Personalized. More than a handful of travel companies capitalize on this catch-all word to entice prospective travelers. But what does it really mean, and how can you tell if an itinerary is genuinely personalized? At its heart, a personalized or custom-designed travel program begins with the first email exchange and ends the instant you arrive home, after the best trip of your life.
When it comes to personalized travel, you can look for a few tell-tale signs from the beginning of the planning process. First, you want to make sure the agency prioritizes your needs above all else when building your custom itinerary.
Do they ask you specific questions about your past travel experiences? Do they want to know why you are taking this trip? Do they ask not only how many people are traveling with you, but who is traveling with you? All of these details and more go into a truly personalized travel experience and ultimately bring unexpected and priceless value to your trip.
Why “new normal” travelers need personalized experiences
Booking with personalized travel agency like Kuoda can alleviate the certifiable travel anxiety trailing the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. We are all still navigating the uncertain waters of international travel in the “new normal,” but the uplifting news is that personalized service should and does provide adequate support before, during, and even after your exciting journey.
The hands-on nature of personalized travel accommodates the ever-shifting public health and sanitary protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For instance, we have been scheduling PCR and/or antigen tests before international flights home, well in advance for every guest traveling during this time. Therefore, you won’t need to worry about researching any of these details.
What does “personalized” imply?
The different branches of personalized travel ultimately stem from four crucial components in your itinerary: the price, the place (or places), the activities, and the travel style. We only work primarily in private tours; therefore, we tailor your program to best fit your needs. We recommend the most appropriate activities and destinations according to your specific interests, budget, and timeframe.
1. Personalized prices
Each and every curated journey we create comes with a tailor-made price tag. This means we don’t have ready-made package deals, and we can always swap out certain hotels or excursions to bring down the price as much as possible. Any tweaks are considered to do this, so even though there are limits to how much we can lower the cost, we work closely with you and your budget the best we can, always.
Our pricing ultimately comes down to the number of days, how many people are in your travel party, what type of accommodation, how many full-day tours versus half-day tours, and how much downtime is built into your itinerary. Depending on your personal budget, our travel experts balance these details without sacrificing the private nature nor quality of your personalized program.
2. Personalized places
Let’s say you have ten days to travel, and you know you want to see Machu Picchu but have no idea what else. We will ask you about your past travels and principal travel interests to help guide you towards suitable destinations to maximize your meaningful experiences. For instance, the Amazon for wildlife fanatics, Lima for foodies, or Kuelap and Chachapoyas for archaeology buffs.
3. Personalized activities
South America is an incredibly rich continent. Seemingly endless biodiversity, geographical diversity, and cultural diversity burst at its seams. This means that every potential itinerary through Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, and/or Argentina holds a wealth of possibilities for adventure, family fun, food, romance, nature, history, and local culture.
Companies that primarily offer fixed-itineraries have a limited range of activities and providers and may not be able to cater to all of your interests directly. Whereas a personalized itinerary allows you to work closely with your travel designer to land on a combination of activities specific to your travel party’s priorities.
4. Personalized preferences according to your travel style
We’ve already touched a bit on the topic of how a personalized itinerary reflects your interests and travel style. But to dive a little deeper, these personalized preferences also extend to the type of guide matched with your program, your food preferences and/or allergies, how much downtime or active time you have, and the kind of transportation included.
We work with an incredible team of local guides, who all have specific and passionate interests of their own. Some are master photographers, others focus on history, some work fabulously with kids, and are great storytellers. The more you tell us about your interests in the planning process, the more equipped we are to match you with the perfect private guide for you and your family or friends.
We include all of your breakfasts and lunches during full-day tours and some dinners where restaurant options are limited. We only work with the best and most trustworthy restaurants for these meals and make sure those restaurants have a complete list of any food preferences or allergies, so they can anticipate these details before your arrival.
Regarding transportation, we will explain all of the possible options to get from one city or town to the next when there are multiple options available. For relatively shorter distances, these typically include a private driver, train ride, or a short domestic flight. Although we encourage all of our guests to limit the amount of air travel to maximize sustainability and eco-conscious travel, if possible.
What we can do for you and how we work with you
Personalized travel also requires above and beyond customer service. If you choose to work with us, you can expect immediate and thorough answers to every query or comment. If we don’t know the answer right away, we will do our research asap, so that you don’t have to worry about any extra steps on your end.
1. Book bucket list items or remote and “off-the-beaten-path” places
If you’re someone who prefers to visit all of the top bucket list showstoppers in South America, like Machu Picchu, Iguazú Falls, The Galapagos Islands, or Uyuni Salt Flats (to name a select few), we have you covered. You can also expect your tours to these world wonders to be in 100% private service. So, even though you might have to contend with large crowds, your guide will bypass them as much as possible.
And suppose you’re the polar opposite and hope to visit more “off-the-beaten-path” destinations. In that case, personalized travel is definitely a must! In addition, we love connecting our guests with local communities and landscapes in more remote corners of South America, where they can relax into an authentic experience shared amongst new friends.
2. Be there for your 24/7
Finally, our team of travel experts starts with our travel designers, continues onto our guides, and ends with our dedicated 24/7 hosts on the ground. Taking a personalized trip with us, you are guaranteed a 24/7-point person, who your travel designer will connect you with a few days before your arrival date.
What this means is that someone will constantly keep tabs and be on guard in the event of an unexpected emergency out of your control. This could include anything from flight delays to a COVID-19 diagnosis to a roadblock from a local strike. Although these events may be rare, we know that managing risk and preparing to think on our feet is indispensable for any traveler’s peace of mind.
At the end of the day, personalized travel allows you to precisely express what you want out of a trip, have those needs met, and go beyond those expectations to discover places you hadn’t even thought of but deeply resonate with.
We incorporate these tenants of personalized travel in every step of our planning process to ensure your customized trip to South America is everything you ever dreamed of and more. We love hearing from new potential guests to continue crafting personalized itineraries designed to bring you the most fulfilling experience possible; contact us today to get started!