Kelsey Klont
Contributing Writer

( Photo by Kelsey Klont/TCJ – Cindy Gaedert-Gearhart, Amanda Kenyon, Dawn Nowlan, and Nick Garlinghouse. Not pictured Eric Lee.)

Dawn Nowlan launched her own franchise of Dream Vacations, Nowlan Travel on February 1, 2020. In the beginning she operated out of her home office assisting customers remotely, but recently she noted an increasing demand to meet clients in person. She had been commuting to meet her clients at their local coffee shops this year when an opportunity presented itself for her to secure a storefront location on the main street in downtown Charlotte. This summer, Nowlan relocated her operations to her new office space located at 241 S. Cochran Ave., Suite 2, which has allowed Nowlan Travel to become an anchored store in the local community.

Nowlan and her husband have been residents of Charlotte since 1998, where they have raised two children. Her favorite things about Charlotte are the smalltown feel, her church, and community involvement – which is a driving force for Nowlan. She has served on the board of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce for the last three years, and currently serves as their President.

I asked Nowlan what inspired her to become a travel advisor. Her response was, “I would plan vacations for friends and family for years. When I knew I was ready to leave my corporate job, I knew I wanted to work in this capacity for myself and not someone else.” Prior to Nowlan Travel, Nowlan worked for Walmart, where she spent ten years as the store manager. She obtained a lot of experience training workers with amazing customer service and business management. “Growing into my niche in the travel business really happened organically,” she said.

Working along with Nowlan are her four outstanding associates, for whom she is very thankful. Collectively Nowlan Travel by Dream Vacations has quickly become very prestigious, winning various awards over the past three and a half years.

Cindy Gaedert-Gearhart, the newest Nowlan Travel Associate, said she wanted to join Nowlan Travel because, “I love to travel and meet new people. I met Dawn a few times and said I would refer any cruises to her. Also, I admire the name Dream Vacations – that says it all.” Anyone looking for a dream vacation would want a wise travel agent with experience and a love for travel. Associate Nick Garlinghouse told me, “I became a travel associate here from my love of traveling and seeing the world. Here I have ended up specializing in cruises.”

These travel agents see no greater joy than the enjoyment their clients have on their vacations. That is one reason why referrals are so appreciated by Dream Vacations. Amanda Kenyon said, “I love coming into a reputable company. People trust the Dream Vacations name, whether they have heard it before or if we build the trust together.” Nowlan said of the company’s service, “You are in business for yourself, but you are not in business by yourself. Dream Vacations is wonderful about that, always saying ‘we are their client.’”

Nowlan Travel by Dream Vacations recently hosted a ribbon cutting on Friday, October 6 for their new office. Visit the new location at 241 S. Cochran Ave., Suite 2 in Charlotte. Phone 517-588-6285 or visit the website They are also on Facebook at Nowlan Travel Dream Vacations, and @Nowlantravel_by_dreamvacations on Instagram.