I understand that not everyone has a "Neiman Marcus" budget but there are some easy, and affordable, ways to elevate your vacation experience with certain indulgences. Here are my top 5 ways to treat yourself on your next trip.
- Upgrade your flight experience - Business/First class may not be the most budget-friendly option but if you can afford the higher cost then you will have such a better experience especially on international flights. I've never heard of anyone say they'd rather have flown in economy. But there are also more options to fly economy comfort (or plus or extra - each airline has a different name). These seats give you several more inches of legroom (which doesn't sound like a lot but it is!) and usually other perks like reduced/free baggage fees, priority boarding and upgraded meals/drinks. Depends on the airline but something to consider. For either option, I have a great contact who often has discounted airfares for these classes of service so you can save a bit more and have an overall better flight experience. Win win!
- Private Tours - As you probably know by now, I always recommend small group tours whenever possible. They have a slightly higher cost than the larger group tours but then you don't have to fight with 40+ people to hear the guide. But a further enhancement over the smaller group tours is to hire a private guide. Imagine strolling through the Vatican Museums with your own knowledgeable guide. You can stop and ask questions whenever you want and you don't have to wait for anyone else to catch-up. Private guides are recommended for the most popular sights but also if you want something a little different - many guides are historians, artists, chefs or photographers - and thus can cater your experience on different subjects that are of interest to you. I personally love the idea of going around Paris with my own private photographer and guide ~ forget selfies and instead get professional photos taken while sightseeing!
- First Class Train Reservations - Second class is great and all but it is what it is. Second class. First Class is where you will be spoiled with a more comfortable (and often reclining) seat, upgraded personal service, and often meals (with wine/beer) served at your seat. Inclusions depend on train company/country but the cost is usually minimal for the services you get in return. Plus you almost always get access to the First Class lounge at the station where you can relax before you board your train.
- Private Transfers - I always recommend prebooking your private transfers between airports and hotel, but private transfers can also be arranged to/from train stations. You don't have to wait for a taxi and hope they understand your broken Italian. Instead, the driver will be waiting for you (with a sign with your name on it) at the pre-determined time so you don't have to worry about queuing up and losing time while on your vacation.
- Room with a View - This has become a bit of an obsession for me when I travel. I always want a nice view. I know some of you say you won't be in the room very much to enjoy it but nothing beats waking up and pulling back the curtains to see the sun reflecting off of the waves of the ocean. Or watching the ducks paddle by on a canal. Or people strolling down the Champs-Elysees. This also applies to cabins onboard cruise ships. I never want to sail without having a balcony. Not trying to be snobby but having your own private space to enjoy a leisurely breakfast (room service!) is the best way to start each day. And sitting outside with a glass of wine in the evening star-gazing and listening to the sounds of the waves is the perfect way to end the day. If you don't believe me, then I encourage you to give it a go and then tell me what you think!
A good vacation planner will make sure you are splurging on the right items. Contact me now to start planning your next upgraded vacation!