I certainly understand that sticking to a budget can be extremely important when booking a vacation. But, did you know that there are several not-so-expensive upgrades you can purchase that can really make a huge impact on the quality of your trip?
- Private airport transfers – Somehow there is nothing more relieving than passing through customs after a long overnight flight to Europe (or to any destination) and seeing a driver standing there with a sign bearing your last name…and a smile! Your driver can help you to a nice, clean sedan and be on the road to your accommodations with a cold bottle of water in the time it takes to wait in the taxi line and try to communicate where you need to go. In the Caribbean & Mexico, private transfers can be the difference between a 30-minute direct ride to your resort and a 1 1/2 hour trip that stops at four other hotels along the way. Why not splurge a little and start your vacation off on the right foot?
- Private sightseeing tours – You know how you arrive at some sites and see a mile-long line of folks waiting to purchase tickets? Or a group of 30-40 “sheep” being herded around with a shepherd tour guide holding an umbrella up in the air? If that looks like your worst nightmare, consider upgrading to a private tour guide. The cost can be quite reasonable and the value you receive can be huge! You can move quicker, learn more and focus on the sites and information you are really interested in.
- Premium Economy upgrades on your fights – Is Business or First Class still a little out of your financial comfort zone? Why not consider upgrading to Premium Economy on your flights? The cost can be very reasonable and those few inches of extra room, and sometimes added amenities, can make the difference between a comfortable journey and a cramped nightmare.
- Airport Lounges – Do you have a long layover along your travel route? Consider purchasing a day-pass for your airline’s Airport Club Lounge. It can be a very civilized way to spend a few hours and many include complimentary Wi-fi, snacks, beverages (sometimes alcoholic as well) and comfortable seats in a quieter location. Check to see if your Frequent Flier program or credit card company offers you any discounts or perks for admission!
- Travel Insurance – Very simply put…Travel Insurance can be a lifesaver! Even if you swear that you are going on your vacation NO MATTER WHAT, you can’t predict weather, illness, injury, cancellations or any of those other nasty surprises that can come up when life happens. It should be budgeted into the cost of every vacation. ‘Nuff said!’
- Upgrade that view – Sure, I understand that you may not spend a lot of time in the room at a resort, or in your cabin on a cruise ship. But I do know that one of the most common complaints I hear is about the view. At least check to see how much the difference is to upgrade that view. You might find that it is a small price to pay for waking up to that full-frontal sea view instead of the parking lot!
- Pre-cruise extensions – Cruises usually start boarding around noon-ish on embarkation day, and require that you be on board at least two hours before the ship departs. That actually leaves a very short window of time to arrive, get checked in and safely in your cabin. I ALWAYS recommend that my clients arrive at the port city the night before departure…just to eliminate stress from all of the “what ifs” of delayed or cancelled flights, major traffic jams on the interstate, etc. Most cruises leave from very interesting cities…why not arrive a day or two early and see what they have to offer?