Where to find luxury travel experiences

It’s unfortunate that many people limit themselves to high-end resorts and beach vacations thinking that this is the extent of luxury travel. The world is ever-expanding and more tour operators each day are making strides in creating elaborate, unique, and engaging experiences that follow the components of luxury. It’s not so unusual anymore to spend a leisure holiday on safari in the Serengeti, or scuba diving amongst the Great Barrier Reef.

So, what sets a luxury tour apart from a regular tour? The truth is that there isn’t a whole lot of difference other than comfort and convenience. For example, that safari would become a rather pleasant excursion when you can retire to a soft bed or whirlpool bath at the end of day. Returning to the opulence of an ocean liner after a day of scuba diving is a welcome conclusion to a tour. When you’re looking for a luxury vacation, don’t forget to check out all the options. These can include (but are not limited to):

- Group luxury tours: These usually include 5-star accommodations, concierge services, a spa, and a group tour guide.
- Individual luxury tours: These are similar to group luxury tours, but are more intimate, allowing you additional one-on-one communication with your tour guide.
- Luxury cruises: This involves a stay on an all-inclusive elite cruise ship (river or ocean).
- Luxury safaris: With chic safari tents and all the comforts of a hotel, these are becoming quite popular.
- Spa getaways: As the name suggests, this involves a stay at a luxurious spa for quality pampering.

Some tour operators specialize in luxury travel, but it’s always recommended that you book these tours through a qualified travel agent. Your agent can make sure you understand the terms you are agreeing to, that you get the best possible deal, and even step in and help out if your plans begin to unravel. Some big names in luxury travel are …

1. Abercrombie & Kent
At Abercrombie & Kent, we strive at every turn to redefine your notion of what is possible on a vacation. Our approach combines singular service — such as a private passage by road and lake through the Andes, or a maximum group size of only 12 guests on each Galápagos shore excursion — with insider-access opportunities unlike any you have experienced before. A&K lets you discover Machu Picchu through the eyes of its former resident archaeologist, and introduces you to Mayan culture firsthand, through an exclusive meeting with a Mayan family.

2. Big Five Tours & Expeditions
Big Five Tours & Expeditions is a premier luxury travel company offering individualized vacations worldwide. From custom-designed, private vacations to fully-escorted, special-interest groups, Big Five luxury tour operators specialize in satisfying your discriminating taste for the ultimate travel experience. Travel on one of our distinctive journeys to your favorite exotic destinations that span Africa, South and Central America (including the Galapagos Islands), Asia and The Orient, South Pacific, Antarctica and The Arctic.

3. Kensington Tours
Kensington Tours specializes in custom tours to over 90 countries worldwide. Our tailor-made journeys are carefully crafted to deliver a personalized adventure like no other. We build in extraordinary, enriching experiences and put the best private guides at your service. We do all this with award-winning attention to detail and unbeatable value for your travel dollar.

4. Tauck
How You See The World Matters
It's easy to see the world's sights. To stand in long lines, push through the crowds, and generally have the same standard-issue vacation as everyone else. But that's not good enough for us, and it's not good enough for you. We believe that travel should be easy. It should be fun. It should be worth your time and the price you paid. It should re-energize and transform. And above all else, it should be beyond the ordinary. Because how you see the world matters.

5. Virtuoso
Virtuoso is the travel industry’s leading luxury network. This organization includes more than 330 agencies with 7,200 elite Advisors in 20 countries throughout North and South America, the Caribbean, Australia, and New Zealand.
Travelers who use Virtuoso’s Advisors get access to more than 1,300 of the world’s premier travel providers, as well as exclusive services, experiences, and products.

The demand for luxury travel is expanding at such an expeditious rate that more tour companies are rising to meet the challenge. With each operator offering their own taste of intrigue into their tours, it can become difficult to settle on one. Fortunately, the luxury travel industry has no end in sight, meaning you have time to take it all in. Luxury travel to last a lifetime - who could ask for more?

by Colleen Ludgate on 12/04/2013 in Local Events