Bespoked travel plans

We’ve written about boutique airlines (here), and we’ve shown how the really wealthy purchase what would be considered out-of-this world experiences (here). For folks with busy lives that leave them little or no time to develop their own travel itineraries, perhaps intermediaries can still be the answer.

Now even plebians such as we can craft unique travel journeys that might erstwhile be the domain of the wealthy. We came across this website after reading Thrillist, and by no means are we in any way linked with them.

Just that this is yet evidence that travel has become mundane.

Yep. We know this is a sweeping assertion. But hear us out.

Try this as an experiment. Type “Paris” into the search field of wordpress. Do you see how many posts come up? While they all may be unique and individual experiences, does this not make one ponder about how common a trip to Paris is these days? Add to the folks on other social media outlets and the ones who don’t (ie social media hermits), there is an incredulous amount of sharings and pictures out there!

Just as we wrote about in naughty cruise journey, people are increasing looking for customized ways to experience travel. Perhaps this is the reason why we see the rise of the ‘Travelers’ – ie folks who want to ‘live’ like a local where they travel too?

What do you look for when you travel? Do you travel with a purpose?

Getting out of Perth

No, we are suggesting that you don’t go to Perth. It is a nice city. Perhaps it has grown a lot bigger, busier, more crowded since we last set foot there. We like to think about it as – taking a break that includes being outside of Perth.

Why?

Because there are simply so many things to see and do outside of the city. You know that already. But a word of warning. Being situated on the western coast of West Australia state, the distances will be long and the journeys could be a little stifling especially in the summer heat. So choose the time of your visit carefully…

This post is a link to a reminisce of our journey taken many years back. And in some ways we think it is still relevant to share. Because it was made in the early innings of our travel “career” together. Hmm…travel career…sounds catchy doesn’t it? Some people work all their lives building one – you know, a career in some trade or business function. But we seem to have built one out of traveling!

And you would also know that in work life there are some experiences or things one did that led to recognition (promotions, bonus, raises etc). So what got us ‘promoted’ in our travel career? We think it was this journey that provided the big break in our career, of traveling that is.

What was your travel career enhancing journey?

This would be a fine hotel to “book”

When you check into the Literary Man hotel in the town of Obidos, Portugal you might not sleep a wink they tell you. Why you ask? Because the hotel has a library stocked with approximately 50,000 titles. They range for fiction to cookbooks to vintage collectibles. It is said to be an affordable night’s stay too.

You might recall that Mel’s fascinated with books. As an antiquities’ buff, Mel has accumulated a healthy collection of history books. Some during the days when we lived in Holland, and yet other more recent purchases off Amazon. So this resonates well with him.

However this is by no means the only hotel that is book themed.

Back in 2013, CNN listed a bevy of 14 hotels (read here) around the world. Check out the Nines in Portland. They have a deal with Powell books, one of the sources that Mel pursues for his book fix. Or the Heathman hotel, also in Portland (why ah?). For the Hobbits fans out there, decor at the Hobbit motel in New Zealand revolves around the book(s). But none of them matches the Literary Man hotel’s phantasmagorical setting for book buffs.

So why not consider Obidos? A reasonably exotic locale (depending on your point of view), affordable nights’ stay, a warmer climate (for those in the throes of winter). All good reasons to kick back, relax and enjoy a read!

Will you book a reading holiday?

An adult’s Disney fantasy

Heheh. Not some wet dream… but believe this has caught your attention!

In our travels, the epicurean side of the journeys figure pretty strongly in our planned or unplanned soujorns. Take our journey to Bangkok. We had to try our Greyhounds cafe in Bangkok so that we can compare it against the one in Singapore. Nothing beats verification that we’re getting the real stuff right? Just like the shrimps in the featured image…don’t ask why we used that…

Or our more recent journey to Japan. It was Valentine’s and there was such a kaleidescope of confectionery to sample and purchase. And this was excluding the fantastic seafood meals we had while out on the coast of Toyama!

Now imagine dining as if you are a princess in the magical castle. Disney has apparently taken the experience in the happiest place on earth a notch higher. For about US$15,000 one can bring 11 other guests to enjoy drinks an a seven course dinner at 21 Royal. It’s good to know this price comes with park admission and valet parking.

What’s good is that the gratuity is already included, so you don’t need to search the wallet for an appropriate amount to tip 15% off the cost of the event! Do you even carry that much cash around? Might be branded a terrorist or money launderer…LOL. Or worse, it could be confiscated or rendered useless…(re India scrapping currency)…ok we digress again.

One of the experential sides of our journeys is all about the food in the places we travel to. Would that be yours too?

There appears to be lots of foodies out there with a lot of spare change. In any case, better make that booking quick because it seems this dining location is pretty hot. Start saving the pennies now!

Will you dine at 21 Royal?

Wine and country

No. The Koala did not fall asleep because of too much wine and cheese.

But Suan almost certainly did. As designated driver, Mel dutifully abstained from swigging too much drink and sipped accordingly. But for Suan it was open season…Time to get the shotguns out of the cupboard! This was how it felt like when we drove through the Bellarine onto the Mornington peninsula during this part (read here) of the short road trip outside of Melbourne.

While it may not be quite France as we had experienced, it was whole different way to enjoy our own little ‘wine tour’ in Australia.

One of the advantages of driving your own is that you can select and winery you wish to stop at. And keep going for as long as you can. Well someone’s gotta “sacrifice”, but hey that’s for the greater good ain’t it? Packaged wine tours on the other hand bring you to that handful of places they have arrangements with. While you might get a little more attention than walk-in customers, you certainly have no choice of where to go! Unless you book a private tour where you let the operator knows where you’d want to go…

But the best private wine tour operator has got to be Mel! Because he will drive Suan anywhere she wants, stop anywhere she desires and dutifully drive her safely home.

Does this motivate you to jump out and do your own “private” wine tour drive now?

Secret Travels, travel secrets?

Well not all “high end” travel is about luxury. In so many blog posts there are stories of how fanciful the lounges are and how the dining blows you off your feet. But sometimes high end travel is about privacy and discreteness.

This article to us suggests that if you speedy immigration clearance, solitude and/or true exclusivity is what you are after, then opt for a VIP suite experience.

Yeah, the lounges may not be a smorgasbord of fine dining and there might not be showers with Bvlgari shampoo. But the truly super rich (if they don’t have a plane to call their own), would probably be in such private suites and whisked aboard planes without the need to interact with the plebian folks at the airport terminal.

You see, for these folks the transportation part of the journey is probably not the most exciting for them – as it may be for us. While we relish and plan in advance on getting to the airport on time, perhaps crashing in the use of a lounge with all that free food, drinks and wifi etc, these folks simply want to get it over with. If teleporation exists you can bet these folks would be first in line…ok after extensive safety tests…

For some of us, it is indeed the destination that is more important than the journey. Some people sleep it through, others become insomniac. Unless you are in an elite class of travel, you are more than likely to enjoy the transportation part of the journey less..

Is your destination more important than the journey?