Just Wanderlust Blog » A discerning, food-loving, & culturally curious road warrior seeks the world's beautiful and bizarre destinations.

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French Polynesia Uncovered (Part 1 of 6): Outsourcing Travel Planning

(Tahiti, French Polynesia)

I’ve received a few questions about French Polynesia since I posted my #1 Fave Hotel Bringing Sexy Back so I thought I’d share our French Polynesia vacation with everyone through a series of posts I’m calling French Polynesia Uncovered.

Since this trip was a special one for us, we actually enlisted the help of Kleon at The Art of Travel, a Condé Nast designated travel specialist for French Polynesia, to help coordinate the trip for us (we generally prefer to plan trips ourselves but we really wanted this one to go off without a hitch so we thought it would be worth it to get his help).  We chatted with him about what we were looking for (adventure, romance, and a taste of Polynesian culture), how long we could go for (~2 weeks), our budget (uh…way too insane to admit publicly), and I threw in that I absolutely had to stay at the St. Regis in Bora Bora (you would too if you saw the pictures).  Then, we left the rest to Kleon to figure out.

By the way, a travel specialist is not just another travel agent.  They are reportedly destination experts and know the best restaurants, attractions, and tour companies – you get the idea.  Some can even get you access to coveted experiences (think: a private dining experience at the city’s top restaurant), and if not, they can create those experiences for you. In short, these people are connected with the destination and can hook it up!  Kleon, for instance, spent over a decade sailing around French Polynesia before he was designated a travel specialist and now goes back every year.  He’s not only familiar with all the islands, he knows all the resorts and even the best rooms at the resorts!  This was exactly what Mr. T and I wanted.

With our travel planning “outsourced”, Mr. T and I decided to go to French Polynesia strategically during its shoulder season (October) so that we could maximize the possibility of our getting upgraded at the St. Regis (it so worked!).  We are big fans of traveling during shoulder seasons because: 1) you get the best deals, and 2) there’s a better chance of getting upgraded at hotels we’re loyal to, and 3) there are less crowds.  If you haven’t yet adopted the shoulder-season travel mantra, you need to!

With Kleon’s help, our itinerary went something like this:

  • 3 nights in Tahiti
  • 4 nights in Moorea
  • 3 nights in Hauhine
  • 4 nights in Bora Bora
  • 1 night in Tahiti

A few weeks before our departure date, Kleon sent over all of our travel vouchers and voilà – before we knew it, we were on our way to Tahiti (squeal!).  Cue the Polynesian music, grass skirts, turquoise lagoons, and overwater bungalows!

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[…] French Polynesia Uncovered (Part 2 of 6): Tahiti […]

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[…] It’s been a couple of weeks since I kicked off my French Polynesia series and it’s been fun re-living our trip!  It was such a trip of a lifetime, but I am really hoping […]

Frieda Brookshire - January 27, 2014 - 3:35 pm

Your travel blog is the best I have read, so far…. Thank you so much for all the travel tips and stories… truly inspiring as they are very practical and informative. I am an avid fan now, and vow to make travel a priority…

JustWanderlust - January 27, 2014 - 4:15 pm

Thanks, Frieda! That means a lot to me and it keeps me going to know that others are inspired to travel! yay!

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