Small Business Spotlight: The Travel Mechanic

Paris, France
Paris, France
Oahu, Hawaii
Oahu, Hawaii
Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan
Sydney, Australia
Sydney, Australia

Imagine you’ve saved up enough money and you’re ready to plan the trip of a lifetime — but with all the endless Google reviews and booking options to consider, you’re feeling a little out of your depth. While the internet has certainly made trip planning convenient, it can be easy to forget that travel agencies still exist for a reason.

Lauren Doyle, president of The Travel Mechanic, is ready to help take your trip “from OK to WOW.”

Lauren Doyle, president of The Travel Mechanic — a boutique travel agency based in Raleigh — enjoys taking the stress out of travel and using her industry connections to take a trip “from OK to WOW.”

“My mother, Jennie Mechanic, opened The Travel Mechanic back in 2012,” said Doyle. “She had a vision to help others get out there and travel! She led golf groups on cruises in Scotland and the UK, yoga retreats, and even birding trips! She wanted to make sure people got to experience the world with like-minded passions.”

Shortly after the agency opened, Doyle agreed to head up the destination wedding and honeymoon division — and the rest was history.

“My mom and I were always very close,” said Doyle. “We were able to help more people that needed help with travel planning, we traveled together, and overall just had an amazing experience. I am very grateful to have her legacy live on.”

While a plane ticket is always the answer (obviously), we still had questions about how exactly a “boutique travel agency” works. Read on to learn more!

Introduce yourself to our readers!

Hi! I am Lauren Doyle, president of The Travel Mechanic — a full-service travel agency that is family-founded and women-owned and operated! I love being a small business owner, wife to a very supportive husband, mom to two travel-loving kiddos who have just as many stamps on their passports as they do years on this planet, and a rescue pup, Nitro, who is one active boy!

The Travel Mechanic is described as a “boutique travel agency.” What does that mean, exactly?

We are not a mass-market company that has to hit certain sales quotas. We work for YOU, the consumer, providing you with unbiased advice!

Describe the process of using a travel agency, in your own words.

Using our travel agency provides a customized experience. We have you schedule a call so we can talk about your needs, wants, desires, budget, etc., and then we craft an itinerary for you. We work together to make sure it is exactly what you want, and then we get it booked. After that, we ensure you have all the details through our pre-departure email, ensuring you are totally prepared for your trip! We can customize your trip from ordinary to extraordinary!

Why would you recommend using The Travel Mechanic, when so many booking options are available online?

There are a lot of options out there, but we offer that peace of mind for you. If it is a special trip, one that you have saved up for, you don’t want to leave that up to Google or Tripadvisor reviews from strangers! We can customize an itinerary for you, based on our experience, industry connections, and partnerships all over the world to provide you exactly what you want for your budget.

Every travel agent at The Travel Mechanic has their own niche — specializing in trips to Italy, Disney, and more!

How many team members do you have?

We currently have 13 agents and are planning to add 5 more in 2024. Does each travel advisor have a different expertise? Yes, we help new agents get trained and let their passions shine on what they love. We have someone who has lived in Italy and just does Italy trips. We also have a few that are obsessed with Disney, so that is what they book! This allows us to dig really deep into each niche of travel and know it inside and out, all to provide the best recommendations and service to our clients!

What is your favorite travel destination?

It is so hard to say, but I LOVE Hawaii! It spoke to me. It has so much natural beauty, so much to discover. You just feel the aloha spirit once you step foot on the islands.

What is the most “slept on” travel destination?

Mexico. It is easy to get to and has an amazing culture and unique places (not just Cancun) to visit and experience. The most overrated? The Amalfi coast (of Italy) is crowded and expensive. Don’t get me wrong, it is gorgeous, but there are so many other amazing places in Italy!

Any accolades you’d like to share?

We have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, Reader’s Digest, and many more! We also have been on ABC11 and WRAL for various travel expert advice!

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