Luxury Travel

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Your passport to any number of destinations and memorable experiences--whether your style is luxury travel on the Orient Express or hitting golf balls across Mongolia--is to seize an opportunity when you see it. The words travel and vacation are close to synonymous. Either we work for a living, or have worked for a living.

We want, understandably, to treat ourselves to the luxury of travel when we take those two or three or four weeks of well-earned time off. If the line "I pity the man who can travel from Dan to Beersheba and cry, 'tis all barren!'" resounds in you, then your passport probably never expires. What better way is there to enjoy that time than with a small group of like-minded travelers, an expert guide, and a destination that engages your imagination?

Maybe for you luxury travel means the islands of Greece, countless cats on white stone walls, and the blue waters of the Mediterranean in every direction. Maybe it means the 785 miles of Costa Rica's pristine white Pacific beaches, the 850 bird species in its rain forests and mangrove swamps. The destination, though, might be less important than the journey itself--"I travel for travel's sake," Robert Louis Stevenson once said.

Luxury Travel Destinations

Imagine taking the ancient Silk Road from China into Central Asia, stopping after you leave Beijing to marvel at the army of life-sized terra-cotta warriors guarding the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi in Xian. In the far west are Tibet, inspiring views of the Great Wall of China, and the ancient city of Jiaohe in Turpan. Crossing the border into Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, you would find the city of Tashkent, an important stop along the route 1,200 years ago, and Samarkand, one of the world's oldest cities.

Halfway around the globe, the ruins of Machu Picchu stand high and cloud-draped in the Peruvian Andes. Discovered only in 1911, this dramatic "Lost City of the Incas" with its breathtaking vistas of Urumbama River valley was made a World Heritage site in 1983. Yes, climbing nearly 8,000 feet along narrow switchbacks would certainly seem more arduous than luxury travel. A three-hour train journey from Cuzco, however, will bring you to within a short climb of the summit.

In delightful contrast is Africa's famed Serengeti. These nearly 13,000 square miles of forest and savannah are home to the greatest concentration of wild game on the continent. Imagine a safari--Swahili for travel--planned by an expert guide, in tented accommodations that Ernest Hemingway might scoff at for their comfort and security. You'll relish sightings of rare striped antelope, the tawny endangered cheetah, gerenuk, lion, graceful impala, aardwolves, and baboons.

Luxury Travel Details

No less than a trek up Mount Everest or a walkabout across the Australian outback, however, luxury travel takes careful planning. The question is who takes care of it. This is--the vast majority of the time--supposed to be a vacation. As you tour the Sang-tog Peri Monastery in Bhutan's Himalayas, for example, the last thing you want to be thinking about is a flight to New Delhi, or where you might find dinner.

Am I right? The ones to handle these details are luxury travel professionals. They're the ones with years of expertise in organizing both custom and small group luxury travel tours to places you've long thought about visiting--when you had the time, the money, and the opportunity. Travel need not, after all, be glamorous only in retrospect.

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