about us

AwayBug Travel is located in the beautiful coastal town of Wilmington, North Carolina, but we have clients all over the world. If you have ever caught the “AwayBug”, then you’ll understand exactly why we chose that name. It’s that feeling you get when you want to break away from your routine and experience something exciting and different. If you are visiting our website, then maybe you have already caught the “AwayBug”, or you are hoping to!

 

We create the kind of trips where you find that new place…the one that makes you take a deep breath and relax, grateful for a moment that makes you see the world in a way you never have before. The kind of trip that stays with you as you shift back into your everyday life and leaves you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and inspired. In other words, totally unforgettable.

 

So go ahead…catch the AwayBug and go!

 

Angie Fanning, owner

My love of travel actually began as a love of history! My high school European History teacher had a passion for history that was contagious. At the end of her course she took a group of students to Europe. This was the first time I had traveled abroad. From the moment we drove out into the rolling green hills of Germany I was hooked! I will never forget my teacher saying that her biggest regret of college was not studying abroad. This really stuck with me and I vowed to myself that I would not make the same mistake. I would travel any time I had the opportunity, starting with college!

 

So my junior year at UNCW I traveled to London for a semester abroad and it was by far the most memorable and profound experience of my college career. I took classes during the week and on the weekends traveled around Europe. It was my first time living in a foreign city, and it allowed me the freedom to explore other places across the continent and observe so many different cultures.

 

After I graduated from college, with my future wide open, I was really able to devote more time to travel. I decided to volunteer in South Africa. The culture was so unlike anything I had ever seen that it was truly a life changing experience for me. I lived with a local family and worked at a primary school in Cape Town. After that, I really wanted to go back to the city I loved so much in college and immerse myself in the culture again. So on to London! Next, I moved to Ireland and lived in the fun and beautiful town of Galway on the west coast. Towards the end of my time there I traveled to Northern Ireland where I volunteered at a Christian Center for Peace and Reconciliation in Ballycastle. In those years, I was able to meet so many amazing people, and have so many once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

 

I finally decided it was time to come back home to the United States to live again. Luckily, I decided to move to Charleston, South Carolina where I started dating the man that became my husband. Because of our love of travel (one of the many things we have in common) we decided to take off on an adventure of our own. We left our jobs, sold the house, put everything in storage and went to Southern Africa for 3 months. It was a major leap of faith, but we had an amazing time! We flew into Cape Town and traveled all the way up the South African coast, through the Drakensberg Mountains, went to Kruger National Park, Botswana, Chobe Park, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Victoria Falls before returning home and deciding to move back to our college town of Wilmington. It was such a special time and an adventure that we will always share and cherish. In 2009, my husband and I had a destination wedding (naturally!) in Costa Rica. We started our married life together there, and planning a trip and a wedding in another country was actually great practice for what was in store for me next!

 

Through the years, I had gained a lot of experience planning trips, and I realized that I really enjoyed that part! As anyone will tell you, finding something you love and turning it into a job is one of the most rewarding experiences. With the encouragement of my friends, family, and husband (all of whom I had planned trips for!) AwayBug Travel was born. I feel so lucky and grateful to be able to help people have the kind of life-changing and memorable trips I have been able to have through the years.

 

Helena Feury, Travel Consultant – Charlotte, NCWebsite Photo

My nomadic life started at a very early age. By the time I was 7 I had already moved 6 times, and across 4 states (and I’m not even a “military brat”)! My parents had a long distance relationship for a while, and my dad had his PhD in Chemistry specializing as a Crystallographer, meaning he studied the crystals that grew in space. With such an eclectic vocational choice, it is no wonder some of the most renowned and prestigious universities and laboratories from the Midwest to the Northeast wanted to employ his mind!

 

After my parents separated, my mom and I moved to Charlotte, NC where we had family and finally settled down.  However, the “AwayBug” had already penetrated my veins and my mom took me on my first trip abroad at 11. We went on a 2 week excursion through the beautiful countries of Hungary, Austria, and Poland. I can still remember picking cherries off the Cherry Tree in my cousin’s front yard in Budapest, and then riding the train through Germany into Poland. I returned to Poland two years later during my Christmas Break and had my first taste of culture shock when the sun set at 3:30 PM!

 

By 16 I decided 3 years stagnant in the states was plenty and I took a month to visit Taiwan. Since then I have been living and loving the nomadic lifestyle! I’ve traveled back to Europe, visited South America, and lived on small islands across the Florida Keys. I have taken week long camping trips for yoga retreats in both the Catskills Mountains of New York and laid low on the beautiful sands of Hawaii. Recently I border hopped into Canada to see Niagra Falls, and have even taken a cross-country road trip, from Carolina to California, to see what my own beautiful country has to offer.

 

My life is currently shifting again as I have begun a new journey into motherhood. As grateful as I am to my mother for the culture she opened me up to and the experiences she allowed me to have, my own motherhood beckons me to be still for a while. It is in this stillness that I want to use my knowledge of trip planning and my passion for culture to help others pursue places they only thought imaginable in their dreams. I want to help create experiences that ignite a passion for the unknown, that turn into lifelong stories, and help quench a thirst for the world.  

 

Nicole Saunders, Travel Consultant – Wilmington, NC20161005_211537

My love for travel goes back as far as I can remember. It began with a family snorkeling trip to the Florida Keys at age three. I can vividly recall bouncing over the waves on our boat ride to the reef and the tall seagrass tickling me as I looked for fish. From that point on, I was hooked! The rest of my childhood was filled with trips up and down the east coast in our family’s station wagon visiting relatives and exploring new towns and beaches. I loved seeing new places and always looked forward to those adventures.

 

In high school, I took my first trip to the west coast and spent time exploring northern California. It was drastically different than the east coast, and I loved every minute of it! In college, my boyfriend (now husband) and I spent a summer backpacking in Europe. We visited six countries and left each with the promise to ourselves that we would go back again. Those trips had such a lasting impact, and I knew I wanted to continue to explore the world. Currently, my husband and I travel as often as possible with our two young girls.

 

After earning a Bachelor’s degree in International Business, I met Angie, and we discovered our mutual love of travel. She was just starting AwayBug, and I had the privilege of assisting her with several trips, including luxury travel to the wine regions of California, Oregon, Chile and Argentina.  While working with Angie on those projects, I realized that travel planning was the perfect outlet for my love of travel and my passion for planning and details. With over a decade of experience in the world of planning, I would be honored to help you create the adventure of your dreams!