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Insider Travel Tips

Over the years of extensively traveling the world we’ve picked up a few bits of knowledge that we hope will help you make an informed decision.

Are you working with a real travel expert?

Every company offering luxury travel packages claims to have deep experience. In reality, many companies staff their phones with people trained to follow a script. Some have never been to the places they recommend. To ensure you’re receiving solid advice it’s important to ask the expert about their personal experiences. If you’re not satisfied with their answer, request another consultant with deeper experience. If you’re still not satisfied, ask for a referral to a more reputable option.

Are you getting the best value?

Unfortunately, it’s easy to get misled by appealing offers. Many websites promote low introductory pricing and leave out critical information such as taxes, resort fees, transfer costs or rigid cancellation terms. People are often shocked by the final cost and find their “Great Deal” quickly became an expensive mistake that can easily be +30% higher than originally presented. To help travelers avoid the same problem, we’ve taken the mystery out of pricing by clearly stating all inclusions and exclusions before any financial commitment is made.

Who offers the best luxury travel pricing?

If you find a website offering lower prices than booking direct it should cause concern. These sites are not legitimate companies and your travel investment could be in jeopardy. It’s the equivalent of buying a Rolex on Craigslist. You might get a great price but chances are its fake and the seller is nowhere to be found. This can lead to a “here today, gone tomorrow” scenario.

Price is just one piece of the puzzle. There is a big difference in service, knowledge and access to rooms & amenities. These elements should weigh heavily on your decision. 

What’s the best way to book my luxury vacation?

We might be biased, but hiring a Travel Designer is a common sense decision. In many cases, for the same price as booking direct, you gain an independent, unbiased advocate working on your behalf. Our Travel Designers don’t have quotas or empty ships to fill. Their job is to represent you and keep your interests at heart.

Here are some additional things to consider:

  • How do you make the right choice? You searched for “luxury hotel” and ended up with over 13 million results. Do you have the patience to sort through hours of data?
  • How can you be assured the stunning website pictures are the real deal? Which luxury hotels have been recently renovated and which ones should you avoid?
  • How will you know which luxury hotel is offering the best value?
  • Who do you call when your luxury hotel reservation is lost in the system?
  • What should you pack on your luxury vacation and what should stay at home?
  • How will you know the best time to go on a luxury trip?
  • How do you coordinate flights, transfers and hotels before and after your vacation?
  • How do you know which rooms are the best at the luxury hotel?
  • How many open passport pages will you need to travel? How do you get more pages added quickly? Do you need a Visa?
  • How do you know which excursions are a “must see” and which ones to miss?
  • How will you handle last minute changes, an unforeseen emergency or weather delay that keeps you from reaching your destination?
  • When is the best time to book my trip?

Conventional thinking tells us we should wait until the last minute to get the best deal. This idea was established by large resorts and cruises desperate to fill space. However, luxury travel is much different. The smaller nature of luxury hotels, cruises and tours means the best space fills up quickly. If you are thinking about traveling during the holidays or Peak Season, it’s important to book at least 9-12 months in advance. 

How can I save money on my vacation?

If you’re interested in saving a little money, here are some creative ideas to talk about with your Travel Designer:

  • Shoulder or off peak seasons offer some nice value. For example, departures right after a major holiday or at the beginning or end of a peak season tend to be favorably priced.
  • Invite friends to travel with you to help split some costs such as rental cars. If your group grows to over 10 people you may qualify for special discounts not available to others.
  • Split your stay at different properties. The first portion of the trip could be spent at a reasonably priced property and then conclude the last few nights at a higher-end luxury hotel.
  • Create a mix of guided and self-guided tours. Ask your Travel Designer which activities are easy, safe and enjoyable to do on your own and which one’s are best to hire a guide.

PIQUE Travel Design is a travel agency based in Minneapolis, Minnesota serving clients across the globe.