Dream Vacations: Travel specialists bring human touch, bigger discounts to clients

Bill Leslie’s favorite quote is “The world is a book, and those who do not travel have read only a page.”

Story and picture originally published in Taos News

Leslie, who retired from the Navy in 1990, has already traveled the equivalent of an encyclopedia. He and his wife Sue Leslie are the owners of WISU Travel, an independent home-based entity that is part of the Dream Vacations franchise.

The travel specialists

Sue and Bill Leslie are both native New Mexicans. She was born in Embudo. Her parents, Lloyd and Olive Bolander, founded the Sipapu Ski Area in 1952. Sue was the Sipapu Snowsports School Director until she retired in 2016. Bill Leslie was born in Clovis and raised in Las Vegas.

The couple, who met at Highlands University, will celebrate their forty-fifth wedding anniversary this year with a trip to Jamaica.

Their new career in the travel industry was a natural transition for them.

“I had already been involved in setting up travels for almost 30 years as part of my work with the Navy,” Bill Leslie said. “So, after I retired as a home-based tax preparer last year, it was easy to decide what to do next.”

“We both love to travel and want to help others experience what we have,” Sue Leslie said. “As a ski instructor, I have also traveled extensively, and I wanted to continue doing that.”

They opened their business in January 2016.

“We live in Taos and saw a need for our expertise here,” Sue Leslie said. “We certainly live in a beautiful area, but we appreciate it even more after coming back from a trip.”

Services: the personal touch

WISU Travel is a full-service travel entity. They can book flights, set up hotels, cruises, tours and much more.

“When the internet first came in, many of the brick and mortar travel businesses folded,” Bill Leslie said. “However, there are so many travel sites on the internet now that people are getting overwhelmed with choices. We can get you the same or better price and take the hassle out of researching it. In many cases, it is an issue of buyer beware!”

“If you have problems, we can help resolve them,” Sue Leslie said. “The personal touch is what many people want.  We offer a great value as we can meet with you and are here locally.”

There is also the fact that a number of travel companies will only work with travel specialists so they have access to avenues and discount rates the general public cannot get.

Finally, dealing with travel specialists doesn’t cost more than booking by yourself online.

“Except for a few situations, we are paid by commission, which does not raise the price of the tour or cruise,” Bill Leslie said.

Perks of the trade

Being in the travel industry has many benefits, like sipping a mojito on a Caribbean beach and calling it work. For Bill and Sue Leslie, it has meant getting to know number of destinations—exotic, historic and cosmopolitan. Not only have they visited all 50 states and one territory but they have also been to 32 countries.

“The biggest perk we get is seeing the smiles on our clients’ faces,” she said.  “And we obviously get travel rates and perks from companies we work with as well as supplementing our income which allows us to travel even more.”

They also have the freedom to run their business from their home kitchen—or hotel room.

“I always tell our clients: ‘Even if we are not here, leave a message as we will have our computer with us and can work on arranging travel while we are cruising or drinking a Mai Tai on the beach!’” he said.

Travel deals

WISU Travel has weekly specials and promotions. One of the couple’s favorite deals is an all-inclusive package to Jamaica that offers drinks, meals, entertainment and flights for around $2000 per couple.

“We started selling it for a raffle that Dr. Niemiec, our dentist, organized for his patients,” Bill said. “The winners like it so much that they told all their friends, and it is one of our most popular deals now.”

They also have a seven-night Alaska trip promotion (roundtrip from Seattle) and a $10,000 prize that can be applied towards your “dream vacation.” The details are on their website.

To contact Bill and Sue Leslie visit their website:  www.wisutravel.com or call (575) 587-2087 or (575) 770-1935.

Sidebar: Myths and facts about cruises

There are many misconceptions about cruises. Bill and Sue Leslie help dispel them.

“Cruises are boring! There is nothing to do while you are on board.”

There is a lot to do, from great entertainment like the Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil (regularly featured by Norwegian Cruise Line) to great food and exercise options. Yes, you eat a lot of calories, but there are also many ways to lose them.

“They are too expensive.”

Not as much as some land tours. When you travel, you have to pay for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. That on top of flight costs. Next time you take a vacation, keep a tally of how much you spend and compare it with the price of a cruise, which is all inclusive.

“I will get seasick.”

There are stabilizers in every big ship so you won’t even notice that you are at sea.

“The best thing, in my opinion, is that you wake up and your hotel has moved,” Sue Leslie said. “You don’t need to pack and unpack to go to a different location.”

“And if you are on a river cruise, you can sit on the balcony or the deck and see the scenery go by for hours,” Bill Leslie added. “Try doing that in a car.”