How to Find the Right Travel Planner: They Still Exist – Yahoo Travel

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(Photo: iStock/CHRISsadowski)

Veteran consumer travel expert Wendy Perrin has just released her annual list of best travel agents in the world, The WOW List of Wendy’s Trusted Travel Experts. The 2016 collection names the top travel planners, as reviewed by Perrin herself and by her readership of savvy high-end travelers, along with the destinations in which each planner specializes.

As she explains on her site, the problem many travelers face is: “You’re planning an important trip to an unfamiliar destination. You want minimal hassle and maximum efficiency—no time-wasting logistical surprises, no battling tourist hordes and lines. You want to experience the destination like an insider.”

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The solution, she says, is “a travel fixer with unparalleled on-the-ground connections and expertise—a destination specialist who lives where you’re going, or visits often enough to have an office there, and who holds the keys to the kingdom.” 

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Perrin began her list of the best travel planners more than a decade ago, and it’s been joked that it’s harder to get into than Harvard. The travel agents, tour operators, and destination-based travel companies who have earned a spot on this year’s list cover more than 100 of the world’s most popular and most up-and-coming destinations, from Italy to Disney to the American West to the Arctic.

Here’s a sample of travel planners on Perrin’s WOW List. If you contact them through Perrin’s site, she promises to personally watch over your trip planning process to make sure you’re satisfied with the experts on her list. See the full WOW List here.

American West: Caroline Bach Wood

Australia: Stuart Rigg, Southern Crossings

Austria: Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland: Gwen Kozlowski, Exeter International

Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal: Antonia Neubauer, Myths and Mountains

China: Mei Zhang, WildChina

Costa Rica: Michael Kaye and Natalie Ewing, Costa Rica Expeditions

East Africa Safaris: Linda Friedman, Custom Safaris

England, Ireland, and Scotland: Jonathan and Preston Epstein, Celebrated Experiences

Expedition Cruises (Arctic, Antarctic): Ashton Palmer, ExpeditionTrips

India: Sanjay Saxena of Destination Himalaya

Italy: Brian Dore and Maria Gabriella Landers, Concierge in Umbria

Luxury Small-Ship Cruises: Leslie Fambrini, Personalized Travel Consultants

Mexico: Zachary Rabinor, Journey Mexico

New Zealand: Jean-Michel Jefferson, Ahipara

Ocean and River Cruises: Tom Baker, Cruise Center

Pacific Northwest: Sheri Doyle, Pacific Northwest Journeys

Portugal and Spain: Joel Zack, Heritage Tours Private Travel

Southeast Asia: Andrea Ross, Journeys Within

Southern Africa Safaris: Julian Harrison, Premier Tours

Uzbekistan and Central Asia: Zulya Rajabova, Silk Road Treasure Tours

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How to Find the Right Travel Planner: They Still Exist – Yahoo Travel