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Susan Gullia

New York, New York Travel Agent

Privileged Access for Groups and Individuals

My Travel Agent Life

I became a travel agent by luck and providence, but it was a happy choice. After college, I spent some time in Italy and then returned to New York and saw an ad for a beginner travel agent. Oddly, the agency was located in the Madison Hotel, which coincidentally, was the hotel my parents were staying when I was born. Even more amazing, the same doorman who had carried me into the hotel from the hospital when I was an infant was the one who greeted me when I started my job. That was a good omen.

Privileged Access for Groups and Individuals

In 1964, I planned a museum-sponsored trip to Egypt for the Brooklyn Museum. The idea grew out of a conversation at a Holiday party at the museum about ways to raise money. That trip was so successful that it grew into one of my specialties: arranging group trips for other museums as well as the Garden Club of America and other cultural and special interest organization. These trips afford unique access to private collections, manor homes, and castles that are often not open to the public, often with world-class experts as guides.

The National Trust Travel Program

In addition to the amazing places these trips have taken me, they also have provided the unique opportunity to collect a Rolodex of art historians, garden specialists, and other experts; many who now know me personally. Tapping into these contacts, I can translate those special-interest group experiences into individual travel. If you have an interest you would like to pursue on your travels, I either know the right person or can network to find the right person to serve as your guide or to meet with you.

In England, for example, I can arrange private collection tours and visits to manor home and even castles, thanks to a friend I made through my museum work. She was married to a British Lord and served for a time as a lady-in-waiting, so she has good entrée into clubs and the royal household. The amazing thing, when you visit a private home, is that you get to see amazing architecture or perhaps Chippendale furniture, artwork or silver collections as they were meant to be enjoyed, and often the owner will host you for lunch or tea, so the experience is very personal. 

Similarly, in Rome, I can arrange for you to have lunch at a private mansion or villa or connect you with a private guide who can take you to an art gallery or even the Vatican when it is closed to the public so you can experience the art without the crowds. And in Spain, I have a trusted friend who can open the Prado before hours so you can be the only ones there, or possibly arrange for you to attend a private dinner or party at the home of the Duchess of Alba.

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