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 natural wines from local producers or a delicious Bengali lunch with a charismatic art collector at his eclectic apartment overlooking Victoria Monument in Calcutta – we have a wonderful network of interesting personalities to meet and just the right partners to organize these events.
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.
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!
Sometimes all you simply need is the initial inspiration which makes for a brilliant gift.
How to get started
How to get started
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
fill out this questionnaire
Chat with us in person, over the phone or by email. We like to get to know what really excites you, understand your style of travel and expectations. Whether you have an idea in mind or are simply looking for some inspiration we give you candid advice for your next trip!
This is a complimentary consultation to understand what type of service you are seeking and to explain to you in detail what we do. There are no obligations at this point; we will clearly discuss fees, terms and conditions with you so there are no surprises there.
Supposing you choose to go ahead with one of our services we then go over the nitty gritty, clearly outlining what you will get from us and what the fees, terms & conditions will be. At this stage, we collect a non-refundable planning deposit ($500), which will be used towards your final payment.
We demystify a destination or experience you’re interested in, give you the lay of the land to begin planning your trip or event. We discuss practicalities such as when, where and how to travel. A well thought out plan with enough flexibility and room for spontaneity is a key element of our design. Once we have the framework, we fill in all the details with you until we’ve created a travel experience just right for you. To confirm your booking we collect a 30% deposit of the estimated trip cost.
Once you are satisfied with all the details we make the necessary arrangements and collect the remaining balance payment 60 days prior to departure.
We then send you off with the final product and wait in anticipation to hear all about your experiences. We and our ground specialists, are always just a phone call away for any assistance.
This time we already know you a bit better. Along with the feedback from your previous experience, we look forward to creating another truly individual journey for you.
We are a global company, taking our headquarters around the world with us. Check out our profiles to see where we are and where we are going so we can meet with you and design your travels!
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?
- 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.
- Every assignment is tailor made, getting to know you so that we can create an individual trip unlike any other.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- We, Tara and Alessandra, met in the jungles of Ranthambhore pursuing our passions of wildlife and conservation. We then met Alon when he guided us through the Congo Basin rainforest in the Central African Republic. We take the environmental and social impact of travel seriously and seek to be conscious in all that we undertake. We are working on several projects concerning our wildlife, natural and social environments. As they develop, we share them with you and hope you will partake in them as well. See What We Support for more information.
Aïda & Kerem | Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya| January 2023
I recently booked a 6 week trip to Africa through Karvansarai travel agency and I must say, it was an exceptional experience. Alessandra Sikand, the owner, helped me with everything from logistics, hotels, restaurants, and activities, making my entire trip budget friendly without compromising on quality. Her recommendations on what countries to visit were spot on, and her tips on where to splurge a little bit made the trip even more enjoyable.
One thing that really stood out to me was how available Alessandra was during the trip. She was always there to answer any questions or help out as needed, which made the trip that much smoother. The overall service provided by Karvansarai was top notch, and I had an incredible experience from beginning to end. I will definitely be booking my future travels through them, and I highly recommend anyone looking to book a trip use Karvansarai.
Yves Lefebvre | South Africa: Tswalu, Singita Boulders, The Silo, Babylonstoren | Dec 2022
Well! Well! Thinking I really should write something about my trip to South Africa.
In musical term, it would be called: Perfect pitch.
In travelling term, it would be called: Karvansarai.
For the following reasons:
.Amazing (plus-que-parfait) attention to details.
.Immediate response to any concerns.
.Personalized planning and acute perception of expectations.
.Creative proposals for opening one’s mind to discoveries.
.Hotels, restaurants and guides referrals on the upper scale of excellence.
.« Smooth operator » mode transition from one airport or location to the next with the kindest people.
In a couple of words: Pure delight!
A dream of a trip! Already planning another one: to wherever Karvansarai will bring me to…
Mahima Puri & Simran Sidhu | Rwanda | November 2022
Thank you for organising a wonderful gorilla safari for us. Wonderful memories were made – the planning was thoughtful, detailed, intuitive and tremendously well executed. All of it, from the Airport concierge, to the little gifts, to the journey, to the hundreds of questions answered before we arrived, to the final send off!! Thank you Alessandra, it wouldn’t have been the same without you and your thoughtful planning.
Roser Grima | India | March 2022
Alessandra organised an amazing trip to India (Rajasthan and Agra). I contacted her with very short notice, as I was waiting to buy my tickets closer to the date due to COVID. She asked me what were my interests and activities I wanted to do, and my daily budget. It was my first time in India and I knew very little about it, so I was not very sure where to go – specially for the short period I was going to be there. She gave me some recommendations and I ended up having one of the best trips I have ever had. I also changed my mind about one city on the last minute, and she changed my itinerary very quickly.
I really appreciate that she insisted that I also experience India’s nature, because at first I only wanted to go to cities. I did a small safari and stayed in a hotel next to a lake, and went bird watching. All these activities were new for me and were actually my favorite experiences.
All the hotels were incredible, as well as the guides and BJ – who drove use around. Everything was perfectly organised. She also booked a cooking and yoga class for me. And she gave me a list of restaurants that, as a foodie, I have to say were delicious.
Alessandra also solved all my doubts and was very helpful before and during the trip (although we did not have to contact her as everything was perfectly organised). Therefore, I highly recommend Alessandra, and I really thank her for organising such an unforgettable trip.
Sid | The Galapagos | January 2022
In Jan of 2022, I knew I had a couple of weeks to do something off the grid. I wasn’t sure of travel restrictions around the world, but knew that I wouldn’t get this time back. Alessandra and I met in Africa a couple of years prior and so I reached out to her.
As travel usually does, my trip to the Galapagos was much more than I could have imagined. And so much of my experience had to do with Ale patiently listening to me, researching where we needed it, talking to me about her recent experience there and speaking to her contacts to confirm the most updated info. She has this wonderful way of empowering you to do it your way, and also being there for you from start to finish. I think that’s what makes it feel so personalized and special.
So, for anyone who has a similar independent streak and is looking to travel….my humble suggestion is to give Ale a call immediately – I know I will for my next trip!
Richard | Kenya | January 2021
Out of a simple conversation with an acquaintance in Miami Florida the longing to discover Kenya came to me and who better to turn to than Alessandra Sikand. Thankfully the stars were aligned, when I reached out to her I learnt she happened to be on location which sealed my decision.
I can only describe my trip to Kenya as purely magical and cannot thank Alessandra enough for making it possible. Her personal care and attention to detail are remarkable. Her knowledge + guidance made my journey to the Maasai Mara memorable.
I will never forget this trip for the rest of my life and look forward to my next adventure organised by Karvansarai. This is the beginning of my African discovery tour and I will let soft spoken but sharp mind Alessandra set me in the right direction wherever I go next. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.
Banu & Ozer | Costa Rica | March 2020
In March 2020, without having a single idea that all the world would have seen terrible pandemic my husband and I visited Costa Rica. It was our first visit there. We needed a good guidance, organization for this trip. Although I worked on it we didn’t speak Spanish and we decided to get help from Karvansarai. Our travel designer Alessandra Sikand was awesome. She made a great itinerary for us. Before we started our travel, she visited there and checked every detail point. My husband and I were so impressed. Especially, we liked so much when we found a lovely gift in our room. It is not enough to thank you Alessandra. We will never forget this awesome tour to Costa Rica. During the pandemic we understood how much we were lucky that we made this trip. Thank you thank you.
Philip | Nicaragua | January 2020
Alessandra was a life-saver – I had been looking to get away from it all, but didn’t have a lot of time or knowledge to find something that suited my needs.
Alessandra made every aspect of my trip possible – in a very personal but also professional way. I told her I was looking for a beautiful and secluded place in the middle of nature where I could spend a week relaxing and getting recharged for the new year. She provided a great selection of places – each of which she had personally visited – tailored exactly to what I was looking on a spiritual level as well as something that fit my logistical needs. She empathized completely with my needs.
I had a fantastic week in Nicaragua on the beach and in the jungle at a beautiful eco-lodge (including a great yoga program). Alessandra took 100% care of everything and personally monitored all logistics as they were happening (eg. transfer from airport) and checked in a number of times with me to ensure everything was exactly like I needed.
She exceeded all my expectations and will certainly rely on her expertise next time I am travelling for pleasure!
Andrew & Sara | Peru Honeymoon | June 2019
Huge thank you to Ale and Karvansarai for planning a truly exceptional honeymoon. From the start, Ale was eager to get to know us and learn exactly what type of experience we were looking for on our trip to Peru, and her expertise as a planner and local knowledge from her many trips made our trip one of a kind. Not only was every last detail taken care of, but the hotels, guides, activities, meals, and every other experience were also exceptional, making for a seamless, unique, and incredible trip. Thank you again for an unforgettable honeymoon, and we can’t wait for you to plan our next adventure!
Shannon & Jeremy Perez | Morocco Honeymoon | June 2019
What an incredible adventure you prepared for Jeremy and I!! We can’t thank you enough for your attention to detail and for creating the most magical experiences for us in Marrakech. We had so much fun everyday and it was more than we expected. The entire staff at Riad L’Orangeraie, our guides Adil (medina), Antoine (side car) and Jamal (Atlas Mountains), the staff at Scarabeo, our drivers, and the staff at La Mamounia were all incredibly friendly and helpful. We wish we had more time to explore more of Morocco, but now we know that we will definitely go back again and hopefully with more of our family. Thank you so, so much again for everything- it was a seamless trip from start to finish!
Julie Murphy | Himalayan & Rajasthani Yoga Adventure | March 2019
“Travel Design” is the perfect description for what Alessandra does. Her talents go beyond organizing a trip; she designs extraordinary travel experiences to create memories for a lifetime.
One of the best things about working with Alessandra is how the trip takes shape from a long wish list during preliminary discussions, to the perfect blend of everything you knew you wanted, plus experiences you wouldn’t have known how to access nor create on your own. Alessandra’s excellent relationships with contacts all over the world, her own extensive travels, and her enthusiasm about each destination she visits, all add up to the perfect recipe for an outstanding travel adventure.
It was a pleasure to work with Alessandra to bring together our group’s India Yoga Adventure. We could step confidently onto the plane, knowing that all the moving parts and details of our trip would fall into place and that Karvansarai would swiftly resolve anything unexpected.
Travel is about people, cultures, and caring for our planet. Alessandra knows how to weave all of that into the perfect experience, with remarkable knowledge, integrity and the gift of her own personal touch.
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.
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