Karvansarai

Travel Design

Karvansarai is to travel with local knowledge and yet explore with the excitement of discovery

glob

So, what do we do?

At Karvansarai, we design truly personalised travel experiences based on first-hand knowledge, filled with character and imagination for the curious and conscious traveller.

We understand that each individual’s desires are different and there is no one-size fits all. May it be a single event, an entire itinerary, whichever type of travel, we offer travel planning to measure and are honest about what we can (and cannot) do.

In combination with our conversations with you, we dedicate time, detailed research, a whole lot of creativity and first-hand experiences to offer the following products and services (to give you an idea, but not limited to).

  • Independent Travel Planning

    You enjoy the planning as much as the actual travels but you’re short on time, stuck on a decision, a bit overwhelmed, your friends are tired of listening to you, you get the idea. This is where we can assist. If you prefer a real time mortal destination guide, someone you can ask your specific questions to for impartial (only partial to our preferences but with no vested interests) advice, get feedback on your plans to avoid the first time traveller to a new place hiccups (we’ve done them for you!) we can help with our consulting service.

  • Personalised Destination Guides

    You tell us your interests, where and when you would like to travel and we create an individualised guide for you based on how we experienced a specific place and what we think you would enjoy too. Equipped with the right information you are then set to go.

  • A-Z Trip Design

    Certain destinations (India comes to mind) and specialised experiences, especially when unfamiliar and limited on time, can be very challenging to arrange on your own without a personal network on the ground. Listening to your wishes, we design a route for your journey with suggestions on where to stay, what to experience and who to meet. Drawing on our extensive network of specialists and many years of working in the luxury hospitality industry in various continents, we select the right local partner for your trip and make all the arrangements for you.

  • One off Specialised Events

    If there is a specific experience you would like organised – be it a gastronomic evening in Rome tasting olive oils and buffalo cheeses from local producers or a delicious Bengali lunch with a charismatic art collector at his eclectic apartment overlooking Victoria Monument – we have a wonderful network of interesting personalities to meet and just the right partners to organize these events.

  • Guided Trips

    We occasionally arrange opportunities for you to join us on one of our research trips. See more on Expeditions. We can also organise and accompany a small group on a trip of your choice. Here you will find a selection of specialised trips we recommend for you, led by extremely talented and inspiring individuals.

  • Reconnaissance

    We are always exploring new places and rediscovering ones we’ve been to. If you have a trip in mind that you would like us to research for you, get in touch!

  • Gift Travel

    Sometimes you just need that initial inspiration which makes for a brilliant gift.

How to get started

How to get started

email us at hi@karvansarai.com

or

fill out this questionnaire

or

Let's find out a bit about you so we can get in touch

Please click on a star to let us know if you prefer us to call or email

Our process

Our style

Our style

We get out there, travel, research, take too many photos and endless hours of film to create custom trips full of imagination and character. We are interested in life and we love to learn, explore, seek out unusual experiences and have lots of fun!

We appreciate comfort, exceptional cuisine, and the subtle details of outstanding service – all with a bit of adventure and spontaneity. Our travellers do, too. We get you into the fabric and the many layers of the places we love. We introduce you to people with a passion, a story to tell and a contagious joy for life.

Some of our suggestions are catastrophically expensive (but oh, so worth it), others are just about knowing where to be at the right time. Our recommendations do not fall in any one category – they are what we think are the best and the best for you. Our trips are eclectic, like our interests. They are especially crafted with just the right masala (combination of spices) for your taste and budget. They are personal and professional, simple and magical, authentic and alive.

We believe in our own little way we can contribute to making this planet an even more incredible place. For us it is so important that when people travel in a responsible way, they become aware of, and appreciate, the diversity of people and our beautiful natural world.

This is what we endeavor in the best possible style. Come on this journey with us!

What makes us Karvansarai?

  1. If we don’t believe in it, buy it, love it or use it, we will not recommend it. We do our best to personally know every place, person and experience we suggest. If ever another source is used (highly trusted and vetted), we would inform you.
  2. Every assignment is tailor made, getting to know you so that we can create an individual trip unlike any other.
  3. Our experiences are authentic – drawing on our personal network with a lot of emphasis on people who are doing unique and interesting things around the world and are as passionate about their work as we are about ours.
  4. We continuously explore new places and rediscover familiar places to offer you up to date insider details and specialist support on the ground for your travels.
  5. We believe our transparency is highly valued and guarantee that commissions never influence with whom we work. We collaborate with individuals who have knowledge we value greatly and ethics we genuinely trust in.
  6. We, Tara and Alessandra, met in the jungles of Ranthambhore pursuing our passions of wildlife and conservation. We take the environmental and social impact of travel seriously and seek to be conscious in all that we undertake. We are in the very early stages of working on several projects concerning our wildlife, natural and social environments. As they develop, we will share them with you and hope you will partake in them as well. See Giving Back for more information.

Testimonials

Elica Sholler | Peru & Colombia | February 2018

For those wanting to have a real experience and real people to curate it – then Karvansarai is the company to engage.

I am not ‘well travelled.’ I was about to hit a BIG birthday and asked Alessandra to help me out. After a few questions, I felt Alessandra intuitively knew what I wanted and needed to make my birthday trip something to remember. And she did. I will never forget the birthday year 2018.

For those reading testimonials, I need to emphasize that having a person understand a need and want and then making it happen in a seamless way is really very rare to find these days – especially when most rapport with people is via text and online.

I want to stress Alessandra’s broad knowledge of the world, not only geographical but
cultural. She understands fine differences specific to language and culture as well as local services and activities that are suitable for the level of trip planned. Everything – down to the last detail – is checked and delivered.

When you have someone on your side who is not only a curious researcher and planet lover – she is a well-travelled polyglot and a sensitive caring human being – very little can go asunder. If there is ever a problem, Karvansarai finds a solution. It’s as simple as that.

Travelling, either business or pleasure when organized by Karvansarai is a treat and a must.

Julie Murphy | Stretch & Safari South Africa | October 2017

Thank you, Karvansarai, for working with us to create the most spectacular “bucket-list” journey to South Africa. As a retreat leader and host, the success of my travel adventures depends very much on the people with whom I partner and I am thrilled to have collaborated with Karvansarai as a creative, professional and reliable travel colleague.

Alessandra is a Travel Creator Extraordinaire and I appreciate the effort (plus all those extra little touches) and the level of enthusiasm that went into planning this trip for our group. Thank you for bringing their Africa travel dream to life. Looking forward to co-creating more moments of travel magic with you.

Hedy Gropper | Botswana & South Africa | October 2017

For my first solo trip to Africa I chose to visit Botswana and South Africa with the help of Alessandra from Karvansarai. She is extremely organized and a pleasure to work with. I would not hesitate to have Alessandra plan another trip for me.

Jeanne & Robert | Namibia | September 2017

Only superlatives for this outstanding journey into Namibia – services, accommodations, excursions, logistics, everything met the highest world class standards.

Travelling is our passion and we are happy to be able to rely on Karavansarai to lead us to wonderful discoveries in parts of the world we haven’t visited yet.

Thank you to Karvansarai.

Rozelle & Party | Marrakech Birthday Celebration | September 2017

Last night I decided to look at my photos of my Moroccan Magical Mystery Tour expedition and Birthday celebration with my wonderful friends. The experience was out of this world.

Karvansarai planned everything down to the last detail. It all started when I originally spoke to Alessandra who I felt had the knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to pull this all together. Her excitement was infectious and I knew that she would make sure that this trip would be unforgettable. As memorable as it was I am forever grateful. Everyday was an adventure until the very end. We started in Marrakech with friends from all over the world and spending the last night sleeping in a desert camp, how she knew it would be under the full moon “I don’t know.”

Thank you, Thank You, Thank you for making my dreams come true.

Jennifer & Kreshnik Dibrani | Japan, Cambodia, Singapore | August 2017

I am so fortunate to have found Karvansarai Travel before my trip though Asia. I attempted to coordinate things on my own and it just wasn’t adding up. Thankfully Alessandra jumped into action and meticulously planned out insider spots, local eateries and tours to many wonders of the world I hadn’t even thought of. Sunrises in Angkor Wat, Sumo practices, private Temple tours. Her knowledge of the area and understanding of the cultures saved us time and money, which enhanced the fluidity of traveling abroad. It was such a delight working with her discovering new destinations to visit or finding exciting things to do while we were there. I would recommend her to anyone traveling, and I’m looking forward to the next adventure we’ll plan together.

Zachary Morton | Thailand | April 2017

If anyone plans on traveling somewhere they’ve never been or anywhere in general I highly recommend working with Karvansarai travel agency! Specifically I worked with Alessandra and she literally put a 50 page packet together for each step of my trip and each separate activity I had along the way. Basically I told her what I like to do and what kind of things I’m interested in and she spent the time to put together one of the most memorable and action packed trips I’ve ever had. Unfortunately at the end of the trip I did get a little sick but there she was again for me to book all my doctors appointments and to make all the proper changes I need as far as hotels and flights. Very professional and very helpful. I wouldn’t go anywhere else!

Michelina & Greg | Hong Kong, Seoul, Japan | March 2017

We thought about a trip to Asia for a long time, particularly during the years we lived in San Francisco.  We never followed through mainly because we lacked the confidence to travel comfortably where the native language and culture are so different from ours.  After speaking with Alessandra at Karvansarai, we quickly realized we could have an effective plan for a major trip based on all of our personal preferences, along with all the specific guidance as well as plenty of great optional recommendations at each location.

Every aspect of her services was wonderfully professional:  her depth of knowledge, communication skills throughout the entire process, incredible attention to detail, managing our trip within our budget, decision making on our behalf, and much more….  As a result, we travelled for three weeks to five different cities in three different countries with amazing ease (we never ONCE found ourselves lost), able to focus on capturing countless fun-filled and adventurous moments – all the while with a strange feeling as if we were home, on account of the compatibility of the planning decisions we made with Alessandra’s help.

It is unlikely we will ever travel again without Alessandra and Karvansarai providing their priceless input.

Ash Ganesh | Cuba | December 2016

My wife and I recently had the pleasure of visiting Cuba for 2 weeks before Christmas. Our itinerary and all arrangements were organized by Karvansarai. I had some concerns as to how things would go since Cuba is still a developing tourist destination. And our Karvansarai travel consultant told us to expect some glitches. But to our very pleasant surprise everything went like clockwork! From the hotel bookings in home stay and 5 star properties all was impeccable. The guides who met us at the airport and saw us off on our departure were so helpful and friendly. And last but not least Karvansarai captured completely from our initial briefing exactly what we were interested in our Cuba experience: the people, culture, food, art, music, history and countryside.

All in all a memorable trip and we look forward to Karvansarai arranging our next travel adventure!

Chris DiSchino | Bali, Java, Singapore | August 2016

Karvansarai provides nothing short of magical, exceptional service. On this particular occasion, I was invited to a wedding in Bali, Indonesia. Knowing Alessandra’s love for traveling the world and her style of doing so, I immediately reached out to her in the hopes that she could give me some “pointers” for what to do, what to see and how to experience Bali like a local. What I got back from Karvansarai far exceeded my expectations.

My itinerary was planned around a central event, a close friend’s wedding, in the southern most region of the island. Almost naturally, Alessandra asked me a series of simple questions that really define how one travels and what their comfort level is for leaving some items “undefined”. On this particular occasion, I got the best of both worlds, the organization that I needed to feel safe and the freedom to add some exciting variables into my trip.

Karvansarai organized my three week trip to Bali so that I could maximize my experiences eating, dancing, adventuring and finding the spiritual connection that I was longing for on this adventure. On each leg of my journey, I had recommendations for mind, body and spirit. Alessandra went above and beyond the call of duty to curate meaningful experiences and each place I visited was tailor-fitted to be “exactly what I was looking for”.

The accommodations that Alessandra arranged were nothing short of perfect – each was within my price range, each felt like home and each left a lasting impression. I will always feel that I need to revisit these places at some point again in my life. [The sooner the better]. The end of her customized travel guide had great cultural and practical recommendations (common words, dos and dont’s, where and when to negotiate better pricing and above all, how to treat your destination and its inhabitants with the utmost respect).

During the trip, Karvansarai organized the most caring tour-guides and top-notch transportation. Alessandra was always available if something went wrong (like helping to rebook a missed flight or finding a last minute hotel when you’re totally lost). Thanks to Karvansarai, my trip to Bali was nothing but blissful zen. One thing is for sure: I will never visit a new city for the first time without first calling Karvansarai.

Natasha & Paul Yeaman | Maldives Honeymoon | August 2016

Alessandra did a wonderful job helping us organize, research, and book our honeymoon to the amazing Six Senses Laamu, Maldives. She thought of every detail and meticulously helped us plan everything. As we are both vegetarian, she went out of her way to ensure that the hotel chefs would look after our dietary needs. We would highly recommend the services of Karvansarai for any trip and look forward to booking our next trip with them!

Clementine Porot | Indonesia Recce | July 2016

I have travelled with Karvansarai in Indonesia and I have to say, travelling with them truly is a unique experience on its own! It is tailor made design at its best. I have been able to visit Borneo, Java and Bali outside of the traditional touristic tracks, discovering its people, culture and pristine landscapes through a different and exciting perspective. Karvansarai not only understood my vision and desires but also ensured I was able to fulfill them while being respectful and mindful of Indonesian fragile environment. Karvansarai embodies the concept of sustainable travel and I cant wait for my next trip with them!

Hodnett Family | Gastronomic Evening in Rome | July 2016

Thank you for creating such a memorable experience for us – it was terrific to have that very personalized, insider perspective on Rome, and terrific to have the chance to meet you in the beauty and comfort of your fantastic home.  It was the perfect end to a wonderful Italian vacation.

Farhan & Amal Islam | Maldives & Sri Lanka Honeymoon | April 2016

Booking my honeymoon with Karvansarai was a fantastic experience. I gave them an initial idea of what I had in mind in terms of the type of holiday and they suggested possible destinations all over the world with details on each one and what they would be good for/ not good for. I was able to discuss any questions I had on the phone and by email and when I had chosen the destination (Maldives!) they provided me with several hotel options to choose from depending on my budget and list of activities desired. Being able to speak to someone who had actually been to the resorts was such a great help. In the end our villa was exactly as was described and we loved the resort that we stayed on.
The whole holiday was so well organised from all the bookings to the transfers and internal flights, I didn’t have to do a thing once I had made my choices. I would definitely book with them again. Excellent service and very knowledgeable.

Reid Family | Gastronomic Evening in Rome | November 2014

We travelled to Rome with our family ages 13-60+ to visit family ancestral villages East of Rome. Our base of operations was Rome and we had planned a gastronomic event while there. The event was an organic wine, artisanal olive oil, and hand crafted cheese tasting with Alessandra. The setting for the tasting overlooked a scenic part of Rome which added external sparkle to our unique event. All 3 tastings were presented creatively which kept all ages totally engaged. The commentary from family afterwards was that this was a most educational, delicious and delightful evening. One of the “Highlights” of our family trip.

Questions?

Questions?

  • Have a question?

    We are currently updating our FAQ’s. In the meantime please email us on hi@karvansarai.com or fill out this form.