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Meet Jennifer Shanks of Family Adventures Await in Newton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Shanks.

Jennifer, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I began traveling as a college student and instantly fell in love with seeing amazing parts of the world. The best part of travel for me is meeting people and getting a glimpse into what their life is like. My favorite travel stories are the ones where I just stumbled upon an exciting experience and interacted with local people; those memories are far more significant to me personally than seeing an iconic landmark and taking some photos. I had lived in and traveled to over 50 countries by the time my husband and I settled in Boston. He started a construction business, I attended graduate school and began my career in Social Work. When we started our family, I always had that feeling of “something is missing”.

We started traveling with our babies and every trip we took, I felt more alive and back to my old self again. I could not believe how much we all gained from traveling together and how rewarding it was for me to share these special experiences with my children. Each trip we took, we went a little farther and got a little more adventurous. I watched my children’s curiosity for the world bloom and their confidence grow. They were so proud of their accomplishments and loved sharing the things they learned with their loved ones back home.

When we would return from our vacations, the general feedback we got from other parents was, “I wish I could take a trip like that with the kids” or “I have no idea how to even begin planning a big trip”. I found myself planning trips for more and more friends and family for the fun of it. After returning from our trip to Costa Rica in 2016, I decided to take the leap and create a travel consultation service that is grounded by my years of travel experience enabling me to create a one of a kind meaningful experience for my clients.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My greatest challenge starting out in the travel industry has been breaking preconceived notions of what a travel agent does in the current age of online booking. Clients have actually said, “I didn’t know travel agents still existed”. The travel industry has changed a lot over the past decade and now the personal touches mean everything to traveling families.

Although everyone now has access to book their own travel, the information available can be overwhelming and certainly skewed. Family Travel is a huge investment of time and money, having a travel professional customize your trip to the likes and needs of your family is absolutely priceless. What I love most is hearing my clients rave about their trips and acknowledge that they could not have planned the same trip.

Please tell us about Family Adventures Await.
Family Adventures Await is a full-service travel consultation service. We customize unique and creative adventures for families all over the world. Each vacation we create gives families the experience they are looking for without all the stress of planning it. We specialize in creating the types of experiences families have always dreamed of having together, but didn’t know how to accomplish. I spend time getting to know my clients and building a relationship with them. The more I know the family I am planning a trip for, the more I can create a journey to meet their specific needs.

Adventure means something different to every family I work with, and my goal is to find that perfect balance between what they are comfortable with and what will challenge/ excite the family, leaving them with an unforgettable memory. I don’t want my clients to simply visit a foreign country, I want them to experience it and get the most out of their precious time together. Some of the experiences I have arranged for my clients are: hiking through Ice Caves in Iceland, trekking through tribal villages in the hills of Vietnam, rappelling into cenotes in Mexico, volunteering in a local school, taking a family friendly cooking lesson in an Italian Village and spending the night in an animal sanctuary in Costa Rica.

One thing I can guarantee is that your vacation will never feel “cookie cutter” when you book through Family Adventures Await.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
I am passionate about the benefits of travel to children of all ages. Experiencing new cultures, meeting local people and challenging children to look outside the box, help form their personalities as they grow. Most importantly, traveling together is proven to strengthen family bonds. The experiences families have together while traveling truly becomes their fondest memories. In my opinion, family travel is an investment in your child’s future and one you can not afford to skip or “wait till they are old enough to appreciate”.

Contact Info:

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