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Why Book With IRT Virtuosos?


Owners Owen & Eleanor Hardy and staff have the most hands-on experience with luxury and deluxe rail journeys in the world; 2015 is our 32nd year.

In 2012, we were honored to be invited to join the world's top travel consortium, Virtuoso®. This gives us $13 billion in buying power and personal relationships with thousands of hoteliers, cruise and rail managers, and tour operators. 

Ours is the oldest train travel agency in the world -- with a combined almost 100 years of experience--with great expertise and advice to offer.  But now we have amazing, personal connections not only with our trains but also with other great travel modes:


  • Safaris
  • River Cruising
  • Expedition Adventures to the Amazon, Galapagos, Antarctica
  • Five-star Hotels
  • Tall ship cruising with Star Clipper & Sea Cloud
  • Biking & Hiking


We believe our Virtuoso® association has already been a boon to our guests.  If you want the most out of life, travel!  And if you want the most out of travel, book with us.  We will treat your journey as a work of art.

"Many thanks to you both.  I feel like a princess on a pillow." — email from M. Platt, traveling on Rovos Rail.

"When travel arrangements are made by Eleanor Hardy and her staff, I can relax and know that all will go well. I travel alone so it is important to know that I will be met at the airport and my hotel arrangements are in place, example, my last trip had me arriving at Almaty, Kazakhstan at 2:00 AM -- smooth as silk, no problems!!"
-- Review on Virtuoso.com
"I have been fortunate to travel quite a lot during my lifetime. In all respects Angela Walker was the very best travel agent we have ever used. She helped us not only plan our trip, but help guide us through the complicated issues of getting visas for the various countries in Central Asia and Russia. She was even able to get us a refund when we had been overcharged!! Angela was always able to cut through the red tape and get any problem solved. Her good humor and helpful attitude made all of our planning more pleasant. She also had a bottle of champagne delivered to our train compartment before we left Armenia. I would give Angela ten stars as a Virtuoso travel consultant." - Mrs. M. Lane, Caspian Odyssey, 2015.


Why is this fantastic for you?  How would you like to be treated as a VIP everywhere you go when you travel?  We have the ability through our worldwide personal connections to make this happen for you.  We can offer you exclusive complimentary hotel amenities: perks like complimentary upgrades, early check-in; guaranteed late check-out; complimentary five-star dinners, to name just a few.

We can offer custom-designed, fabulous itineraries for the independent traveler — to go with our train trips — or not.  We have Virtuoso partners around the world; excellent cruises on conventional ships large and small, on river cruisers, even exotic sailing ships.

They all offer complimentary amenities such as fabulous "Voyager Club" parties and events, exclusive, on-board credits and complimentary amenities on almost all of our partner trains.  We can arrange great business and coach class air through fabulous contracts with carriers.  We also offer you our 24/7 back-up in case something goes wrong.

Our IRT Virtuoso® services are getting rave reviews.  Our guests are fully enjoying our new and improved Concierge Planning services.  And they really love those "surprise" IRT Virtuoso® amenities when they travel.

What is the Society of IRT advantage?

Experience:  Since 1983, owners and senior staff have personally taken all the luxury and deluxe trains in the world as well as hundreds of first-class trains.

Knowledge and Connections:  Because of our agency's first-hand knowledge, we can arrange any rail journey to fulfill your dreams.  Because of our fantastic world-wide connections, we can get you the best hotels with many value-added benefits you can't get for yourself plus reservations for fine dining and tickets to inspiring events.  And our coach and business class air contracts can't be beat.  (Plus, how would you like to call IRT's 24/7 emergency number if you have problems?  That is what you get if you book with IRT.)

Service:  Our Service is renowned.  With IRT you actually communicate with a person who cares about your vacation.  We talk to our clients from all over the globe.

Partners:  We only work with the best.  They know us personally. And they roll out the red carpet for our travelers, often with upgrades on the trains, and IRT Virtuoso® amenities because of our personal relationships and membership in Virtuoso®.

Reliability:  If things go awry, we’re there for you.  No matter what.  We really care that you love your vacation.  We give you, our VIP guest, our 24/7 direct cell phone number so you can contact us if you have a concern or problem.

Information:  We provide everything you need to know to prepare for your journey, from visas to what to wear.

Value:  You’ll get more—but never pay more—with the IRT Society.

Peace of mind:  International luxury and first-class rail and adventure travel is a specialized world and requires specialized knowledge.  Why take a chance with your vacation?

  Frommer's Europe by Rail has long recommended IRT as the go-to agency for rail journeys for its readers.


Eleanor & Owen Hardy on train
Society of IRT owners Owen and Eleanor Hardy on The Danube Express






The Society of IRT is proud to be recognized 17 times by the prestigious Magellan Awards. The latest Gold & Silver awards came in 2015. 

Testimonials from our travelers:

"Why do I like IRT?  Because you take a lot of the telephoning and the hassle out of it. Sometimes when you are planning a trip like this, it is hard to keep track of all the odds and ends.  You keep track of all the odds ends for me, even things I might not have thought of.  Obviously you have plenty of experience with this.  You’re a wonderful person to work with.  You’ve earned it. My gosh.” — N. Nicholas, Chicago.

"First Class Act here — doesn't get any more professional — they couldn't try harder to do better.  We've traveled all over the world with A&K and Mountain Travel Sobek and other small private companies — most very good.  But the level of personal attention and drive to please out of a passion for their business is absolutely unsurpassed and unsurpassable."  ***** Review on Yelp from traveler on board Rovos Rail, 2011.

"The reason I book with you is because you plan everything from start to finish. I don't have to worry about a thing...On a 10-point scale, you're a 10.  I can't say enough good about your service." — S. Morse, traveler on board Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian in 2010.

"You meet the nicest people on IRT tours." — D. Minnerly, veteran of 47 IRT tours.

"Thank you for everything you had to go through and all the changes you had to make because of the strike.  My driver was waiting for me at midnight.  Thank you again." — E. Miller, veteran of 33 IRT trips. 

For more reviews, please see Reviews & Recommendations:

Link to our Virtuoso/IRT website:



Link to Reviews & Recommendations:





2424 Frankfort Ave. Suite #2, Louisville, KY 40206  •  (800) 478-4881  •  (502) 897-1725   •  fax (502) 897-1729  •  email: tourdesk@irtsociety.com  • ©The Society of International Railway Travelers®