Virtuoso Travel Week is the event of the year for travel professionals. Each August, travel advisors, hotel representatives, tour operators, tourism boards, airline partners, and destination specialists from around the world convene in Las Vegas for 7 days of learning, networking, greeting old friends, meeting new friends, and celebrating the power of travel. This year I had the opportunity to attend for my second year and it was more exciting than ever. Below are the 11 experiences I’m most excited about after this year’s conference.
VizEat offers authentic, social eating experiences around the world. Do I have your attention yet? These experiences come in the form of dinners, food tours, cooking classes, and private parties. Home cooks and trained chefs welcome you into their home to prepare a local meal for you along with other travelers. The dinner table may be set for four, up to twelve travelers, depending upon the dining room table of the host. VizEat has already been called the future of dining while Tim Cook recently enjoyed an event during his last trip to Paris.
*Private arrangements can be made by special request.
*While you will find 20,000+ hosts on their website, VizEat has designed a Virtuoso Portal just for travel advisors that includes the hosts and the experiences of the highest quality. Contact me for more information!
2. Family Twist
Family Twist is a new Virtuoso partner that is creating custom family vacations and activities throughout Europe. They cater itineraries to families in a multitude of ways, including creative, educational activities for the kids, game booklets that enable the children to enjoy learning about history and culture, child-friendly accommodations, family-friendly restaurants, English-speaking babysitters, and cars that are fitted with safety equipment for the children’s needs. Family Twist is a game-changer for families traveling to Europe. I’m so excited to work together with them to design our next family vacation to Europe!
3. Luggage Free
Luggage Free enables you to start your vacation before you even leave home. Can you imagine traveling around the world without having to worry about your luggage? Luggage Free will pick up your luggage at your home and ship it to wherever your final destination is. That means, no checking in bags at the airport, no picking them up at your destination, and no customs. This service is extremely valuable for African safari trips, long cruises, and to ship your oversized items such as golf clubs, bikes, or skiis.
Use this link or call 212.453.1579 to arrange Luggage Free services for your next vacation. Quote code "2033311" for $25 off every shipment compliments of Undiscovered Sunsets. Let the vacations begin!
Flytographer offers local photographers in more than 200 cities around the world to capture your vacation memories. Full disclosure: I found out about Flytographer at last year’s Virtuoso Travel Week and about jumped up on the table when they told me what they did. I’m including them here because I am just as excited this year as I was last year! The below picture is from our Flytographer photoshoot during our honeymoon in Italy! Hiring a local photographer isn’t just for honeymoons and proposals, though. Some of the most amazing photoshoots I’ve seen include families with small children, a group of friends, or a multi-generational family exploring a new destination together. Flytographer is really something to consider for each one of your future trips!
Book your Flytographer photoshoot or Purchase a gift card HERE to receive the Virtuoso benefit of 20% more photos and a complimentary 8x10! You're welcome :)
5. Virtuoso Voyages
Virtuoso Voyages offers complimentary benefits on some of the world’s finest cruises, but only when you book your cruise through a Virtuoso travel advisor. The Virtuoso Voyages program isn’t new, in fact, it’s been in place since 1990, but the number of participating cruise lines and departures throughout the year have increased dramatically in the last two years. On each Virtuoso Voyage, there will be a dedicated onboard host available throughout your journey to answer any questions you may have and to make sure you enjoy your experience. You’ll also enjoy a welcome aboard cocktail reception along with an exclusive shore excursion. Once you decide where you’d like to cruise, we can look at which partners will offer the best experience for you and which of their departures include the Virtuoso Voyages amenities!
Context Travel offers expert led walking tours. And when we say expert, we mean Ph.D. and MA-level scholars who will be guiding you around their city. When designing an itinerary, I’m not always looking for private drivers and private guides throughout an entire trip. Some cities are more enjoyable to have a little guidance toward the beginning and to then explore on your own. This is most especially important in European cities where the history and culture of the city is of utmost importance to fully grasp the enormity of what you’re seeing!
Use this link to see what Context Tour options are available for your upcoming trip. If you'd like some guidance or have any questions, be sure to let us know. We work with Context Tours often!
Portugal has been gaining more and more attention each year and this year was as evident as any. Along with Slovenia (see below), Portugal is a destination that deserves your full attention. There is nothing better than taking your time to absorb the beautiful cities, explore the small villages, sip the port wine, and end your trip in Madeira, the island of eternal spring.
This is another destination that got my attention at this year’s travel conference. Most especially because I drove straight through the middle of Slovenia only two years ago, on my way from Croatia to Munich, and didn’t make a single stop! You can imagine I was kicking myself the entire week. Most of their hotels are local with 20 rooms or less (a request I often receive), their capital city of Ljubljana is small with only 300,000 inhabitants and a city center full of pedestrian streets. They have direct access to both the mountains to hike and to the sea to relax. Slovenia truly offers enough to fill an entire 7-10 day itinerary and you’re sure to return home with photos of places most people have never seen!
**Because the hotels are so small, it is important to book vacations to Slovenia well in advance, especially for summer and holiday travel. Let’s begin designing an itinerary 9-12 months in advance to be sure we can confirm availability!
9. U by Uniworld
Ahhhh I’m so excited about this! Maybe you’ve heard of Uniworld who is well known for their 5* river cruise experiences. This year, they launched U by Uniworld, an entirely fresh approach to river cruising for 21-45 year olds. And that age bracket is no joke. The on-board Uniworld team included…if you’re over 45 years old, they’re not gonna let you on this ship! Have a look at their itineraries here and let’s plan your next vacation!
The first cruises are already on sale and will begin in April 2018. An Undiscovered Sunsets group trip is already in the works for Fall 2018. If you’re interested to travel with us or on another U by Uniworld cruise with your friends, enter your name and email address below to receive the updates!
Check out this super cool video for a sneak preview into the U by Uniworld experience that's launching next year!
10. Chic Outlet Shopping
Chic Outlet Shopping is for our travelers who adore coming home with new items from their more recent adventure around the world. International brands in these shopping villages offer up to 60% off retail prices and tax-free shopping for visitors based outside the European Union. Shopping village are in London, Dublin, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels, Milan, Barcelona, Madrid, Shanghai, and Suzhou. If you love to shop, we’ll be sure to include a day of shopping on your next vacation to one of these cities!
11. River Barges (instead of river cruising...)
River barges in France offer a more private, slower paced experience of the rivers in France. Barges can accommodate 8-18 people, so more often than not, a group of friends can charter the entire barge for their own personal vacation, or you can book one room of the barge and get to know everyone by the end of the trip. The barges travel much slower than the larger river cruises, so this offers a more relaxed experience, and all trips are 6 nights, beginning and ending in Paris.
Which of these new experiences excite you the most? You know what I really love about almost all of these experiences? They're perfect gifts to offer to the travelers and adventurers of your life. VizEat, Luggage Free, Flytographer, Context Travel, U by Uniworld, and Chic Outlet Shopping all offer services that can be offered as a gift, as a gift card, or contributions can be made toward a bigger purchase (a U by Uniworld cruise, for example).
If you're ready to design your next vacation and would like to include any of the above experiences, get in touch with me by clicking the image just below. We can't wait to hear from you!
Whitney’s love of experiential travel began when she studied abroad in New Zealand. Upon returning home, this seemingly small decision led her on an unpredictable path to do everything in her power to continue exploring the world. Within one year, she headed to Africa for one month to visit a friend who was volunteering with animals in need of rehabilitation support, and upon graduating only 6 months later, she moved to France for no other reason than the study the language and experience the culture firsthand. Fast forward 8 years, 2 languages, and 20 countries later, Whitney has successfully combined her passion for foreign languages and experiential travel with her professional experiences and launched Undiscovered Sunsets, a bespoke, experiential travel agency.