A lifelong passion for travel and the desire to re-create their careers brought friends of 27 years, Nancy Alligood and Gerry Siekirski, to co-own Warwick Travel Service. They each boast 37 years as travel professionals and are dedicated to serving their Happy Adventurers’ needs.
“Traveling the world and learning about other cultures was always a desire of mine,” Alligood says.
A 1956 graduate of Newport News High School, Alligood left Newport News in 1961. She later married and after 15 years as a “stay-at-home” wife and mother of two sons, she was ready to start a new career. That’s when a friend in New Orleans, where she was living, opened a travel agency.
Alligood earned her Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) designation and returned to Newport News in 1991.
Siekirski graduated from Hampton High School, earned her business degree at Longwood College and worked at Fort Monroe as a cost accountant but always had a passion for travel.
“When I became engaged, I already had a ticket to Wyoming,” she says of her plans to attend United Airlines’ stewardess training school. “I married instead and began travelling the world.”
Siekirski and Air Force husband, Zee, moved 15 times with their three children to England, Germany, Texas, Alabama, the Philippines and Nebraska, among other places. Once her children went to college, she began working with a Hampton travel agency.
Today the two travel professionals travel together with Warwick Travel. They have 11 travel professionals with more than 300 years of combined travel experience in their Newport News and Williamsburg locations.
“Our travel professionals have a passion for travel with in-depth personal experience as well as the latest technology,” Alligood says.
“Just think, when we first started, we hand-wrote airline tickets—imagine that!” Alligood says.
With the advent of the Internet and an individual’s ability to make one’s own travel arrangements, Alligood and Siekirski shifted focus to luxury travel.
“We’ve come a long way with technology,” says Susan Adams, operations manager, who has been with the company for almost 20 years.
Warwick Travel gets to know clients’ travel experiences, interests and desires.
“Then we can provide support throughout the booking process,” Alligood explains. “We take care of our clients’ travel as if it were our own.”
Before each trip, the co-owners meet with their 10- to 50-member group, their “Warwick Travelers.” They also hold a post party for travelers to share pictures and discuss their trip.
The company conducts weekly in-office training and receives supplier updates from cruise lines, tour companies, hotel vendors, etc. The travel professionals attend site inspections, which is a perk for a travel counselor. Warwick Travel is a member of the American Society of Travel Agents, Cruise Lines International Association, International Air Transportation Association as well as the Professional Travel Agents of North America. Belonging to these associations, the Warwick Travel professionals are constantly updated on world events.
“Clients are from all over,” Siekirski says. “There aren’t professional travel agents in a lot of locations anymore.”
Lessons learned during the co-owners’ travels have been life changing.
“I learned the most in Egypt and Turkey, just being in their culture,” Siekirski says. “They could do more 3,000 years ago as far as building and architecture than we can now.”
Alligood says, “Vietnam and Cambodia were the most educational for me, reviewing the wars that took place there in the 1950s and 1960s.”
So what’s left on Siekirski and Alligood’s “bucket lists”?
“Switzerland by train and Croatia by small boat and land,” Siekirski says. “We go in pretty fine style.”
“There are many destinations where I would like to return, such as Istanbul, Australia and New Zealand,” Alligood says. “One place on my “must see” list is India with its Taj Mahal.”
Alligood and Siekirski will travel with a group of Warwick Travelers this month to Dubai and Myanmar, on a riverboat cruise on the Irrawaddy River. In the spring, they will travel to Japan.
Rick and Linda Rohrer, Poquoson residents, began traveling with Warwick Travel in 1999.
“We’ve made lifelong friends,” Linda says. “When I went to Egypt with Gerry, it was quite an experience, going to the pyramids and riding a camel. The Warwick Travel pros take care of everything we’re doing and how we do it, so we don’t ever run into issues.”
Kim Gambino, Warwick Travel’s agent manager, sums it up: “We are proud of the excellent personal service we provide, combined with our vast product knowledge and our desire to offer fun and lasting memories.”
TO THE POINT
Warwick Travel Service
Address: 10858 Warwick Blvd., Ste. C, Newport News, VA 23601
Contacts: Nancy Alligood, Gerry Siekirski, co-owners