Why a tailor-made holiday can make your travel dreams become a reality…
Once considered a luxury for the retired and wealthy, tailor-made travel has recently seen a growth in interest among young adventurers. If you’re keen to experience authentic travel in more exotic locations, without the time consuming planning and research, then tailor made travel may be for you.
What exactly is a tailor made holiday, anyway?
Consider it as more adventurous than a package holiday, more comfortable than backpacking and less restricted than an escorted group tour. Tailor made holidays are individually customised to your personal preference and budget and can open up a world of exciting possibilities not found on google or in a printed brochure.
Can I book the same thing myself on the internet?
In many cases, perhaps you can. But a good tailor made tour operator will usually have both personal experience of visiting that country and also have strong relationships with local guides, lodging and tour providers. These key relationships mean your travel specialist can present an honest, objective and updated picture of what a place is truly like, if it matches well with your expectations and if there are better, newer or more suitable alternatives. Remember that internet review sites can be manipulated and your google searches are controlled by algorithms, so the advice of a real life human expert is invaluable! In addition, booking through an ATOL licensed operator means you have protection when abroad should anything go wrong, and usually 24/7 service to update and protect you during your trip.
Will it be expensive?
Not necessarily, and probably less than you think. The key to tailor made travel is that it’s tailored to your budget so tour operators can use their knowledge, special rates and relationships with suppliers to bring together the best personalised holiday, focusing on the aspects that are most important to you. You may be surprised that a typical 10 day tour to South East Asia can start at £2,000 per person, including international flights. It is rare that you could book an identical itinerary with the same level and inclusions of accommodation, experienced, licensed tour guides, reliable transfers and travel and save enough money to make it worth your time or the increased risk of the unknown!
Can we still be independent?
Absolutely! In most destinations, a good tailor made holiday is comprised of half or full day tours where expert guidance is necessary (especially around wildlife and remote areas) and days at leisure to explore the area, nightlife (or simply the hotel pool), in your own time. If you feel the itinerary draft is too action-packed, then simply ask to extend the leisure days or remove the tours that don’t interest you as much. This is your holiday after all!
What are the other benefits?
Aside from the flexibility, you are getting access to guides and tour companies that have been tested, regulated vetted and thoroughly briefed. The internet can only confirm so much and we know that in several South American countries, all it takes is a boat and a website to set yourself up as a river rafting company. Our local experts all carry liability insurance, are registered and licensed, and have a back-office team to communicate your requirements in advance and support you during your journey. The guides are professional and well trained, multi lingual and will know the best ways to avoid queues and pressure points at major attractions and take you to the secret spots for your own private experience or Instagram moment. (They often make great personal photographers too!)
Tips for planning the best tailor made holiday
Don’t waste your time. One of the main reasons to choose a tailor made tour is to rely on the experts to choose the best experience to suit your style and preference. If you do loads of internet research, agonize over website reviews and pick apart price comparison sites, then not only can you get yourself in a muddle, you’ll take away the value of what the expert travel consultancy provides. It’s best to share a few ‘must-do’ activities (like diving, trekking, wildlife encounters), name a few places you’d really like to see, and let your specialist suggest an itinerary.
Don’t waste their time .The reality is that there are many respectable operators like Odyssey World offering a similar service and product. If you try and play one operator off against another to save a few pounds, you may not always be comparing like for like so any price differences on the surface may not be an accurate representation. Further, if several operators are searching for your same trip with the same suppliers where there’s limited availability, you may end up with conflicting information and increased prices (especially from airlines) when duplicate enquiries are made. After a few initial enquiries, it is best to choose just one operator for their initial display of enthusiasm and knowledge and work with them exclusively to create the best result.
Be honest about your budget. A 14 day itinerary to Bali could range in price from £1,700pp in low season with good accommodation, shared transfers and group excursions, to £17,000pp over Christmas for an exquisite private experience with infinity pool villas, exclusive tours, butler service and private guides. The options are endless, so it’s best to give your travel specialist a realistic budget of what you’d like to spend so they can position the tour accordingly.
Respect your consultant. Most tour operators provide a free proposal and quote service. This is great for you to get an idea of what a destination can offer, but do keep in mind this service takes time and effort in order to compile an accurate quote. Your travel consultant will be communicating with several local suppliers in a different time zone to create an accurate quote for your bespoke holiday. If you’re working with an independent tour operator, your specialist will be passionate about the destination they are advising you on and will become personally invested in ensuring you choose the best itinerary for greatest enjoyment. You have every right to choose the holiday that’s right for you, but good karma comes to those who don’t try and play one consultant off another, informs the consultant if they’ve made another choice and certainly don’t use the tour operator as a free advice service to gather information to book directly. And good karma is a great thing to take around the world.
Odyssey World offers tailor made tours to amazing destinations in Africa, Arabia, Asia and the Americas. From self-drive adventures in Namibia, Costa Rica or Oman to fully guided experiences in Peru, Madagascar or Borneo or more leisurely holidays in Bali, Thailand or Canada, we help you travel the world your way. So when you’re thinking of your next adventure, email the travel specialists at Odyssey World and allow your travel dreams to become a reality!