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Our Travel Agents

The travel industry is the third largest in the world. Demographic trends in the United States point toward an increasing demand for travel in the next 15-20 years. While today's technology offers many options for researching and booking travel, millions of frequent travelers each year seek out the skill and assistance of a trained and competent travel agent.

Eau Claire Travel Agents

Carl Higgins

Carl Higgins
Founder

Joel Higgins

Joel Higgins
Owner

View bio.

Joan Lorenz

Denise Petricka
Owner

View bio.

Joan Lorenz

Joan Lorenz
Office Manager

View bio.

Brandi Brantner

Brandi Brantner
Travel Agent

View bio.

Karen Hurlburt

Karen Hurlburt
Travel Agent

View bio.

Jane Kleven

Jane Kleven
Travel Agent

View bio.

Heidi DesJarlais

Heidi DesJarlais
Travel Agent

View bio.

Linda Erickson

Linda Erickson
Travel Agent

View bio.

Marcia Morvich

Marcia Movrich
Travel Agent

View bio.

Becky Gillis

Becky Gillis
Travel Agent

View bio.

Joel Higgins

Joel Higgins

Owner

Joel started working at our branch offices in River Falls and Menomonie in the early 70's. After leaving to work in the travel industry in both Hawaii and Portland, Oregon, he returned to Eau Claire in 1978 and has been working here ever since. Joel is actively involved in a number of community boards and organizations. He received his Certified Travel Counselor designation in 1986.

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Carl Higgins

Carl Higgins

Founder

Carl's Bio

Denise Petricka

Denise Petricka

Eau Claire Office Owner

Denise began her travel career in 1990 when her mother opened Travel Agents International. In 2003, she purchased the travel company from her mother and changed the agency name to Travel Leaders. When it came time to expand, Denise purchased an existing Travel Leaders agency in Hayward, WI. In 2011, Travel Leaders joined forces with Higgins Travel to become Higgins Travel Leaders.

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Joan Lorenz

Joan Lorenz

Eau Claire Office Manager

Joan has been with Higgins Travel Leaders since July 1978. She is certified as a Disney Specialist and Sandals Specialist. She also arranges group travel. Over the years, Joan's travels have included:

Cruises — Alaska, Caribbean, Mexico, Mediterranean, and River Cruises in Europe
Africa— Kenya
Asia— China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Thailand
Caribbean— Antigua, St. Thomas, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Martinque, Sandals Resorts in Jamaica, St. Croix, and St. Lucia
Central America— Costa Rica
Europe
— Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland
Mexico— Cancun, Cozumel, Ixtapa, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, and Riviera Mayan
South Pacific— Australia and New Zealand
United States and Canada— California, Canadian Rockies, Disney World, most of Florida, Hawaiian Islands, Las Vegas, New York, Toronto, Washington DC, and many other US destinations.

Her favorite vacations are Safari in Kenya, Sandals Antigua, and River Cruising in Europe.

Joan is available Monday through Friday at the Eau Claire office to help you with your travel plans. Email Joan Lorenz.

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Brandi Branter

Brandi Branter

Eau Claire Travel Agent

Brandi started her travel career with Higgins Travel Leaders in November of 1990 as our receptionist. She became a travel agent about a year later. She has earned the titles of Disney Specialist, Sandals Specialist, Panama Specialist, Australia Specialist and Destination Wedding Specialist for Cancun and Riviera Maya. She also plans ski vacations, weddings, honeymoons, and group travel arrangements. Her list of travels include:

Cruises— Alaska, Caribbean, River Cruises in Europe
Caribbean— Antigua including Sandals Resorts, Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas
Europe— Austria, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Norway, and Scotland
Mexico— Cancun, Cozumel, Ixtapa, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Riveria Maya
United States and Canada
— Alaska, Hawaiian Islands, Disneyland, Disney World, Las Vegas, New York, and other US destinations

Her favorite destinations are Europe and Caribbean cruising.

Brandi is available Monday through Friday at the Eau Claire office to help you with your travel plans.

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Karen Hurlburt

Karen Hurlburt

Eau Claire Travel Agent

Karen is one of our corporate travel agents, helping business travelers with their air, hotel, and car reservations. She has been with Higgins Travel Leaders since April of 1990. She is a Disney Specialist, Family Travel Specialist, Group Planner, and Honeymoon Planner. Karen arranges leisure travel as well. Karen's travels include:

Cruises— Caribbean and Mexico
Caribbean— Antiqua, Bahamas, and Puerto Rica
Europe
— Belgium, England, Iceland, Netherlands, and Scotland
Mexico— Cozumel and Costa Maya
United States and Canada — Disneyland, Disney World, Hawaiian Islands, and Las Vegas

Her favorite destinations include Hawaii, Europe, and Disney.

Karen is available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at the Eau Claire office to help you with your travel plans.

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Jane Kleven

Jane Kleven

Eau Claire Travel Agent

Jane worked as a travel agent for Higgins Travel Leaders since February 1976. She took seven years off to be home with her young children and came back to work in October 1985 to the present. Jane is a Wedding and Honeymoon Planner, Group Travel Planner, and a Disney Specialist. She has been to many parts of the world including:

Cruises— Alaska, Caribbean, Allure of the Seas, and River Cruises in Europe
Asia— China and Hong Kong
Caribbean
— Bermuda, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, and St. Thomas
Europe
— Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Great Britain, Holland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Slovania, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland
Mexico
— Cancun and Cozumel
South Pacific
— Australia, New Zealand, and Tahiti
United States and Canada— Disneyland, Disney World, New York, Washington DC, and many other US destinations

Her favorite destination is Europe, especially river cruising.

Jane is available Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Eau Claire office to help you with your travel plans.

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Heidi DesJarlais

Heidi DesJarlais

Eau Claire Travel Agent

Heidi is the most recent addition to Higgins Travel Leaders joining the team in 2009. She has earned the titles of Destination Wedding Specialist, Disney Specialist, and Sandals Specialist but plans leisure vacations to all destinations. Heidi's travel history includes extensive travel to all areas of the United States and Canada, as well as cruises to the Caribbean.

Caribbean— Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Bahamas, Turks, and Caicos
Mexico— Riviera Maya
United States— Florida, New York, and Boston

She is especially excited to plan destination weddings and honeymoons.

Heidi is available Monday through Friday at the Eau Claire office to help you with your travel plans.

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Linda Erickson

Linda Erickson

Eau Claire Travel Agent

Linda began her career as a travel agent at AAA in 1976.  She then spent 16 years as part owner of Sunshine Travel before joining the Travel Agents International team.  In 2011, Linda became a travel agent for Higgins Travel Leaders once Higgins Travel and Travel Leaders joined forces.

Linda has earned the certification of Travel Specialist for Australia, Alaska, and Princess Cruises. She is also a graduate of multiple corporate and leisure travel programs that specialize her in corporate, leisure, and group travel. Linda's travels include:

Cruises - Alaska and Mexico
Central America - Costa Rica
Mexico - Cancun, Cozumel, Riviera Maya, Ixtapa, Mazatlan, and Manzanillo
Europe - Italy, England, and Ireland
South Pacific - Australia
US and Canada - Pacific Northwest, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Las Vegas, Canadian Rockies, Hawaii,  Florida, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and various other US destinations

Her personal favorite travel destinations include Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Mexico. Linda is available Monday through Friday in the Eau Claire office to help you with your travel needs.

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Marcia Morvich

Marcia Movrich

Eau Claire Travel Agent

Marcia has been involved in the travel industry for the last 18 years and became a Certified Travel Specialist with Travel Leaders in 2006. She especially enjoys planning leisure vacations for families and honeymooners. Marcia's travels include:

Cruises - Alaska and Caribbean
Europe - England and France
Mexico - Cancun, Riviera Maya, Cozumel, Ixtapa, and Puerto Vallarta
Central America - Costa Rica
United States and Canada - Hawaii, Orlando and Disneyworld, Las Vegas, New York, New Orleans, Washington DC, and other US cities and several parts of Canada

Marcia is available to help with your travel plans Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 AM to 3 PM and on Thursday from 12:30 to 5:30 PM.  She is also available for special appointments outside of these times.

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Becky Gillis

Becky Gillis

Eau Claire Travel Agent

Becky began her career in travel as a corporate agent with Carlson Wagonlit Travel in 1998. She stayed with the Carlson Wagonlit Travel team when they changed their name to Travel Leaders. In 2011, Travel Leaders joined forces with Higgins Travel to become Higgins Travel Leaders.

Becky is a Certified Leisure Travel Specialist and became certified by Sandals Resorts in December 2010. Her experience has brought her to many of the popular wedding resorts in Mexico and Jamaica specializing her in Destination Weddings and Honeymoons. Becky's travels include:

Cruises - Caribbean
Mexico - Cancun, Riviera Maya and Puerto Vallarta
Caribbean - Bahamas, Jamaica, Turks, and Caicos
United States - Disneyworld, Las Vegas, New York, California, Washington DC, Arizona, and Texas

Becky is available Monday through Friday in the Eau Claire office to help you with your travel needs.

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Pam Schulist

Pam Schulist

Eau Claire Bookkeeper

Pam's Bio

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Black River Falls Travel Agents

Jennifer Gearing

Jennifer Gearing
Office Manager

View bio.

Toni Nelson

Toni Nelson
Travel Agent

View bio.

Beth Zadnichek

Beth Zadnichek
Travel Agent

View bio.

Jennifer Gearing

Jennifer Gearing

Black River Falls Office Manager

Jennifer started as a travel agent with Higgins Travel Leaders in our Eau Claire office from July of 1985-1990. In 1990, we opened our Black River Falls office with Jennifer as manager. She is a Ski Specialist, Destination Wedding Specialist, Disney Specialist, NCL Cruise Line Specialist, Australia Destination Specialty, Hyatt Resorts Specialist, Marriott Specialist, and a Las Vegas Destination Expert. Jennifer has traveled to the following destinations:

Caribbean— Bahamas, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica
Europe— Austria, France, Great Britain, Greece, Germany, Holland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, and Switzerland
Mexico
—Cancun, Cozumel, Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Maya
United States and Canada
— Alaska, California, Canadian Rockies, Colorado, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Texas

Her favorite destinations are Jamaica and skiing in Vail, Colorado.

Jennifer is available Monday through Friday at the Black River Falls office to help you with your travel plans.

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Toni Nelson

Toni Nelson

Black River Falls Travel Agent

Toni started as a travel agent with Higgins Travel Leaders in 1997. She is a Hawaii Destination Specialist, Alaska Specialist, Globus and Cosmos Touring Specialist, NCL Cruise Specialist, and Disney Specialist. Her list of destinations includes:

Cruises— Alaska, Caribbean, and Panama Canal
Caribbean
— Dominican Republic and Costa Rica
Europe
— Iceland Mexico—Cabos, Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, and Riviera Maya
United States and Canada— Disney World, many Flordia cities, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Seattle, and many other US destinations

Her favorite destinations are Hawaii and Riviera Maya.

Toni is available Monday through Friday at the Black River Falls office to help you with your travel plans.

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Beth Zadnichek

Beth Zadnichek

Black River Falls Travel Agent

Beth became a travel agent at Higgins Travel Leaders in November, 2004. She is a Hawaii and Disney Specialist and plans leisure vacations to all destinations. Beth's travel history includes:

Cruises— Caribbean
Caribbean
— Bahamas and Dominican Republic
Mexico
— Cancun, Ixtapa, and Riviera Maya
United States and Canada— Many Florida destinations, Disneyland, Disney World, Hawaii, Las Vegas, and New York

Her favorite destination is the Rivera Maya in Mexico.

Beth is available Monday through Friday at the Black River Falls office to help you with your travel plans.

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Our History

Eau Claire, Wisconsin Travel Agency, Higgins Travel Leaders and Cruise Center, was founded in 1953 by Carl Higgins and was the first travel agency in West Central Wisconsin.

Our first location was in the Hotel Eau Claire. Now, we are located on the south-side of Eau Claire on Golf Road. In 1990, we added an office in Black River Falls. We are the only travel agency serving the greater Black River Falls area. In 2010, we joined forces with Travel Leaders Eau Claire and became Higgins Travel Leaders.

Residents of our communities and surrounding areas have come to rely on our Higgins Travel Leaders agents for their pleasure and business travel. As the oldest and largest travel agency in Eau Claire, our travel agents are able to offer our customers the very best advice possible. Either someone in our office has been there or one of our customers have, so we know what you shouldn't miss and what you should avoid.

Our newest employee has been with us 15 years. That's more than twice as long as the industry standard! We pride ourselves on maintaining the trust and confidence the traveling public has placed in us for over 50 years.

Eau Claire and Black River Falls Travel Agency