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Audley Travel Is Changing the Way Travelers Take Luxury Vacations

The company's expert guides bring the heart and soul of each destination to life

by Rachel Dube

August 28, 2023

Kwessi Dunes quad bike tour in Namibia / Photo: ©Laura Jane Dale/Audley Travel

The most memorable vacation is one that aligns with your personal preferences, including your preferred way to fly, the activities you want to do, and your preferred pace and hotel style. This is what Audley Travel offers, and it is precisely why customers choose them to plan their vacations.

“We opened our doors in Boston almost 10 years ago and found that truly tailor-made trips were a hole in the market, especially the luxury travel market in the U.S.,” says Claire Saylor, Marketing Manager at Audley Travel. “That meant we had to really educate travelers that this style of travel even exists. What we offer is a hybrid between working with a highly specialized travel advisor and a tour operator. We have country specialists for more than 85 countries around the world that work with each client to plan a custom trip designed uniquely for them.”

Country specialists help Audley Travel stand out from other travel companies and platforms. “Each year, they return to their destinations on research trips to stay on top of what’s new in the region,” says Saylor. “Every stay and experience we recommend has been vetted by someone who works at Audley so we can ensure what we’re offering is the best in class and really tailored to what the client is looking for.” With on-the-ground experience, the specialists can answer a whole slew of important questions—including tipping standards, what to pack, how to get around, etc.—that individuals will want to know before visiting.

Camel ride at Erg Chebbi, Morocco / Photo: Courtesy of Audley Travel

Before planning itineraries, Audley meets with clients to discuss their vacation goals. “We’re really looking for what drives them to travel, and what their passions are,” says Saylor. For instance, let’s say you’re interested in Jewish Heritage, astronomy, or following in the footsteps of Gandhi. Audley’s specialists try to pick up on unique ways for you to connect to your location that you wouldn’t necessarily expect.

“There are just really interesting elements that you can pull out and find connections to, which ultimately give our clients a more meaningful experience on their trip. We like to say everything is tailored to you these days, ranging from your Spotify playlist to your wardrobe, and we are bringing that individualized service to travel.”

“We’re constantly evolving our experiences to cater to our travelers’ requests and feedback,” explains Saylor. “The best reviews we receive come from experiences that don’t match your stereotypical view of luxury travel. We hear clients rave about the relationships they were able to build with our expert guides, unexpected or serendipitous moments, singular access to natural wonders, and creating new memories with their loved ones as highlights of their trip.”

As a result, Audley places huge importance on the guides it assigns to clients. The company has worked with many of its guides and local experts—from volcanologists to wolf trackers to geisha experts, historians, and food bloggers—for years in order to bring the heart and soul of a destination to life.

Tiger sighting in India / Photo: Courtesy of Audley Travel

“We also like to keep a few tricks up our sleeves by steering travelers towards off-the-beaten-path experiences and undiscovered boutique stays, and we make sure to include special touches along the way,” she says. While Audley plans travel for clients around the world, Saylor shares there’s a particularly high demand for the Galapagos, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and African safaris.

The company recently planned a trip for a couple looking to explore the wildlife and spirituality of India and Bhutan. The journey started in the national parks of Tadoba, Pench, and Kanha, where their tiger sightings culminated in an encounter between a tiger and a sloth bear. They went on to explore the Himalayas via a series of hikes including a section of the recently opened Trans-Bhutan Trail, accompanied by a guide with encyclopedic knowledge of local flora, fauna, and birds. For insight into local culture, Audley arranged for them to share a meal with locals at a small farmstead, visit a nunnery in Thimphu for evening prayers, and hold a meditation session with local monks in one of the country’s dzongs.