As everyone navigates the ‘new normal’ of travel, there is a surge of interest in private travel across the travel industry and among Classic Journeys travelers. In this blog, we dig into why this type of travel works so well for the times we’re in and how you can take advantage of it to handcraft your own trip of a lifetime… on your terms.

5 reasons why private is 2020’s biggest travel trend + 4 private tour myths busted/hurdles explained/questions answered.

Same people, totally different place.

Coronavirus lockdowns have seen us sheltering in place within our homes. Some have been able to introduce other friends or family members into their shelter-in-place ‘bubble’ but for many, it’s too soon to be in close proximity with people we don’t know. That said, we don’t want to wait until social distancing ends before we can start seeing the world again. Which makes private tours—just for you and your posse—perfect.

Pick your dates & pack your bags.Many of us have had our suitcases mentally packed since travel bans were announced. So, as borders reopen, waiting for a scheduled trip to come about may not seem soon enough. Private trips have already begun and you can go where you want, when you want, for however long you want. (In fact, Classic Journeys first trip post stay-at-home is a June 20 Alaska Private trip.)

You call the shots.

For a lot of us, the loss of freedom and control has been one of the biggest struggles. We’ve being instructed who we can’t see, where we can’t go and what we can’t do, and we crave being able to call the shots. Private tours put you in charge, without any of the hassle of having to put in place the arrangements. This isn’t a vacation where you’re told when to eat, when to wake up, where you’re going to next. If you want to eat early, sleep in late, spend an extra day somewhere… just say so and your wish becomes the command. Your expert local guide has no one to satisfy but you and your friends or family.

Local expertise.

Each country has its own border opening plans. Each state has its own guidelines. It gets overwhelming. Private tours put you in the well-connected hands of someone who knows the ‘new normal’ of the place you’re visiting like the back of their hand. Without knowing it’s happening, you’ll be seamlessly steered from crowds (because they know the routes less traveled and times less busy), served in the best restaurants (for food, locale, and social distancing), and given exclusive access to sites (because they know the owner). What shutdown? And if a site is suddenly closed, before you even hear of it, you’ll be on the path to a brilliant plan B.

Seamless sanitization and social distancing.

You’re exploring a region’s most fascinating places, staying in its most acclaimed hotels, and devouring the finest local cuisine. So why should standards drop when it comes to your health? Classic Journeys quarter century of relationships with its hoteliers means that almost entirely behind the scenes, strict protocols are adhered to as you enjoy your trip. It also means that some benefits that were in place on tour for other reasons suddenly take on entirely new meaning. For example, Classic Journeys created ‘Invisible Check In’ so that guests did not have to waste time waiting in line at hotels. It was created as a time saver. Now, in the ‘new normal’, time savings is still great. But not being in a group of people at the front desk is even greater.

4 myths busted

Private travel is only for the super-rich.

Sure, if you want to charter your own plane, hop into a helicopter for transfers and buy out a whole hotel, it can be done… but the price will hike up pretty quickly. But rest assured plenty of luxury private tours don’t have such astronomical price tags. Especially with a company like Classic Journeys where publishes and private departures average only 8 guests per departure, you’ll often find that a private trip might cost the same as a published one and even with very small groups of 4-6 travelers the additional cost to make a trip private can be as small small as 10-15%.

Private tours aren’t social like group tours.

If you love travel for the way it brings people from all paths of life together, you’ll find like minded travelers on the Classic Journeys team. Interacting with others while traveling is our reason for being. So why should you have to give up engaging human interaction because you want to feel safer? With Classic Journeys, you have your amazing and well-connected local guide (ours are known for their charisma and great stories…). And, along the way you’ll be interacting with shepherds in their fields, winemakers in their vineyards, botanists in their gardens, olive oil makers in their groves. Safely, yes. Socially distant, yes. But far from anti-social.

Things could still go wrong whatever type of tour I am on.

Good news… things have gone wrong with travel for millennia. And for the last 25 years Classic Journeys has been expert at overcoming them in the same way that we take advantage of spontaneous great things that pop up. There was the time a volcano erupted in Chile and the ash cloud blew over Argentina requiring us to reroute a group of guests as they traveled from Mendoza to Patagonia. And the time a bridge washed out in Costa Rica requiring our guides to send for zodiacs to bring the guests to their river rafting day. Or the time a typhoon hit Southeast Asia and we flipped a trip around to avoid China Beach for a few days in favor of Hanoi and Halong Bay before returning to the beach when the coast was clear. (Pardon the pun.) All that to say that things will go wrong. It’s travel. So pick a company to travel with who has a long track record and a lot of in-country experience making the wrong, right.

Even if a private tour works better, getting there is the problem.
Because you’re opting for a private tour, the destination can be decided according to how you’re most comfortable traveling. Maybe that means you’re comfortable on a flight with a certain airline. Maybe it means you’d rather drive. Your Classic Journeys travel experience specialist has all the knowledge of the current, and changing, state of travel and you’re not tied into a tour operator-chartered flight. 

Want to get started on planning… or at least daydreaming… about your next or first private trip? Click here