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Arlene Newman Travel Agency        Linked In - Arlene's Travel


Local travel agent specializes in trips to lands Down Under

Arlene Newman was hooked on the South Pacific after her first vacation to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji in 1992. So enamored, in fact, that she opened a one-person travel agency in her Bayside home that specializes in trips to that part of the world.

"I simply fell in love with the area and people" Newman recalled."

"It's because of the people, their way of life. The people are so wonderful. When you ask for directions, they will take you there."

Of Fiji, she said: "It's the way the world should be."

She now considers herself an expert on the South Pacific. Australia recognizes her as an Aussie specialist, and both New Zealand and Fiji have given her expert certification. To earn the distinction, Newman passed the required tests given out by the countries' tourism boards. She is currently working to get her expert certification from Tasmania.

In addition to extensive reading on the region, Newman has plenty of firsthand knowledge of the area. She has visited the South Pacific 17 times since her first trip in 1992. "Anyone can say they are a specialist if they take a test, but you really are not until you experience travel there;" she said. In her view, because she specializes in a single area of the world, she can book trips more knowledgeably that can most agents in larger travel agencies.

When she travels to Australia, New Zealand or Fiji, she travels like a native. Because of that, she said, she can organize one-of-a-kind adventure vacations. In many cases, she has arranged a trip for a client that gives him or her the same experiences she enjoyed. For example, she said, she can set up trips where vacationers can see Mt. Mulligan, a rock in the Outback of Australia that is held sacred by the Aborigines. The only way to see it is, she said, to know an aborigine or get special permits. Newman made that trip herself last year. She has also been allowed to enter a native village in the Fiji highlands after performing the tradition of drinking a potent drink that contains a strong nat­ural sedative called kava.

The trips she plans are widely varied, she said, with lengths starting at two weeks. Prices range from $3,000 on up, including air fare. Newman said she makes friends everywhere she goes. She has more friends in the South Pacific than she does in the United States, she said. "I talk to Australia or New Zealand on the phone every day with friends or booking trips;" she said. She also has acquaintances from the area visit her in her Bayside home.

Newman said she works hard to give her clients personal attention. She often does the trip planning over coffee or a meal at her home. To make sure her clients are safe and enjoying themselves, she always calls during their vacation (and leaves a little something in their room). She often sends her clients postcards from her own vacation destinations. Newman, a Bayside resident for 30 years, said she has worked in sales all her life. She has also worked for a time as a medical technologist.