Amanda Marks
A tailor made holiday means that you can get exactly the holiday you want, at the time that you want it, stay in the places which are just right for you, and have the experience you really want.

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:

  1. Has the company been going for some time?
  2. Are they members of AITO or other industry associations which promote quality?
  3. Do they have all the required licences? Eg ATOL if they sell flights, and another form of financial protection for non-flight holidays (eg bonding).  These protect you financially if they go bust.
  4. Do they have any regard to social and environmental responsibility?
  5. 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?
  6. Do they have consultants who really know their destinations well?
  7. Do the consultants work on commission?  On the whole, you might expect a more honest service from those not on commission.
  8. 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.
  9. Does the company put enough store on your health and safety?
  10. 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!

Amanda Marks

Amanda Marks

Amanda Marks is the founder and managing director of award-winning tour operator, Tribes Travel. Having started travelling professionally in her mid-twenties as a tour leader in Africa and the Middle East, she set up Tribes with her husband Guy in 1998. She travels regularly both alone and with her family, and is committed to sustainable travel so we can protect the earth's diversity and beauty for future generations.