By Claudia Laroye / Reposted from www.thetravellingmom.ca
You know how much of an independent traveller I am. Your gal is a serious DIYer who prides herself on her travel savvy, packing skills and punctuality. I love wandering new places and spaces and have no issue chatting up strangers for directions or advice. Above all, I am not a ‘tour group person.’
Or am I?
After my recent Monograms tour to Europe, I’m not so sure. I’ve been rethinking the kind of traveller I am. As a family traveller I am budget-conscious but like to spend on the important aspects of the travel experience. Things that save me time, add to my comfort and offer unique and authentic opportunities. I hate waiting in lines (so do my kids), need to know where I’m sleeping every night, and I want the inside scoop on what’s good in whatever city I’m in.
Monograms did all this for me. And more. They actually out-mom’ed me (is that even a word?!) by being incredibly well-organized, punctual and offering a top quality travel experience. And the best part is, anyone can experience this level of VIP service. Here’s why you should totally consider the better way to travel on a Monograms travel holiday.
Why Plan a Monograms Travel Holiday
Monograms Vacation Packages are All in One
The award-winning travel company Monograms is part of the Globus family of brands, one of the largest in the world. A Monograms vacation includes hotels, transportation between cities and countries of your choice, sightseeing, and 24/7 access to your Monograms Local Host and his/her expertise. All the little trip details are taken care of, leaving you to enjoy your curated experiences and independence equally.
Once you’ve booked your general itinerary, in-country train travel, flights and transfers are all booked for you. All you need to do is show up at the appointed time and place, accept your ticket from your Host and wave Ciao as you board your train.
It’s the same way with hotels. Travellers can choose from a variety of centrally located hotel options that suit their own styles and preferences. These hotels are all vetted by Globus and Monograms to ensure they’ll meet the need and expectations of their guests. And breakfast is always included, as is baggage handling from rooms to transportation hubs and vice versa.
Create Customizable Itineraries
You can vacay your way. Choose the number of dates and nights you wish to stay on your Monograms European city tour. Want to combine countries and do an epic European tour? No problem, Monograms operates in multiple countries, including England, Italy, France, Spain and Ireland. You can dive deep into Rome for a week, or do a leisurely Italian tour of Florence, Venice, Rome and Sorrento.
You can further customize your holiday by choosing from a collection of MyMonograms experiences and excursions. If you want to enjoy great local food in Rome, guided tours of the Trastevere or Testacchio neighbourhoods are for you. Travelling with wizard-obsessed kids in London? Booking a day trip to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour London to see the Making of Harry Potter is a MUST.
Your Monograms hosts take care of the reservations, transportation and tickets so you don’t have to worry about purchases, directions or well, anything.
Feel like a Local with a Monograms Local Host
Here’s the biggest takeaway that I learned during my Monograms trip. What really sets Monograms apart from other guided tour companies and adds huge value to its brand is its people, in the form of Local Hosts.
There is a real English-speaking human being at your service 24/7. The Local Host greets you at the Airport or train station, escorts you to your hotel or back to the train station when you leave, gives you an orientation package with your complete itinerary as well as local tips on what places to visit or restaurants to try. And there is always a local host at your hotel for a portion of the day, to answer any questions or book excursions for you.
“Local Hosts make all the difference for Monograms travelers,” says Steve Born, Chief Marketing Officer for Group Voyagers, the company that markets Globus family of brands. “From organizing excursions to answering questions about the local culture and customs, a Monograms Local Host can turn every question into an answer and every problem into a solution. They’re there for our travelers to use as much – or as little – as they want.”
Why is this so valuable? Because things happen when you travel. You forgot an adaptor or cable, have no clue how to get from the airport to your hotel, can’t decide what excursions you want, or left your wallet at the restaurant. Your Local Host can help solve problems and take care of things so you don’t have to. In the local language and with knowledge of local customs, no less.
The Value of a Local Host
I experienced the value of my Local Host many times during my Monograms trip, but nowhere more importantly than in Florence, Italy.
I had organized a couple of Florentine excursions prior to my arrival, but after receiving my welcome package from Local Host Ornella, there was no mention of them. She quickly assured me that she would set things right. She sent me off to the Central Market to eat lunch upstairs in one of the many tasty food vendor stalls. I enjoyed a leisurely lunch of gnocchi with wild boar ragu (so yummy), then wandered the market, streets and piazzas for a few hours before returning to my hotel. Sure enough, my envelope of excursion details and vouchers was there waiting for me.
When Ornella called later to check in on me (they do that too), I told her I was impressed by the service. ‘There is nothing for guests to do or worry about with Monograms, just to enjoy. We take care of everything,’ she said.
I could get used to this.
Enjoy the VIP treatment
Who doesn’t enjoy a little pampering? The special VIP treatment begins when you see a Monograms host or driver holding a sign with your name on it at the airport. After a ten-hour flight, you better believe I was overjoyed to find someone waiting for me on the other side of the ocean. I was even more chuffed to meet my private car and driver who brought me from the airport to the hotel. I never had to worry about directions or even schlepping my own bags. And that was just the beginning.
The VIP experience extends into Monograms’ guided city tours. We skipped the lines with priority access to the major attractions in each Monograms city, a tour that is included in every booking. The English-speaking guides are certified, friendly, and experts in art, history, and architecture. A guided tour is really a must if you’ve never been to a particular city before. You learn so much about the history, culture and people of the place you’ve chosen to visit.
Not only does avoiding lines save precious trip time, it allows for guests to enjoy memorable moments to explore cities independent of a group. Because sometimes you just want to go your own way, and you can with Monograms. In Rome, I chose to visit the Spanish Steps at sunset, the Trevi Fountain at dawn, and wandered the ancient streets eating gelato. I loved having free time to explore the Eternal City, one of my favorite places in the world.
Leave the Wondering and Worries at Home
It is liberating to not have to worry about trip logistics and travel details like airport transfers, and have excursions arranged and taken care of for you. It’s an incredible level of service that frankly took me a bit of time to get used to. Monograms promised to be with me ‘every step of the way’ and they weren’t kidding.
When I had to travel 45 minutes from Florence for my pasta-making farm experience, I was filled with questions.
How was I going to get out there? The car is arranged. How will I get back? The car will be there. Do I have to do or pay for anything? No.
As the person who makes all the travel arrangements in our family, I was not used to having someone else do this for me. After I locked my Type A personality in the hotel safe, I chose to relax and enjoy the experience as much as I could. And I did.
Monograms Tours for Families
Have you ever planned a family holiday with a travel company? Monograms takes the stress and worry out of figuring out the logistics of family trip planning, which can get pretty complicated, leaving you to enjoy quality family time instead. Families can book excursions catered to their interests and kids’ ages. Fun activities like park picnics, cooking tours, and the Making of Harry Potter Tour outside London.
Judging by how much I enjoyed my curated solo experience, I can only imagine how much more fun we’d have on a Monograms trip as a family of four. The Florentine pasta-making class alone would make for lifelong memories, laughter and flour-covered selfies.
There’s an App for that
The MonogramsGO app is an organizational tool for your smartphone that you can download before you leave home. In addition to having your customized Monograms Italy or Monograms London itinerary and hotel information, there’s a ton of suggestions about attractions, restaurants, and entertainment. As well as practical information about the history, culture, climate, geography and even sports on the places you’ll be visiting. Travel tip: Delve into all this good stuff during your flight, it’s the perfect opportunity to become acquainted with your holiday destination.
International travellers want less hassle and stress and more fun and good experiences when heading overseas. With a Monograms vacation, you never have to guess or worry about logistics, schedules, things to see or do, where to eat, shows to see, or anything you need to know about a destination. Once you experience this level of service and travel experience, you may never want to travel any other way again.
Disclosure: The writer was hosted by Monograms. Her opinions about the value of curated organized holidays and eating gelato on the streets of Rome are honest and her own.
Photo Credits: Claudia Laroye