Trying tailor-made


Tailor-made holidays are all about getting to do what you want, when you want, for as long as you want, and where you want. Fancy giving it a try?

…a personal holiday planning service…

It’s a personal holiday planning service. A tailor-made travel company such as Tribes will talk to you about what experiences you’re hoping for from your time away, and work with you to get as close as possible to your dream.

This flexibility means that you could, for example, choose to have a few days in a luxury lodge on the beach, but follow that with some real adventure trekking in the rainforest.  Or you might want to join a group trip for the first week of your holiday then have another week doing your own thing.

A tailor-made holiday also allows you to choose the specific accommodation and methods of transport that you fancy (subject to availability of course) and pick the most appropriate activities and experiences for your interests.

In comparison with a group holiday you will probably be paying extra, as you don’t get the economies of scale when it comes to sharing costs of transport, guides and so on.  However, you can still very much expect value for money.

Tailor-made doesn’t have to be all about taking a luxury trip. Sometimes set (or even flexible) itineraries, however great, just don’t fit what you need, whether that’s in terms of activities or even just timing. Recently, for example, we had a client who needed two mini-breaks tailored to sit either side of a conference her husband was attending in Costa Rica – she struggled for weeks to find a company to create these for her until she came to Tribes.

You get to talk to one of our friendly consultants.

Tailor-made with Tribes

When you talk tailor-made to us we start by getting a picture of what you want, whether that’s a set of parameters to work with or a highly-detailed wishlist, along with an indication of your holiday budget.

You’ll be dealing throughout with one of our friendly consultants, someone who loves, specialises in and really knows the region you want to travel to, and who can suggest improvements/amendments that might make your dream trip even better. They will know all about those added extras, such as bespoke experiences or excursions off the beaten track, that make a good holiday into a trip of a lifetime, and, once they understand how you tick and the specific requirements you and your fellow travellers have, can suggest things that you may never have thought of but that add immeasurably to the whole experience. And they don’t work on commission, so can give you truly impartial advice.

To help us get a clear picture of what would work best for you, in addition to bearing in mind your approximate budget, we’d need to know things like:

  • How many of you will be travelling – and will there be any children or travellers with specific needs (e.g. disabled travellers) in the party?
  • How long would you like your holiday to be and when (or approximately when) would you like to travel?
  • Is there are particular country orregion that you want to go to?
  • What you hope for from this holiday – is it for deep relaxation, an action-packed adventure, or perhaps you want to immerse yourself in culture?
  • If there is something specific you want to do – perhaps you’ve always dreamed of horse riding in Patagonia, hiking along the Inca trail or mastering the art of a particular cuisine?
  • Whether you’ve set your heart (and budget) on luxury hotels and spas throughout or have a yen for rustic lodges or perhaps wild camping in the African bush, and whether you want beach, mountain, desert, rainforest, city – or a bit of everything!

Then we start to plan your trip – always remembering that it is your trip.

You’re never presented with a ‘take it or leave it’ itinerary (unless there is a lack of availability), we work closely with you to truly create a bespoke itinerary that gets as close as possible to what you’ve set your heart on. And, once your trip is booked, we are still there for you, making sure you have everything you need both in the lead-up to and on your holiday.

© Shutterstock – Joseph Mortimer

A client who travelled tailor-made to India with us recently commented, “Paul put together a great holiday for us – he listened to what we wanted and made the itinerary accordingly”, while a client for whom we tailor-made a holiday in Ecuador said “It was planned to be a memorable and unique holiday and that’s how it turned out so we were delighted.”

Going tailor-made – what you need to know

Finding a really good travel company and consultant that you trust is key.  You need someone who is going to listen to you carefully so that they understand clearly what you are wanting from your holiday.

A consultant that has a good range of destination knowledge is also important, as they are able to compare different places for you, and so get you closer to the experience you are looking for.  Hopefully they have visited many of the places which are on your wishlist, and maybe also know quite a few of the lodges and hotels you could consider.

Obviously, for a really special and luxury holiday, you don’t want to worry about your services. You want to know that everything will run like clockwork, that the services are high quality, and that you also have good backup in case of unforeseen problems.  So, choosing a reputable company is critical. Look for membership of trade organisations such as AITO (Association of Independent Tour Operators) who have quality standards for their members.  And testimonials can give you a good idea of a company’s reputation, as long as there are plenty of them, so it’s obvious they’ve not been made up!

Here is a checklist of things to look for in a travel company:

  • Has the company been going for some time?
  • Are they members of AITO or other industry associations which promote quality?
  • Do they have all the required licences? Are they bonded with ATOL (5802) and ABTOT so able to provide 100% financial protection?
  • Do they have any regard to social and environmental responsibility?
  • Are there testimonials from previous clients you can read?  Or perhaps even an actual client they can put you in touch with? Or maybe verified client satisfaction ratings?
  • Do they have consultants who really know their destinations well?
  • Do the consultants work on commission?  On the whole, you might expect a more honest service from those not on commission.
  • Is the company independent and can therefore sell any services and properties they wish, or are they tied to certain hotel chains etc?   Don’t limit your choices unwittingly.
  • Does the company put enough store on your health and safety?
  • Do they have adequate back up services in case you have a problem?

Any good company should be able to answer all of these questions easily and positively.

So, for a very special holiday, don’t risk your money and your precious time. Get help from a good tailor-made holiday company. There are lots out there – and one right here!

Amanda Marks - Author

Amanda Marks is a founder and director of Tribes Travel. She believes travel opens hearts and minds.

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