We live in a climate of information overload, discounted offers and global access. Suddenly the world is everyone’s oyster, so how do you differentiate between the ordinary and something really exceptional?
Apart from personal recommendations, we all search the web hoping to find our dream holiday. Putting together your own holiday together can be fun and satisfying, but think back – was it really exceptional and out of the ordinary? Money can buy five-star wow factors but they don’t necessarily provide rewarding, life-shifting and shared experiences. Chilling-out in luxury barefoot havens are great until you reach the point of boredom, even when armed with a selection good books, and a sense of isolation and disengagement. Adrenalin-kick holidays may be great fun but they offer self-fulfilling and short lived high’s. There is no such thing as a free lunch – discount packages and special deals may appear to be bargains but you get what you pay for and usually end up paying a higher price for the shortcomings! They will not be exceptional or special.
You need to be inspired, motivated, and touched for a holiday to be a genuinely rewarding and life-shifting experience! You need to step outside your comfort zone and you have shared experiences for your life to be truly enriched. Holidays that achieve this are exceptional and offer a good ROI with lasting benefits.
Start by focusing on your interests and the holiday content – cultural, wildlife, painting, walking, riding etc. There are plenty of small tour operators offering special holidays, but even this market is price driven and the holidays are standardised and fairly ordinary. You need to invest some time – be thorough in your research and be discerning in your choice, if you want to find some exceptional and above and beyond the ordinary.
Search for companies that offer bespoke holidays that are well resourced with a sensible itinerary and have a really switched on leader. Check out the number of departure dates for the same holiday. If they are going to deliver an exceptional and rewarding experience they will only be able to offer one departure date i.e. WildLife Safaris. Check out what the competition is for similar holidays. Delve in to what is included. Check out the hosts, the standard of accommodation, the flight routing and timings, the best time of year to visit the destination or for the specialist activity. Don’t rely on email correspondence – call the company and talk to them to ascertain how good they really are – request that email documentation be followed up with hard copies in the post – if it arrives in the next couple of days by first class mail, is on quality paper, the company’s logo and presentation is focused and clean looking then you are getting a better measure of the level service, degree of professionalism they offer and their ability to deliver. Have they responded to your questions in an intelligent manner? Have they made you as the customer feel important to them and special?
You should also study the company’s websites – look for reviews, new pages and accreditation from other professionals about their products, product knowledge and consistency of service. If a company offering safaris is working with leading organisations like BBC Wildlife and Born Free Foundation and has expert hosts like Chris Packham, Virginia McKenna OBE, Stephen Mills, Simon King OBE praising and working with them, then you can be assured this is a highly professional company able to deliver.
If your dream is to see tigers in their natural habitat there are lots of tiger safaris being offered but with more careful research you will discover there is only one safari led by the BBC’s tiger expert Stephen Mills Safaris in India, and that his track record to date is that everyone who has joined the safaris led by him has seen tigers. Perhaps your passion is painting – there is a plethora of painting holidays out there and in particular to Venice, which is probably the most painted city in the world. Cehck to see if the tutor has published books and videos, does he or she feature regular in leading magazines like The Artist & Leisure Painter? Does the art tutor also have to take care of all the travel and accommodation arrangements or is there an accompanying Italian speaking assistant? Where do you stay? Can you walk to all the famous sites from the hotel? Do you fly directly to Venice on scheduled services with the full baggage allowance? What meals are included? Do you spend all day and every day painting or are you touring around sight-seeing? Are single rooms tiny cupboards or double rooms for single occupancy? You need to choose wisely if you want a rewarding painting holiday which creates the right environment for you to improve your style and achieve lots of paintings- Painting Holidays in Venice.
Everyone works and saves hard for their holidays and so they should be some of the best experiences in your life. Choose wisely and you can almost be sure of travelling with like-minded people who have taken the time and trouble to thoroughly and carefully choose their holiday. Shared experiences are hugely rewarding and new lasting friendships can be kindled.
You get what you pay for and cutting corners can cost you dearly when things go wrong. You should always buy your flights and accommodation through ATOL licenced companies for complete financial protection.