For the eleventh year Wendy Perrin picks the travel specialists who offer the best blend of expertise, access, and good value. These select travel consultants are the pros to turn to for your next big trip.
Over two decades of interviewing travel agents and tour operators for "The Perrin Report" and other Condé Nast Traveler articles has given me a well-thumbed directory of the most trusted insiderspeople who offer the best combination of specialized knowledge (based on firsthand travel experience), local connections, user-friendliness, and value for your dollar.
Each year, my team and I evaluate hundreds of new applicants to this list, and only a small number make the cut. Our recommended specialists have undergone a rigorous screening process that begins with a 47-question application with sample itineraries and client references, then continues with phone interviews and, in most cases, road-testing by Condé Nast Traveler staff. Those who unnecessarily book trips through pricey middlemen (as opposed to directly with local hotels and suppliers) or use on-site contacts that charge exorbitant rates are disqualified. Even so, the travel specialists who make the grade can be expensive. The price quoted within each listing represents the minimum cost per day for two people for the trips that he or she typically books.
I receive hundreds of letters annually from readers reporting back on their trips that were arranged by these travel planners. Any specialist who is the object of valid complaints is removed from the list. To read these user reviews or post one yourself go to my blog, the Perrin Post. To share feedback with me privately or to nominate someone new for consideration, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prefer not to hop from specialist to specialist but to develop a relationship with one travel agent? The consultants marked as Recommended generalist are your best bet. Even if you settle into a long-term relationship with one of them, when booking a journey where the right guides and local connections are critical it's still advisable to contact the listed specialists to find out what they offer that your generalist travel agent doesn't.