What is Luxury Travel?
There is a lot of chat these days about luxury travel as well as a huge number of ‘luxury travel deals’ on offer, sometimes so many in fact it becomes overwhelming. I do a great deal of research online with Dr Google and physically visiting destinations, hotels, villas and local suppliers when looking at our tour product/inclusions. Many of these companies position themselves as luxury travel providers but the trick is to find the ones who really do provide a luxury product that suits your travel needs.
I also use the phrase luxury travel to describe my tours, so I thought I would clarify my view of luxury travel, what I believe is important when considering the elements of luxury experiences, and my interpretation when creating a Travelling Divas’ tour….
Access to Time & Space:
To me, these are the most important on the list of luxury travel inclusions in today’s world. In an increasingly busy universe where it can at times feel like the treadmill never stops, time and space are becoming very valuable commodities in daily life. The opportunity to allow yourself to ‘just be’, to sit and reflect on life, drink in the peace and quiet, or to just read a book if you feel like it are essential to both your physical and mental well-being. Two ‘must have’ ingredients for your getaway and they should not be compromised on.
Connect with yourself…and others…
Connection is another essential luxury I treasure, and something that I believe is really necessary when travelling. As social media and technology become more intrusive, not only do you need to indulge yourself by connecting with others, whether they be friends, family or fellow travellers, it is also important that you have time to connect with your inner self and recharge your body, mind and soul.
Please look up…
The Technology Detox:
What did you do before mobile phones, computers, Skype, FB, Instagram, email etc etc etc? Well, you didn’t have them with you on holiday that is for sure! The office couldn’t reach you unless they absolutely needed to, you weren’t glued to your phone seeing what your friends are up to at home whilst you are floating in a gondola on the Grand Canal, missing the very reason you are there (i.e. the view and the extremely gorgeous gondolier!). I love technology and think it is an absolute necessity today, but not when you are on holidays. I watch too many people spending time on their phones during an incredible dinner, throughout a fabulous walking tour or when they are sitting by the pool relaxing and it breaks my heart. Step away from the phone, leave the laptop at home and immerse yourself in your travel. Leave an itinerary with the people who need to find you listing your hotels and their numbers, or if you really can’t live without your devices, leave them in the safe at the hotel and just tap into them in your hotel room – you wouldn’t believe the difference it will make! (Unless they are required to take photos of course – then put them into flight mode!).
The Authentic Moments:
These are the moments that move you to another time and place, that take you out of your everyday and change your world. The one’s that you won’t find on the tourist trail – the game changers. It can be as simple as being on the terrace of a villa in Tuscany under an ancient oak tree, watching the sun go down whilst drinking an exceptional Chianti Classico, listening to a beautiful Italian opera and chatting with your fellow travellers. Or it might be sitting on a bench in a London park next to a returned servicemen who comes to the park everyday to feed the squirrels, and shares with you the tales of his life for he is lonely and needs someone to chat to. For some it is ticking a bucket list moment, such as visiting Machu Picchu or playing tea parties with the Peruvian children when you are out on a hike. Whatever they are, they are luxury and turn a tour or holiday into an experience that will stay with you forever.
Food, Wine and Where You Stay:
These are also really important in the luxury catalogue. Food and wine form the heart of many cultures, whether you want the 5-star gourmet or Michelin experience, or whether you want to sit down to dinner with a family in their home or in a local trattoria and mix with the villagers. It is all about the atmosphere, the cultural interaction and being transported into a different style of life. In combo with this, where you stay also enhances the experience. Luxury doesn’t always have to be 5-star (although there is nothing wrong with this and I also use a lot of gorgeous 5-star properties), it can be a 3-star hotel in a tiny village in Spain that once was a monastery or it can be a tented safari camp in Sri Lanka where the food is divine, the game viewing unbelievable and the safari experience one you will never forget.
In the end, it all depends on what is important to you, and what luxuries you need to make sure a holiday works for you. I love a luxury boutique hotel, but they in themselves can be experiential and offer something you won’t find in the regular luxury chains. I love flying in the Business Class cabin as well but I believe people are now looking beyond these hotel/flight elements when thinking about luxury travel, and what it actually means to them.
Have a great week and I would love to hear what luxury travel means to you!