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Chats / Carlos Melia, Luxury Travel Curator

Meet Carlos Melia, the ultimate travel extraordinaire and founder of Luxury Gay Travel Network. He is a full-service luxury bespoke Travel Agent, Travel Blogger, Concierge, Hospitality Consultant and Wedding Planner. We sat down with Carlos to get the inside scoop on his favorite world destinations.

How did you get your start in the travel industry?

Well it is a long story… but I was basically born into it. I come from a family of Commercial Pilots. So I was practically raised aboard a jetliner, always on the move from my native Buenos Aires, Argentina… to the world. By the age of 10, I had been around the world once. My first trip alone was to South Africa, when I was 15 years old, and from there, I have devoted my life to this lifestyle and industry, having worked all around the world, for hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and for the last 20 years, running my own travel agency, curating the world of luxury travel and lifestyle one destination at the time.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve ever learned in your field?

Travel can create and spark life changing events in your life.

Who is your inspiration in the travel world?

My clients of course. They keep me attentive and current. I am always searching and researching to what is next and happening in my industry worldwide. Being both a Travel Advisor and Travel Blogger, I am always traveling around the world, curating upcoming destinations, experiences and services, which will be come the next trend in travel and hospitality.

What is the #1 travel request?

Experiences, experiences, experiences. That is the number one travel request. People want to travel to truly live and experience the destination, regardless they do it in luxury or on the budget.

What makes a great luxury travel curator?

Sensibility, empathy, experience, knowledge and connections.

Tell us about the most extravagant trip you have ever planned?

Travel has been democratized over the last three decades. What it used to be consider extravagant and/or inaccessible to most, now is not. The mere definition of luxury is being now challenged. My luxury and understanding of “extravagant,” is measured by rarity and sophistication, access to unique destinations, services, individuals and experiences, which go beyond the mere concept of self-indulgence and only available to a few. Being this said, I am currently working on a journey to a remote Arctic island between mainland Norway and the North Pole, for a couple flying private from the United States for 4-nights just to have a Polar Bear and Northern Lights up-close experience.

Courtesy of Nordic Visitor

What would you say is the most underrated destination that you love to visit?

Oh well, that changes constantly as I move along my Travel Bucket List. But one for sure would be Mongolia.

Outside of traveling (and blogging), what are your passions?

Well traveling is the way I get access to most of my passions, discovering beyond my own geographical limits. I love and enjoy being exposed to new cultures, just seating and looking at people behave like locals and let life unfold. I like experiencing traditions and seeing how these translate into the cuisine, design and architecture. I have a passion for animals, and I always look to have this kind of experiences while traveling. These are the pillars of my discovery.

What are some places you haven’t been but are dying to go to?

This one is easy ha ha ha ….. high on my 2018 list are: Oman + Slovenia and Sri Lanka.

Your most memorable travel experience?

Well there are two, I must say, that have – over the years – marked my life forever. Interestingly enough, both are in Asia. The first one, my trips to northern Thailand, to live with the elephants and train to become a Mahout – aka. elephant whisperer. And second, was taking part of the “ Ganga Aarti ” ceremony in Varanasi, India while floating along the banks of the River Ganges.

If I weren’t in the travel industry, I would be:

A Marine Biologist…

What’s your favorite place in the world:

TO EAT:

Dinner Aboard the Eastern Oriental Orient-Express Train as you cross Malaysia on your way from Thailand to Singapore.

TO DRINK:

Hello Dolly Jazz Bar, Ponto-cho Alley, Kyoto, Japan.

TO STAY:

Four Seasons Tented Camps in the Golden Triangle, Thailand

FOR VIEWS:

This one is tough, but I would say, one I always truly enjoy is the Amalfi Coast.

WEEKENEDER:

London, UK

SKI TRIP:

Montana, United States (or) Mount Tremblant, Canada (or) Bariloche, Argentina (or) Courchevel, France

CITY TRIP:

Hong Kong

REMOTE TRIP:

Myanmar

ROAD TRIP:

Mendoza + Tucuman + Salta + Jujuy – north region of Argentina

FOODIE TRIP:

Peru

ADVENTURE TRIP:

India and beyond…

SOLO TRIP:

Anywhere in Asia.

Contact your concierge to book your next destination in collaboration with Carlos Melia.