The travel industry hit difficult times in 2020 and 2021, with travel spending down nearly $500 billion since 2019 due to the pandemic and international travel fell 76 percent. As the health crisis and travel bans lessened, travelers began to feel the urge to explore again. This is where travel clubs rose to the scene, promising well-planned, carefully curated getaways, generous member perks and ample health and safety precautions.
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Why a Travel Club?
Today, planning a vacation involves not only researching destinations and mapping out an itinerary but also regularly monitoring travel advisories and COVID testing requirements.
Joining a travel club means putting this work in the hands of trained travel professionals who will arrange everything from airfare to hotel stays and offer exclusive benefits and travel insurance.
There are different types of travel clubs and travel club memberships to meet the varying needs of all kinds of travelers and to fit different size budgets. While each may have a distinct specialty or focus, the business model behind each is the same: offer travel convenience, perks, services and experiences in exchange for a membership fee.
Travel costs are not included in most memberships. What the travel clubs offer is a slate of "extras" to make your trip everything from easy to extraordinary.
At the heart of Exclusive Resorts' membership model is their real estate. The club owns over 350 private villas and other luxury perks, members-only residences at the beach, the mountains, city centers and private resort areas.
- access to 350+ private villas and luxury residences
- accommodations in more than 75 desirable destinations
- trip-planning by a dedicated vacation ambassador
- five-star service from a dedicated concierge
- tailored experiences
- the choice to travel between 15 to 30 days per year
Cost of membership: $150,000 for a 10-year plan and $250,000 for a 30-year plan as well as $1,395 per Plan Day
What sets it apart: These retreats, in coveted destinations worldwide, are at the crowning glory of Exclusive Resorts' member benefits. From there, Exclusive Resorts prides itself on knowing its members "better than they know themselves" to personally tailor luxury, five-star experiences to each club member.
If you like this club, you might also like: Inspirato is a luxury travel subscription service with an expansive variety of homes, hotels, experiences, cruises and beyond.
The focal point of Wheels Up is private jet travel. The company's goal is to offer the highest-quality private aviation and lifestyle elevation through club membership.
Member perks: To complement their private travel membership, Wheels Up promotes the lifestyle elevation benefits of membership, including access to:
- signature events
- a dedicated concierge
- the world's preeminent lifestyle brands
- private meet-and-greets with celebrities, athletes, musicians and business leaders
Cost of membership: Wheels Up offers two models for personal travel: the Connect Membership at $2,995 for the first year and $2,495 annually thereafter, and Core Membership at $17,500 for the first year and $8,500 for the second year and beyond. The Business Plan membership begins at $100,000.
Both membership plans offer different levels of access to the jets; all members also pay the cost of the flights they select. Core members receive the highest level of convenience and flexibility, with the ability to schedule a private aircraft with as little as 24 hours' notice up to 365 days a year.
What sets it apart: While Wheels Up certainly wraps other exclusive, high-end lifestyle elements into their membership, this travel club offers the unique benefit of traveling by private jet. The goal of Wheels Up is to give their members a "lifestyle with no limitations," centered on exclusive access to private air travel.
If you like this club, you might also like: Manifest is a private air charter club with custom getaways, coveted destinations and private jet arrangements.
Four Hundred is a full-service travel platform with membership benefits covering hospitality, dining, travel, experiences and lifestyle. A membership promises open doors to custom-made experiences, events and journeys.
- personal lifestyle consultants
- travel planning
- concierge services
- ground transportation
- private tours and charters
- nannies, chefs and cleaning staff
- last-minute reservations
- cooking and tasting experiences
- VIP access to worldwide events
- meet-and-greets, movie premiers and Broadway shows
- booking and referrals for wellness experiences
Cost of membership: The Core Membership begins at $2,500 per month. The Travel Membership is offered by invitation only and begins at $12,500 per year.
What sets it apart: Four Hundred is a travel brand with a holistic luxury lifestyle approach, making sure every last detail is elevated and exclusive while offering "infinite" member benefits.
If you like this club, you might also like: Soho House is a private network of exclusive hangouts for jet setters, celebrities, visionaries and professionals.
Described as members-only, boutique travel planning, Indagare centers its approach to travel club membership on the life enrichment of travel and the authenticity and mindfulness of the journey. The club's name is Latin for "to seek, discover, scout."
Like the other clubs, Indagare strives to create a connection with members to design personalized experiences. Indagare does all the planning and legwork and sets members up with local guides. In addition, the club aims to make members' travels "safe, responsible and meaningful."
Member perks: The member benefits of Indagare are delivered in a tiered system. At all levels, members receive the following VIP amenities and benefits:
Additional benefits are included at Tier 2, including a customized itinerary for a member's first trip (minimum nightly spend of $1,500 per room) and exclusive member events.
Tier 1 is the premium membership, offering unlimited customized itineraries, a dedicated trip designer and priority access to exclusive events, perks and experiences.
Cost of membership: Annual costs are: Level 1 – $2,850, Level 2 – $925 and Level 3 – $395.
What sets it apart: The focus of Indagare is meaningful discovery. At the lowest-priced tier, members can take advantage of preplanned Insider Journeys designed to immerse travelers in culture and place and offer special events, reception and learning experiences.
If you like this club, you might also like: Prior is a custom travel club aimed at capturing the essence of a place and its culture.
Prior custom travel club aims to provide travel experiences that inspire curiosity, foster connection and conserve the natural beauty of the world and its cultures. These mindfully curated experiences strive to capture the essence of place and its people and open doors to worlds within the world. In addition, travelers are met by local stewards to engage with the community in their destination.
- carefully researched, members-only travel content
- full-service custom itineraries ($500 each for club members)
- all-inclusive planning and services
- flexible cancellation terms
- clubhouses: coveted properties available to members
- voyages: multidestination expeditions to explore regions and cultures
- assurance of health and safety protocols
Cost of membership: Begins at $249 annually, with a $500 charge per itinerary
A special PRIOR Bespoke membership is available in limited numbers and by application or referral only. An annual fee of $5,000 grants a club member access to unlimited support from the PRIOR team.
What sets it apart: PRIOR knows how to design and package an experience. From watching a real-life art restoration in Rome to exploring Japanese garden design in Tokyo, this travel club weaves history and knowledge into their insider encounters.
Travel + Leisure Go
Travel + Leisure GO is a relatively new travel club offered by Travel + Leisure magazine aimed at giving members special pricing on cruises, airfare, hotel stays, car rentals and vacation packages.
- access to curated itineraries
- exclusive member experiences
- concierge services
- up to 25 percent off lowest published rates
- other preferred pricing and discounts
- retail shopping discounts
- subscription to Travel + Leisure magazine
Cost of membership: The regular monthly fee is $19.99 per month. Check the website for special introductory pricing and a free, 30-day trial offer.
What sets it apart: Travel + Leisure GO is a travel club that offers access to destinations and special experiences for travel budgets of any size. The main benefits are discounts and detailed itineraries with travel tips.
If you like this club, you might also like: Peek offers curated activities and experiences for every budget.
Which Is Right for You?
Being a travel or vacation club member can give you access to everything from easy planning to access to the world's most exclusive properties, depending on your budget and travel mindset. Which travel club is right for you depends on which member benefits are most important to you and what type of club inspires you.
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