Wrapped up in a velvet box with a bow and tagged “magical” is that ‘special place’ so many of us store in our memories. It’s the place visited during childhood one summer, or where we fell in love, got married or spent a honeymoon. It’s the site that triggered the deepest of life’s revelations or hosted that crazy-best-ever-friends-getaway-weekend. Inevitably, we want to return, and as a Travel Consultant, the “Sentimental Journey” is one of the most challenging trips to plan. It’s not that it’s “good” or “bad”. It’s just that from the onset, a sentimental journey has an enormous propensity for failure.
How do you meet the expectations of someone wanting to re-create the exact memory of an experience? I would say it’s impossible, largely because people change and this affects their connection to the destination. My job is to understand the sources of their happiness and to create a trip that safeguards their dreams. I encourage my clients to focus on the possibility of change by planning a new exploration of the same place. Find another romantic restaurant in the city, enjoy the sunrise from a different viewpoint, try a new Hotel, this time bring the kids and the dog! Create new memorable moments that resonate the quality of your experience and then get another velvet box…
One of the greatest pleasures of my job as a Luxury Travel Consultant is being able to craft a relatively ordinary travel plan into an extraordinary one.
Recently, I spoke with someone who expressed a ‘bucket list’ desire to visit New Zealand. I asked what the plan would be for 2 weeks in that destination and the person replied, “I don’t know yet…drive around, see the country.” This is all well and good but if you’re going to allocate 23+ hours to a flight and 2 weeks of precious leisure time, then how about…
- Participate in a Hangi Dinner and Concert – a Maori cultural experience.
- Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set, used in the Lord of the Rings Film Trilogy.
- Take a Volcano Tour by Riverjet.
- Do a wine tour of local vineyards.
- Travel by Funyak through the Dart Valley.
- Take helicopter rides to see glaciers, canyons and seals in their natural colonies.
- White water rafting on the Shotover River.
Special, once-in-a-lifetime trips can become significantly enriched when properly planned. You don’t have to do all of the work on your own. For my clients interested in New Zealand, I will collaborate with the best Tour Operators in that region, on whom I can rely for 24/7 support and superior expertise and care. Even if my clients only choose a single specialized experience while travelling, I want it to be the most memorable part of their trip.