Kate Santo got the travel bug early and now helps others satisfy their own travel urges.
Kate Santo got the travel bug early and now helps others satisfy their own travel urges. Jonno Colfs

Warwick woman biting back at the travel bug

WARWICK has caught the travel bug, with people of all ages saving their hard earned money to jet off and explore the world.

The hotspots of the moment are Canada, the US, especially Alaska, perennial favourite Europe, nearby New Zealand and more and more are bypassing Bali to explore the less-beaten tracks of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, according to Warwick travel agent Kate Santo.

Mrs Santo has been in the travel game for years and has her own passion for exploring the planet.

At 21, like many young Aussies, Mrs Santo visited London.

"I'd been to Japan at 15 on a school trip and that gave me the bug well and truly,” she said.

"As soon as I could afford it, I took off and ended up living in the UK for a couple of years.”

Working as a nanny firstly, then finding a career as a dental nurse before becoming a practice manager.

Then single, the future Mrs Santo met husband Marty in London, a Kiwi on his own European odyssey.

"We tried to get out of London as often as we could,” Mrs Santo said.

"We saw most of the UK and Ireland, France, Denmark and Greece and lots of other places.

"My favourite place was probably the provincial French countryside, with its beautiful scenery, food, wines and cheeses.”

Finally returning to Australia, the couple settled in Brisbane and had two children -Lara is now nine and Mary is seven.

Mrs Santo found work as a personal assistant to a dental specialist and through this was exposed to the other side of the travel market.

"My boss travelled a lot and I dealt with one travel agent and became even more interested in it,” she said.

"In hindsight, it was something I'd been interested in doing for quite a while.

"I applied for a job at Flight Centre but without any sales experience I missed out.”

Another year or two passed and a job at Flight Centre Warwick opened up.

"My mum and stepdad lived here so I applied again and got the job,” she said.

"Much to my husband's surprise.

"That was Christmas 2015 and I had to start almost immediately, so we packed up over the Christmas break and started life on the Southern Downs.”

After two years working in the Warwick branch, Mrs Santo wanted something else and started exploring her options.

"I'd been working crazy hours and really wanted to find something with a little more of a work/life balance,” she said.

"I needed to find something where I could work around the kids and be at home more.

"I found out about Mobile Travel Agents, looked into it, found it was just what I was after, and I signed up.”

The company has its head office on the Gold Coast and has more than 300 travel agents spread across Australia and New Zealand.

"It's surprising how many people in this region want to travel,” Mrs Santo said.

"I look at their budget, where they want to go and work out the best deal for them.

"There seems to be a lot of younger families heading off on holidays, as well as the over-50s market, who get a taste for it and don't want to stop.”

Kate Santo reached on ksanto@mtatravel.com.au or 0437389383.