Travel agent—it’s a job that seems to have gone the way of the television repairman or switchboard operator. But there’s a fresh new crop of travel experts—more aptly described as travel designers—who offer resources far beyond the basics of organizing flights, lodging, and tours. These designers create trips that you can’t just book online, trips for travelers, not tourists. And discerning travelers, at that. “People want to see the world before it changes, and it’s changing fast,” says Lia Batkin, cofounder of In the Know Experiences. “They want truly authentic, unique experiences.” No longer is it about checking boxes at a major tourist hub. Rather, it’s about digging deeper into more mainstream destinations or going for lesser-known spots that can only really be accessed with expert assistance. Rather than traveling to Paris to see the Louvre and Eiffel Tower, for example, travelers might land at Charles de Gaulle and immediately be whisked away in a private car to taste back vintages in Bordeaux’s most storied cellars. Or a traveler might tell their designer they want to explore Bhutan, have two weeks, want to spend time hidden away in a cliffside monastery, and leave the details to them. These are the kinds of trips that can’t be planned with a quick visit to Expedia and TripAdvisor. And though many of these trips can come with a serious price tag, the definition of luxury travel is changing; no longer is it all strictly high end. People want a mix of high and low, and hire travel designers to point them toward the right hole-in-the-walls and local experiences. “I think it almost becomes a badge of honor that you went on an amazing trip but did super-cool, under-the-radar, local-type things that weren’t super high end or expensive,” says Batkin. “It means that you’re a true traveler.” For example, while a meal at Osteria Francescana, chef Massimo Bottura’s three Michelin-star restaurant in Modena, Italy, is understandably a bucket list item for many, a travel designer at Food Valley Travel will also hook up a pasta-making class at Boutique del Tortellino, a locals-only shop so unassuming that it’s tricky to even find without an expert directing you there. Get the full story at Vogue