Upgrading Your Travel Style
When people think about upgrading their travel style, they usually think about moving out of coach into business class, or at least premium economy. However, there are some other ways to upgrade your travel style that might cost less and provide more enjoyment overall. Here are some ideas.
1. Ditch the early morning flights.
Getting up at 3am to go to the airport in time for your 6.30am flight is really no fun at all. Often you’ll end up losing a whole travel day because you’ll be so exhausted. Worst still, being tired means you risk getting into arguments with your travel companions, which is not a good start to any trip. If you have to take a red eye flight then here are some tips for surviving the ordeal.
2. Bring your wifi with you.
We have lost countless hours of vacation time fiddling with hotel wifi. If you need to get online during your stay, it’s much easier to bring your wifi with you where possible. That might mean shelling out for tethering, or getting a mifi type device. What’s particularly annoying is when hotels require guests to contact their internet provider to troubleshoot wifi issues, and lately on our travels, this has been the expectation more often than not. I had to have a tech come to my room twice during a stay at an upscale hotel in Hawaii recently! Um… it’s my holiday!!
3. Car rentals.
My first big trips were done when I was under 25, meaning that hiring a car would’ve been prohibitively expensive due to under 25 surcharges. What has improved my travel experience the most is that I now rent cars for my whole trip, unless it’s somewhere where taxis are super cheap (like Asia), like NYC where that would be just stupid, or somewhere I’d have to pay a lot to park the car overnight (which was the case when we spent 7 weeks in Waikiki and parking costs were ridiculous.) Sometimes I don’t end up using the car in an entire day but the extra convenience of having it is well worth it to me. I get out and explore a lot more because it’s so easy to jump in the rental car. I’ve also gained a lot of confidence driving rented cars from doing it so often. I used to feel quite nervous to do it but I don’t anymore.
4. Bigger accommodations.
Even $300 a night hotel rooms usually aren’t that gigantic or well equipped. Compare this to what you can get if you think beyond hotels. In cities, you might consider apartments that allow you to live like a local and self cater (or convenience or choice reasons rather than budget). At the beach, or in cheap countries, you might be able to get yourself a sprawling villa with it’s own pool and maybe it’s own staff. I’ve heard that you can hire a personal chef in Bali for under $200 a month!
5. Bidding for upgrades.
If you’re really keen on a bit more leg room or want to make it easier to sleep on your flight, then you can consider bidding for upgrades. Quite a few airlines will now allow you to bid for upgrades to business class seats on their flights. They’re not guaranteed and usually you won’t know if you’re going to get the upgrade until right before you travel. However, this can be a good option if you’re able to be flexible about whether the seats come through or not.