When I first started writing about Authentic Luxury Travel no one seemed to know what I meant. Most folks thought that ALT was synonymous with five-star resorts and high-end cruise ships. In those days, I spent a lot of time defining “authentic” as it applies to travel.

But times have changed, and now a whole lot of people endorse the concept while acknowledging that it doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone.

Carsten Becker arranges custom itineraries in Germany and other parts of Europe through his company i2c Tourmanagement and believes that “luxury always depends on the viewpoint of the customer.”

“For one of my clients from New York (living in an apartment in Trump Tower and owning a villa on the Bahamas) it was pure luxury to be taken to a hot dog stand at Frankfurt train station and eating a Polish sausage with homemade mustard.”

Sean Flynn, a luxury travel consultant in Brazil (sean.britagent@gmail.com) says “Some might think a luxury holiday is going somewhere where it is quiet and getting away from the day to day slog of the big city and their job, while others think it’s going to a spa to be pampered.”

Glynn Burrows who offers custom tours in England says “Luxury is the ability to do what you want when you are on holiday. I hate being told when to get up and how long I have to look around a stately home, museum, or antique shop. If my guests see something interesting, we take a detour."

Then he added “Luxury for our Queen would be the ability to walk down the High Street and look around the shops on her own or with her daughter, but no amount of money can possibly buy that for them.”

Patrizia Antonicelli, who arranges travel adventures in New Mexico and the American Southwest through Seven Directions, says “Luxury is twofold. It’s about self-indulgence and pleasure, but not only. Discerning travelers are ready to spend money for learning experiences, excellent service, and personalized programs.”

Nanci Benefiel of Cabo Vacation Rentals says “Luxury is much more than spas and resorts. It’s that special experience and individualized service.”

NV Yacht Charters’ Nancy Van Winter agrees: “It’s all about attentiveness and personalized service.”

And if you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you know what I think: Authentic Luxury Travel means having real experiences – not being a tourist, but savoring the local culture without sacrificing comfort and convenience. Sure, five-star lodging is often a part of this, but I think attentive service and custom itineraries that allow for spontaneous detours are just as important.

So now it’s your turn. What is your definition of Authentic Luxury Travel? Please share your ideas by leaving a comment on my website.

Thanks – and happy travels.

Photo credit: ADAMS / HANSEN STOCK PHOTOS

posted by Elizabeth Hansen

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