BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
Berkeley Parents Network >
Services & Businesses >
We are planning some travel to South America that will involve multiple points of
embarkation/debarkation and need a good travel agent to help us sort out our
We've traveled internationally a good deal for 30+ years and never had a better agent
than Ellen BenShalom, of Albany Travel. Smart, and creative. One example of many:
Last minute need to go to Washington DC. Last minute fares were outrageous. She
knew of an Air Haiti deal: round trip SF to Port Au Prince for under $300, last minute
tickets OK. It was a United flight to Washington, then Air Haiti on to Haiti. Simply
carry on luggage and walked off in Washington, tossing out the DC-Haiti coupon.
Worked well coming home too.
When it was clearly growing impossible to maintain a 'typical' walk-in agency, in times
of diminishing commissions, Ellen closed her Albany offices a few years ago and
became an on-line and by-phone travel agent. Seems to work just fine. Tell her Marina
and John recommended her.
We're planning a trip to Greece and Europe and need a recommendation for a
good travel agent. We usually do everything ourselves but this got
complicated with family members coming from different places, trying to
connect in the middle, and then going on to various places.
We've been using the same travel agent for many years and recommend her
enthusiastically. Her name is Ellen Garwood, and you can reach her at
egarwoodtravelquest at yahoo.com. Some of the trips she's booked for us
have been like what you described -- several travelers, all with
different itineraries that needed to be coordinated. She's been great
with her attention to detail and follow-up. For example, when the
airline won't assign seats at first or if we have special requests about
our hotel rooms, she keeps on top of it for us and keeps checking back
with them. Over the years, she's gotten a good sense of what we like
and has given us great recommendations for hotels. There's an agency
fee for booking tickets through her, but on some trips she's been able
to save us that much and more by going through a wholesaler for flights
or finding a deal combining air and hotel.
Before the holidays, someone posted a recommentation for a
wonderful travel agent to help with flights to Europe. But I can't
find the message now. I'm hoping to book two tickets to Italy in
June, and would appreciate any leads (from that poster, or anyone
else). Many thanks!
We recently used Moraga Travel for the first time, and were very
Moraga Travel Services
1550 Viader Dr
Moraga, CA 94556
Debi White is a terrific travel agent. She can help with all
aspects of your trip - tickets and all. You'll save money, time
and frustration by calling Debi - 925-708-7523
Jean Pierre is at Witmore Travel - email is:
email@example.com. Work phone 866.771.9300. I have a friend
who uses him every summer for her family trip to France.
I am planning a summer trip to Rome, Florence. Paris and maybe London
for my family of 4 (2 teenagers).
Does anybody have a recommendation for a great travel agent?
You should call Teresa Ellis. She is wonderful and very
Can anyone recommend a good international travel agent? I
usually book airline tickets online but I need to go from SF
beijing, then to kolkata, and then fly home, and can't figure
out the cheapest way to do this since it's not just a normal
I would suggest that you use one of the many Indian travel agents
in the Bay area, particularly in the South Bay. We use
Mercurytrip in San Jose to purchase consolidated tickets in
Kolkata www.mercurytrip.com. You can also check out the
Singapore airlines website, as they sometimes have great deals,
although I am not sure if they go to Beijing. Many other travel
agents are listed in a publication call India Currents that is
available at any Indian shop on University Ave in Berkeley
(Milan, Vics, etc)
My parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next summer and want to organize a family
cruise to Alaska. We think we can get enough people to qualify for a group rate. Does anyone out
there have any recommendations for a travel agent who specializes in booking cruises? This will be my
first cruise so I don't know where to start.
We used Full Circle Travel in El Cerrito years ago for our cruise. As I recall,
they specialized in cruises and did a good job.
My family is planning a trip to the Pyrenees for next summer and we'd really love to
find an agent who can help us make sense of lodging and transport in the area. Any
I would like to highly recommend Leslie Masler at 225-0351 of
North Berkekely Travel. We found her through the BPN and she
was fantastic. She helped us find a cruise with child care for
our 15 month old. She also got us a free upgrade to a cabin
with a balcolny.
I am looking for a good travel agent to handle travel plans;
would like to receive recommendations.
I just used patricia caminos [firstname.lastname@example.org] for my trip to HI and she got me a
great flight deal.
I've used Mary Durantini (email@example.com)
at Berkeley Northside Travel, when I was having
incredible difficulties with buying airline tickets for a friend with a
cat. We were in a terrible catch-22 with the airlines about looking for
the tickets online, then having to call and OK the cat for each leg of
the trip...hours and hours of unsuccessful phone calls later, I decided
to try a travel agency.
Within a very brief period of time, Mary was able to secure the tickets
we needed at a wonderful price...even though the agency charges a small
fee to process the tickets, we found that the fee was definitely worth
was the only travel agent I found who would respond to my
inquiries about getting help. She is friendly and helpful. I would use
her again in a heartbeat
First Time Travel Agency User
My husband and I are planning a fall vacation with our two-year-
old and my mother. We are looking to go somewhere tropical with
good SCUBA diving but don't really want to go back to the same
old places (e.g., big resorts in Hawaii, Mexico, etc.). We are
looking for a good travel agent who can be a little creative in
helping us find a destination that may be a bit off the beaten
path but is still safe and reasonably accessible. I've reviewed
the recommended travel agents in the archives but am looking for
additional suggestions. Thank you.
In need of a little R&R
RE Creative Travel Agent
Be your own! www.lonelyplanet.com has an excellent resource for
travel queries like yours, it's called the Thorntree - find the
link in the menu to the left of their home page. You have to
create a username and login, but that takes about 60 seconds.
Once they email you your password (instant), you can log on.
You'll find discussions on both diving and travelling with
kids. It operates much like this newsletter (only easier and
faster!), you can post your question and I guarantee you'll get
excellent advice from people who know. Lonely Planet
specializes in off-the-beaten-track travel information. Check
This is not a recommendation for a travel agent - but for a
website. Check out the ''Kids to Go'' discussion forum at the
Lonely Planet Thorntree (http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com/) and
post your question as to where to go. There are many parents who
are experienced travellers there and you may get some ideas you'd
otherwise not get.
I didn't see your original post, but my friend has a
travel 'consulting' service that may be of use to you. He
has been traveling to exotic locales his entire life, and has
planned many incredible trips for family, friends, and clients:
South America, Thailand, Africa, Vancouver... His website is
inspiring and informative, and provides many details, rates, and
ideas for travel. He is not affiliated with any package tours,
and focuses on true consulting -
getting to know his clients, and providing suggestions from
everything to location, activities, time of year - whatever you
need. He does the research and logistics for you. The website is
customadventures.com - go and peruse the
amazing photographs, if nothing else.
Can anyone recommend a good travel agent in the E. Bay (especially
Oakland/Montclair area)? My family and I will be making a trip to Italy
this summer, and it won't be a simple round-trip affair, so we could use
some help in sorting out the logistics and looking for best prices. Given
the dollars involved, I don't mind paying a reasonable commission, if that's
how things are done these days. Steven
For a good travel agent, I always use "Going Places", located in Berkeley
on North Shattuck near Cedar. I work with Carolyn who is always very helpful.
I highly recommend the travel agent Market Travel, owner operated by Jim
Nunn, 5550 College Ave., Oakland, 510.654.8411. They only charge a $10
per ticket charge. Deirdre
We have used Leslie Masler for many
years. She is great at finding good
deals, negotiating with the airlines, etc. I recommend her highly.
This is to update my posting for my fabulous travel agent,
Leslie Masler. Leslie has moved to a new location in Berkeley.
Her new number is 510/225-0350 (Berkeley Northside Travel). Try
her! She has found me great deals, and is delightful to work
We're considering going to Hawaii with our baby (will
be 11 mo. when we go) Can anyone recommend a good
(knowledgable, patient, resourceful) travel agent in
the N. Berkeley area, preferably familiar with
packages like Sun Trips?
I highly recommend Carter Travel. They are located in Emeryville, but you
can do all your booking with them by phone, mail and fax. Donald Carter is
delightful to work with and he's especially expert about Hawaii, available
packages and kids friendly locations. He hasn't steered us wrong in over 12
years! Phone 510 652-4788. Have fun and tell him Julie and David sent you!
Try Nancy Smart at Trips Out Travel on College (in the Elmwood).
Her number is 549-0950. She's been just wonderful for us! Laurel
I can recommend Donna Fong at Carter Travel in Emeryville. She's
pleasant, efficient, has experience with international travel and
gets really good rates (I just flew across country, SF to NY,
nonstop for $350). She happens to be a personal friend, which
is why I know she has lots of experience (most of our mutual
friends use her and book flights to Europe, South America,
Alaska and Hawaii) and that she's a nice person. Alison
I recommend Aziz at Travel Specialists of Berkeley, 548-7000. I've been
using him for over a year for all my travel arrangements, and he's very
good at finding low fares. I haven't worked with him on fun layovers,
however. Good luck!
I would like to recommend "Detours Travel" on Vine and Walnut Streets
North Berkeley. (Across from Peets). They are regular travel agency.
our travel agent "Lena" has been very helpful with planning our trips
overseas with our infant son. We first used Lena when our son was 6
old, and then again when he was 14 months. Lena was very helpful in
sure that a bassinette was available on all flights. I should note,
you do not need to pay for this service, though you will need to pay
an issued ticket whether you use a bassinette or not. Regardless, I
also call the airlines to confirm your request, because most airlines
not give seat assignments until you check in. This saves you the
arriving 3.5 hours early to get your seat. Lena was also great in
sure our flights arrived at a decent hour, so our son was not to worn
When possible, she tried to arrange non-stop flights. Something that
very important. It can be very challenging to wait in an airport for
with a baby who has been up all day. If she could not reserve a
she found us a flight that had a close connection. I wouldlike to add
in my experience, making a connection flight in Europe (or wherever
be) is better than making one in the USA. This way at least you are
local time zone. Which was more beneficial for my son, and therefore
Lena did not assist us with hotel reservations for our family, only
husband when he travels on business. However, I am sure she will be
attentive to details as she was with our airline reservations.
we have had good experiences, before our child, with char of bay area
travel, 845-9561. we are currently planning a trip with our
1yr. 6mo. old with her. she listens to our needs and is easy to
discuss things with. hope it works out for you.
Re: Planning Trip to Maui
We just planned a trip to Maui for this Thanksgiving. Found
super cheap ($300) airfares on Travelocity and also had good
luck with a travel agent we found on the internet -- More Hawaii
for Less. We really liked the guy who helped us -- Joe. We are
staying in a mid-scale condo in South Kihei and it comes with 2
rental cars. The travel agent also sells wholesale airfare but
they couldn't beat our surprisingly low Travelocity fare. Good
luck and have fun!
Re: Cruise Ships
As for deals, I would talk to a travel agent who has
experience in booking cruises. Ours was able to
upgrade our stateroom for a teensy more than we would
have paid for the non-balcony one because she received
a fax about a cancellation at the last minute and
notified us that the room had become available. We went
to Dorothy Purdie at Travel Service Montclair.
She knows her
stuff and was good at following through with things.
Her number is 339-7000
re: Trip with 15-year-old
I can't say enough great things about our travel agent, Darlene Beard. She
helped us get excellent deals on airfare and car rental on our last trip to
Ireland and France. She has just joined a new agency that I can't remember
the name of , but her phone number is 547-1899.
We like Ken Alborn at Northside Travel in Berkeley. The number is
843-1000. Be sure to specify Ken Alborn, as there is another Ken there too
(about whom we know nothing). Ken Alborn has planned several trips for our
family over the years.
this page was last updated: Feb 7, 2010
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network