For those of you not in the know, Cox & Kings is not just a travel agency. Go to the website and you’ll find several dream-destination stand-bys — Peru, Egypt, South Africa — but delve a little further and it becomes clear why this company has been around since 1758 (yes, 1758).
Welcome to the world of “bespoke travel,” where an unlimited budget will get you everywhere. And boy, do I mean that.
“We believe that travel changes lives, and we’re dedicated to creating authentic, handcrafted, travel experiences, full of surprises, wonder, and excitement,” sums Scott Wiseman, president of the agency’s Americas wing. “So whether you want to trek through the wilds of Patagonia or learn the traditional art of the tea ceremony from a Japanese master or track the Big 5 in the Ngorongoro crater in Tanzania, we have the expertise and relationships to ensure that your journey is completely unforgettable.”
If that doesn’t register, it’s time to wake up and smell the kopi luwak. Japanese tea ceremony masters, for example, reach such a rarefied level of honor in Japan that getting an audience with one, much less instruction from one, is nearly impossible for the natives, and entirely impossible for non-natives — unless you have some serious connections. And with 255 years of networking behind them, Cox & King has nothing but.
A private dinner with your favorite Bollywood director? No problem. Celebrating indigenous festivals alongside the natives? You betcha. A tour of the coast of Antarctica with a top polar researcher? A little brainy, but just ask. A Cox & King experience isn’t some hermetically-sealed bus ride with you on the inside and the windows acting like TV screens; they get you right into the action.
“2014 is a particularly exciting year as it represents the broadest spectrum of trends we have ever seen,” says Wiseman. “There is exponential growth in travelers pushing beyond what would have been considered unique just a couple of years ago, bringing the ‘YOLO’ spirit to the way they want to engage with foreign cultures.”
You don’t have to go to the top of Japanese society, middle of the Amazon, or the bottom of the planet to get a full picture of what can Cox & Kings provide, although it would be recommended — may as well start at the highpoint. As for what Wiseman alluded to in 2014, from “glamping” on the Serengeti to a custom-made “Bucket List” trip, Cox & Kings answers all those dreamy-eyed travelers who say they want something unique and then opt for a sugared-up McVacation that is about as authentic as a Bernie Madoff stock option (Warning: If you go all the way to Thailand and everybody is speaking English, it’s a bad sign).
As the world’s longest-running travel company, Cox & Kings has been designing, organizing and leading exceptional journeys,” Wiseman tells GLR. “We have been at the forefront of exploration, organizing the first attempted expedition to Mount Everest in 1922 and bringing Mahatma Gandhi to Europe in 1933.”
So, yeah, they can put their money where their mouth is.