On-sites, the Ultimate Secret to Luxury Travel

I recently returned from a trip to Southeast Asia during which I visited Hong Kong, Bangkok, Siem Reap, and Chiang Mai. Months before the trip, I had contracted with local Virtuoso on-sites to provide airport transfers, drivers and local guides for days of sightseeing, and to arrange the site visits I wanted to make to various hotels in each destination.

They did all this and more. Much, much more.

Travel can be a stressful experience, especially for those of us who like to feel totally in control. The task of mastering the details of an itinerary can become an obsession.

What should we see in each destination?

• In what order should we visit those attractions?

• What’s the best way to get from one place to the next?

• Are there local neighborhood markets, not typically seen by tourists, that we should work in?

• What’s the best way to go about exploring a particular attraction to maximize use of our time?

• When and where should we have lunch?

• Where’s the best place to shop?

• Do we need to reconfirm air tickets?

• What time should we leave the hotel for our trip to the airport?

• Where is the counter we need to check-in?

• How do we make or change seat requests to an airline representative for whom English may only be a second language.

• How do we ensure that our baggage is checked through to our final destination?

Angela, our on-site in BangkokIn the past, I have spent a lot of energy obsessing about matters like these, reviewing my schedule, worrying about the details… but my recent trip was different. It was stress-free because I left all the details to on-sites like Angela (pictured to the left), our guide in Bangkok.

An on-site is a licensed local guide. He or she will greet you when you collect your baggage upon your arrival. He or she will be there for you every day until you go through security at your departure. They are local experts who know their destinations intimately. You will never need to figure out where to go to buy tickets, or how to manage the logistics of your day. Your on-site will help you plan your days so that you can realize your heart’s desires. If you decide to change plans, they will suggest alternatives. They will come up with great local restaurants that aren’t in the guide books, picturesque local markets, and small villages off the beaten path where you can experience the authentic culture of an exotic destination. They are local people who know their cultural traditions and want to share them with you.

For the first time EVER, I was able to relax, fully enjoy my vacation, and simply trust that someone more knowledgeable than I was taking care of the details. And that, dear readers, is the ultimate secret to luxury travel. If cost is not an object, hire a great local guide. It’s not inexpensive … but, after all, Vagablond is all about “the best in luxury travel.”

How to find a great local guide? The Virtuoso network has expert on-sites in nearly every country in the world. Contact your Virtuoso luxury travel consultant.

Posted by David Ourisman on October 22, 2007 in Travel

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