The road not taken: looking beyond the checklists, True Travel will show you the world’s untouched corners
By starting each itinerary with a blank canvas and favouring local flavours and authentic touches, the curator of luxury holidays ushers its clients away from the tourist hordes…
“Nothing unexpected or wonderful is likely to happen if you have an itinerary in Paris filled with the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower,” once said lionised frequent flyer Anthony Bourdain, an observation that rings even more true in today’s overly documented, TikTok-saturated, algorithm-dictated world. Upholding this notion of avoiding the cliché checklists is True Travel, the luxury tour operator driven by a firm commitment to preserving the dying art of creating genuinely bespoke, considered journeys.
Introduced to the scene in 2013, True Travel was first kindled by founder Henry Morley’s spontaneous drive from the UK to Cape Town, a trip that spurred him to share that similar road-trip thrill with others across the world. Helping to distinguish itself from conventional package-tour operators, the brand – which, today, showcases a portfolio that incorporates Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa – circumvents a blanket approach to its itinerary-making, opting, instead, for bespoke and truly singular experiences designed for each client, meeting specific needs, aspirations and tastes – a spirit that takes into account larger preferences (group size, style of holiday, hopes for the trip) and smaller, thoughtful touches, such as how the clients take their tea. ‘No two people are the same – and neither are our travel experiences. We pride ourselves on crafting itineraries that are truly inspired by the individual,’ so says the brand.
To carry out a genuinely unequalled experience, the brand is underpinned by an ethos to create adventures that ‘possess a conscientious and inquisitive spirit, enriching lives and forging indelible memories through travel,’ which, in other words, means avoiding the tourist-saturated hotspots and popular search-engine results and, rather, favouring an approach whereby each itinerary begins with a clean slate, emphasises plans that revolve around the road not taken and, ultimately, directs guests to more imaginative, ‘authentic and, at times, untamed destinations’.
Driving its verve to curate such journeys and take guests through hidden doors and behind the curtain – what the brand calls ‘the art of travel’ – is True Travel’s refusal to rely on algorithms and tech. In their place is an emphasis on the human experience, which, in practice, has meant that the brand has brought together a global network of destination experts, each of which has solid firsthand, on-the-ground experience in the region in which they work, thereby opening up enclaves of beauty – from wonders both ancient and contemporary – for each adventure.
Notably, over the years, clients have been given the opportunity to witness the misty-morning clouds of Uganda and Rwanda as they track a family of mountain gorillas through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest; see the beauties of cherry blossom season in Hokkaido, away from the tourist hordes; and sleep under the stars in the Uyuni Salt Flats, in Bolivia. There have also been excursions to Iceland’s black sands, scuba-diving trips in Indonesia, and 10-night boat rides across the bitter-cold waters of Antarctica. And, for its 2024 campaign, ‘The Art of Travel’, True Travel will be proffering six unique travel collections that have been put together by the brand's team of in-house designers, with each experience created to be ‘hand-picked and painted onto a blank canvas that we will bring to life at your request.’
At home, True Travel showcases a special offering titled ‘Elevate London’, a package that revolves around privately guided specialist tours, including an exploration of Angel and Clerkenwell's architectural highlights; an hour of grass-court tennis with a Wimbledon legend; and visits to a selection of royal-approved makers, from cheesemongers to cobblers.
Moreover, to supplement these behind-the-scenes experiences is a singular on-the ground concierge service that incorporates a personalised meet-and-greet with a True Travel host at the guest's hotel; round-the-clock local WhatsApp support (to help with any reservations and itinerary queries and amendments); a specialised service dealing in lost luggage; and exclusive invites to private viewings, all of which is aimed to create a smooth experience for those seeking out London’s glories.
Though the unique experiences and expertly curated guides are the headline draws for True Travel, what must also be noted, especially given the issues of the day, is the company's B Corp certification and the dedication to responsibility that such a status entails. Of note is the fact that Morley, in 2016, launched the True Travel Foundation, an organisation that runs with one goal in mind: to find and support grassroots projects across the globe. Seawilding is one such project, and is known for being the UK’s first community-led programme aimed at restoring seagrass meadows and oyster beds which, in effect, restores biodiversity that’s been lost while also creating green-focused jobs. Meanwhile, another initiative that’s been supported is The Female Empowerment Programme, which provides academic workshops and extracurricular activities to girls in Zambia.
‘I strongly believe that it is up to those of us in the travel industry to lead from the front and help navigate our clients through their planning, so that they are confident that they are making a tangible, positive impact,’ says Morley. ‘At True Travel we have always wanted to find solutions; not simply to help our clients offset their carbon emissions from their travels, but to go further and ensure they can have a carbon negative and climate positive impact.’
Bringing the inside track to curious minds, and doing so with as minimal impact as possible, True Travel is the perfect tour guide for modern-day adventures, taking you away from the throngs and into, what the brand calls 'truly wild places.'
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