Updated: Feb 23
Luxury travel - it's all about the money, right? Actually, no. Upscale and luxury travel is about the perceived value for your travel dollar. Remember that upscale and luxury means something different to everyone. No matter what you consider luxury, upscale travel needs to be thought about very carefully to assess what you want out of the experience. After consulting with my seasoned travel clients, below is a list of 5 mistakes to avoid as you consider your first or next luxury vacation.
MISTAKE #1 - NOT HIRING A TRAVEL CONSULTANT Let's face it - planning travel can be frustrating. Planning travel where you are spending more is even more stressful. In either case, there is absolutely no replacement for a good travel consultant. What you see on the internet as you search for a luxury travel experience only scratches the surface. Contrary to popular belief, a travel consultant (Where2Next? Travel, LLC included!) has access to amenities and upgrades that the general public does not, and can negotiate added values on your behalf. Your agent will come to your rescue in case of flight cancellation, travel emergencies, travel perks, room upgrades, late checkouts and things you don't even think of. If your travel consultant charges a plan to go or research fee, it is worth every dollar to take the stress away from you and let an expert handle the time-consuming research and planning phase. Many travel consultants credit this fee towards your vacation cost should you book a proposal. If you are looking for the most value for your vacation dollar, first spend on a good travel consultant - you will not regret it!
MISTAKE #2 - BEING TEMPTED Social media has changed the way we perceive travel, and everyone, including luxury travel brands, spend quite a bit on advertisement. Every travel opportunity strives to become an "Instagrammable" moment in time. While social media and gorgeous advertising campaigns are certainly creative ways to discover what a destination is about, it absolutely should not be the only criteria for deciding your next journey. Misinformation and false advertising about many destinations abounds, and you simply cannot believe everything you see and hear. This is where your travel consultant - a good travel consultant - is your best resource. Luxury travel should be planned wisely, no matter what your budget.
MISTAKE #3 - SKIPPING THE LOCAL AND CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
Lounging on a private beach - extravagant cuisine - high end shopping. Part of the luxury travel experience? Certainly can be. However, when asked by your family, friends and colleagues "What's ______________ like?," what will you say? Instead, book a private tour with a professional, local tour guide - eat at a restaurant frequented by those who live in the city. My clients always bring back at least one or two cultural experiences from their trips and have wonderful stories to tell for years (for example, my impromptu salsa dance with our tour guide in the Dominican Republic (yes, it's on video!); learning about and participating in a cleansing ritual in Indonesia; bartering in the local markets of Kusadasi and Ephesus for custom made items; participating in a village welcome ceremony in Algeria; dining at a small, family-owned restaurant in Rome with a spectacular view of Palatine Hill and no crowds; cruising the canals of Saint Petersburg, Russia). These are the things you tell your grandchildren about.
MISTAKE #4 - BEING OBVIOUS This advice goes for all travelers as well as luxury travelers - carry only what you need and don't flaunt your wealth. Be knowledgeable about your destination before your departure - make an effort to learn about the country, political situation, safe accommodations and cultural norms - again, your travel consultant can play a pivotal role here. Travel with your heart, and your eyes, open. When visiting places of worship, dress modestly and respect the customs. Ask before to you take photos of the locals. Take enough cash for the day - leave your jewelry in the safe - take precautions to protect your passport and valuables from thieves and pickpockets. That high-end camera equipment you have? Take the minimum you need for photos or better yet, most mobile phones have excellent cameras and are easily put away when not in use. And of course, don't just take photos for the sake of posting them on social media - learn something about what you are getting a shot of - makes the picture all the more meaningful.
MISTAKE #5 - NOT USING A SPECIALTY TOUR SUPPLIER
Going skiing? Deep sea fishing? On safari? Use a supplier that specializes in that activity - your travel consultant can help you here as well, and can take the time to vet a supplier's reputation, safety record and get authentic information. If your travel consultant is part of a consortium, s/he has access to a vast list of trusted suppliers on hand to choose from and can match you to a provider that meets your travel requirements. Specialty suppliers know the local area and best ways of transport, as their reputation and livelihood depends on them maximizing and delivering a memorable travel experience for you. If a bespoke vacation is your goal, stick with the specialists! By the way, Where2Next? Travel, LLC is a member of the Signature Travel Network.
I trust this information is helpful - if you have any questions about making travel arrangements or what we do here at Where2Next? Travel, LLC, please feel free to reach out! If you're thinking about your summer vacation plans and don't have any ideas on what you'd like to do or where you'd like to go, please take my Travel Interest Survey. The results are safe and come directly to me. I'll review them and get in touch with you to help you with your travel plans and find a luxury vacation that's right for you.
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