Planning Ahead: Why Inspiring Travel takes Time and Care
In an increasingly busy world, life can begin to look like an ever filling-up calendar. Swathes of little boxes marking out meetings, weddings, long-overdue catch-ups and suddenly you are left with your next few months rigidly mapped out.
But before the next 12 months escapes you, it is essential to carve out time for those incredible trips that are the highlights of yours and your family’s year. Planning well ahead ensures that you get the very best out of your precious holiday. Not only does it mean that those special smaller places to stay will have availability, but also that we can secure our favourite in-demand guides that really bring destinations to life through their depth of knowledge and passion. It allows time to design those one-off experiences which define your trip.
Truly inspiring travel takes time and care, and cannot be done at the click of a button. And with such precious time away, it can be costly to get it wrong. Our Destination Experts ensure that true value is felt in every off-the-beaten-track adventure and private access experience. That every day is designed to be utterly seamless so that nothing clouds the pure enjoyment of your trip.
Here we have detailed just a few experiences we have loved creating for our clients at different times of the year. This is by no means a prescriptive list but can act as inspiration for future extraordinary holidays. And if you want to secure the best trip of your life in the next year, act now.
OCTOBER HALF TERM
With direct flights from so many cities in Europe and sightseeing, culture and adventure aplenty, Northern India is a great destination for families with teenagers in the Autumn. For young students developing their own interests in art, history, music, politics or philosophy to name a few, it is one of the most stimulating destinations in the world.
More specifically, Diwali, the Festival of Light – one of the most important and vibrant religious events in India – often falls in the half term break (this year it’s 18th October).
For one family this year, we are planning a very special Diwali dinner with a local family in Jaipur so they can experience the religious side of the festival but can also join in as their children light fireworks and see the otherworldly scene unfold.
With teenage boys involved, we have also planned some action up in the Himalayas, walking from village to village during the day but staying in luxuriously appointed village houses complete with porters and a great local chef. Not only do you travel up to the mountains on a sleeper train which is an adventure in itself, early evenings can be spent playing cricket with the village boys and for less keen walkers we can arrange a mule to ride across the wild and rugged landscape.
CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR
Getting every member of your family together is one of the joys of Christmas and New Year, but for many families who are geographically spread across the world, often ‘home’ is not the perfect place for everyone to gather and celebrate.
Staying all together in a private house in destinations such as Sri Lanka, Brazil or South Africa can form the foundations of a fantastic Christmas family holiday, especially with the desirable climate at this time of year and plenty of activities for different ages and interests. Essentially, a private house provides a comforting base that is so appealing at Christmas, but in a thrilling setting with activities and experiences a little more exciting than a half-hearted game of charades.
Galle in South West Sri Lanka has access to great beaches but also has a vibrant bar and restaurant scene. We favour private houses just outside the historic port so that some can relax by the pool surrounded by beautiful countryside but others can head into the town by tuk tuk for some shopping or to a nearby beach for the day.
This year we have also arranged for a large extended family to have a house in the Brazilian coastal town of Paraty and after Christmas some will stay on there and explore, mountain bike or sail nearby along the lush coast whilst others will head up to Rio de Janeiro for a few days to party or sightsee. The opportunities to spend Christmas or New Year in an exotic location are endless and we are here to help.
FEBRUARY HALF TERM
Oman is a great choice for a blast of heat in the bitter winter months and being only a medium-haul direct flight away makes it ideal for families on half term.
In a relatively small country, it is easy to combine beach around Muscat with a tented experience in the desert for a couple of nights but we can also arrange for some real adventure canyoning in the wadis or trekking up in the mountains. And for those after a more intrepid experience we can organise an extensive desert trip right into the mystical Empty Quarter with 4Ã4’s where you will stay in a luxurious mobile tented camp.
Easter is one of the most exciting times to be in the Andes and during Holy Week there are eye-catching processions throughout the country. The rightly popular Cuzco, the Sacred Valley and the Colca Valley are particularly vibrant at this time of year.
Easter comes after the end of the rainy season so the valleys are particularly lush and fertile. Southern Peru, particularly around Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, can be very busy in the peak summer months. We can always work around this to ensure a crowd-free experience and have devised some great trekking away from the regulated Inca Trail, but travelling in Spring certainly means that the country is less crowded and the rates are more favourable.
The summer holidays we design couldn’t be further from the one-size-fits-all trips which are so ubiquitous. Our Destination Experts take time to form a relationship with you and your family so that each nuance is understood and every interest fulfilled.
More than ever, our clients ask to see the real undiluted Africa and 30 years of contacts mean that we are uniquely able to access extraordinary people and places. Our Destination Experts can cut through the glossy magazines and internet sales jargon and discuss the many extraordinary ways of exploring Africa and choose one that it is the perfect fit for you.
Conservation is at the heart of what we do and many of the lodge owners we work with and guides we know well have their own conservation projects and employ full-time conservationists.
Recently we have organised for rhino tracking or cheetah tracking with teams of conservationists: this is really important work and nothing beats the thrill of being part of unadulterated wildlife situations. After these intimate experiences, many clients return with an added commitment to particular initiatives which they follow and support long after their return from safari.