Harbor View Hotel in Martha’s Vineyard. Photography courtesy of Harbor View Hotel.
If 2020 was the year of quarantine, 2021 is proving to be the year of wanderlust. And while travel restrictions continue to evolve as the pandemic progresses, some trips that seemed unthinkable a few months ago are starting to seem within reach, and many hopeful travelers are revisiting their lists of dream destinations in anticipation of future adventures. With this in mind, we recently checked in with travel experts across the country, and asked them about the domestic and international locations that are on their current personal must-visit lists. Here, they share where they’re hoping to go in 2022, and whether you’re seeking a big sky experience or relaxing on the shores of a faraway ocean, the options are sure to set you scheming. Just bear in mind that with rules and restrictions constantly shifting, the high possibility of cancellation, and a variety of other COVID-related issues at play, it’s more important than ever to enlist the services of a seasoned expert who can help you navigate the tricky waters of travel today.
NEW ENGLAND // “Although the world is slowly starting to reopen, most of my clients are more comfortable staying closer to home; however, it seems like everyone wants to go to the same places, and that means getting creative for clients. I’ve just finished the details for D.C. clients headed out on a New England road trip, so I thought I’d take an opportunity this fall to visit some family and check out the properties myself. The itinerary has them starting at Cliff House in Maine, to spending a few days in Boston at the newly renovated Newbury Boston before heading out to the Chatham Bars Inn on the Cape and Harbor View Hotel on Martha’s Vineyard. The most exciting part of putting this itinerary together was working with an amazing new Boston-based tour operator, The Uncommonwealth, to make their city stay incredibly interesting.” —David Bragg, travel advisor/affiliate of SmartFlyer at David Bragg Travel in Nashville, Tennessee
MONTANA // “Luxury ranches have been huge this year, and one of my personal favorites is Triple Creek Ranch in Montana. Ranches are wonderful destinations for extended and multi-generational families, and many are eager to travel with those they missed spending holidays and vacations with last year. Of course, they lend themselves to endless activities outdoors while enjoying wide open spaces.” —Kimberly Georgi, travel advisor and owner of Luxury Travel Design in Memphis, Tennessee
“If there ever was a year for domestic travel, 2021 is it! With strict rules and restrictions looming over international destinations, the U.S. has exploded with travel requests. Montana is the perfect mix of natural beauty, adventure, and luxury. Looking for something a little outside the box? Try a week at an all-inclusive ranch. Montana has some of the best in the game. The Resort at Paws Up and Triple Creek Ranch are a perfect balance of nature and luxury and are sure to have something to please everyone. If luxurious hotels are more your style, keep an eye on Big Sky, Montana. The Montage and One & Only hotel groups are both opening resorts in the near future.” —Jessi Cook, luxury travel curator at Trink Travel in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
PARK CITY, UTAH // “The Lodge at Blue Sky in Park City is an Auberge property. This is truly a brand that does everything right, and this is their newest domestic property. With hiking, art, biking, rafting, and ballooning—to name a few activities—plus a world-class spa, this hotel is going to be a home run for couples and families.” —Robert Merlin, luxury travel advisor at The SmartFlyer in Saint Louis, Missouri
LondonHouse in Chicago. Photography courtesy of LondonHouse.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS // “Chicago is an unbeatable city: it combines midwestern friendliness and hospitality with top-of-the-line restaurants, cocktail bars, hotels, and entertainment. When I’m in town I always visit Ramen-San, Au Cheval, and Frontier (where we had our rehearsal dinner!). I usually stay at our place in the city, but when booking clients my favorites are the London House, the Peninsula, and the Waldorf Astoria. There are always new bars popping up, but a couple I find myself revisiting are Drumbar (located in the Raffaello hotel), Grant Achatz’s The Aviary and Cindy’s with its incredible Millennium Park views.” —Ryan Corrigan, CEO and head consultant at Corrigan & Co. Luxury Travel Outfitters in Virginia Beach, Virginia
JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING // “Our connection to Jackson goes back to 1959, when my in-laws met at The Wort. It’s where my husband was raised, where we met, married, and had our kids. Since we have local friends and family, resident clients, and frequent bookings for clients to visit there, it’s one of our favorite places to visit. The Four Seasons Jackson Hole, Amangani, and Hotel Jackson are our top accommodation selections for our clients. EXP Journeys takes care of our clients in Jackson Hole who like exclusive experiences such as tracking elusive wolves in Lamar Valley with a wildlife expert, gazing on Grand Prismatic’s brilliant colors from a helicopter, floating the Snake River, or enjoying brunch on its shores beneath soaring eagles. And the icing on the cake for our visit is the launch party for The Scout Guide Jackson Hole, owned by the fabulous Jill King.” —Kristen Meckem, private travel advisor at Kristen Meckem Travel in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Lake Oswego, Oregon
Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal. Photography courtesy of Six Senses Douro Valley.
PORTUGAL // “Home to lively cities, hidden beach towns, beautiful wine country, castles, and more, Portugal is a stunning country that is far less touristy than some of its other European counterparts. Portugal is also an incredibly family-friendly destination, which makes it appealing for multigenerational travel. Wine lovers, city dwellers, and beach bums will all find something to love in Portugal! Favorite hotels include Four Seasons Lisbon, Santiago De Alfama Hotel, Six Senses Douro Valley, Hotel San Lourenco do Borrocal, and Vila Vita Parc Resort and Spa. Connect with your local travel advisor to come up with the perfect itinerary based on your needs and interests.” —Jessi Cook, luxury travel curator at Trink Travel in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Dar Ahlam in Morocco. Photography courtesy of Dar Ahlam.
MOROCCO // “I haven’t been to Morocco since before I was in the travel industry. In fact, it was my last destination I planned before becoming an advisor and made me realize this is what I wanted to do full-time. I’ve been working with several clients over the last few weeks, but a standout itinerary that I personally want to check out is for honeymooners traversing the country for a few weeks. While we have them in some amazing riads and a desert camp, the resorts I’d love to experience are Dar Ahlam, La Mamounia, and Kasbah Tamadot. And while these hotels are some of my favorites, I love working with Experience Morocco to really pull everything together and create a seamless itinerary for clients.” —David Bragg, travel advisor/affiliate of SmartFlyer at David Bragg Travel in Nashville, Tennessee
BIMINI ISLAND, BERMUDA, AND RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO // “Since partnering last year with Richard Branson’s new cruise line, Virgin Voyages, I have been dying to get on the Scarlet Lady and experience her for myself with a cruise to Bimini Island in the Bahamas and Riviera Maya in Mexico. As an adults-only floating boutique hotel cruise liner, they have shaken up everything you think of when you think cruising. I am especially excited to visit Virgin’s private island of Bimini and to get on board with my husband and set sail the Virgin way!” –Ryan Corrigan, CEO and head consultant at Corrigan & Co. Luxury Travel Outfitters in Virginia Beach, Virginia
Caesar Augustus in Italy. Photography courtesy of Caesar Augustus.
ITALY // “In September, my daughter Abigail (who is also my travel coordinator) and my son, Wolf, (who is studying architecture abroad in Barcelona) and I are heading to Rome, Praiano, Positano, and Capri for a total of 10 nights. It’s a lot to see in that few nights, but I’m confident we can do it. Though I arrange enriching travel all over the world, time and again, we book clients to Italy. Italy has it all; ancient history in Rome, vineyards and medieval towns in Tuscany, shopping and art in Florence, the outstanding coastal scenery of the Amalfi Coast, one-of-a-kind Venice, and the glamour of Lake Como. I love working with IC Bellagio and Celebrated for our clients traveling to Italy. Our clients enjoy classic Italian experiences, and they love VIP curated experiences like after-hours access to the Vatican, elite opportunities at top vineyards, and cooking classes in incredible settings.” —Kristen Meckem, private travel advisor at Kristen Meckem Travel in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Lake Oswego, Oregon
GALAPAGOS ISLANDS // “Galapagos is such a bucket list trip, but I think [due to the pandemic] many people are saying ‘Why not now? What are we waiting for?’ on those very special trips. This is a great destination as travelers seek out space and long to be in nature, while avoiding crowded cities. I was fortunate to visit in the early opening weeks of the islands and it was amazing. My family was the first group that our guide had taken out in over 14 months and he was so excited to share this beautiful place with us and to welcome tourists again. So many people in tourism haven’t worked in so long and it’s been devastating. They are so grateful to see travel opening back up.” —Kimberly Georgi, travel advisor and owner of Luxury Travel Design in Memphis, Tennessee
Airelles in France. Photography courtesy of Airelles.
FRANCE // “With the world starting to open up, France is the perfect international destination and there’s lots to do, criss-crossing the country. There’s of course eating and shopping in Paris, a visit to the South of France for resort activity, like going to the spa and drinking wine at Les Sources de Caudalie, and immersing yourself in history in Normandy. Add in a final stop at Airelles, Château de Versailles, so you can live like royalty.” —Robert Merlin, luxury travel advisor at The SmartFlyer in Saint Louis, Missouri
TSG Tip 397 from Jessi Cook, luxury travel curator at Trink Travel in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Robert Merlin, luxury travel advisor at The SmartFlyer in St. Louis, Missouri; Kimberly Georgi, travel advisor and owner of Luxury Travel Design in Memphis, Tennessee; Ryan Corrigan, CEO and head consultant at Corrigan & Co. Luxury Travel Outfitters in Virginia Beach, Virginia; Kristen Meckem, private travel advisor at Kristen Meckem Travel in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and David Bragg, travel advisor/affiliate of SmartFlyer at David Bragg Travel in Nashville, Tennessee. Trink Travel is featured in The Scout Guide Oklahoma City. The Smart Flyer is featured in The Scout Guide Saint Louis. Luxury Travel Design is featured in The Scout Guide Memphis & Oxford. Corrigan & Co. Luxury Travel Outfitter is featured in The Scout Guide Tidewater. Kristen Meckem Travel is featured in The Scout Guide Jackson Hole. David Bragg Travel is featured in The Scout Guide Nashville.