While many would have once consigned the idea of travel agents to history, they’ve remained a steadfast part of many people’s experience. Now Vogue has given travel agents their chic stamp of approval.
Last week the style bible published an article declaring “the return of travel agents”, even re-branding them as ‘travel designers’. These experts are on hand to create customised luxury trips for their clients, often to more offbeat or exclusive destinations. Of course, it all comes with high-end service; the magazine reports that these incredibly specialised agents could spend months working with their clients to ensure a tailored, highly satisfactory once-in-a-lifetime experience. And the bill for having a bespoke luxury experience crafted by one of these travel designers? It could be absolutely eye-watering. One travel agent they interviewed described “epic trips that will set someone back six figures. Ultimately, everything we do is tailor-made and private, so it comes with a price tag.”
As well as a heavily-curated itinerary, the designers also help create a hype and can do everything from making music playlists for travellers before they go, to sending hand-picked cookbooks to give people a taste for the local cuisine. The key, many of these travel designers say, is to spend plenty of time living in these destinations and picking up local knowledge. While this may be new to Vogue, last year Lonely Planet reported that many millennials were turning to agents to make their travel planning easier. High-earning Americans in particular are using the service to save both time and money, while many travel agents are seeing success by servicing more niche markets such as LGBT travel or creating new vacation trends like post-divorce holidays.