7 Questions with Karen Lee-Ishmael - Brownell Hosting

7 Questions with Karen Lee-Ishmael


Karen Lee-Ishmael started her career in travel at 16 when she planned a 14-day tour through Europe for herself and 5 friends. She still remembers each exciting detail of that “coming of age” trip, and since then, travel has been a major part of her life.

After graduating from Smith College, earning an MBA from University of Miami, getting married, having twins, founding and managing two tech businesses (whew!), Karen decided to change careers and start Bite Travel, LLC. Believing that travel provides an education like no other, she joined Brownell Travel’s Mentoring Program and has never looked back. Karen combines her experiences living in South America, the United Kingdom, and North America with her extensive travels to create custom trips for her clients.

Karen gives the inside scoop on her trips + shares her travel tips below!

1. What 5 things do you always have in your carry-on?

A change of clothing, the novel I’ve been trying to finish reading all year (I’m very optimistic on flights); my laptop computer; lip balm, hand-sanitizing wipes.

2. What was the best meal you’ve ever had while traveling?

This is a tough one. I’ve been fortunate and have enjoyed some really delicious meals on my travels. One of the most recent, gastronomic delights has been served at Grace Santorini in Greece. Not only was the meal superb – four delicious courses with locally sourced, fresh ingredients – the entire experience was enhanced by the amazing views of the caldera from the Hotel’s patio. Al fresco dining at its most spectacular! The main course was a Kritharáki pasta cooked in a seafood and tomato broth with Assyrtiko wine and topped off with mussels and shrimp. I keep a photo I took of that dish in my family album, it was so loved.


3. What popular destination lives up to the hype?

Hawaii. Beautiful landscapes and beaches, lovely people, the world’s most remote island chain which adds a level of excitement and exclusivity to the destination. The islands offer so much to do and see, appealing to all ages groups – nothing else needed for a perfect vacation.

Karen zip-lining in Hawaii

Karen zip-lining in Hawaii

4 .What is your travel motto?

Don’t wait for the best time to travel. Travel, and create the best time.

5. Where are you headed next?

My family is going to London in spring, and Peru and Machu Picchu in summer.

6. What is your travel extravagance?

Luxurious accommodations with excellent room service.

7. If you could leave today and go anywhere, where would you go?

Indochina – Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

Cheers! Karen in Santorini

Cheers! Karen in Santorini

For more information about Karen visit www.bitetravel.com.


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The mentoring program was critical

“The Brownell mentoring program was critical to the successful launch of my travel business. It was a year well-spent learning the ins and outs of the industry and the Virtuoso network. When I graduated from the program, I felt fully integrated into the company and was ready to take my business to the next level.”

Katherine Gould, Richmond, VA

We could not do this without you!

“The Mentoring Program gave us the chance and the training to start a business AND the continued support to grow that businesss. We could not do this without you!”

King & Whitson, Chattanooga, TN & Washington, VA Washington, VA

I have reached goals beyond my expectations

“I wanted to convert my love for travel, marketing skills, client service skills, and technology background into a career. Fortunately, Brownell’s mentoring program allowed me to do just that and allowed me to reach goals that were beyond my expectations. An unexpected bonus of joining Brownell has been becoming part of an organization where each part of the team is truly supportive of my efforts and is interested in my ongoing success. Brownell’s methods and techniques serve as a daily inspiration.”

Linda Terrill, Atlanta, GA

An incredible opportunity to join the industry as a newbie

“The mentoring program was an incredible opportunity to join one of the premier travel agencies in the world as a complete newbie. Brownell’s staff was always available and willing to help with the countless questions I had during my first year. Being mentored by the top travel professionals in the industry contributed immensely to the success that I am now enjoying.”

David Ourisman, Berkeley, CA

I am loving every minute of my new career

“The Mentorship program is amazing! I am loving every minute of my new career.”

Kristen Nix, Whitefish, MT