Luxury Travel Planning Tips: Exclusive Advice from Our Expert
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Redefining Luxury: 6 Travel Planning Tips from an Award-Winning Travel Expert

By Kate Doty | March 12, 2024

Luxury travel, to me, transcends the opulence of your surroundings or the thread count of your sheets. It weaves together unparalleled experiences and personalized services with the boundless awe of the world’s most remarkable places. Luxury is immersing yourself in the destination’s soul, engaging authentically with local cultures, witnessing nature in its rawest form, and experiencing those once-in-a-lifetime moments that linger long after you’ve returned home.

I believe that the essence of true luxury is personal. It means having your travel narrative meticulously tailored to your desires, guaranteeing a unique and unforgettable journey. What ignites your smile, fuels your wonder, and drives your curiosity? With endless choices, the secret to a fulfilling adventure lies in identifying what truly resonates with you.

I’m excited to share a list of my top tips for travel planning, hoping to inspire and elevate your next adventure into the extraordinary.

6 Luxury Travel Tips for the Discerning Explorer

Ennedi, Chad | Photo by: Kate Doty

1. Prioritize Experiences

The richness of your journey stems from personalized excursions that resonate with your interests and extend beyond the familiar. Seek intimate explorations into local culture, music, art, cuisine, and history— adventures that captivate your senses while supporting and preserving the communities you visit. Embrace the unknown and select experiences that challenge, inspire, and gently push the boundaries of your comfort zone. When considering dining options, venture beyond fine dining to discover local markets, street food, and local farm-to-table options that offer an authentic taste of the destination.

Kate Doty with Brad Hansen and Kingsley Holgate Serengeti, Tanzania | Photo by: Kate Doty

2. Invest in a Top-Notch Local Guide

Traveling with an exceptional local guide is akin to having a key to a place’s hidden treasures, transforming your trip into an immersive journey. These guides offer more than mere information; they provide entry to experiences and locales that are inaccessible to the ordinary traveler. They tailor your exploration to your interests, revealing stories and insights that bring every landmark to life. With their guidance, you’ll navigate the fabric of local life, uncover secrets in plain sight, and access corners of the world reserved for the truly adventurous.

Usawa, Tanzania | Photo by: Kate Doty

3. Understand Your Desired Pace

The rhythm of your trip is crucial, and the journey itself is as significant as the destinations you visit. Pacing is all about flow and how your adventure unfolds. The perfect tempo varies based on personality and destination but always balances exploration and relaxation, engagement and reflection, ensuring each place you visit is enjoyed to its fullest. The most important considerations are the length of stay in each accommodation and how many activities you want to fit into each day. A slower pace allows time to deeply immerse yourself in the spirit of a place, which often results in a more rewarding experience. If you prefer a quicker pace and the excitement of exploring a broader range of communities, ensure they are easily connected to avoid feeling hurried. Travel pacing is an art that brings harmony to your adventure, aligning your desires with a pace that feels enriching and purposeful.

Japan Cherry Blossom Season | Photo by: Getty Images

Deciding when to embark on your adventure is strategic and personal. To avoid crowds that can diminish the intimacy of your experience, consider traveling during shoulder or off-peak seasons. These periods can offer a better glimpse into local life and can yield significant savings. However, the most popular times to visit a destination often center around ideal weather conditions. Assess climate patterns and decide what matters more to you—perfect weather or a moment of solitude in a usually bustling locale. Sometimes, a lush and vibrant landscape outweighs sunny days. Remember to consider the timing of special experiences you’re interested in— festivals, events, and natural phenomena could influence the timing of your trip.

Sujan Jawai, India | Photo by: Kate Doty

5. Leverage Expert Luxury Travel Planners

The complexities of travel often necessitate expert insight and meticulous planning. Enlisting a travel expert ensures peace of mind, saves time, and delivers a more seamless, personalized journey. These professionals have deep-rooted connections and insider knowledge that can open doors to extraordinary experiences unknown to the average traveler. They provide advice to maximize your journey and ensure it surpasses your expectations. And during your travels, their around-the-clock support smooths any ripples, offering personalized attention and swift solutions to keep every moment worry-free.

Patagonia | Photo by: Getty Images

6. Embrace the Unexpected

Flexibility is the key to a truly memorable travel experience. While meticulous planning sets the stage, a positive and adaptable attitude lets you savor the moment, even when things don’t go as planned. Each destination has its rhythm and surprises; being open to change can transform a simple detour into an unexpected adventure. Accepting travel’s fluid nature with a go-with-the-flow mindset ensures that hiccups become opportunities for serendipity rather than setbacks, smoothing any bumps and opening doors to joys and experiences you might never have anticipated.


Kate Doty is the Managing Director of GeoEx’s Premier Access program. She has over 30 years of experience in the travel industry and was just recognized by Condé Nast Traveler as one of their Top Travel Specialists for the 12th year in a row.

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