Travel Tips From the Pros: Luxury for Less
Virtuoso is a global luxury travel network of advisers and suppliers, including hotels, resorts, cruise lines and tour companies. Dean Horvath with Virtuoso in Vancouver says the fee can run as high as $1,000, depending on the complexity of planning.
But if someone just wants a room booked and knows the type of hotel they want, the fee is often waived, but the average cost is $200. “All of our preferred hotels provide free upgrades and breakfasts and a value-added amenity, typically worth about $100, such as a spa credit or a cooking lesson,” explains Horvath.
“Our hotel partners give clients the best rooms whenever possible. Online booking engines tend to give you the cheaper rooms.” www.virtuoso.com —Jane Mundy
Scroll through for more tips to get more bang for your travel buck …
Morris Chia, president of Winnipeg-based Travel Professionals International, tapped into his cross-Canada network of agents for tips.
Marilyn Baird, Baird Travel, Fredericton
It pays to book well in advance. “At least a year out for a more competitive price,” says Baird. “Intimate properties, smaller ships and private tours often sell out faster.”
Baird prefers to book her clients directly with the resort, as she can then also offer perks due to her relationships.
Anne Barclay, Wanderlust Travel, Oakville, Ont.
“For Europe, a great time both price- and weather-wise is mid-May to mid-June; then mid-September to the end of October [the shoulder seasons],” says Barclay.
“For South Africa, April to mid-May and then again mid-August to late October. For the Caribbean, April to late May and then November to mid-December.” Great value and superb luxury, she adds, can be found in the less-discovered destinations like Slovenia, Portugal, Thailand and Poland.
“Get some friends or family to join. Usually with 10 or more, you tend to get better prices and can get a private tour guide.”
Linda May Dinsmore, Deluxe Travel & Cruises, Surrey, B.C.
“To travel luxe-for-less, book with a Canadian travel adviser because we often have special rates from cruise lines and tour operators to help offset our low dollar,” says Dinsmore.
“You can only get them through an adviser. For example, 20 per cent on selected Oceania and Regent cruise itineraries.” And, she adds, choosing a destination where our dollar is not switched into U.S. but rather exchanged directly with the local currency helps.
Where will you go next?
The Virtuoso Luxe Report, an annual survey of more than 9,000 global travel advisers, lists emerging destinations.
Off-the-beaten-path Iceland, Croatia and Myanmar ranked in the top 5, as did Antarctica, showing a pull toward more remote destinations for high-end travellers.
In fact, “exploring new destinations” was the top travel motivator, followed by authentic experiences and enrichment, R and R and time with loved ones.
Top global destinations include Italy (no surprise; it is also tops for families) and South Africa. Adventure travellers are looking to New Zealand and Costa Rica, while families are ice fishing in Northern Canada or heading to jolly old England. —Vivian Vassos