Are These The Escorted Travel Tours
You’ve Been Looking For?
We’ll let you decide… with a little help from our guests.
If there were an escorted travel tours shop in your city, would you just pick one with a dreamy picture and good itinerary?
What if they all had beautiful, photoshopped pictures?
What if they all even sounded ah-mayyyyyy-zing? (what does that even mean anyway?).
Honestly, travel agents overwhelm me. So many options, add ons and paid extras to “enhance your experience”. Between you and me, my armpits are sweating stress-bullets just writing that.
Have you ever seen an ‘off-the-shelf’ experience be anything other than, well, ‘off-the-shelf’?
It takes a lot of effort for escorted travel tours to be different. But they do exist.
You want meticulous planning with a little wiggle room, unique experiences that are still safe (and fun)… and a special something you can’t quite put your finger on. (The french probably have a word for it).
As an epicure traveller (a person of refined taste devoted to food, wine and the world), you have plenty of choices. Some good, some bad and some to avoid even wearing a surgical face mask.
To help you make great choices for your escorted travel tours (and triple-gold star life choices), we’ve compiled a 7-point checklist with a little help from our guests.
7 Reasons Our Guests Swear
You’ll Love Our Escorted Travel Tours
1. Love Like a Local.
Locals may not visit their country as much as travellers might. (Hey, I’ve never climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge even though I’m Australian). But if you want to fall asleep to the scent of strawberries under your window, or drink Aperol Spritz on a friend’s Cinque Terre terrace, or even season your boeuf bourguignon with the restaurant chef, we can probably point you in the direction of somewhere that’ll beat Google and Trip Advisor, every time.
Forget about the herd-mentality found on mass-marketed tours, or rushing to crossing off the most popular tourist destinations from a random Top Ten Places For Foodies list. You want to connect directly with local residents, quickly. And it’s always easier to gain their trust if you’re introduced by a friend.
So we design our escorted travel tours to let you leverage our connections and friends in all our destinations. You’ll see we don’t take you anywhere unless we actually have those personal connections (not commercial partnerships other tour companies rely on).
That’s why guests love our escorted travel tours above any other trip they’ve taken. Because they fall in love with a destination the way they always imagined they would – as if they owned a pied-a-terre pad 5 minutes down the cobblestone road.
2. Keep It Sophisticated Yet Simple.
The ultimate experience isn’t sophisticated because of how complex or even how formal it is, it’s sophisticated because it’s subtle. It anticipates you.
Like most of our guests, you probably want unusual, genuine experiences without having to touch a pricing spreadsheet, tick a box of extras or suffer an ‘all inclusive’ trip eating at the same buffet three times a day.
Of course, you still have to narrow down your choices when you want to burrow deep into a culture.
That’s why you’ll see we don’t have hundreds of itineraries or even tailor-made tours. It takes work – a labour of love, you might say – to make travel so personal you almost want to tell people to ‘leave the dishes, we’ll do them tomorrow’, after dinner.
So we craft one itinerary and do it spectacularly for all our guests. All you have to do is decide where in the world you want to see next.
And we don’t confuse sophistication with pretension. You already know that many of the best meals are served on the humblest of tables. That’s what makes our guests the best in the industry – you’re real. Which is why we seek out local-loved experiences. Whether dining in a well-known restaurant, or huddling around a tiny wood-burning stove in a farmhouse, we always guarantee authentic, relaxed sophistication.
We hand select and test every meal, venue and even the springiness of the beds so you just turn up, knowing you’ll love your trip.
3. Rest Your Head in Rustic Luxury.
Almost every traveller has stayed in deliciously upper class hotels before. You already know the feel of crisp sheets, 24hr room service and buffed marble slabs. But what about personality? (It may not be a French word, but it can make or break your trip.)
If you asked our guests they’d tell you many of their favourite travel memories come from stumbling upon the perfect country cottage, or waking up to the sounds of a centuries-old working farm. So because we’re not the settling type we thought, “can we make this even better?”.
Enter memorable, off-the-beaten-path accommodations. The kind you’d usually need the right connections and a generous dollop of luck to find alone:
- Mountain-set villas in the south of France
- Castles and chalets in Poland
- Exposed-timber farmhouses in rural Australia
As travellers, we’ve done the whole spectrum of travel experiences from tourist traps to 45 euro cocktails. So no matter where we travel, we expect the bedroom to reflect the essence and feel of the destination.
After all, all four of us come on every tour so it has to be unique and different from every other trip we’ve been on!
4. Laugh with Best Friends You Haven’t Met Yet.
It would be easy to give lip service to this, so I’ll let you in our secret.
Secret formula, Part 1: The four of us escort you on every trip – and the general consensus is, we’re a riot! (I think it’s dad’s ageless jokes that people love, just quietly).
Seriously, over 60 years of travelling together, hosting tours and with friends we’ve been in every situation. Real experience is everything in travel so we know how to make your trip shine.
Part 2 of our secret formula is we have no minimum numbers requirements to run a tour because attracting the right people matters more. If we have 3 people, we take three people. But never more than 12. As long as they’re the right ones.
Guaranteed departures and small groups means you can forge deep friendships naturally. It’s like science for travel companions.
Part 3: The final and most important part is we hand select our guests from every traveller who requests to book. It’s not enough for you to have a ‘great time’ with us. We want you to take home people you can reminisce with, who you get along with and who you’d introduce to your grandkids. Whether by experience, intuition or good grace, thankfully we seem to attract the right people!
Oh, and we have a strict ‘no sour-puss’ policy. It’s so important to our guests that we had to move it out of the fine print and into the real print! No complaining, bad attitudes or superiority complexes allowed. Like you, we don’t have time for anyone who sucks time or energy away from the group.
5. Learn and Share.
That doesn’t mean have to protect your plate like I did from our beagle puppy growing up. Unless we’re having hand-cut potato chips. Then all bets are off.
We believe travel should enrich you as a person and equip you with skills you can take home… and use!
So one of the keystones in every tour are the masterclasses you get to come on with famous or should-be famous chefs. From pickling classes in a Polish grandma’s tight kitchen to outdoor roasting techniques overlooking desert flowers in the outback, these are a standout for our guests.
Alex, my sister, is a chef and full of tips to turn you semi-pro with a whisk of the wrist. And she’s around every day on tour for you to butter up and cajole out of her golden kitchen nuggets.
It goes far beyond cooking and the kitchen too.
Perhaps our guests’ favourite part is the generosity of our friends in the restaurants and farm staff. You can get practical everyday tips like how to choose the best cut of meat for your recipe, to how to test for seasonality and sweetness at your local veggie grocer or farmer’s market. They love sharing their knowledge with our guests, because we’re passionate about supporting the people who make incredible food possible.
It’s our way to help you to recreate some of the magic when you return home. Of course, if ever you need a quick recipe or kitchen answer, we’re here to help our guests. Once you’re in, you’re always part of the family.
6. Plan For the Extraordinary.
And by that, we mean don’t plan at all unless it’s whether you’ll have champagne or or a signature cocktail on arrival.
You know, they say life is what happens whilst you’re busy making other plans. So leave the planning to us, and just turn up.
Our tours make sure you get time to enjoy the moment because extraordinary things happen when you take notice of little, ordinary things.
Yes, we could tell you that booking flights, hotels, and ground transportation in a foreign country is stressful, takes loads of time, and is risky, especially if you can’t speak the local language. You know all that and as travellers, we’ve all been there. But more importantly, that’s what we LOVE to do. We love crafting those special trips for our guests. And yes, it does help that we get to come on them too. But the real reward is seeing the look on our guests’ face that says, “I can’t believe this is my life.”
And there you have it. We take care of everything from the moment you land so you won’t need to do anything… except show up with an appetite.
7. Let Yourself Become Who You Always Imagined.
Even more than ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ moments, we aim to give you moments for a lifetime. So underlying everything you do, from private chef classes, to seaside villas, to earth under your fingernails, we believe in a greater travel philosophy.
That’s why we construct every day of our itineraries to feed your soul at least a little. Sometimes in a way you barely feel it, and sometimes in a way that makes time disappear.
Maybe it’s a thoughtful conversation as we’re walking through the vineyards. Or showing you our secret sunset spot on a warm spring evening. Or even a simple vinaigrette recipe your great-grandkids will name after you.
As one of our guests once quoted from Wicked the Musical, “who can say if I’ve been changed for the better? But because I knew you, I’ve been changed for good.”
Our food-based tours are as unique as our guests. If you are interested in learning more about the fully escorted travel tours provided by Epicure Travel Group, send us a love note over on our contact us page. All four of us read every message and you’ll hear back from us personally.