Photo Credit: Miki Jones
9 Black Millennial Travel Agents Shaking Up The Industry
With the travel industry slowly picking back up, people everywhere are seeking the best deals and opportunities as they start to explore the world again. And millennial travel agents across the country are ready to help every step of the way as they plan their next luxury getaway.
Prepared to take you from the planning phase to the hotel concierge desk, these 10 millennial travel agents have the skills and resources you need to get the best deals and bring your fantasy vacation goals to life.
1. Miki Jones
The owner of AMJ Getaways, Miki Jones, is known for her mind-blowing group trips. She’d been planning trips for her friends and family for years when one day someone recommended she become a travel agent.
Seven years later, her company has helped people travel around the world; enjoying luxury getaways in places like Thailand and Punta Cana.
“My favorite part is exposing people who wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to all that the world has to offer,” Jones said.
Although times have been difficult since the emergence of COVID-19, AMJ Getaways has held strong and Jones has noticed an uptick in business as people learn to travel during a pandemic. In addition to providing flexibility and payment plans for luxury travel, Jones also provides consulting for travelers who want to book their own travel but still access curated itineraries.
“When someone lets me put together their full itinerary, they get a full experience of that actual destination,” she said.
2. Jalyn Roberson
Dedicated to curating travel experiences for many types of travelers, Jalyn Roberson, 35, and her company Jaunts and Gems Travel are all about tailoring excursions to one’s personal interests. Years spent helping others plan trips evolved into a lucrative side hustle that made vacation dreams come true.
“Our curated group trips offer options for couples, families, girlfriends, co-ed, and wellness retreats,” Roberson said. “We work to accommodate our clients with whatever their preferred travel type may be.”
Innovation and authenticity are the things that separate millennial travel agents from the rest, Roberson says.
“Millennial thinkers have a certain knack for curating memorable experiences and can create those experiences in almost any destination,” she said. “We also provide an authenticity that people are looking for when they travel. We are a generation of innovators.”
3. Shaud Perkins
Travel agent and influencer Shaud Perkins,33, is dedicated to providing clients with five-star travel experiences at affordable prices. A native of Suwanee, GA, Perkins entered the travel industry hoping to help individuals and families take vacations that otherwise may be out of reach due to cost.
“I believe that taking a vacation renews the spirit and provides nourishment to our mental health,” Perkins said.
He recently curated a wellness retreat to the Dominican Republic with 16 guests, all looking to engage in mindfulness and relax. His brand, Travel Shad, aims to be inclusive and adventurous as it guides people across the globe.
“I want to be the reason that someone decides to take that trip, and open up themselves to see as much of the world as possible.”
4. Charity Peaver
Charity Peaver, 35, understands that luxury travel is about much more than what something costs. Her company Esprit Errrant Travel prides itself on curating luxury experiences that reflect the personality of the traveler.
From having your favorite flowers in your hotel room to the staff greeting you by name upon arrival, Peaver and her team are dedicated to tailoring your vacation to your needs.
“Good service is crucial to us as African Americans because for so long we were denied it,” Peaver said. “I love it when I can help my clients travel and be treated like royalty!”
With travel having always been a passion, Peaver knows her clients walk away satisfied and fulfilled after visiting every destination; with hearts full of gratitude and a lifetime of memories in tow.
“To be a part of some of the happiest times of people’s lives is why I love what I do,” she said. “It is my prayer that every client has an experience in their travels with us that opens their minds, feeds their spirit, and leaves them forever changed.“
5. Kellen Myers
For Kellen Myers, 36, Disneyland is much more than an amusement park. As a child, his dad took him there every year until he passed away. So when Myers was presented with the opportunity to sell travel to Disney, he saw it as an emotional and spiritual connection to his father.
Having visited the theme park 40 times, Myers wanted to help others experience the same bliss he felt when there. In addition to providing access to top-notch properties and attractions, he also partnered with Chef Tai Davis, featured on Disney+’s Foodtastic, to curate luxury dining experiences exclusively for his clients.
Despite the industry being competitive, Myers is excited to see new faces in the playing field and can’t wait to see how millennials continue to evolve in the travel business.
“The travel industry is very competitive but what I love most is there are so many young like-minded, black, beautiful individuals who have all started their own businesses in travel,” he said. “So being able to be amongst all of this Nubian greatness. I’m here for all of it. We are all winning.”
6. Mallory Jones
After strict work parameters began restricting her travel adventures, Mallory Jones, 35, left her corporate retail job with nothing lined up. She decided to explore a career in the industry she loved so much and created You Deserve It! Vacations, designed to plan the perfect vacation for any client.
“Our agency is relationship-based,” Jones said. “When a new client reaches out to us, they fill out a questionnaire that asks in-depth questions followed by getting on a discovery call because we don’t believe that travel is one size fits all.”
Adept to fast changes and making things happen, Jones believes millennial travel agents hold great power in being able to use their tech-savvy skills and persistence to garner deals others can’t.
“Millennials are a ‘by any means necessary’ generation,” she said. “The words no, can’t, and don’t resonate with us. Millennials have such a sense of wonder that we are unstoppable. We are the generation of the here and now. We aren’t waiting for retirement to live our lives”
7. Gerald McClure Jr.
Representing the guys, Gerard McClure Jr. is ready to make his mark on the travel industry. After growing up watching his Aunt Marsha plan and organize their family trips, McClure was inspired to get into the travel industry to help others plan their dream vacations.
“Fun and fulfillment is my DNA, so I live by that and will bring that energy to every client looking to travel this world,” he said.
In an industry overflowing with female power players, McClure hopes to eventually see more men enter the travel business. Until then, he plans on continuing to book dope travel excursions like the one he arranged to Aruba for a friend last year.
“This industry is mainly dominated by women, so I figured I could come in and bring my style to the game of travel,” McClure said. “This is a billion-dollar industry, so I see myself expanding worldwide as the years go along with clientele to create amazing experiences for them all.”
8. Erin Lofton
A true Georgia peach at heart, southside Atlanta’s Erin Lofton has always had an interest in planning trips for her family and friends. She’d receive rave reviews and after some thought, she decided to turn her passion into a service-based business called The Traveling Counselor.
“My brand is different from others because I offer express packages,” Lofton said. “My express packages range from Girl’s Trips, Bro’s Trips, Group Trips, The Weekender, The Solo Traveler, and more! They each come with personalized trip customization to fit the client and their budget.”
Lofton feels millennial travel agents are changing the industry by venturing into uncharted territories and bringing a fresh outlook on how to vacation.
“Millennial thinkers bring a fresh and fun outlook on travel,” she said. “Forget about what travel agents used to do! We are bringing travel alive.”
9. The Bowdrys
Husband and wife Gregory and Dr. Katrina Thompson-Bowdry have mastered the art of luxury travel at an affordable price. The pair started their travel agency Io Sono Traveler with hopes of sharing their love for travel, food, and laughter with other families who aspired to see and enjoy the world.
“We offer the perfect balance of fantasy & reality,” Greg said. “If you’ve ever considered taking a luxury getaway, but have been hesitant because of the fear of cost, we’re the company for you.”
Realizing that people want to experience the dream destinations they see online, The Bowdry’s aimed to provide the luxury travel experiences their clients see from their favorite social media influencers.
“With that being stated, our job is to find that safe median that merges perception with reception,” Greg said. “If you see it, and it stimulates your senses, you owe it to yourself to research it a bit more. If you don’t feel like doing it, good. Hit us up, we’ll do it for you!”