Let’s say you’re dying to go to the Galápagos. Every detail of the itinerary speaks to you. The July 7 departure date fits your calendar perfectly. The stars align, and just like that your vacation is a done deal. At least in theory.

In real life, there’s that golf outing/soccer camp/Board retreat on the 8th. And as long as you’re flying through Quito, shouldn’t you pop up to the Ecuadorian Highlands you read about last week? If that sounds like you, consider yourself an honorary member of the fast-growing cadre of custom travelers for whom Private Journeys were created.

A Private Journey is a unique departure of any Cultural Walking AdventureFamily Journey or Culinary Tour offered by Classic Journeys. The difference is that it’s been customized to your specs. The easiest and most typical custom vacation twist is to pick your own start date and run the handcrafted itinerary just for you and your travel companions. Time-shifts also come in handy for aligning your trip to a special occasion. (“We want our private breakfast at Stonehenge to fall on Dad’s 60th birthday.”)


At the next level, you might re-jigger a day or two to create more time for shopping or an extra vineyard visit. If it’s a reunion tour with friends or family, you could block out time for a kayak race or leisurely gourmet banquets. You might stretch the trip for a few more days or add in a sentimental visit to a village you remember from your post-college backpacking days.

Beyond that, “the sky is really the limit,” says Dave Van Hook, Guest Services Coordinator at Classic Journeys. A private visit to the Sistine Chapel—guests were free to lie on the floor to take in Michelangelo’s ceiling—is a true classic. The romantic favorite was the candlelit dinner for two in the heart of Angkor Wat. The team has arranged for a family to take over an entire villa-hotel on the Amalfi Coast and tracked down a guest’s long-lost cousins in a remote Greek village. And the list goes on.

Does it make sense for you to take your vacation private? As you would expect, regularly scheduled Classic Journeys offer the best value because hotel rates, guide availability and other logistics have already been negotiated. On a Private Journey, the more you customize, the more the final per-guest price can vary.

To find out if a Private Journey makes sense for you and your group, call 800.200.3887.