Frequently Asked Questions

What are TRAVELHAPPY’s booking services?

  • Custom itineraries

    Are you a free, independent traveler who wants advice on what to see and someone to book it for them? I will help you figure out an itinerary with the right mix of sightseeing and relaxation, customized to your requests. Starting at $500 and up.

  • Luxury river and ocean cruises

    Take a river cruise down the Danube or island hop in the Mediterranean . . . where you go is up to you! Once we settle on a sailing (perhaps one with added Virtuoso amenities), I will also help you book business or first class air and pre- and post- cruise accommodations.

  • Luxury guided small-group and private tours, journeys, and expeditions (in the U.S. and abroad)

    Whether it’s a safari in Africa, a luxury small group journey through India and Nepal, or an expedition to Antarctica with world-renowned scientists, I will help you book the vacation of your dreams. Once the tour is confirmed, I will also help you book business or first class air and pre- and post- tour accommodations.

  • Luxury hotel and resort accommodations

    Marissa is a Virtuoso travel advisor, with access to premier amenities at some of the best luxury hotels and resorts in the world.

  • In addition, travelhappy is one of a selected number of travel agents with access to the Marriott STARS and Marriott Luminous programs, which offer VIP treatment and amenities at certain upscale and luxury properties just for booking through qualified travel agents. Read more about the Marriott STARS and Marriott Luminous programs here.

  • Discounted business and first-class flights

    I have access to airline consolidators’ contracts, often allowing me to save clients hundreds on airfare. If I’m not able to get a better deal, the client should book directly with the airline on their own (I can do it, but I charge a ticketing fee). I do not book economy or coach airfare.

  • Assisting clients in selecting and booking pre- and post-tour airport transfers, accommodations, tours, and related services

Do you book vacation rentals?

Yes and no. I don’t book airbnb, but I do book condos and homes that appear on, Villas of Distinction, and A&K Villas. Look around and let me know if there’s anything you’re interested in.

I want to go somewhere! How do I book with you?

I do not charge a booking fee for hotels, cruises, or tours (yay), but I do charge a ticketing fee for business and first class flights of $75pp for domestic tickets and $125pp for international.

My fees begin at $500 to create a fully customized itinerary. The ultimate cost will depend on trip length and complexity and will be determined after initial consultation.

Because of the detailed nature of planning, I only accept a limited number of clients per year. Contact me using the form below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.


What is Virtuoso?

Virtuoso is a luxury travel consortium - a network of the world’s best luxury travel agencies and suppliers (preferred luxury hotels, cruises, tours, etc). Working with a Virtuoso advisor (like Marissa) will ensure you’re treated like the very important person you are and will get you special amenities with Virtuoso suppliers (like wi-fi, free breakfast, and resort credits) when you pay the Virtuoso-contracted “best available rate.”

Booking with a Virtuoso affiliate like TRAVELHAPPY comes with VIP perks: “When a booking comes in through a travel agent, hotels flag those guests as V.I.P.s . . . and they typically enjoy better service during their stays. “You can’t V.I.P. yourself, but an agent has the ability to do that for you[.]” Joshua Bush - 5 Simple Tips for Getting Stellar Hotel Service (Shivani Vora, NYT), Meet the New Travel Agents (a.k.a. Travel Networks) (NYT).

“You can’t V.I.P. yourself, but an agent has the ability to do that for you[.]”
— Joshua Bush, 5 Tips for Getting Stellar Hotel Service

What is a hotel’s “Best Available Rate”?

This is a little confusing, but a hotel’s “Best Available Rate” (BAR) is not usually the lowest rate. “Best” is relative in the travel industry, I guess? However - although it’s not the lowest, the BAR rate is usually: (1) refundable (giving you flexibility if travel plans change) and (2) payable later (i.e., directly to the hotel at the time you stay (rather than being paid in full at the time you reserve the room). 

If you’re at a Virtuoso hotel or resort and paying the Virtuoso-contracted rate (usually the “Best Available Rate”), you will get VIP treatment and special amenities. Basically, you’re paying a certain amount more per night for added service and amenities. It is so worth it!

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