SETTING THE ITINERARY FOR ADVENTURE!
From the highlands of Scotland, to the beaches of Bali and the game reserves of South Africa, The Divine Destination Collection manages to create the perfect blend of luxury and adventure – along with a unique touch of the spiritual – with every trip.
SO HOW DO THEY DO IT?
The secret sauce turns out to be a whole lot of experience, blended with a generous sprinkling of trusted colleagues around the world, and topped off by a big helping of curiosity and imagination.
“It all starts off with a decision from our Travel Advisory Board on where our next adventure is going to take place,” says Allison Frame, co-founder of The Divine Destination Collection with friend and business partner Deb Niven.
“Creating the Divine-by-Design Travel Advisory Board was one of those Aha! moments,” says Allison. “We thought – why not include the traveller before the travelling actually takes place!”
Deb and Allison present about eight options to the Travel Advisory Board, which is made up of like-minded travellers, ensuring each selection fits in with their signature style – five-star luxury along with a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual dimension.
“Spirituality and hotels are our two anchors,” says Allison. “We do a lot of research on destinations that have a sacred or spiritual pull. Then we make sure the accommodations are outstanding.”
PUTTING THE DIVINE INTO THE DETAILS
With the Travel Advisory Board’s help, an amazing destination is selected – and Deb and Allison start putting the itinerary together for an unforgettable trip.
Since both women have been involved in the corporate meetings & incentive travel business for years, they have a lot of experience to draw on – as well as a large Rolodex (do we still use that word?) full of valuable contacts from around the world!
It always helps to have someone on the ground with local knowledge of how to get around, what to see, and where the best restaurants and hotels are.
That’s why Allison & Deb bring a local Destination Management Company or DMC onboard. They help find unique accommodations and experiences that are impossible to find without a local connection.
“Yes – there are actually DMCs in almost every country around the world! And the great thing is, once they find out how different we are, they are really inspired to dig even further to find more unique & spiritual elements in and around their destination.
“We tell them what we are looking for, but we also ask them for ideas. That’s because we always want to add in a few surprises to delight our guests on every trip,” says Allison.
THE REALITY CHECK
Of course, when something looks great in a photo or on paper, it may not always turn out to be as good in real life. So, Allison and Deb actually take a trip ahead of time to test out all the luxury accommodations, fabulous restaurants, and incredible adventures they are considering for the itinerary.
“It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it,” laughs Allison.
And this reconnaissance mission (aka site inspection) always pays off. For example, for their trip to South Africa, Allison were intrigued by the idea of enjoying a gourmet meal while travelling through the countryside and game reserve on a beautiful antique train from the 1920s.
But when she showed up for the train it was late, and then, instead of a delightful meal accompanied by spectacular scenery, the train stopped on the track and dinner was served onboard a stationary train beside a busy road.
Not exactly the elegant, historical adventure they were hoping for!
To make sure all the food, amenities, and service add up to a truly luxurious and outstanding experience, Deb and Allison stay a night at each hotel – and visit the list of exceptional venues they have lined up for the trip.
“We want to try out all the new and up and coming restaurants & venues – the places that are really generating a buzz,” says Allison. “That’s another reason a good DMC comes in handy – they can often use a connection when it’s hard to get in.”
One of the highlights of the trip to Ireland a few years ago was the opportunity to dine with a local family, and the group is going to feature this experience again when they go to Scotland.
“We use our contacts to meet really interesting, fun people to host a meal. It ends up being a night full of great local food and wonderful conversation – a real window into how people live – and an experience you couldn’t get by travelling on your own.”
Local contacts also help the group navigate through the sometimes confusing travel and customs procedures in different parts of the world.
“In Zambia, as soon as our plane touched down, our DMC was there to collect everyone’s passports and quickly move us through customs & immigration. As a matter of fact, we were at the hotel relaxing and having drinks on the lawn when our fellow passengers on the plane finally arrived,” laughs Allison.
NEXT STOP – THE SACRED SOUTH OF FRANCE AND THE MYSTERY OF MARY MAGDALENE
Allison has already completed the site inspection for next spring’s South of France adventure.
An important part of the trip was speaking to experts in the legend and lore of Mary Magdalene, who is believed to have come to France after the crucifixion of Christ.
“I learned about places she was said to have been, preached, and where she has said to have healed many,” says Allison. “It was like the Da Vinci Code. It was fascinating!
“We also learned a lot about the excellent food and wine in the South of France. I never really cared for Rosés before – but now I’m a convert!”
Stay tuned for the exciting itinerary to be revealed in September. This is a trip you won’t want to miss!
TIPS FROM ALLISON FOR CREATING YOUR OWN ITINERARY
Do your research
– Whether you are looking for the high-end travel of Condé Nast Traveller magazine, or the rough and ready adventures in the Lonely Planet guides, learn as much as you can about your travel destination.
“That also includes checking out travel blogs, reading reviews on Trip Advisor, and talking to anyone you know who has been there.”
But most important, have an open mind
– “Say yes to it all!. That way you will always be surprised and pleased.”
“And if you are up for a great adventure, but just don’t have the time to plan – think about booking a private group trip with us. “We’ll reveal the magic of the destination in a way you never thought possible,” promises Allison.
Unique travel experiences... where luxury, adventure and spirituality meet!
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