By Brenda L. Holmes
PLAINFIELD — Michael and Jenifer Laver have been planning vacations through their Live Now Vacations and Cruise Planners/American Express franchise for nearly a year now — and they love it.
Cruise Planners is an awarding-winning travel company that can help people with a variety of vacation options — cruises, destination weddings, honeymoons, family reunions, or land tours.
“We’ve enjoyed traveling together and this travel business just fell into our lap,” Michael said.
The Lavers have been married for 19 years and have two boys — Benjamin, 10, and Justin, 7 — who both attend Central Elementary School in Plainfield.
“This is not a hobby for us,” he said. “We are devoted to our customers and we are hoping we will soon be doing this full time.”
They said the only limit to what they can plan are the dreams of their customers.
“Say you have a dream to go to Italy,” Jenifer said. “We can help fly you there and have all inclusive tours set up. If you can dream it we can do it.”
Michael said people don’t even know all the travel options that are available.
“We can help them to know all their options,” he said. “If you want to go warm or go snow skiing. Did you know you can take a trip that follows the Lord of the Rings path? You can travel to Antarctica. We call that an extreme cruise.”
They got started themselves by using travel planners when they took family vacations.
“The last vacation we did was a Disney trip,” he said. “Our planners were there for us when we had any questions. It was so convenient. We just had to pick up the phone and ask.”
Jenifer said as franchise operators they have access to a wide variety of vendors.
“And these are vendors we know we can trust,” she said. “We already know who to call.”
“We helped plan a trip to New York,” Jenifer said. “It was around the holidays so they got to see all the lights and see several shows including the Rockettes. They even knew what floor they were staying on at the hotel before they left.”
They have recently become certified in planning trips for individuals and groups with special needs.
“Say you want to take a trip but you are in a wheel chair or other medial issues,” Michael said. “We also work with military personnel.”
Those clients who use American Express are also eligible to use their membership rewards for travel.
“You don’t have to use American Express to book through us,” he said. “But if you do we do have extra rewards.”
The couple wanted to stress that using a travel planner is not more expensive that planning a trip on your own.
“We don’t charge our customers,” Jenifer said. “We earn our commission from the vendors we use.”
For more information, call Michael or Jenifer Laver at 838-9741.