By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
Spending months at home as the pandemic continues to disrupt all aspects of life, Palisadians have begun to think about what travel will look like in the “new normal.”
Enter Terry Bahri—owner of TerryB Luxury Travel—who specializes as a luxury travel agent in the Palisades and beyond. She runs a full-service, boutique travel and lifestyle concierge company.
While staying at home dreaming of the next trip, Bahri can help plan it, as she shared that travel is her passion, her profession and her hobby.
“For me, to travel is to live,” Bahri said to the Palisadian-Post. “I was born to do this.”
Though Bahri specializes in luxury travel, she acknowledged that is not a good fit for all of her clients, and therefore, she offers everything from custom trips to private tours and private transfers.
Bahri is currently focusing on holiday travel for the winter season: During COVID-19, travel has been largely destinations within the U.S. and Mexico. She has worked with clients to plan trips to Tulum, Cabo San Lucas and La Paz in the past few months.
With COVID-19 concerns, some open countries include Turkey, Croatia, Tahiti, the Maldives, selected Caribbean Islands and several cities in Mexico.
“There are 24 countries in total welcoming U.S. visitors,” Bahri said. “However, the restrictions change on a daily basis.”
Bahri explained that some countries are open, but with a strict 14-day quarantine.
“These countries are not very popular, as no one has the time to travel for such a long period of time,” Bahri explained. “We hope to see more destinations open their borders as the festive season approaches.”
In different parts of the world, Bahri explained, many hotels are only allowed to book up to 30% occupancy. Masks are required in public areas, and restaurants are allowed to operate with social distancing in mind.
“Once Mexico opened, I wanted to experience post COVID-19 protocols for myself,” she shared, such as wearing masks in the airport and on all flights.
She has been twice to Cabo San Lucas and once to La Paz. When she arrived, she completed a health questionnaire and had her temperature taken. She shared Alaska Airlines and Delta are two airlines that are practicing social distancing by keeping the middle seat blocked.
“I’m hopeful and confident that this new way of travel is only temporary once we are over the pandemic,” Bahri said.
Other considerations were things like taking a temperature and stepping into disinfecting solutions before entering a hotel, the rooms being sanitized and disinfected, and an option for daily housekeeping or no housekeeping.
Ninety percent of her clientele is in the Palisades, and Bahri makes house calls and visits.
“Most of my clients are word-of-mouth and recommendations and referrals,” Bahri explained.
Bahri was voted one of the top 25 travel agents in the nation in 2013, among other awards. She also speaks several languages, including French, English, Arabic, as well as conversational Italian and Spanish.
“I do destinations I’m really qualified in,” Bahri added.
Born in Egypt, raised in Lebanon and educated in France, Bahri has been based in the United States for four decades. Prior to that, she lived in France, Belgium, Cairo, Beirut and Greece.
She explained that she works with clients who fly to Europe, the South Pacific, Haiti, Fiji and Australia, to name a few. Her business is typically focused on destination weddings and honeymoons.
“I was doing wedding shows to get leads and clients,” Bahri said. “Europe was my biggest thing.”
Bahri also shared that she helps a lot of Formula One drivers: Singapore is famous for its night race, while Monte Carlo is very expensive.
Her career in travel began working at en Route Travel in the Palisades for almost a decade before launching her own business in 2015.
Palisadians that are looking forward to traveling as international borders open are encouraged to reach out to TerryB Luxury Travel now, so Bahri can keep an eye out and gather information for when times change. Bahri urged travelers to go through a travel agent.
“The travel agent will have your back,” Bahri explained. “If you book something on the internet, you’re at the bottom of the totem pole for the hotel, versus VIP.”
This helps clients have a better experience, as agents have a working with the relationship with the hotel and bring them business, giving the client preference compared to a fly-by internet client.
“I contact the hotel before your arrival and tell them to take good care of you,” Bahri said. “You can’t VIP yourself.”
When asked about her favorite personal destination, Bahri said: “Take me to Paris anytime.”
For more information, visit terrybluxurytravel.com or call 310-890-7707.
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