An Oak Harbor Navy veteran is using her love of travel to help other people plan their dream vacations.
Linda Mosquera, a certified travel agent, served 22 years in the Navy as a logistics specialist. She now owns her own business, VetSail Adventures, which offers a variety of travel packages to clients.
Growing up, Mosquera only traveled to visit her family in Mexico. The Navy gave her more opportunities to see the world and ignited a passion for traveling. She deployed overseas numerous times. Some of her favorite destinations were Australia, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Germany, France and the Philippines.
“It was amazing to be able to travel and be able to see all those different places and those cultures,” she said.
Mosquera met her husband when they were both stationed in Guam. In 2004, they moved to Whidbey Island where they lived for about 12 years. The couple moved to the East Coast before returning to the island as her husband is still on active duty.
She retired from the Navy in October 2021 and had originally planned to take 6 months off. However, that December, she happened to see an advertisement to become a certified travel agent online.
“It was an opportunity for me to be an independent traveler, meaning I’m a 1099 contractor,” she explained. “I work off commissions and get to make my own schedule and work with suppliers I choose to work with.”
Mosquera works directly and trains with travel companies such as hotels, resorts and cruise lines. Luckily for her, she gets to travel on the job. She takes what are called familiarization trips in order to share the experience of certain locations and travel packages with her clients.
“I have connections to all of the various suppliers that I can go to directly and get rates for (my clients),” she said.
Mosquera said the benefit of using a travel agent versus planning a trip all on your own is simple: less worry.
“You have someone that is doing the work for you,” she said.
First, her clients fill out a form to give her the details of what kind of trip they’re looking for. She then does all the research to find a company and itinerary to create the perfect package for them that also meets their budget.
On top of that, she said she is there 24/7 for her clients before, during and after the trip in case anything goes wrong.
Mosquera has planned trips for people traveling independently, people traveling with multiple generations of their family, international trips and cruises. She recently planned a 10-day European trip for a family where they visited several cities and countries.
“I coordinated for them and all they’re doing is enjoying themselves while they’re on vacation,” she said.
Mosquera’s biggest travel tip is to first decide on a budget and then plan accordingly. She said Europe is a popular destination right now, particularly Greece and Ireland.
She said that she can often offer military, veteran or senior discounts to her clients.