These travel club memberships will fuel your urge to travel

As we begin to think about the journey again, we carefully weigh where to go, who to go with, and what to do. In the past, planning a vacation was as easy as going to a travel booking site or calling a travel agent. But during a pandemic, the needs of travelers have changed. Because we do everything now in circles of trust, travel memberships are on the rise. Not only do these travel clubs provide expert advice, but they also offer inspiring content and a much needed sense of community.

In an era when private air travel has never been more appealing, step into Manifest, a section-based membership club that combines the benefits of a private jet service and a travel agency. The company launched in August with six chapters in cities such as Denver, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. Members have access to exclusive experiences hosted by partners such as MT Sobek. Trips average between $ 3,500 and $ 8,000 per person and include private jet travel, lodging, like Amangiri in Utah and Ojai Valley Inn in California, most meals, guides and tours. activities and door-to-door black car service to and from the airport.

The experiences are thematic around passions such as golf or adventure and are all within two hours of flight from the towns of the chapter. Chapters are limited to 175 members and some already have waiting lists. In times of a pandemic, the chapters also serve as travel mods, says founder Jeff Potter, whose resume includes stints at Exclusive Resorts, Surf Air’s private aviation, and Frontier. You have peace of mind knowing that you will only be traveling with other Chapter members, unless you request a personalized private trip. Chapters also act as filters, helping the company target specific experiences in specific markets and attract members with similar interests.

“The social aspect is really important to us,” he says. “If you know your colleagues share your tastes and tell you that a trip has been great, that third-party validation is like the Good Housekeeping Seal.” The company plans to roll out 12 more chapters in 2021, including Houston and Dallas.

Annual fee $ 2,500; manifestescapes.com

Before

The magazine-worthy content on Prior’s website reflects the background of founder David Prior contributing to glossy titles such as Condé Nast Traveler and Vogue Living. Stories on topics ranging from the Dakar surf scene to a revolutionary restaurant in a small mountain chalet in the Alps fueled wheelchair travelers’ envy to travel in 2020 and helped grow the Prior community. “People crave connection, even digitally,” Prior says. Access to daily content and newsletters is free. Custom trip planning services require an annual fee.

Prior recently changed its membership model to further reassure travelers. “We added another level of logistics, security and support,” he says. “Members can call and openly discuss their concerns with someone very knowledgeable about up-to-date health, quarantine and border issues so short and long term planning doesn’t seem risky.” The company even sent advanced teams to reconnaissance destinations. “It’s not from the point of view of recognition or even of quality assurance, but of assurance of the new reality,” he says.

In addition to travel planning services, Prior offers member-only events and club trips, including a long weekend in Emilia Romagna, Italy with Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura and a glamping adventure in Italy. ‘a week to see the solar eclipse in Patagonia. The company is currently assembling a portfolio of special homes and small hotels around the world for member experiences. “It’s much more than a ‘book a house and go’ experience,” says Prior. “It’s more like we’re planning reunions of friends and family with great experiences that really bring a place to life.

Annual fee $ 249; previous club

Indagare

When Melissa Biggs Bradley founded Indagare in 2007, the concept of a digital travel agency that combined curated content and highly tactile service was new. When the world went into lockdown last spring due to COVID-19, the company responded with Indagare Global Classroom, a program designed to bring the world to members through virtual experiences that included art tours, safaris, classes in cooking, wine tastings and dance lessons. Its popularity inspired Indagare Clubs. The virtual educational series is limited to 30 participants per group and usually takes place once a month throughout the year. Launched in October, the offer is available for a fee to members and non-members alike and has been embraced by culturally curious travelers who aren’t quite ready to fly. Indagare currently offers 10 thematic club programs around topics such as history, art and cuisine. The Wellness Club, for example, is a 10-month program consisting of 12 sessions that includes an astrology reading, a yoga class, and talks from experts on longevity and sleep.

Annual membership fee of $ 395 to $ 1,775. Club membership starting at $ 1,500; indagare.com

Call to all

Natasha Hoskins originally designed Allcall as an online marketplace for pre-planned travel itineraries created with help from global taste makers ranging from chefs to designers. When the site went live in December 2019, it was the perfect planning tool for DIY travelers who were happy to make their own reservations but were looking for reliable recommendations for hikes, bars, hotels and resorts. Airbnbs. Forced to adapt its business model in response to COVID-19, Hoskins introduced a monthly membership club in December 2020 focused on pandemic-sensitive travel advice. “The journey isn’t dead, it’s changing,” Hoskins says. “People’s comfort level and what they want to do are different, and personalization from trusted sources is more valuable than ever. “

Recent member trips have included a workstation in San Diego for a remote Google employee, a social distance weekend in Asbury Park, NJ, for a couple, and a long weekend in Austin focused on activities. outdoors for a group of girlfriends. When creating routes, the Allcall team now includes notes on local government COVID-19 restrictions, hotel cleaning standards, and outdoor dining options. Members in New York and Miami also receive on-demand text recommendations, a benefit that will eventually expand to more cities.

Monthly fee $ 24, minimum six months; allcalltravel.com

Essentialist

Essentialist harnesses the knowledge of a global network of travel editors and writers (full disclosure, this author is one of them) to help plan trips full of insider access and experiences. exclusive. An annual fee covers all bookings – flights, hotels, activities, meals – as well as unlimited time with a travel designer who works with clients individually to create itineraries. The club grew its membership base by 52% in 2020. Founder Joan Roca attributes this growth to a renewed value the pandemic has placed on expert referrals and premium service. “Having a personal travel designer who handles all reservations gives you extra confidence if you’ve been hesitant to travel,” he says.

Planning a trip to Hawaii? You’ll make a call with your travel designer and possibly an island-based reporter and tell them your vacation wishlist. Your route will be uploaded to the Essentialist app, a user-friendly tool for accessing routes, making changes, and communicating 24/7 with the Essentialist team. Experiences can include a private surf lesson with a professional surfer, a sunset catamaran experience with champagne, and a snorkeling excursion with a marine biologist.

Annual fee $ 1,800; essentialist.com

Jen Murphy is a Colorado-based travel writer.


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