Forget pre-conceptions of being bussed around en-masse, eating en-masse in service stations and having to pose clammily for group photos; an i-escape Tailormade Tour is worlds away from a Saga Holiday or the Oz Experience.
Crucially, it’s a bespoke experience. You pass over the boring logistics of booking hotels, scheduling transfers and vetting guides to someone else, and they tailor-make your perfect trip (while you concentrate on what to pack and your holiday reading).
It’s brilliant if you’re planning a honeymoon (and have NO TIME to plan it). It’s great if you’re thinking of family adventures and want expert advice on truly child-friendly experiences. It’s amazing if the country you want to visit is HUGE, with hundreds of Must-Dos – they’ll advise on the very best tourist sights (or under-the-radar experiences away from the hordes, if you prefer). And best of all, a TMT is ideal if you feel a little daunted by the place you want to visit, and want someone to metaphorically hold your hand and help you through language barriers / make you confident that your money’s not being taken by a shyster.
So who are the Tailormade Tour Operators?
These 13 TMTs are our most trusted business partners. They are based in the countries they represent so are true on-the-ground experts (and are available whenever you need them while you’re away; no time difference or international calling rates). We’ve chosen them because of their credentials, their amazing guides, and their discerning standards (much like our own).
How do they choose the hotels?
These guys know all the hotels on Trip Advisor – the excellent, the bad and the ugly. Many of the ones they recommend are featured on i-escape (romantic havelis, stylish safari lodges, budget riads); if these aren’t quite right for your trip, they’ll recommend alternatives that they trust. Nothing is a gamble.
Can they book activities?
Absolutely – they all have great suggestions to help you really discover these bewitching countries. Camping under the stars in the Sahara desert, zip-lining through rainforest, sunrise over UNESCO temples. Their advice on, and booking of, activities is what really makes your trip special.
Surely booking a TMT is super expensive?
It’s more expensive than booking the whole experience independently, yes. But not massively – and that’s the point. You’re paying for their expertise and service, and the fact that you can totally trust their recommendations. But they’re not ripping you off (we made sure of that when we selected our partners in each country).
Do you have to book an entire tour?
No. We’ve put together suggested itineraries for each of our TMTs, which encompass the highlights of each country. Some people book these are they are, but most clients take these as a guide, and work with the TMT to create their own experience, based entirely on their own budget, timeframes and interests. You can book all your hotels, transfers, activities and guides, or simply a driver or a single hotel.
Do they book international flights?
No. But they can organise domestic hops.
And will we have tour buddies?
No! These are trips just for you.
Still unsure? Here’s our personal experience of them.
Tailormade Tours Northern Tanzania organised my honeymoon: 5 days in Zanzibar then 6 days doing safari in 3 different camps. It was simply amazing. Nadine, our contact, literally arranged everything for us; we arrived in Africa exhausted from our wedding and were whisked straight to this super-beautiful hotel. After our beach stay, she’d organised a taxi to the airport, domestic flights between the safari camps, drivers and guides for while we were on safari, even some cool extras she recommended for us that we wouldn’t have otherwise known about (a night safari; private dining in the bush). Liz, Editor
I’m currently in the planning / logistics stage of a complicated India itinerary, and Tailormade Tours Northern India has been incredible at helping me make arrangements and getting prices I never would have been able to get on my own. They respond lightning-quick (no matter how many miniscule emails I send them!), are unfailingly professional, and are genuinely keen to help. They seem to have a vast network of contacts in every corner of the country and can arrange just about anything. This is my 5th visit to India and I feel like a very experienced traveller there, but even so, I think I will get a lot more out of this trip than I could without their help. Emylou, Bookings Consultant
We had a fantastic honeymoon thanks to Tailormade Tours Sri Lanka. Our driver Ramoul made the trip so much more fun and interesting – it was great to have the perspective of someone living on the island who had experienced the tsunami, the war and the rebuilding, and the growth of the tourist industry. He was kind, patient and a wonderfully safe driver.
Planning the trip became simple: we told them what we wanted to see and do, and our budget, then they worked out what we could realistically fit in (allowing for traveling times, jet lag etc). A lot of temples and sites were chaotic when we arrived, and it was great having someone to show us where to go and explain the cultural significance of what we were seeing.
When you work, and are limited with your time, you want to be able to maximise your holiday. A TMT can help you combine sightseeing and R&R so you really discover a place, but never feel rushed or harassed. We came back refreshed, and we would definitely use one again for big holidays. Kate, Head of Reservations
See our full collection of Tailormade Tours and if you’re still struggling to decide if they’re for you, call our lovely Bookings team on +44 (0) 117 946 7072.