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Bespoke List: The 11 Travel Experts You Need to Know Before Your Next Trip

From safari specialists to Italy insiders, these are the travel pros you want planning your next adventure.

Safari travel Photo: Courtesy Poppy Miyonga

Creating an automobile, timepiece travel experience, or wardrobe tailored specifically to your tastes requires professionals of uncommon skill. It also demands an investment of time on your part. To simply your search for the personal touch, we’ve assembled a directory of select purveyors who have mastered the art of the custom-made—this article is a part of the 2017 Robb Report Bespoke List.

Journeys by Design

If any trip calls for a specialist’s touch, it’s an African safari. The intricacies of identifying the best reserves and lodges—and the logistics of traveling from one remote camp to the next—demand that even seasoned safari-goers enlist an expert. How one selects an expert is a simple matter for Will Jones, founder of the UK-based safari outfitter Journeys by Design. “The true specialist is able to tell a story with nothing more than a map,” says the 46-year-old Jones, who was born in Nigeria and raised in six different African countries. “If he or she can tell you a whole story over the history, the geography, the people, the culture, and the wildlife with just a map in front of you, then you’re in the right company.”

Not surprisingly, Jones prefers to meet face-to-face with clients before planning one of his journeys, which can range from family safaris through southern Africa to helicopter adventures in rarely visited regions of Kenya and Ethiopia. In addition to assessing clients’ needs and desires, the meetings serve to address any security concerns they might have.

“As safe as Africa is, it comes with some inherent risk,” Jones says. “When dusk falls and the night draws in, small problems can turn into fairly significant crises. We’re generally a bit more expensive than the competition, but we’re not cutting any corners. We’re making sure that you’re not left stranded on an airstrip wondering when that little airplane is going to turn up out of the sky.”


Nomad Hill

Travel-industry vet David Jones and NFL star Larry Fitzgerald founded this company in 2016 and have been taking travelers on far-out adventures ever since. Charter a yacht in Greece, tour secret sites in Egypt, or go wine-tasting in Jones’s current favorite spot, the nation of Georgia.

Scott Dunn Private Journeys

Launched in 1986 as an upscale ski outfitter, this London-based company is now an authority on bespoke luxury itineraries around the world. No trip is too big or too small, from a family-reunion safari in Botswana to a private villa for two on the French Riviera.—Jackie Caradonio

Jacada Travel

An expert in custom journeys on all seven continents, this London-based outfitter excels at adventurous South American itineraries. Whether it’s an intrepid expedition to Patagonia or a private charter through the Galápagos Islands, Jacada’s travel designers can make it happen.—J.C. 

Cazenove & Loyd

Henrietta Loyd, founder of this UK-based company, sends clients on tailored journeys to little-known islands in Indonesia and hidden corners of Cambodia. In addition to Asia, the outfitter specializes in Africa, Central and South America, and the Middle East.—J.C. 

Black Tomato

Zeppelin rides and on-demand drone photographers are among the innovative offerings from this creative travel company, which focuses on bucket-list experiences in unconventional destinations. Book with the company’s extreme offshoot, Epic Tomato, for over-the-top adventures like white-water rafting in Nepal and snowkiting in Iceland.—J.C. 

Abercrombie & Kent

Founded by travel-industry legend Geoffrey Kent in 1962, A&K today organizes trips to more than 100 nations on every continent. With 52 offices worldwide, the company can pull off just about anything, from around-the-world private-jet journeys to fly-in Antarctic expeditions.—J.C. 

Nota Bene Global

Founder Anthony Lassman launched this members-only club in 2011 to offer customized travel itineraries and exclusive concierge services. The London-based company can arrange private tours of the Vatican, red-carpet access at the Cannes Film Festival, and candlelit dinners in the Palace of Versailles.—J.C. 

Swain Destinations

Nobody knows Australia like Ian Swain. The Philadelphia-based Aussie founded Swain Destinations in 1987 and today takes travelers to the country’s farthest corners—​from the Kimberley to Tasmania—as well as to New Zealand, Asia, and Africa.—J.C. 

Bellini Travel

Founder Emily FitzRoy holds the keys to all of Italy’s secrets—from renting the most exclusive palazzi in Venice to an after-hours tour of the Uffizi in Florence.—J.C. 

Micato Safaris

This family-run company has been leading extra­ordinary African safaris since 1966. More recently it has become known for its adventures in India and Bhutan, exploring Himalayan peaks and villages, sacred sites on the Ganges, and tiger-filled forests in Ranthambore.—J.C. 


More from the 2017 Robb Report Bespoke List:

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