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Ann St. Hilaire

New York, New York Travel Agent

My Life in Travel

Some people search their whole lives to find a career they can be passionate about. My very first summer job as a high school student was working in travel agency, and that set me on the path to where I am today.

On the way, I spent twenty years running the travel department for a large media and entertainment company. I planned their events at the Cannes Film Festival, New Orleans Jazz Festival and other big events around the world, chartering planes, making VIP arrangements for executives, and arranging high-level conferences and meetings. It was exciting, but it wasn’t my true passion.

What I really love is traveling, encountering different cultures and then sharing what I’ve experienced as I plan trips for my clients. Since I joined Protravel Interntaional—the country's leading luxury travel agency—in 2002, that has been my focus.

If you’re looking for a trip filled with exotic experiences that take you to the heart of a culture, you’re the kind of traveler I want to work with.

I pride myself on being able to create complex itineraries that minimize the hassles of being in transit and maximize your time in each place you visit. Often what looks like a short hop on a map involves long layovers and lots of time changing planes, so especially when going to off-the-grid places, it’s important to carefully connect all the dots. I also make sure that I match my clients with the right guide for them. For example, one family with a 13-year old always wants their trips to be super-educational. But I know that their daughter will be miserable unless I find a guide who is engaging, so I am careful to screen carefully for a guide who has both good credentials and a good sense of humor.

One of my favorite things is the ongoing relationships I develop with my clients. For many, I began by planning their honeymoon, then their travels with their children, and now, in some cases, planning their children’s honeymoons. It is especially fun to plan a trip for someone when you know where they’ve been and what they like. Whether it’s the first trip I’m planning for you or the 50th, be assured that I will take the time to understand your travel likes, dislikes and dreams.

Finally, as someone whose career is in the travel industry, I also feel it is important for me to give back. I do this by volunteering and planning the travel for several not-for-profit groups who travel the world to help and heal the sick and underprivileged. Among the agencies I volunteer with are Healing the Children, Hearts Around the World, Smile Train and Smile Bangladesh. I occasionally go and help pack supplies as well.

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