STC Travel Online started with some of Denise Jones’ church members and has grown over 17 years to family members, friends, their friends and people she met on the road. The customer base consists of 400-500 people.
Fast Facts about Denise Jones
SC Travel Online
Columbia, South Carolina
Education: B.S. in business finance from the University of South Carolina
Career: About 25 years of banking and accounting with private and government organizations, followed by 17 years in travel.
Hobbies: Gardening, spending time at her beach house, doing rehab projects and walking
Family: Married to husband David for 48 years; a son and a daughter; 5 grandchildren (ages 5 to 16)
It’s no wonder people enjoy traveling with Denise Jones.
A longtime travel planner, Jones greets everyone she meets with a lovely Southern charm. Her enthusiasm for travel is contagious, and she talks about past trips with the kind of passion that would serve any travel planner well.
Jones began her career in the banking industry, where she worked as a finance director. She retired after about 25 years. However, like many retirees, she enjoyed travel and stayed busy.
Around the time of retirement, Denise’s daughter was working for US Airways, which gave the two of the access to the carrier’s entire route network. They traveled together to Europe and several other destinations.
“Our first trip to Europe was London because it was an English-speaking country,” Jones said. “We began to travel to other countries, and we were always able to find someone who knew English. As you travel, you become more and more confident.”
That confidence would soon come in handy.
A Chance Encounter
After a short time in retirement, Jones had a chance encounter with a friend that had become a travel agent. The friend told her all about the perks of the job and encouraged her to think about getting involved in the travel business too.
“It intrigued me,” Jones said. She knew she had a love of travel and a lot of experience, so she planned a few trips for some friends. Word of her travel-planning prowess soon spread.
“Someone at Sunday school approached me,” she said. “They asked me to get a group trip together for the Sunday School class. So, I did it! The trip was successful, and after the trip, everyone asked me ‘what’s next?’ So, that’s where it began. I started planning trips for the group.”
Now 17 years later, this venture has blossomed into a travel business called SC Travel Online. Jones has taken her groups on trips around the world, including throughout Europe and many parts of Asia.
“I love to see people travel, and I like to travel,” she said. “I love to see my travel babies — people who started traveling with me and now are confident to travel on their own.”
Today, SC Travel Online reaches people in many states, including places as far as Alabama, Texas and Pennsylvania. Jones communicates through email and hosts two travel meetings a year at her church. She plan to take a group to Eastern Europe this September with Mayflower Cruises and Tours, followed by a trip to Iceland in November. She is looking forward to traveling with her group again and is incredibly excited to show them the Northern lights in Iceland.
When she’s not traveling, Jones can often be found spending time with her family. She and her husband of 48 years have two grown children and five grandchildren. Her daughter owns an event venue that offers event planning and rental, and Jones spends her free time helping her daughter there.
Jones and her husband are quickly approaching their 50th anniversary and are planning a trip to Dubai and South Africa in December 2022 to celebrate.
- Easter Island. “We were on Princess Repositioning Cruise from Tahiti to Fort Lauderdale. One of our stops was Easter Island where were able to see the Moʻai, (monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people on Easter Island in eastern Polynesia between the years 1250 and 1500). Only about 100,000 people visit Easter Island a year, so it was a real treat.”
- “I just love to visit the city, Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Tour the canals, ride a bike and especially visit Keukenhof Gardens in the Spring. Love it every time I go.”
- Italy. “I love to travel to Italy!”