Theresa Field may have one of the best jobs around – she’s a travel agent specializing in island travel.
From Hawaii to New Zealand, Field has both visited and planned many such trips via her business Island Bound Travel.
“I love travel,” said Field. “It’s meeting people; the adventure; doing something new,” she said. “To me, researching a trip is fun.”
Field and her business recently relocated to Napa from Turlock to be closer to her grandchildren.
Her business began in 1999 after she became a trained travel agent.
During a trip to Fiji, Field said she fell in love with the island.
“The Fijians are the warmest people I’ve ever met,” she said. “It’s their culture. It hasn’t changed by over-tourism yet,” and there are numerous islands to visit.
The same goes for New Zealand, she said.
“I’m very comfortable sending people to New Zealand,” said Field. “It’s gorgeous.” The country includes two islands—north and south – with varied terrain and geography.
The Queenstown area offers adventure travel and excursions such as helicopter rides, winery tours and swimming with sharks. “There’s a lot to do.”
“I’ve had clients fly in to go to Hobbiton,” where parts of “Lord of the Rings” movies were filmed. “That’s a wonderful tour.”
Hawaii is another favorite, said the agent.
Again, “I fell in love with the people, the culture. Each island has its own distinct flavor. It’s beautiful.” And the weather is warm, another plus.
Field also specializes in trips to Tahiti and Australia.
Island Bound Travel is an independent affiliate of Palm Coast Travel, a member of the Signature Travel Network; which is a cooperative of many of the travel industry’s leading retail travel agencies and travel professionals. Field is also a member of ASTA, the American Society of Travel Advisors.
But she doesn’t limit her travel to just islands. She’s also a big Disney fan.
“I love booking and planning trips to Disneyland and Disney World,” Field said. “It’s fun. They bend over backwards to do whatever it is to make your stay what you want it. They are very accommodating.”
Field also helps clients book cruises. “I love cruises. You can unpack once and see multiple destinations. Once you are unpacked, that’s it. You are good for a week or two.”
Field said that before she moved to Napa, she used to travel for one to two weeks at a time, several times a year.
It can be hard to get away from her business, though. As a solo agent, “for me to leave I need to have another travel advisor take over my clients in case anything happens.”
And things do happen. People miss flights. There are accidents, which is another reason Field recommends using a travel agent and travel insurance.
“There’s a lot of people that like to do it on their own and that’s fine.”
However, when travelers book their own trips, “If anything goes wrong, you’re on your own,” she said.
When Field plans a trip, “If there’s a problem, I’m handling it for you.”
One common misconception about travel agents is that people think she receives free trips, said Field.
“I can get some discounted travel,” but not for free.
Another misconception is that “people think it’s going to cost them a lot more to book through me,” said Field. “That simply is not true. There are some agencies that charge high fees. I don’t do that.”
“For the most part, the majority of my income comes from the supplier,” such as the cruise line.
Sometimes, she can get better deals, said Field, or perks like early check-in, free breakfasts, or late checkout.
Field has also been to most of these island destinations and can make recommendations for tours and restaurants.
Travel to some of the further island destinations can be expensive, she acknowledged. Airfare alone to Fiji can start at $800 to $1,000 per person. Then there’s the time it takes to simply fly that far from California.
Regardless of destination, Field said her goal is to make her clients happy.
“I want to feel good when I send a client someplace and know they are being well taken care of and this is the vacation of their dreams.”