Bespoke Tour Operators

by Carly Allen

Sep 11, 2019

The buzz word this summer was overtourism — article upon article and social posts bemoaned the crowds in Rome, Paris and even Ireland, leaving us frequent travelers on a quest to find a unique experience away from the crowds. Exploring new cities in the shoulder seasons (October–November, February–April) is the easiest advice. I have seen a growing trend among our readers to turn to bespoke tour operators to find their next trip.

Luxury tours are not new, but companies offering truly customized, unique and off-the-beaten-path full-service options are certainly the new trend. A good example I have come across is start-up BlueWander. It is the evolution of the trend: starting with destinations they personally know, like India, and connecting travelers with once-in-a-lifetime trips and experiences while still offering luxury, white-glove service. By working directly with local guides, they provide 100 percent authentic trips but also cut out any middle men to give rates well below market value.

I have perused the site often and added to my bucket-list experiences, starting with the Exotic Culinary & Wellness Journey Through South India, a 10-day trip with your own yogi and chances to fish and farm with the locals.

These trips are not your shopping-through-Paris experiences, but they are memorable moments to share with family and friends — the best-growing trend I have seen in quite some time!

— Carly Allen, executive vice president/associate publisher

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Feature
Sep 22, 2019

Southwest Drops a Slew of Routes Next Year

Southwest Airlines is cutting almost 20 non-stop routes as of January 2020. The airline says the move will allow it to focus its efforts on top destinations. The airline announced the move last month, with flights from Boston (BOS), Dallas Love Field (DAL), Los Angeles (LAX) and Orlando (MCO) seeing the most cuts.

TAP Air Portugal Adds 15 Flights Each Week From U.S., Canada

TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020,  a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.

News
Sep 22, 2019

Mandarin Oriental, Geneva Unveils New Royal Penthouse Suite

Mandarin Oriental, Geneva now offers its Royal Penthouse suite, one of the largest in the city at nearly 3,500 square feet, with an additional 1,800-square-foot terrace.

Daily
Sep 22, 2019

REI Offers New Training for Adventurous Travelers

For any traveler interested in backcountry camping, wilderness exploration or any other type of outdoor adventure, REI now offers a wilderness safety training course to the general public. The programming is in partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School, takes place on weekends and is “ideal for all outdoor enthusiasts.”

The Island of the Knights

Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.

Feature
Sep 21, 2019

Movie Night at The Logan, Philadelphia

What’s better than an open-air movie night in the summer? A free one hosted just blocks away from fun nightlife, restaurants and swanky activities around every corner, maybe?

Feature
Sep 20, 2019

Ryanair Will Start Georgia Flights

Ryanair will soon start its first round-trip Georgia flights. The flights, which start this November, will connect the capital Tbilisi (TBS) to Milan Bergamo (BGY) four times weekly and the western city of Kutaisi (KUT) to Bologna (BLQ) and Marseille (MRS), both twice weekly. Then, in April, Ryanair will add twice weekly flights between Tbilisi and Cologne (CGN).

To New Heights

United Airlines announces a number of new routes.

Daily
Sep 20, 2019

Catch Autumn at the Arboretum in Dallas

Attend one of the most acclaimed fall events, Autumn at the Arboretum, in Dallas. In its 14th year, the annual event is known as one of the best pumpkin festivals in the country, with its creative displays featuring more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. The event takes place at Dallas Arboretum, Sept. 21 –Oct. 31. Alongside thousands of pumpkins, guests glimpse 150,000 autumn flowers across the 66-acre space.