Alumni Special: Karen Meller


Operating her own travel agency, Karen Meller has moved onto great things since her years at Glen Rock High School.

by Lilia Wood, Staff Writer

In eighth grade, Karen Meller learned what she wanted to pursue after graduating from GRHS.  It came to her when her parents were planning her brother’s Bar Mitzvah at a country club, and she tagged along to tour the facility. It clicked to her — she wanted to plan extravagant parties for a living!

Karen Meller graduated from Glen Rock High School in 1983 and in 1987 from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration with a Bachelor of Science Degree. While in college, she realized that there were more aspects to the Hospitality Industry than she had realized. She hoped to branch off into them.

Currently Mrs. Meller owns a Travel Agency, Cruise Planners – Destinations by Karen. She specializes in cruises and all-inclusive vacations. Ms. Meller loves her job because she works with people to plan very exciting events in their lives.

“Since I have my own agency, I have the flexibility to set my own goals, hours, etc….This enables me to maximize my family-time which is also extremely important to me,” says Mrs. Meller. A “typical” day for her does not exist. One day she can be planning an exotic cruise and the next helping a couple maximize their hard-earned vacation dollars. “Every day and every client is a new experience.”

It isn’t necessary to have a college degree, but many things one learns in college will aid the budding travel agent.  Mrs. Meller indicates that being a “people person,” having organizational skills, and not being afraid of expanding your knowledge are crucial to her field. In an industry that is always changing (new cruise ships being introduced, airplanes changing their rules, resorts being renovated, etc.), one has to be on her toes.  Also, she sometimes works unconventional hours for the client’s convenience. “You are the authority – clients come to you with questions and you need to be able to answer them quickly and accurately,” says Mrs. Meller.

She currently lives in Yorktown, VA: a small town similar to Glen Rock. “My husband and I are raising our children a very similar manner that I was raised.  And, I wouldn’t have it any other way!” Karen Meller has such a passion for what she does. “I actually LOVE what I do.  I bet you don’t hear that from a lot of people!”