9 Booming Destinations for Holiday Travel

Looking for a great spot for your holiday travel this winter, or even next spring break? Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew Upchurch shared some advice with CNBC viewers: book now.

Why Book Holiday Travel Now?

“Global tourism is on a rampage,” Upchurch said in a Sept. 12 appearance on the cable network’s Squawk Box program. He recommended booking holiday travel six to eight months in advance – even a year out if possible. Those who delay, says Upchurch, risk disappointment in not getting the hotels or flights they want: “It’s just availability at the best places at the right times.” [Read more…]

20 Top Luxury Travel Destinations

travel destinations: new zealand

New Zealand’s growth as a luxury travel destination has doubled from 2013

Every year, Virtuoso holds the ultimate luxury travel shopping and networking event: Virtuoso Travel Week. This year, more than 4,100 travel advisors and suppliers such as hotels, cruise lines and airlines are spending a week in Las Vegas meeting with each other on behalf of their shared clients. Each year, an estimated $450 million in sales to travel destinations far and wide results from Virtuoso Week.

Leisure travel is experiencing a massive increase, with more than one billion tourists now crossing international borders – a new record. Luxury travelers are increasingly gravitating to a few select worldwide travel destinations. [Read more…]

Virtuoso Best of the Best Helps You Experience the Exceptional

BoB_2014_Final_Cover_75The 2014 edition of the definitive guide to the world’s finest luxury hotels and destinations is out.  Virtuoso Best of the Best shows what you’ll experience at more than 980 Virtuoso hotels and resorts.

Each property listing provides an overview and an insider tip – either from a Virtuoso travel advisor who has experienced the property or from someone at the property itself. These tips offer valuable insight to enhance your stay, including recommendations you may not find anywhere else. [Read more…]

New Virtuoso Destination Guide Features Island Adventures

Discover Treasured Islands and Adventures Down Under.

What arouses your travel passion and ignites your imagination? Perhaps it’s the romantic allure of a sun-soaked day spent on a private beach. The enjoyment of savoring unique island cuisines. Or discovering the peculiar wildlife, unrivaled wine routes and ancient cultures waiting Down Under.

The November, Island Adventures Destination Guide, features an amazing and unsurpassed collection of cruise itineraries, vacation packages and exclusive values. To enjoy the digital version in its entirety, click here.

Whether you explore Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii or the South Pacific by land or sea, your Virtuoso travel advisor can create the best travel experience that features an array of exclusive amenities you simply can’t find anywhere else. When a Virtuoso travel advisor plans your vacation, they deliver:

• Value – We have access to pricing, amenities, perks, upgrades and experiences not available anywhere else.
• Customized experiences – Designed with you and for you.
• Confidence – You’ll rest easy knowing we’re handling all the details before, during and after your trip.

A travel advisor provides invaluable assistance that will make your Island Adventure truly extraordinary. For a weekend getaway or the trip of a lifetime, call on us. Don’t have a travel advisor? Click here to find one.

How Does a Vacation Become the Trip of a Lifetime?

Who can forget a honeymoon spent at a five-star French Polynesian resort, a morning with the kids spotting tigers at an African game reserve, or winding your way through Europe on an amazing culinary journey?

This month’s Virtuoso travel catalog is loaded with dream journeys to faraway places, breathtaking hotels and luxurious cruises to exotic destinations that will help you plan the trip of your dreams! And, as expected, the exclusive Virtuoso perks make all the difference.

View the digital version of the Trips of a Lifetime Travel Catalog

Highlights include:

Dreams Come True Island Escapes

      – Whether you’re dreaming of cascading waterfalls in New Zealand, a hedonistic spa treatment in the Bahamas or the paradise called Polynesia you’ll find your land escape just a few pages away.

Once-in-a-Lifetime Adventures – Journey across India on the Maharajas’ Express. Take an inaugural rail route through Australia. Or perhaps you’d rather ride a camel, venture elephant-back or blast across the Sahara in a 4×4.

Ultimate Trips Selected by the Virtuoso Staff – In the 2010 Travel Dreams survey, you got to list your dream destinations and travel experiences. Now the Virtuoso staff list their picks for the ultimate in amazing journeys and extraordinary travel.

Never-to-be-Forgotten Wining, Dining and Romance – Savor a new vintage, discovered at the vineyard. Tour the great British pubs. Dine under desert stars. Get away to hotels with private butler service and award-winning cuisines prepared by world-renowned chefs.

Planning a trip of a lifetime is effortless when you use a Virtuoso travel advisor. Click here to find out more.

Travel Aspirations Go Global

Virtuoso Life Magazine reveals the results of the annual Travel Dreams Survey

In 2010, travel aspirations have gone global, according to the results from the fourth annual Travel Dreams Sweepstakes Survey, presented by Virtuoso. Nearly 11,000 readers of VIRTUOSO LIFE, the network’s award-winning magazine, weighed in on the survey to reveal the exotic lands, life-changing experiences and thrilling adventures that upscale travelers are currently seeking.

When asked what they consider the trip of a lifetime, readers were clear that setting sail for a world cruise would be a paramount experience. Calling on all seven continents and visiting the new wonders of the world followed close behind as trips of a lifetime, indicating the desire of travelers to visit the globe. The Galápagos Islands also had a strong presence in this year’s results: This island destination was named the most alluring island escape; the second best outdoor adventure; and the third best destination for families.

“This year’s survey results reflect a shift in consumers’ motivation to travel,” said Elaine Srnka, editorial director for VIRTUOSO LIFE. “Travelers want to see the world. They are no longer content with staying in one place. Whether it’s visiting the far corners of the earth on a world cruise, hiking through remote Machu Picchu or tasting local cuisines through cooking schools, travelers want unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”

The top 10 dream destinations also reflected readers’ longing to visit far-off lands, with Australia, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and Greece nabbing the first five spots. Paris held onto its reign as the most romantic city to spend time with a loved one, as well as the best gourmet city. Rome remains the city with the most beautiful architecture, and Tuscany continues to be the wine region travelers want to toast the most. Again this year, readers felt going on a safari to Africa would merit the best outdoor adventure.

The Travel Dreams results largely supported Virtuoso’s 2010 Luxe Report, insight gleaned from the network’s elite travel advisors, which revealed that travelers in 2010 are booking longer vacations to more distant destinations. Of the travel professionals that participated in the Luxe Report survey, 71 percent reported that clients are seeking international travel for 10 days or more.

This year, readers had extra enticement to share their opinions: an opportunity to win their own dream trip!  Three lucky winners got to choose one of these trips: a ten-day exploration of the Galápagos Islands aboard Lindblad Expedi­tions’ National Geographic Endeavour; a 12-day cruise aboard the Seabourn Pride from Bangkok to Shanghai; or a trip to South Af­rica on Virgin Atlantic Airways to spend five nights at the One&Only Cape Town.

VIRTUOSO LIFE’s Travel Dreams survey was designed to gather consumer travel trends and offer inspiration for future journeys. The 12-question survey explored readers’ opinions about everything from their dream destinations and the best cities for dining to the best destinations for romance and families.  Top-line results can be found below, and the results are featured in the July/August issue of VIRTUOSO LIFE.

The survey results were tallied from responses from almost 11,000 VIRTUOSO LIFE readers who participated in the Travel Dreams Sweepstakes. Virtuoso promoted the sweepstakes via email and within the magazine.

To view a digital edition of the VIRTUOSO LIFE July/August “Readers’ Choice Travel Dreams” issue, click here.


Behind the Scenes with Virtuoso Life in New Zealand

By Marika McElroy Cain, Senior Editor, Virtuoso Life

The biggest story that didn’t make my feature on New Zealand’s North Island for the March/April issue of Virtuoso Life was our accompanying cover shoot in the Bay of Islands. The shoot fell at the tail end of a truly unparalleled trip organized by Seasonz Travel. Associate art director Korena Bolding and I had fly-fished, helicoptered, sailed, and, yes, dined our way through the best of North Island, and our final undertaking before heading back across the Pacific for home was to oversee the cover shoot.

No matter how many cover shoots I work on, it never fails to amaze me how much work it takes to get one perfect, inspiring, effortless-seeming, crowd-pleasing shot. Months of planning preceded the shoot: countless calls and emails with our photographer and his assistant, wardrobe discussions, logistical wrangling, location and talent scouting, and more.

Our Auckland-based crew arrived the evening before the shoot, and over champagne and Thai takeout at Eagles Nest, we plotted out our moves. Everyone had done their homework: our model was professional and lovely, our makeup artist had stellar credentials, our stylist had pulled exactly the right looks, and our photographer was New Zealand’s best. Cue the one element no one can control: the weather.

VLSure enough, shoot day arrived, and our 5:45 a.m. call time coincided with lashing wind and steady drizzle. Not to worry, Kieran Scott, photographer and professional cool cucumber, assured the crew as they played poker for almonds and waited for the storm to blow over. The weather in the Bay of Islands can change in a blink.

And change it did. By late afternoon, the clouds had cleared and we were basking in sunshine. We enjoyed the same fine weather during day two of our shoot and the result was a cover that perfectly captures the beauty of the Bay of Islands.