl. Feel free to DM - I'm happy to help you create an unforgettable vacation experience!
Ellee is in the building - and this week she's showing us what it means to be a globe trotting Travel Crush. This native New Yorker has climbed the pyramids of Egypt, took her whole life in her hands on the swings in Bali, and she's still pumped for more challenging, new adventures. Read on for her tips on having magical experiences without breaking the bank, her favorite hack for buying cheap flights, and how she stays in villas without the hefty price tag.
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