Meet Michael Holtz of the AFAR Travel Advisory Council

Talking travel with one of our well-connected specialists.

Meet Michael Holtz of the AFAR Travel Advisory Council

At Minaret Station in New Zealand.

Many travelers have a favorite destination; Michael Holtz has a favorite airplane seat (2A in first class). A fascination with the airline industry inspired him to launch SmartFlyer in 1990, shortly after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis. He’s since advised countless business and leisure travelers on getting the best airline perks and value while also coordinating immersive custom itineraries, particularly for Australia and Asia. After exploring about 60 countries, he’s still game for hopping on a plane for a weekend’s adventure at short notice—as long as there’s Wi-Fi. Read on for more about Michael’s travel style and expertise.

Describe your travel personality in three words.
Fun, fast, forever.

What’s an early influential travel memory?
Going to London with my family when I was 10—I did not know what seat 2A was then!

Let’s play spin the globe—name the one place you’ve always wanted to go.

What’s a custom from another culture that you’d love to implement in your life back home?
Bowing—fewer germs that way!

What destinations and types of trips have become your specialties?
Interesting and exciting destinations, like Australia, Bhutan, and Fogo Island.

What are the benefits of booking through a travel advisor like yourself?
SmartFlyer is a large and extremely well-connected Virtuoso Agency. It’s like having that insider in your back pocket who can pretty much make anything happen.

Staying in the Presidential Suite at the Mandarin Oriental, Paris.

Staying in the Presidential Suite at the Mandarin Oriental, Paris.

What are some of the most unique experiences you’ve arranged?
We had a client go on a 4-month trip where they changed their mind constantly about their next destination. Four months and 88 changes later, they became clients for life!

What are the biggest concerns or misconceptions you hear from travelers?
They think they can do it “better” on their own.

What trends are shaping how (and where) we’ll be traveling next?
Nonstop service to more destinations makes the world more accessible—Chengdu for the weekend anyone??

Contact Michael here to inquire about an itinerary tailored to your travel interests and budget.

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