Wild Discovery Comes of Age
When I was living abroad, I never considered booking a flight or organizing a trip via a travel agency. In fact, I prided myself on being so Internet-savvy that any excursion could be planned, cost-compared, fine-tuned and reserved online. I tapped such giants as Expedia and Travelocity for hotels and airfare, and when it came to city sightseeing or restaurant recommendations, I scoured food forums and blogs. Would you believe I masterminded our 12-day honeymoon in Italy—everything from airfare and ground transportation to hotels, car rental and dining spots—all from the comfort of my desktop?
As high-inducing as it is to be at the helm of your own ship, you can’t always do it alone, especially if your destination is exotic or off the beaten path. These places don’t exist on Expedia, and if they do, they require multiple stopovers. Beyond that, there isn’t a wealth of knowledge about any given city or region, as I recently experienced on a voyage to Kalamata and Costa Navarino. Sorry, folks, Zomato and TripAdvisor don’t exist in every corner of the globe, and supposing they did, can you really vouch for all the conflicting customer reviews?
This is where travel bureaus can fill in the gaps. Not only do they provide intelligence about a destination, they coordinate everything, from flights and shuttles, to hotels within your budget, travel insurance, visas, and much more. They also feature charter flights to seasonal hotspots that you’d never knew existed if you merely navigated Expedia and Orbitz. Best part? They’re masters of customer service, offering personalized, friendly guidance either over the phone or in person.
My latest encounter with a travel agency in Lebanon was Wild Discovery, and boy are they experts in all things discovery. Owned and operated by the Saadé brothers Karim and Sandro, the same duo laying claim to Chateau Marsyas and Domaine de Bargylus vineyards, Wild Discovery rang in its 18-year anniversary just two weeks ago. I was one of the many happy guests invited to the celebration, hosted at Stereo Kitchen and drawing out throngs of clients, hotel and airline partners, media folks, and friends. The evening concluded with a raffle for 18 enviable travel prizes, among which were a pair of business class tickets to Paris, summer packages to Mykonos, and flights to Athens and Crete. I actually nabbed two tickets to Dubrovnik, Croatia!
|Snapshots from the soirée at Stereo Kitchen in celebration of Wild Discovery's 18th anniversary|
Back to my trip to Costa Navarino last month, and Wild Discovery’s indispensable role in smoothing out the details of the entire journey. Everything was handled and accounted for seamlessly, including ground transportation from the airport to the resort, hotel stay, local excursions in the area, and travel advice in general. With such a reputable agency, I had no qualms as to the grade or quality of the accommodation that awaited me. Indeed, the Westin Costa Navarino was the pinnacle of luxury, which goes to show that Wild Discovery works exclusively with the best institutions to ensure utmost customer satisfaction and standards. 18 years in the business, and you can bet they’re professionals at what they do.
I highly recommend you explore their website to get a better impression of the one-stop-shop services and promotions on offer. They’ve also got the broadest network of agencies in Lebanon—boasting nine branches, with two planned for early 2016—as well as a presence in Syria and Dubai, so you can also confer with a sales consultant face-to-face.
Let the summer trippin’ begin!
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