By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
James and Rita Aaron met in Tennessee when they were 15 and are now in their ‘60s, having married in 1979. James attended the Air Force Academy, works for NASA, and has a patented invention that is used on the Space Station. Rita is a registered nurse, and they have 12 children. Their youngest son, Jacob, has Downs Syndrome, and one thing with which they have a great deal of experience (besides parenting) is travel. When they were just starting out and had to do vacations on a shoestring, they went camping. They also went to the mountains and the beach. They went skiing at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort in North Carolina, as well as in West Virginia. In 2010, James was transferred for six months to Cocoa Beach, and that is when the Aaron tribe had the opportunity to become well-acquainted with Disney World, Sea World, Busch Gardens, and various water parks in Florida. James and Rita have been to Maine, Niagara Falls, Alaska, and elsewhere; and as Rita says, “Traveling is the most fun thing I’ve done with my family.”
In December of 2019, they gave all 12 kids, five of their sons-in-law, as well as three of their eight grandchildren a Christmas cruise to the Caribbean. James and Rita have also been on several vacations and cruises as a couple, including to Alaska, and planning trips together is something they have enjoyed for decades.
They decided that they might as well turn a hobby that they love into something potentially lucrative, especially because they enjoy helping families build memories, and Rita became a travel agent. She is a Certified Travel Expert with Holland American and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and is a member of the Cruise Line International Association. She is also certified with Marriott International, and All Aarons Travel is ready to help you plan your next vacation.
The Aarons know firsthand what it is like to have a dream trip be disrupted, as a European cruise which was planned for June of 2020 had to be put on hold due to COVID-19. However, they are going to go on a ski trip to Utah come spring break, and prior to that vacation they will be making a trip to Utah to see brand new grandbabies. They have stayed abreast of all the continually changing travel restrictions and updates as they pertain to COVID-19, and are ready to help you prepare for your dream cruise vacation at the best possible price.
One of the things that All Aarons Travel brings to the table is extensive experience with the sheer logistical challenge of traveling with a tribe. It is something akin to booking every trip as a family reunion! “We can help you,” said Rita.
In addition, when you have a special needs child, making a trip that is memorable as well as a pleasure for everyone is no small feat. Cruises have been an ideal solution, and as the illustration shows, Rita happily reported that “Jacob LOVES being on a boat for days. Whenever he sees someone with a suitcase, whether he knows them or not, he’ll say, ‘Let’s go to MY boat!’” Jacob has never met a stranger, and one of the things that has been a great blessing for James and Rita is how the cruise ship crews have responded to and cared for Jacob. “We have experience with traveling with a large family, and we can help you,” said Rita.
One of the things a Certified Travel Expert can provide is access to what are known as specialty amenities that are not often made public. For example, did you know that it is not at all uncommon to get to dine at some of the high-end restaurants on a cruise without having to pay extra? If it can be done, Rita will do her best to make it happen, and both she and James enjoy the hunt. She is also experienced in negotiating group rates and getting extra perks as a result.
These days, many people have gotten used to booking their own trips online and hoping for the best, and to some, the idea of having an actual travel agent is something from a bygone, pre-internet era. I asked Rita why I should come to her for help in planning a trip, whether for a small group or a large one, and she said, “I am going to put myself in your shoes, and I want to make not just a vacation, but a memory.” If personalized service backed by years of travel experience is what you need, then contact All Aarons Travel today and let them help you make memories that will last a lifetime.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner