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Duff Pacifico

New York, New York Travel Agent

My Travel Agent Life

It wasn’t a straight path to my current career: After finishing college in Kansas City  moved back (home) to New York to be a teacher, only to find at the time there was no need for teachers. So, I became a professional photographer instead. And then, after our photography studio was robbed, I needed income fast. I took a job as a travel agent trainee, and it didn’t take much to convince me to stay—I was hooked on traveling. That was over 40 years ago, I still love it to this very day. 

In my lifetime as a travel agent, I’ve been a part of some incredible travel moments—both those grandiose and intimate. Probably one of my favorite memories was helping John F. Kennedy Jr. evade the paparazzi for his wedding 22 years ago: I had put together an entire (fake) wedding itinerary for a wedding in Ireland and faxed it to his office. Someone there had read it, and leaked it to the press—while that circus was going on, we secretly set up his real wedding in Georgia. 

Another time, I had a client call my work phone late one Saturday night—highly unusual for her. I discovered that her father was dying, and she needed to get to Thailand to be by his side. I immediately got her there, and she got to spend some final precious moments with him before he passed away. To date, she still thanks me for helping make that goodbye possible. 

Through it all, the most fulfilling part of being a travel agent has been helping people. Whether that’s helping them have a business trip go smoothly, discover cool places for a vacation, or make memories with their kids to treasure for a lifetime, I set out to solve problems before they even present themselves. Of course, it helps a ton to be a Tzell travel agent; it’s the first time in my career where I feel like I have clout. I call up an airline or a hotel, whoever, and say “I’m with Tzell, can you help me?” and the response I always receive is “of course—right away.”

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