This is how to master the art of travel

This is how to master the art of travel. Christopher Elliott, author.

Travel is an art, not a science.

Read enough columns, and you might think being the world’s smartest traveler is a paint-by-number proposition, an easy formula you can follow.
But as you start planning your summer trips, maybe it’s worth asking if there’s more to it than just buying a manual or clicking on a blog or even reading the most popular travel column in American journalism.

Perhaps the ability to be a good traveler can be inherited from one of your parents. Consider the DRD4-7R gene, sometimes referred to as the “wanderlust gene.” Curio Collection by Hilton recently tested 30 frequent traveling social media influencers for the gene to evaluate the role curiosity plays in travel and found nine of them had the DRD4-7R allele — about 1½ times the national average.

Alas, no Hilton employee pushed a cotton swab into my hand and asked for a sample, even though I’m on the road 365 days out of the year. Maybe it’s because being a consumer advocate makes me something of an anti-influencer. Oh, well.

So what is the art of travel?

So what’s the art of travel? And how do you master it? It all comes down to understanding the purpose of travel, knowing the right people and processes and having a productive attitude, experts say.

It helps to know why we travel, says Thomas Swick, author of the book The Joys of Travel. He breaks it down into fundamental pleasures that include anticipation, movement, break from routine, novelty and discovery.

“It opens people’s eyes to the real reasons they travel,” he says. “I think helps them make of it a kind of art.”

That art also is about harmony, notes Jacob Marek, founder of IntroverTravels, a travel agency. “It means that all of the moving parts work in tandem and that moments of serenity are punctuated with those that thrill, surprise and delight,” he says.

It could be a coincidence, but Virtuoso, the agency consortium with which he’s affiliated, professes to specialize in the art of travel. At least that’s what its agents claim in their email signatures. I asked a Virtuoso representative what it meant by that, and not surprisingly, her answer involved consulting a travel agent. I should have seen that coming. But there’s more.

Living every moment to the fullest

“It means living every moment to the fullest while traveling, following passions and growing as a person and traveler, courtesy of the new experiences you’re enjoying,” Virtuoso spokeswoman Misty Belles told me.

Point taken. You need to know why you travel and how. A competent agent can certainly help. If you don’t hire a pro, make sure you’re a meticulous planner. You’ll need to be in order to become a virtuoso.

“A little bit of planning and prep goes a long way,” explains Erik Hastings, who hosts syndicated radio show “Erik The Travel Guy.”

It’s the little details that set the Rembrandts apart from the Bob Rosses of travel: Did you leave a copy of your important travel docs with a friend? Do you have a recent color photo with you? Will your cellphone work where you are going? Did you make a “before I leave the house” checklist and follow it? That’s expert stuff.

Attitude matters, too

“Be humble — and curious,” Town & Country magazine travel editor Klara Glowczewska advises. “No, you cannot have researched everything before arriving. The world is not yet, thankfully, an open book. It has mysteries. Be open to them.”

By being “open,” she means doing something on the spur of the moment — “something you never imagined yourself doing. Go out of your comfort zone. Ask questions, talk to people, don’t commune only with your device,” she says.

Travel artists aren’t just people who do everything right on the road. They also travel for the right reasons. What separates them from the rest of us? In the final analysis, it’s probably as much their attitude as it is practice.

“Want to master the art of travel?” asks Gary Arndt, a photographer and world traveler. “Just travel more.”

How the travel artists do it

Here are the traits of the most successful travel artists:

They’re confident: Without exception, each of the travel artists I spoke with for this story exuded confidence. “The real art of travel is understanding how to make the state of travel — a place of change and uncertainty — into one of comfort and confidence,” explains Ernest Shahbazian, founder of YouTube channel Trip Astute. Once you have your travel chops, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of travel.

They turn off their phone when it’s appropriate. True travel artists don’t show off, says Jason Donahue, CEO of Sidewalk, a walking app for your smartphone. “Travel has always had an element of regaling stories of remote adventures,” he says. “But the recent trend of Facebook humble brags and Instagram selfies has clouded the personal development that comes with travel.” Real travel artists savor the travel experience; they don’t just Instagram them.

They don’t check a bag. “There’s an art to packing simply and efficiently and taking only what you need,” says Matt Eventoff, a professional speaker from Princeton, N.J. “It saves so much time, both at check-in and at destination.” Also, it also allows you to enjoy travel more and eliminates the chance that a bag gets lost.

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by

With nearly 20 years in the industry, over 128 airport covered in the U.S. and Canada, and over 1,000 Hotel and Parking Partners-we provide travelers the best options on how to get to the airport when flying. Whether you want to; drive yourself and park near an Airport (Airport Parking), stay the night before your flight at an airport hotel and leave your car (Hotel and Parking Package), or take a shared Shuttle/Private Car/Limo to the Airport- we got you covered. The best deals can be found online, and booking a reservation has never been easier. You can explore all of our options by visiting us at,,, and

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Cavalry Travel Insurance

Cavalry takes the worry of out travel by providing 24/7 access to medical and security professionals combined with the best medical evacuation and security extraction services. Cavalry gets you home safely when you need it most. Learn more at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by

Since its inception over three decades ago, G1G has continued to revolutionize the travel insurance industry by being the only aggregator to operate a customer portal, placing all of the user's primary needs in one place. We have continued to innovate and disrupt the market by reimagining the way travel insurance can be delivered to the end user in ways no competition can. Simply put, no one knows the market as well as its founders and no one else shares G1G values and mission.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International,, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

Send this to a friend