Cheryl Echevarria was born with the tenacity to work hard, with curiosity to stay updated on her education and with the love of travel. She was not born blind, but when faced with the loss of sight, she was determined to work in the travel industry and provide services to everyone but specialize in travelers who are blind, on dialysis or are disabled in other ways. She had a lot to learn, but her background in customer service and sales, gave her the basic skills she needed.
To back up a bit, Ms. Echevarria became blind because of diabetes. She also suffered kidney failure and had to endure kidney dialysis, but she ventured on. After a kidney transplant and time to recover, Cheryl wanted to go back to work, but needed to learn new professional skills. First, she was educated through the New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH), where she learned how to take care of herself and was retrained on the computer.
When she discovered the National Federation of the Blind, her dream of becoming a travel agent came to fruition. As someone who is capable of traveling on her own (using both a cane and her service dog, Maxx) and with her husband, Ms. Echeverria has the experience of going on cruises, visiting Orlando and Disney World, the Bahamas, attending travel and other conferences, and visiting many other places, she can share her knowledge with her clients through Echevarria Travel. By talking to clients individually, she gets to know what their expectations are for their trip, their budget, if they are celebrating a special occasion etc. Then she can go into more detail as she sees fit.
Cheryl Echevarria knows what advice to give her clients who are on dialysis. She also knows the right questions to ask her visually impaired clients – What is your degree of mobility? Do you use a cane or a service animal or both? Can you read Braille? Do you have other disabilities? All of these answers factor into what Echevarria Travel will do to prepare for their clients’ trips.
Besides being a travel agent, Ms. Echevarria is the current President of the Travel and Tourism Division of the National Federation of the Blind and the Treasurer of the Greater Long Island Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. She is a tireless advocate for visually impaired people, especially in the areas of travel.
Echevarria Travel is a much needed resource for any travelers, especially those who are blind, vision-impaired, on dialysis; mobility impaired or have any other disability. Cheryl Echevarria is “Leading the Way in Independent Travel!”
Connie Roberts is a professional blogger who makes it her mission to advocate for people with medical issues. Travel with a disability is not a struggle, but an opportunity to see the world and let others see that it’s possible and a lot of fun. Tweet with her @ConnieFoggles.