Summer Centered: Cayley Montoya ’20 Designs Dream Vacations
Whitehead Intern Cayley Montoya ’20 is using her love of travel and trip planning for her internship with the New York City-based travel agency Valerie Wilson Travel, where she works with the leisure department to design trips on a client-by-client basis.
Cayley Montoya ’20 loves to plan trips, but never knew that could be a career path—until now. This summer, the economics major and psychology minor is working in the leisure department of Valerie Wilson Travel with funding from the Center for Career and Professional Advising’s Whitehead Internship, which supports rising juniors’ and seniors’ summer work in entrepreneurial endeavors, small business enterprise, venture capital, or investment finance activities.
“I’ve been traveling ever since I was a little kid, as I have family both in Europe and South America,” said Montoya. “Even when I was pretty young, I would help my parents plan our trips. It got to the point where I would pretty much take over the planning because my parents were too busy.”
Now that she is planning trips in a professional capacity, her responsibilities are extensive: in order to ensure that her clients have the best experience possible, she does substantial research on all aspects of their travel, tailoring each trip to the client’s preferences.
“My day-to-day responsibilities include calling hotels or tours to make reservations, researching interesting places and activities in different countries and cities, and building itineraries,” said Montoya. “I am also helping to update the leisure team’s section of the Valerie Wilson Travel website and creating restaurant lists for different cities.”
All of Montoya’s work is focused on creating the best experiences for her clients, but these trips can only ever be planned to a certain extent—there are always moving variables, like weather and flight delays. Because of this, she has learned the importance of being flexible and always having a backup plan.
“From my very first day, my coworkers made it clear that no trip ever goes exactly as planned,” said Montoya. “Quick thinking and problem solving are imperative skills to travel planning, and both are skills that Haverford helped me to further develop.”
There are perks to working at the agency as well: if Montoya decides to continue working with Valerie Wilson Travel—something she is now considering—then she will have the opportunity to take advantage of the agency’s services, as well as her own expertise.
“Every day I meet people from all over the world,” she added. “If I choose to work here in the future, I would have opportunities to visit these places as well.”
In fact, Montoya’s job has already brought her to one new place—New York City, where the travel agency is based and where she is living this summer.
“I really enjoy the pace in New York and that there is always a new place to explore,” she said. “I come home exhausted every day, but in the best way.”
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.