LUXURY TRAVEL TIPS
I have witnessed firsthand how the luxury travel market has become much more accessible after traveling to over 80 countries. The internet has meant luxury travel is easier to book and can determine better prices. Luxury travel all depends on your budget and what you can do within it. These tips will help.
Here are my top tips I have learnt traveling the globe in luxury:
1. A Good Travel Agent
In this ever increasing world of the internet a good travel agent is worth their weight in gold. They can help you when you get stuck as well as help put you on priority lists such as upgrades for flights or hotels. A good luxury travel agent should be internationally well connected and they might be able to get you into private members clubs such as Soho House in London or New York.
2. What Do You Want
To make sure your expectations are surpassed make sure you know what you want from a luxury holiday whether it is chartering a luxury yacht, a private ski chalet, boutique hotel, an exclusive cruise or a private Fijian island. Start by defining your sense of luxury travel. Is it about in-flight comfort, or stylish, ultra-comfortable accommodation, or luxury experiences?
3. Travel Out of Season
The luxury industry prices will always be their highest in peak season so why not travel out of season for substantial discounts. Hotels and airlines dramatically reduce their prices during the off season. If you are worried about weather that takes a nose-dive in the low season there are still excellent discounts available in the shoulder season, just before or just after the high season.
4. A Good Guide Book
Invest in a good guide book, history book or local wine and food guide or Michelin Star guide. I was never a huge fan of guide books but if youhave limited time you can pinpoint exactly what you want to do during your stay and book in advance. There is nothing worse than being turned away from an establishment you were looking forward to; so book.
5. Fine Print & Insurance
Always travel with the right insurance and read the fine print. I had a major ski accident in Bosnia and was not insured and had six weeks of torment and expensive medical bills. Check your policy carefully.
6. Trust Your Concierge
Looking for a great restaurant or entertainment options? Seek recommendations from your hotel concierge – they will have great contacts at the best venues in town.
7. Don't be Shy - Tip!
Don’t forget to tip. Tip any one that makes your trip more luxurious such as your concierge, waiter, taxi-driver, Uber etc.
8. Just Take a Selfie
When you start a new memory card for your digital camera, take a quick selfie. If you lose your camera and have to claim it back, you’ll be able to prove it’s yours.
9. Use the Internet!
The internet has changed the world of travel especially with easily portable smart phones or iPads. I change my sim card in every country.
9. Don't Put a Name on it
Never put your name and address on the luggage tag; it allows thieves to know your home is likely to be empty for the next week or so. Just put a postal code or phone number.
10. Michelin Star It
When dining in a city like Paris, Rome, London or New York most of the higher tier Michelin star restaurants have daily specials at lunch time which can be one third of dinner prices. Many will post on their black boards so walk through well-known restaurant districts such as Saint Germain in Paris or Soho in London.
12. Get Some Sleep
Suffer from jet-lag? When at your destination stay awake until your bedtime on that time zone then get a full night’s sleep. Avoid the temptation to go out for the night or push yourself. Drinking lots of alcohol unfortunately fuels jetlag. Also drink a ton of water before and during flight.
13. Use a Travel Guide
Use a knowledgeable and reputable private guide to either walk or show you around. They are worth their weight in gold helping you with historical information, local dining secrets, behind the scenes access, where to shop and understanding the national and local culture.
14. Travel in Style
Travel in style in your destination – companies like Uber have black car private drivers in many countries or just hire a private driver. I often used one to provision off the yacht and their local experience is invaluable. They also save a ton of time parking and are stress free.
15. The Passport
Most countries require a certain amount of time, usually six months, remaining on your passport, so don’t leave a renewal until the last few months.
16. USB Charger
If you forget your USB plugin/charger, some TV sets have a USB that you can use to charge a device.
If you forget your international travel adaptor or phone charger check with the hotel reception, they usual have a spare or two.
18. Be Mindful
Be mindful of extra costs while on a cruise. Once onboard it is very easy to lose sight of the little extras building up, such as drinks and tips.
Take a photocopy of your passport with you when you travel and/or scan your passport and email a copy to yourself.
20. Make A List
When visiting a new destination make a list of your must see attractions. It helps focus your mind as there is usually too much to do and see as there is never enough time to see everything.
21. Mobile Apps
On the move? Use mobile apps to help with your travel planning. You’ll find excellent flight search apps from Sky scanner and Momondo, while Expedia’s or Trivago app has hotels covered too.
Some of the greatest attractions you often forget about traveling in luxury are free such as national museums, galleys, light shows, parks, gardens and national monuments.
23. Pooch on Tour
If you’re looking to take your pooch on holiday with you, Small Luxury Hotels of the World have a good selection of dog friendly options.
24. Ask For Discounts
When dealing with a hotel, agent, villa or chalet owner directly, always ask for a discount. If you don’t ask, they won’t offer.
25. Just Play it Straight
Funniness bypass alert. Immigration or border control staff rarely get humour and never get sarcasm – just play it straight.
26. There are Always Sales
Look out for fire sales, they often offer beautiful boutique and designer hotels at very enticing prices.
27. Eat Where Locals Eat
To enjoy an authentic experience, eat where the locals eat. It may not always be glamorous, but don’t be afraid to try something new. Also,if there are lots of people eating there, the regular turnover of food
will mean it’s fresh. I walk for hours sometimes to find the right restaurant and rarely disappointed.
28. Be Aware of Events
When booking accommodation be mindful of large events or conferences happening in the area during your stay. This is likely to increase accommodation costs as availability will be more limited. I once drove into Lyon France and the whole city was booked up due to a Football game. I found accommodation an hour out of town.
29. Know Your Airlines
Differing airlines give different names to the same type of cabin class. Be canny and understand the differences between the likes of Premium Voyager, Economy Comfort and World Traveller Plus, before purchasing. Get to know airlines and what they offer.
30. Find a Favourite
Find an airline you like and join its frequent flyer program as the benefits such as upgrades, lounge access and priority luggage. I have two favourites, Emirates and Air New Zealand. Use online flight comparison sites to find the cheapest flight at the time and airport that suits you.
31. All-inclusive Option
Consider an all-inclusive option especially if you are an alcoholic. The upfront costs are higher, but there can be significant savings in the overall price of your holiday. And you know from the outset that all your essential costs are covered.
32. Airport Lounges
Airport lounges are not just for first class passengers, they can be cost-effective when set against the price of buying meals and drinks in an airport terminal. You can relax and be sure to never miss a flight.
33. Grab Their Business Cards
Before you leave your hotel, take one of their business cards to show taxis drivers the address when you want to return. It helps when you are lost and to avoid communication problems with different languages.
34. Establish Your Price
If you are traveling a reasonable distance in a taxi make sure you have established a price. There are few countries with honest taxi drivers. Naples is a prime example.
35. Learn a Few Words
Always try to learn a few words of the local language, knowing how to say thank you and please will get you far. The more courteous you are will be reflected in the way the locals treat you. Smile and be gracious.
36. Spending Spree?
If you’re planning on a major spending spree while abroad, notify your credit card company before traveling. Also note their international customer service number – just in case.
37. Embassy Information
Keep a record of your Embassy contact information on hand especially in a third world country. If there is not one, know where the nearest is.
38. Flights & Stop-overs
Plan your flights and stopovers carefully and allow enough time to enjoy your stay and to experience another country. It also breaks jet-lag and makes the whole travel experience more enjoyable.
39. Hidden Costs
Avoid hidden charges when renting accommodation by noting all services not included in the price, before you sign. This is especially important with the likes of Air BnB.
40. Travel Agent Websites
When booking hotels online search for the best prices on travel agent websites. Prices on hotel sites are usually ‘rack rates’ and rarely offer the best value.
41. Just Be Honest
If you want a room upgrade – just ask. Don’t pretend it’s your anniversary etc., hotels have heard it all before. Honesty is a breath of fresh air for a busy receptionist.
42. Low Cost Airline
Consider flying with a low cost airline to allow more money for your luxury hotel. It may not be as good a service but its a few hours pain for potentially a lot of financial gain, and you still have a luxury hotel to look forward to.
43. Card Provider
Choose a credit or charge card that offers you travel benefits – some allow you to collect miles/points for an airline or hotel loyalty programme while you shop. Others provide benefits like airport lounge access.
44. Book in Advance
Why rely on luck in getting an upgrade. If leg room and in flight extras are important to you, book them in advance. Alternatively some airlines give you the option to book upgrades at check-in.
45. Be Flexible!
The smart traveler is flexible. The greater your flexibility on travel dates, destinations, hotels and flight times, you further your chances of grabbing a great deal.
46. Travel Safe
Travel safe. Be under no illusion – traveling in luxury is no safer than budget travel. So take good care of you and your belongings.
47. Wait to be Bumped
If your flight is overbooked don’t volunteer for another one, wait to be bumped or until the compensation being offered is to your liking.
48. Toiletries Kit
Should you leave home without toiletries, always ask at the hotel front desk – they often have a toiletries kit available free of charge.
49. Arrive in Style
Arrive in style – many hotels offer transfers by limo. Alternatively you could book a private airport transfer to your accommodation.
50. Save ya Bucks!
Luxury travel isn’t all about accommodation – perhaps stay in a private room at a hostel, save on your stay and book other luxury experiences like spa days and gourmet meals instead.
51. Promo Codes
The smart traveller seeks out promo codes. You can find discounts for hotels, airlines and other travel services online – which could help you save while you splurge.
53. The Best Discounts
Stay in cities where five star hotels offer the best discounts such as Las Vegas or Macau where their incentive is to get you to gamble.
If you are interested in flying with a particular airline or staying at aparticular hotel, sign up to their online newsletter and watch out for special offers or sales.
54. Like Minded People
Get referrals; Speak to friends, family or work associates to get unbiased advice on where to travel to especially from like-minded people.
55. Room Upgrades
For the best chance of a hotel room upgrade if possible check-in between 4pm and 6pm. Hotels won’t know until later in the day if they will have no shows or cancellations, so hold back from giving upgrades until they do.
56. Where Are You?
Always let someone know where you are which is much easier these days via the internet. Especially in third world countries.
57. Just Buy a Travel Card
Buy a travel card such as Swiss Card, Euro rail pass, frequent fliers, ferry pass to make first class travel affordable.
58. Right Amount of Clothes
Pack the right amount of clothes that suit the climate you will soon be enjoying. Keep some room if you intend to shop.
59. If you are a Hipster
If you are a hipster - find out what hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, galleys are opening soon around the globe. Attend glamorous film festivals or international music events. Follow the jet set to Aspen, St Moritz, St Tropez, London, New York or Paris.