I recently read this very interesting piece in the NYTimes on strategic luxury, aka the art of stretching your travel funds further.
While each traveler's tips may vary, I thought there were some great key takeaways from the piece:
- BOOKING DIRECT FLIGHTS. The quote from the article: "Ashley Muir Bruhn, who lives in Davis, Calif., recommends paying extra for a direct flight. The mother of two and author of the blog Hither & Thither argues that whatever money you save on connecting flights is negated by the added risks. Missing your next flight or losing your bags is a terrific way to ruin a trip. Two shorter legs could mean less in-flight service, and how much more would you pay for those extra hours at the pool where you are headed?" So wise! This is probably my favorite piece of advice (and not just because trying to make transfers is incredibly stressful). With resources like these, you can book bargain flights that are (hopefully) direct to maximize your experience, and leave you less frazzled when you get there.
- MAKING ARRIVAL EASIER. The quote from the article: "Some travelers splurge on making their first moments hassle free. Tina Leung, a stylist and blogger who splits her time between New York and Hong Kong, always hires a black car to pick her up from the airport. “I’m so happy to see someone holding a sign with my name,” Ms. Leung said. “You don’t have to think about it, right when you get off the plane and you’re already frazzled.” In my case, the only time I ever booked a car to pick me up from the airport was when I went to Belize, which I'm pretty sure did not have Uber those few years back when I went. Knowing that I had a trusted guide ready to welcome me from a very long and turbulent flight was amazing! This travel tip can be a lifesaver if you're traveling somewhere unfamiliar or need that extra support with luggage or a stressful trip.
- STAYING IN A PLACE THAT BRINGS YOU JOY. The quote from the article: "Lodging is a much more common splurge, whether on a carefully situated (and decorated) AirBnb or a four-star hotel. “I want to wake up in a place that brings me joy,” said Ukonwa Ojo, a New York-based marketing executive. “I’m inelastic when it comes to cost on that.” She researches heavily before booking, reading reviews everywhere she can find them and making sure the accommodations are known for their high-touch service. " I tend to be more budget-conscious than the person quoted in the article - for example, the Premier Inn in the UK has a "good sleep guarantee" which is really all you can ask for when you're on the road - but if there's a particular location you know you want to stay in, whether a luxurious resort for a special experience or just saving yourself the time and aggravation of being based elsewhere can be very worthwhile.
- SPLURGING ON A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME MEAL. The quote from the article: "Mr. Frommer, founder of a new online publication called The New Consumer, is willing to pay for the possibility of a “life-altering meal,” he said. He had just eaten at Inua, the new Tokyo restaurant from Noma-trained Thomas Frebel, with friends (his share of the tab: $333.41) and was still processing the dish made from nasturtium leaf and enoki mushroom. And he was more than happy to eat hard-boiled eggs and salmon onigiri rice balls from the corner store some days as a trade off." This is fascinating to me because I try to find the most delicious value-oriented food ever (spoiler alert: best meal of all time is Il Cinghiale Bianco in Florence) but I completely respect the passion for elevated dining, so if it's your cup of tea, by all means you should experience it! Otherwise I think that researching and finding amazing local restaurants is one of the joys of travel.
What are your travel strategic luxury tips, tricks, and lifehacks?