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    I’m a Travel Agent: 4 Luxury Vacations Travelers Often Regret

    By Martin Dasko,

    15 days ago
    anouchka /

    According to Grand View Research, the global luxury travel market was estimated at $1.38 trillion in 2023. This industry is expected to grow as wealthy people want to visit exotic destinations and enjoy new experiences. However, it’s worth pointing out that not all high-cost or luxury vacations meet high-end clients’ expectations.

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    What are luxury vacations that travelers often regret? We spoke with Aaron Sutherland, the founder of Jetsetter Lifestyle , an exclusive travel agency that curates unique tourist experiences with insider information, so that he could share luxuries past clients have regretted.

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    Private Island Resorts

    When you first hear about a private island resort, the idea seems enticing, but the isolation becomes monotonous, and the lofty price tag isn’t worth it.

    “While alluring in theory, many private islands lack the diverse activities, dining options and cultural immersion that sophisticated travelers look for,” Sutherland shared.

    These luxury vacations aren’t worth it because they often start at $15,000 per night, which rarely justifies the limited experience.

    ‘Cookie-Cutter’ Luxury Cruises

    “Mass-market luxury cruises, while comfortable, often follow predictable itineraries and lack personalized service,” Sutherland said. “The crowds and standardized excursions can leave high-end clients feeling uninspired.”

    This high-end experience isn’t always worth the cost because, at $10,000 per person, many feel that they don’t get much out of it.

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    Overhyped Bucket List Destinations

    Many dream destinations are praised as mandatory “bucket list” ideas when, in reality, they are a letdown.

    “Certain destinations, like over-touristed European capitals or overcrowded safari parks, can feel underwhelming in reality,” Sutherland said.

    What are specific examples of overhyped destinations that travelers often regret?

    1. Santorini, Greece

    Sutherland noted, “While undeniably picturesque, Santorini’s crowds, inflated prices and lackluster beaches often disappoint.”

    Alternative option: Milos or Folegandros if you’re looking for a similar Cycladic charm with fewer tourists and more authentic, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

    2. Bali, Indonesia

    Bali’s fame appears to have led to over-tourism and a loss of its original allure, leaving many travelers disappointed.

    Alternative: The Gili Islands or Nusa Lembongan for a much quieter, laid-back Balinese experience.

    3. Tulum, Mexico

    Even though the town is still visually stunning, Tulum’s rapid development has resulted in overpriced accommodations and crowded beaches. Most travelers feel that influencers have ruined the location.

    Alternative: Holbox for a more relaxed, less commercialized Mexican beach destination.

    4. Machu Picchu, Peru

    “While a UNESCO World Heritage site, the crowds and strict regulations can detract from the experience,” Sutherland said.

    Even though this is still a popular location, many luxury tourists have pointed out that it’s overcrowded.

    Alternative: Choquequirao for a similar Inca Trail experience with far fewer tourists.

    5. Dubai, UAE

    According to traveler comments, Dubai’s attractions can sometimes feel artificial and lack cultural depth because of their modernity.

    Alternative: Oman for a more authentic Arabian experience with stunning landscapes and rich heritage.

    Sutherland elaborated, “The high cost of accommodations and activities ($10,000+ per week) often doesn’t align with the actual experience, which can be marred by crowds and commercialization.”

    ‘Instagrammable’ Retreats

    You may be tempted to visit if you see an image of a destination enough times on social media. Multiple wellness or general retreats feel like they’re worth visiting when you first hear about them.

    Sutherland noted, “While stunning on social media, many wellness or yoga retreats prioritize aesthetics over substance.”

    What are specific examples of luxury retreat vacations that travelers often regret?

    1. Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa

    This retreat can feel overcrowded and commercialized, lacking the personalized touch of a truly luxurious retreat that travelers are seeking.

    Alternative: Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort, offers a highly personalized, tech-driven wellness experience on a secluded Hawaiian island.

    2. Red Mountain Resort, Utah

    Despite offering gorgeous scenery and outdoor activities, the accommodations and amenities have been described as dated.

    Alternative: Amangiri, Utah, provides an ultra-luxurious desert escape with world-class spa treatments.

    3. The Ashram, California

    Travelers have regretted this retreat because of the Ashram’s strict rules and spartan accommodations that may not appeal to everyone.

    Alternative: Ananda in the Himalayas offers a more luxurious, holistic approach to wellness.

    Sutherland pointed out that the focus on photo ops and superficial experiences can leave clients feeling unfulfilled despite the $5,000-plus per week cost to stay at the retreat.

    What To Look Out For With Luxury Vacations

    As the founder of a luxury travel agency, Sutherland shared three characteristics that make a vacation worth it for someone who has the funds to spend:

    Curated Exclusivity

    You want to avoid overcrowded destinations and mass-market experiences by focusing on unique and off-the-beaten-path locales where you can unwind.

    Personalized Itineraries

    If you have the resources for a luxurious vacation, you want to create an itinerary that aligns with your passions (this could be art, adventure, culinary exploration or historical immersion).

    Insider Access

    The goal is to work with a travel agency that has local contacts who can unlock exclusive experiences that aren’t available to the general public. This ranges from private museum tours to Michelin-starred chef dinners.

    This article originally appeared on : I’m a Travel Agent: 4 Luxury Vacations Travelers Often Regret

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