Home > New York > Helena Marks > My Life in Travel

Helena Marks

New York, New York Travel Agent

My Life in Travel

Do you want to track gorillas and watch the awe-inspiring migration of the wildebeests in Africa, explore the Australian Outback or dine in the best restaurants during a weekend in Manhattan? I’ve traveled extensively on every continent except Antarctica and can coordinate an experience for you anywhere in the world.

I have been a traveler from my earliest memories. As a child, my voyages came through reading books about kids in other countries and seeing the Eiffel Tower and Trevi Fountain on television and in movies. As soon as I could, I began traveling. My first trip was a three month “Europe on $5 a day” journey!

My friends urged me to put my career where my passion was and happily, I’ve been a travel agent ever since. I started out at Rich Worldwide Travel, and through on-the-job training, learned to listen carefully and draw out exactly what a client needs. Everything is rooted in conversations and context. Oftentimes, it’s as simple as starting with "Where have you been and what have you liked and disliked."

Now, thanks to Protravel International, its affiliation with Virtuoso and my personal contacts built over my years in the industry, my clients are recognized as VIPs in the best hotels and resorts, and even by the airlines. I also have the leverage to help untangle any issues that might arise.

A big advantage is my ability to handle airline cancellations and upgrades so clients don’t have to stand in line. When your flight is canceled, I’m already planning the next step. And for the frequent business traveler looking for an upgrade, I’m checking availabilities so he/she doesn’t have to.

Until a traveler needs it, they don’t realize how important it is to have someone knowledgeable thinking things through for you. Is it the rainy season where you want to go? I’ll suggest some alternatives. One of my clients has been traveling with me for 30 years and the husband is now using a cane. Despite his resistance, I persuaded them to arrange a wheelchair to save him walking an hour across a huge airport. Plus, knowing their interests, on a recent trip to Argentina, I persuaded them to stay in a city and take a cooking class instead spending two nights at an expensive all-inclusive resort where he couldn’t enjoy the activities. The city experience was less than half the price, but truly, it wasn’t a matter of money, but of what they would most enjoy.

My clients also know that I’m available 24/7 and that I advocate for you from start to finish. For example, one of my new clients had a problem with the billing from their rental car. They didn’t ask me to help, but I always call my clients when they return home to find out how their trip was and they mentioned it. I picked up the phone, called my rep and worked it out.

My regular clients know to call or text me immediately when there are issues of any kind. Many send me texts throughout their trip. I used to get nervous everything I heard a ping, but I’ve learned that it is almost always a quick note to say that something I arranged was amazing and thank you! 

Share my profile:

Related Travel Experiences

On a Gorilla Trek in Rwanda

I’d been on safari before, but spending time with the gorillas of Rwanda was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced. Dian Fossey studied the gorillas here (as shown in the movie Gorillas in the Mist) and worked to preserve their habitat. These days, the government embraces conservation. The ... Read more from my On a Gorilla Trek in Rwanda story.