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Get your passport to travel Drivers License and insurance at European Travel Agency in Ha
Get your passport to travel Drivers License and insurance at European Travel Agency in Harrison
For 34 years, this Harrison storefront has been a passport into more exotic European and Caribbean gateways. European Travel Agency handles both travel and insurance, but the posters of sprawling beaches and vibrant European capitals are a tempting distraction for anyone on an everyday task like filling out a premium.

Manager Gina Antunes, 38, said Italy and Spain and especially Portugal are popular for travelers. Because of the recession, people are going for shorter trips Antunes said a week-long or nine-day trip might now only be four or five days but they’re still traveling.

She said the other half of the business is still going strong.

“It hasn’t really changed much,” she said. “Insurance is insurance.”

Manager: Gina Antunes of Kearny

What Kind of Business is it? The business specializes both in booking vacations and property and casualty insurance. They also handle other things like notary services and Passport, drivers license, visa and ID cards.

How did the owners get their start? Antunes started part-time in the mid-1990s and slowly took on many of the store’s roles as manager.

How long has the shop been in business? The agency opened in 1978.

What’s inside the business? The business is shared between the more clerical oriented insurance agency and the travel agency. The counters are festively covered with guidebooks, vacation catalogs and resort souvenirs.

What are the price points? The agency often handles tickets as well as package deals that include meals, drinks, transfers and other add-ons.

As advice to customers, Antunes recommended travelers plan ahead at least six months for trips and a year for cruises. She also said travelers should have a destination and budget in mind, but to still be flexible to other places, in case there aren’t any deals that fit within that price range. For example, customers planning for Aruba should be open to Jamaica as well.

What makes the place unique? “We’ve been in this business a very long time and we have a good reputation,” said Antunes, adding the store can beat any other rate.

Employees at the agency speak Spanish and Portuguese along with English.

Who does the shop cater to? Customers come in ranges from singles, couples and families and seniors who enjoy cruises. Many customers come from North Arlington, Kearny and Newark.

What are the plans for the business? Antunes said right now she’s just going to keep working hard.

What does the manager like best about the business? Antunes said to make good recommendations, the luxury hotels sometimes give them deeply discounted rates to survey hotels, including once paying $30 to stay in a luxury Jamaican resort. “We do get very good perks.”

Still, she said it’s not all pleasure; she takes giving personalized recommendations very seriously and often has to walk miles between resorts.

In fact, her favorite part is getting people energized to spend time away from their regular lives.

“You just enjoy making people’s reservations. There’s a lot of excitement.”


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