5 Travel “Luxuries” That Are Really Essentials

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European Travel Experiences

Have you ever dreamed of soaring over the Alps, zooming down the autobahn in a vintage BMW or seeing the Mona Lisa without the crowds?

This guide includes 21 ideas for unique experiences when visiting Europe.

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Let’s face it. Travel can be expensive, and that bottom line can add up quickly. It’s sometimes hard to know where to cut corners and where to splurge because, as my Mom always told me, “you can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything.” I always want to make sure that my money is spent wisely on the right luxuries that allow me to enjoy my vacation to the fullest, so here are the top 5 travel luxuries I cannot do without:

Shoes

Truth be told, I have bad feet, so I am acutely aware that good walking shoes are not an optional accessory – they are an absolute necessity! They are the first thing I pack, and I definitely have my favorite brands.  

My girls, on the other hand, thought nothing of wearing those flimsy little flip-flops everywhere they went until about 1 p.m. or so. Then it’s “Mom, can we switch shoes with you my feet are killing me.” Like a good mom, I sighed and gave up my comfy shoes so my child could enjoy the rest of their day in comfort while I questioned my sanity and lousy luck in sharing the same size shoe as them. Over the years of playing shoe switcheroo, they have learned this valuable lesson, and now they understand the “luxury” of well-fitting comfortable shoes as much as I do.

Take your time and find the best shoe for your needs. There are so many different brands with so many various features that you need to try them on to see how they feel. What an excellent opportunity to splurge a little on a lovely pair of shoes.  More importantly, break them in! Do they rub somewhere? Do they pinch your toes? Do they support your arches? Wear them for a whole day, or even longer if possible, and see if they are comfortable enough to be worthy of being packed in your suitcase.

I also recommend that you bring more than one pair of comfy shoes, just in case they rub you in the wrong place so you can switch them out as necessary. And, yes, my dress shoes do sneak in, just in case I go somewhere fancy, and sneakers or birks just won’t cut it.

Quality Luggage

Hands up anyone who has, unfortunately, had their luggage “break” while on vacation. It hasn’t happened to me, but it happened to my husband when his wheel broke off.  Before the unfortunate event, he thought that those cheap suitcases were “fine” but after having to carry that suitcase around everywhere he changed his mind quickly. If you do any amount of traveling, invest in excellent quality luggage. You will thank yourself later. They are built to withstand the abuse that checked baggage goes through. Also, invest in a well-designed carry-on bag. Nothing ruins a vacation like a bad back after schlepping a heavy shoulder bag throughout your travels. I bought one that clips to my suitcase (an absolute essential) and has wheels with an extendable handle. It fits under the seat and has an easily accessible front flap. It has been a game-changer for me, and my back has thanked me ever since.

Plane Tickets

Plane tickets seem to be a great place to save a little money, and not everyone feels the need to fly business class every time, though it does have its perks. You do, however, need to read the fine print as to what you are getting in that bargain deal. Three important things to consider when you decide to purchase an airplane ticket: layovers, ticket categories, and airlines.  

You might be able to save a few dollars on a multiple connection layover, but at what cost? Generally speaking, the fewer connections in travel, the better. Flight connections add more risk for missed flights, cancellations, and delays. That extra little bit of money the non-stop might cost is worth it if you don’t lose a day’s vacation with a missed connection.

Airline ticket categories are a little trickier now than they used to be. You need to check that bargain ticket out for what it allows and, more importantly, what it doesn’t. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen someone absolutely flabbergasted that the cheap basic economy fare ticket they bought does not allow for carryon luggage. Now they will not only have to check their bag but pay a hefty amount for the privilege of doing so, not to mention not having access to flight changes, early boarding, or pre-reserving seats. That cheap ticket suddenly does not become much of a bargain after all.

As to airlines, not all classes are equal across all airlines. Look at what you need from your flight and choose your airline accordingly. 

Trust your travel consultant and let them help you make sure you are getting precisely what you want by booking the right flights.

Unique Experiences

You have booked this fabulous vacation you can’t wait to go on. It is going to be relaxing, enjoyable, and memorable. Why not make it enrich too? Research has shown that the best thing you can spend your money on is experiences, so make sure to include a few unique experiences to make the trip meaningful to you. This is one place where the “Luxury” does not need to be expensive to be a splurge. Use your travel consultant’s insight and let us help you craft a journey to fit precisely what you are looking for, and who knows, maybe even offer a few ideas you didn’t even know were possible.  

Global Entry

If you have ever whizzed through the TSA PreCheck line while traveling domestically, you will understand why I say Global Entry is a must-have for international travel. The program prescreens you so when you arrive home at customs, you can skip the 2+ hour lines and paperwork, check-in at the kiosks, and be on your way. Can I say what a lifesaver this is after a long overseas flight? Global Entry also includes TSA PreCheck, allowing you to use PreCheck security lines for both domestic and international flights. TSA PreCheck separately costs $85 for 5 years, but it’s worth the luxury to spend $15 more and apply for Global Entry for $100. The bonus is you get to keep your comfy shoes on!

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I will focus on travel news, destination highlights, favorite hotels, fantastic experiences and incredible food.

In amongst all that travel inspiration I will throw in a smidgeon of travel tips and some gorgeous photos to brighten your inbox and get you dreaming.

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european travel experiences

Have you ever dreamed of soaring over the Alps, zooming down the autobahn in a vintage BMW or seeing the Mona Lisa without the crowds?

This guide includes 21 ideas for unique experiences when visiting Europe.

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Have you ever dreamed of soaring over the Alps, zooming down the autobahn in a vintage BMW or seeing the Mona Lisa without the crowds?

This guide includes 21 ideas for unique experiences when visiting Europe.

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