As a travel design firm, we attract predominately independent travelers who are looking for highly customized trips. Our challenge is not only to tailor trips to where they want to go, how they want to go and what they want to see, but who they are traveling with.
Here’s a sampling of the types of travel companions we’re seeing more and more of these days:
• One parent with one or more kids: Single parents come to us all the time, but we also get plenty of married couples whose spouse cannot get away during the kids’ vacation. Most recently, one of our clients reported back that she had a wonderful experience with her two sons traveling in Iceland. Surrounded by all the beauty and nature away from the ongoing pressures of school, one of the sons opened up to his mom like never before, discussing what he wanted to do when he graduated from college. “The conversation would never have happened if my husband was there,” she told me. “I was so happy he shared his innermost desires.”
• Best Friends: The girlfriend’s getaway has become more of a thing than ever before. We recently sent two 50-year-old best friends to the Swiss Alps. They spent 10 days hiking, e-biking and climbing all the while staying in beautiful one-of-a-kind places, eating well and shopping for European-made clothes. The itinerary was crafted to suit their mutual interests and appetites for adventure.
• Solo Travelers: We’ve had many solo travelers join groups on safaris, expedition cruises and on biking and hiking trips. More and more though, we are hiring private drivers/guides to look after our solo travelers from A to Z in unusual places. We also combine group trips with private solo trips. One woman spent a week biking with a small group in Sardinia and then we added on a stay at a horse farm where she could ride for a few days on her own. We’ve designed two trips for another solo woman who is in love with Persian art. She’s now been to Iran twice, each trip was partly with a small group and partly independent with a guide/driver at her disposal.
• Grandparent/Child: Also gaining in popularity are trips where either one grandparent or both grandparents take one grandchild at a time on a vacation. It can be great fun planning these trips, but with the added challenge of the parents wanting to weigh in on everything! It’s important to have them in the conversation early on.
• Two Couples: While it may not seem uncommon to book trips for two couples traveling together, what we pride ourselves on doing is crafting itineraries that allow plenty of together time, but also opportunities to go separate ways here and there. If one couple enjoys wine-tastings and the other prefers to get out and be active, we’ll put together plans that keep all four happy.
Susan Farewell is the owner of Farewell Travels LLC (FarewellTravels.com), a travel design firm based in Westport, CT. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @FarewellTravels.