Although it’s been a difficult year for the industry, there is no doubt that domestic travel will have its busiest period in years. The U.S. is now open again after months of lockdown, stay-at-home orders, and delays. This means that people who want to travel this summer will be closer to their homes.
The all-American road trip is a great way to avoid the anxiety associated with plane travel. “Across the board, there’s an urgent need for space and distance and an acute focus upon extraordinary, remote destinations, accommodations enveloped in the natural world,” states Tom Marchant. Black Tomato is a luxury travel company that offers bespoke experiences. “The desire to travel is stronger than ever. We know from past data and current desire that people want extraordinary U.S. road trips.
Black Tomato is joining other brands to cater to this interest by launching a new offer of domestic road trips for the summer in partnership with Auberge Resorts Collection (which has a reputation for creating luxury boutique properties throughout the U.S. and abroad) and Mercedes-Benz. From a California wine-coast route to seven-night trips through Colorado and Utah, travelers can choose from four itineraries. In California, guests will be able to rest at Napa’s Auberge du Soleil, while in Utah, they’ll stay at the new The Lodge at Blue Sky.
Travelers on Black Tomato’s California route may spend a night at Auberge du Soleil.
Black Tomato’s fixers will provide exclusive experiences along the way. In California’s Santa Ynez Valley, this might include foraging for mushrooms or a private whale-watching sail. For a hike through National Wildlife Refuge, take a private helicopter from New England to Rhode Island’s Block Island.
These trips are more costly than driving your family around in a station wagon. They start at $4,995 per person for a five-night trip, including accommodation, breakfast, and private experiences. But the Black Tomato and Auberge teams say that this is what travelers want. Marchant says that travelers are constantly reassessing where and how they can travel, but many have already saved money or allotted funds for travel based on the feedback they’ve received from customers. Many are shifting their money from international travel to domestic trips, such as a road trips within the state, which they wouldn’t have otherwise.
Others are also hearing the same and adapting accordingly. “As domestic travel resumes, we hear from luxury travel agents who want to offer their clients the same expert knowledge that Abercrombie & Kent offers at far-flung locations, in places closer home,” states Keith Baron, president of Abercrombie & Kent USA. This travel company is best known for its luxurious safari trips. We have added six new adventures in the American West and Alaska, as well as two iconic American road trips with private guides and carefully-vetted accommodations that provide more privacy and space.
Some Abercrombie & Kent trips are self-drive and focus on national parks like Zion and Grand Canyon. Others, such as the “Chicago To the West” road trip itinerary, include a chauffeur, stops at scenic ranches, and guided hikes. Overnight stays at luxury lodges are also included. The new domestic itineraries by Abercrombie & Kent start at $7,995 per day and can be customized based on the start and end points.
Steppes travel offers new road trips that combine elements from both the above options for a luxurious experience. The new itinerary will be available soon for purchase. It includes 14-day stays at Utah’s Safari-style lodge and Auberge’s The Lodge at Blue Sky. Everything from stargazing at the Grand Canyon to horseback riding in Arches National Park can be arranged to start at $12,895 per head. You also have the option of being accompanied full-time by an experienced guide or traveling on your own.
Who is booking these amazing domestic and road trips? It seems that almost everyone can book these amazing road trips and domestic stays. Craig Reid, president and CEO of Auberge Resorts Collections, say that there is a lot of demand from families whose children won’t be attending camp this summer. Marchant says that families want to take their kids on exciting, educational, and fun trips. Reid also sees interest from couples. Both report that bookings are currently rolling in for the end of June and beyond. Trip lengths are increasing compared to previous summers.
These road trip trends will likely continue into fall. The hope is that Americans will start to appreciate what’s right in their own backyards, and domestic trips will be more popular than those going overseas. Marchant says that there is so much to see in America, and each destination almost feels like its own country. These extraordinary travel experiences don’t have to be limited by international flights.