What’s your standard holiday format? Do you go for a package deal and follow the suggested where-to-go-and-what-to-do? Or do you wing it yourself and figure it out when you get there? Have you ever weighed up the benefits of tailor-made holidays?
Personally we tend to wing it, and with a lot of research usually arrive with a folder containing a list of things we’d like to see and do. But I’m also aware that time and again over the years, employing a little expert guidance has turned a good experience into a great one. The guide around Pompeii. The Eating tour of Amsterdam. The tip from a local in Verona to go to the gelateria at the foot of the funicular, and then head up to the top to eat our ice cream as the sun set over the city.
The benefit of an insider’s knowledge and experience is often priceless. Really it’s what we’re all hunting for – it’s why we all scour the reviews and travel sites, to try and glean some information from those who have gone before.
We all remember the days of a travel agent, when you’d walk in, sit down and tell them what you wanted – they’d provide excellent advice, hand you some brochures to flip through, and come up with suggestions tailored to your requirements.
These days we all tend to do it online; the days of the high street travel agent are severely limited. But when you’re on your own, it’s a bedazzling and confusing place out there – and I’ve found that simply shouting “I want accomodation for six (in five rooms), with Wi-Fi, takes the dog, has a private pool, including a guided tour of the local ruins, and can you let me know the best places to eat locally please” at your computer doesn’t really work.
You will of course sort out how you’re getting there, where you’ll stay and probably some wheels to get around on.
But feeling confident about the area you’re staying in, where’s good to eat, what’s the best way to make the most of your visit to the nearest city, and what’s really going to be worth taking your 14yr old to see? Not so much.
And this is where I can really see the benefits of tailor-made holidays. Why not let someone else (some one far more qualified!) do the hard work? You can enjoy just the one fact-finding conversation, telling someone else exactly what you like, dislike, really want to experience, would love to see, and really very much hate and wish to avoid… and then sit back and get on with your day, safe in the knowledge that someone else with far greater insight and experience and the inside track on the local area is getting your trip set up for you.
And every parent knows the death knell of any trip is a bo-o-o-ored kid tagging at the back with face like a wet weekend in November, surgically attached to their phone and barely raising a polite shoulder shrug at the displayed marvels you’ve taken them to see.
However – find something that they’ll enjoy as much as you? Oh, that’s where the magic happens. That’s where the fun starts, the joy spreads and magic memories are made.
A personalised itinerary can incorporate all the things you love, guided by a local who will really know where to go and what to see – and the small back stories along the way that make travel such a wonderful experience.
They’ll know something which your teen will love as much as you – just listen to their advice and suggestions.
Sure, you can use Google and find a local tourist hotspot – and visit along with a thousand others. Or you can be introduced to a local who will act as translator and guide, maybe have access after hours, provide a private tour or show you the places everyone else overlooks and misses out on.
Not to mention that the benefits of tailor-made holidays start right at the beginning – did you know, for example, that a Voyageurs Collection trip includes being met by the team at the airport, being fast-tracked through check-in, whisked through security and then left to relax in the comfort of an airport lounge – even if you’re flying economy.
And then, once you’re away, the other benefits of tailor-made holidays become pretty obvious. With in-depth knowledge of your destination, a Concierge will be able to help whether you want to book the best table in town, find a flea market, enjoy a private museum tour or book a yoga class. They can also find you the best babysitter in the area, a guide best suited to your interests and, if needed, change a flight, find a room and sort out any kind of transport you might need.
I admit, I had a mosey through some of suggested itineraries on The Voyageurs Collection. Want to see some to get your travel planning dreams flowing? Here…
Exploring Iceland as a family
- A trip created for families who don’t want to do a huge amount of travelling, where you can stay on a farm and enjoy nature’s playground
- Lava flows, glacial lagoons, bubbling mud pools, and the midnight sun; Iceland’s majestic landscapes will fascinate both adults and children
- Your itinerary includes a boat ride on the glacial lagoon and a trip to greet whales
- Access to our local Concierge, a car, GPS and the best, hand-picked recommended locations make this a stress-free family holiday
See all the details of this Iceland trip here
Marrakech & the Moroccan Desert: Secrets of the Medina and Desert Camping
- Experience Morocco in two parts, the hustle and bustle of Marrakech and then the silence of the desert
- Your accommodation: a riad in the heart of the medina and a lodge in the middle of white dunes
- Visit to the medina in Marrakech; a desert hike – it’s all included
Details of this Morrocan adventure here