For eight years, we’ve debuted the results of our annual Virtuoso Travel Dreams Survey in the July issue of Virtuoso Life. And in that time, tens of thousands of you have shared with us your dream destinations, trips of a lifetime, family vacations, romantic getaways, island retreats, and other globe-trotting aspirations.
The editors consider the survey results a playbook for the types of articles we need to feature – or not – in the magazine. But over time, we’ve evolved from focusing solely on the travel destinations and experiences that top the lists to also considering the travelers themselves. We’re fascinated by your travels, as evidenced by regular columns such as “Why I Travel” (page 56), “In My Bag” (page 78), and “Reader’s Report (page 114). In this issue, we even take an illustrated look at five different travel personalities – the classic traveler, the go-getter, the trendsetter, the connoisseur, and the relaxationist – and what trips make them tick (page 90).
Every one of you has a story – many stories – to tell, and the travelers featured in our pages are proof of the power, perks, and privileges of working with a Virtuoso travel advisor. Take Bob Reichelt, winner of this year’s Travel Dreams Survey grand prize: a Crystal Cruise for two with air courtesy of Etihad Airways. (Five others won $1,000 cash prizes.) Bob, who’s taken 18 cruises, works with Dallas agency owner Ralph Iantosca to plan his vacations. “Ralph and his staff are extremely knowledgeable and great to work with,” he says. “My wife, Mila, and I generally know what we want to do; they add value in both their suggestions and their attention to getting things just right. Ralph takes the trouble and time to know us and our desires, and he anticipates our needs.”
Bob’s best travel tips? “Know what you want, book early if possible, and work with a good travel advisor.” You’ll find more words of wisdom – and loads of inspiration – throughout the issue. (And for more reasons to work with a Virtuoso travel advisor, take a look at the comments from fellow travelers, below.) Enjoy!
In Your Word
Survey respondents tell us some of the reasons they like working with a Virtuoso travel advisor.
For a push in the right direction: “Antarctica is the perfect example of why I’m loyal to my Virtuoso advisor – she knows me better than I know myself. The relationship we’ve developed has been one of the most important of my life. Truly, I wouldn’t have been adventurous enough to visit many of the life-changing destinations I’ve seen without her expertise and planning.” – Brenda Massingill
For less legwork: “I used to book all of our trips myself online until I called an advisor when deciding on a destination for our honeymoon. It was so nice to sit back and let someone else do the research. She gave us a few options in our price range, and we picked one. Our trip was amazing! We have used her multiple times since.” – Mary Barber
To save the day: “We traveled to the Galápagos Islands, then hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. It was a great trip. But when we got to the start of the Inca Trail, there was a glitch in our porter arrangement. I called my advisor long distance at about 9 p.m. on her cell phone; she had shared her number with me ‘just in case.’ She straightened out the whole mess by 5 a.m. the next day. Without her help, the trip would have been ruined.” – Kathy Redd
For clairvoyance, on a budget: “I just like to go, and I typically don’t care when or where. She reads my mind most of the time on the budget I give her, and somehow she always makes it better than I imagined.” – Jeffrey Holland
To make a great trip even greater: “We were taking a boat over to Caneel Bay on Saint John, and the hotel representative went around saying something to each party that we couldn’t hear because of the wind. She told us that we had been upgraded four room categories. In our excitement, we turned to the people next to us and said, ‘Isn’t it great that they’re upgrading everyone?’ It was like asking if someone’s pregnant who’s not – the others hadn’t been upgraded. WOOPS! Just one of the numerous times our advisor has done a great job for us.” – Cathryn Buchanan