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If you’re planning a Bucket List holiday to an exotic destination, one of the first things to think about is how you’ll want to tour around. There are three choices really – you can join a Group Escorted Tour with an itinerary that visits the places that are on your wish list, or you can opt for a Tailor-made Tour where the holiday is designed around your specific needs and interests and where your travel arrangements, guiding and transfers are designed just for you. Both styles of travel have their benefits, but I thought it would be useful to look at these in detail.


Many people like the idea of travelling around in a group of like-minded people – for them, it adds a welcome social dimension to their trip. And if you’re travelling somewhere quite exotic, where you’re potentially concerned about safety, it can be reassuring to travel around as a group. Group tours to place like India and South East Asia can also be very good value in compared to a tailor-made journey. However, many group tours are designed to see as much as possible in the shortest amount of time with numerous one-nights stays, where you can end up feeling like you’re on some kind of obstacle course. It’s also important to watch out for the maximum number of people that will be in the group – because trailing around magical sites like Macchu Pichu or Angkor Wat in as part of a group of 50 people will definitely affect the quality of your experience. If your preference is an escorted tour, I work with several suppliers who offer small group tours and whose itineraries are designed so that you have time to appreciate the places you’re visiting - and with free time built in so that you can explore on your own too.


A tailor-made tour is exactly as it sounds. Once you’d decided on a destination we’d have a chat about your interests and why you’ve selected that particular country for a holiday. What places are must-visit? What places are nice-to-visit? We’d talk about the standard of accommodation you’re looking for and how full-on or leisurely you’d like the trip to be. If I think that the number of places you want to visit within a particular timeframe would be challenging, we’d discuss that. We’d look at logistics and if the tour you have in mind would involve numerous domestic flights where you’d be spending much of your time on a plane, we’d perhaps look to tweak the trip. If I think you’re missing a place that really should be included, we’d chat about that. And then I’d work with one of my specialist suppliers to scope out the trip and pull together a detailed proposed itinerary. It’s an iterative process, but eventually we’d have a perfect tailor-made tour created specifically for you. A tailor-made tour is generally more expensive than a group tour but it offers ultimate flexibility. One of the destinations where tailor-made holidays are exceptionally good value is Sri Lanka. The norm here is for to be driven around the island with the same driver/guide for the duration of your trip. I did this last year, and it was a fabulous holiday – and I was able to tweak arrangements depending on how I felt each day.

SELF DRIVE In certain destinations, driving yourself around from place to place is a really good value option. In terms of planning, it works in much the same way as for a tailor-made touring itinerary, but rather than be chauffeured from place to place, you'd be at the wheel. We'd create an itinerary and organize accommodation based on how leisurely you want your holiday to be and all your flights, hotels and car hire would be quoted as a single package - so your holiday would be protected by Package Travel Regulations. Self drive is a particularly good option in countries where English is the first language - so Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia and the USA are all popular destinations for self drive holidays. For the more adventurous, you could choose a self drive holiday in Argentina and Chile - I have clients doing just this next year, where they're exploring Patagonia on both sides of the border in a 4X4.

Whichever of these styles of tour you’re looking for, please get in touch and we can get the ball rolling.

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