There are many advantages to working with the oldest travel agency in North America, and our deep relationships with the very best luxury travel companies in the world is chief among them. We are a top producer and “preferred” partner with the world’s best cruise lines, hotels and resorts, tour operators and destination management companies. Our contacts are, more often than not, the owners and chief executives of these companies and that means you have a voice all the way to the top.

We are members of virtually every affinity club and preferred partner program that is important to our clients. This translates into very special treatment, benefits, access, amenities and savings for you! These programs offer our clients rare and exclusive opportunities not available by booking directly, through websites such as Expedia and Travelocity, or through other travel agencies.

Custom Travel Planning Fees

The process of researching and putting together a customized, bespoke proposal that matches your travel desires takes time.  The trip planning fee covers initial consultation and discussion of your trip dreams and expectations, time spent researching, developing, and revising a proposal to create the perfect customized itinerary, booking and managing all components, and support while traveling. The travel planning fee varies based on the length and complexity of the trip and starts at $250.

Because it covers the initial consultation, research, and time spent on the proposal, this fee will be charged at time of proposal delivery, regardless of whether a client books a trip with us. When, however, a client books a trip with us, this fee also covers travel support during the trip, and booking of the trip itself.

Fees are non-refundable, and will be charged when the proposal is delivered to you.

Hotel Only Bookings - No Fees!

We pride ourselves in our solid vendor relationships at 5-star, luxury hotels and resorts throughout the world. These unparalleled relationships allow us to offer exceptional value-added amenities and VIP experiences to your hotel stays. When you book through us we can you make you a VIP and get perks and benefits at Virtuoso and partner hotels that you cannot get when you book directly or through an online booking engine. For hotel-only bookings that require no additional consultation or travel planning services, we do not charge any booking or planning fees.

These valuable benefits often include amenities such as:

  • Complimentary Breakfast for two
  • Upgrade (on arrival, subject to availability)
  • Resort, Food & Beverage or Spa credit (usually valued at $100 per stay)
  • Early check-in/check-out (subject to availability)

*Please note that if the hotel is not a member of Virtuoso or a preferred partner, I may not be able to get you additional benefits.

However, in the following cases, we do charge fees for hotel bookings:

  • We are always happy to provide a few hotel options for you to choose from. However more time-intensive requests requiring sourcing options from an extended list of vetted options will be charged $100.00/per reservation. For more comprehensive assistance, we can discuss and see if a full-service customized itinerary makes more sense.

  • Late Booking Fees of $50 for all hotels requested within 7 days prior to departure.

  • Changes and cancellations: We understand that your plans can change, however due to the work that is put upfront to secure reservations and VIP notice prior to your travels, we reserve the right to charge a $50 fee per change or cancellation. Change and Cancellation penalty is waived on the first three occurrences annually.

Concierge Service

Our Trip Planning Fees cover the logistics of the trip, and includes land arrangements including hotels, trains, transfers, and scheduled activities. We are also happy to assist with simple restaurant reservations on-site at a resort or hotel where you are staying for no additional fee.

For our Concierge services, such as local restaurant reservations, extensive scheduling and suggestions of self-guided activities during your leisure time, theater tickets, and other Concierge services such as setting up a special event, our rates begin at $100 per week of travel.

This fee is completely optional – if clients prefer to explore/make their own reservations for restaurants, theater tickets, and other optional components, it is not charged.

Airline Tickets

Serena McClain Travel does not directly book or issue flights to/from your destination unless traveling in business class or above. In the ever changing world of air-travel it is simply not our area of expertise. However, we do provide flight suggestions and will you advise you on the best way to get to the region, and in many cases we can steer you to flight agents or travel websites who can help with your travel arrangements and provide support throughout your travel. If you’ve ever had a cancelled flight, you understand how invaluable these services are! *Note that additional fees may be charged by these flight agents or travel websites for all ticketing.

“A La Carte” Trip Components

The best trip is a seamless one, where all pieces and parts smoothly flow together without any confusion. Because of this, we prefer to work on trips holistically, and not just assist with small “a la carte” pieces (such as a rental car or airport transfer only). From experience, we have learned that in planning the Custom Trip as a whole, we are able to step in if there are any issues, and ensure the experience is exceptional. This policy also enables us to focus and devote our attention to creating and perfecting your honeymoon, anniversary, getaway, family reunion, Christmas vacation, birthday blowout, and trip of a lifetime!

However, there are circumstances in which clients have already booked their accommodations but need assistance with other components such as tours, restaurant and spa reservations, and other activities. We accept these on a case by case basis, and implement the activity management fee below:

Activity Management Fee

For clients who have already booked their trip and do not need a detailed itinerary, but need help planning specific activities and restaurant reservations, we will produce a personalized menu of suggested activities within the destination. Once the client has made activity selections, we will manage the reservations and send confirmations. The fee is $400 per trip and covers trips up to 10 days. 

We require 45-days notice prior to a trip to produce the menu and 2 weeks prior to the trip to confirm reservations. Outside of that timeline, additional last-minute booking fees may apply.