There are always ways to cut corners when planning a vacation, but sometimes it’s worth paying a little extra to make your trip that much more unforgettable.
Kim McCardell, a luxury travel advisor with Windward and Crown, recommends paying extra for a private tour when visiting certain attractions.
“A private tour gives you insider access and behind-the-scenes knowledge from a local guide who knows the people and places you visit,” she said. “Don’t be surprised if your guide runs to a friend on the street, and you get an inside look at the studio of an Italian designer or a special seat at the chef’s table for lunch.”
It can be hard to strike the balance between wanting to capture every moment and wanting to live in the moment. Hiring a professional photographer to take photos during your trip can make sure you have memories that will last a lifetime without the hassle of having to take them yourself.
“Hiring a professional photographer to capture special pictures of you and your travel companions is an unparalleled souvenir,” McCardell said.
Don’t miss out on unique experiences just because of the high sticker price — it’s usually worth the money.
“While I tend to travel on a budget, there are experiences I splurge on,” said Kristin Secor, owner and author of the accessible travel blog WorldOnWheelsBlog.com. “These experiences have included dog sledding in Alaska and a helicopter tour in Kauai. These are unique and memorable experiences that, in my opinion, justify the expense.”
Nonstop flights are typically more expensive than those with layovers, but pro travelers Becca and Dan of HalfHalfTravel say it’s worth the splurge.
“We’ve traveled in both ways, and as we’ve matured in our travel desires and had the extra budget to use in planning our trips, it’s easy to see why splurging on a nonstop flight is the type of vacation luxury that can spare you time (which is valuable) and headaches,” they said.
This is especially true for international trips.
“For international travel returns to your home country, keep in mind that having a layover will cause you to have to go through passport control and customs upon your entry to your home nation, not your final destination,” they said. “This can make layovers extremely rushed and could cause you to miss your connection during the layover — you could get stuck for an extra night and miss work, etc.”
Extra Legroom Seats
Seats have gotten smaller over the years, so paying extra to ensure you have a more comfortable flight can be worth it.
“If you are on any kind of long-haul flight or if you are very tall, splurging on the extra legroom — or even a business class ticket — can make a significant difference in you arriving fresh and rested to your destination,” said Keri Baugh, a New England-based travel writer and owner of the blog Bon Voyage With Kids. “This is especially worth doing if you are on an overnight flight.”
You may not want to splurge on every meal, but having one extra special meal during the trip is worth the cost, Baugh said.
“For example, in Maui, we love to have a special meal at Mama’s Fish House or Merriman’s, both of which overlook the ocean and have fresh, locally sourced dishes,” she said. “Or at Walt Disney World, the new Space 220 restaurant is so unique thematically and the food is so good that it is the one restaurant I highly recommend splurging on. The one really special meal is worth it, and we often save it for one of our last nights to celebrate a wonderful vacation together as a family.”
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