Nothing feels quite as good as splurging on a purchase when you travel, especially if this purchase enhances your overall travel experience and keeps stressors at bay.
From investing in a great travel credit card to a smoother screening process at the airport with TSA PreCheck, experts say these splurges are well worth the money for travelers bound for their next destination.
Get a Great Travel Credit Card
One travel splurge that is always worth it is a great travel credit card. Emily Cuneo, owner and author of Emily Embarks, recommends the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
While Cuneo said this card does have an annual fee of $550, it offers plenty of benefits for travelers. Some of these benefits include free Priority Pass access to over 1,300 lounges worldwide, a Global Entry and TSA PreCheck fee credit of $100, a $300 annual travel credit and even travel insurance at varying values.
Apply for TSA PreCheck
If you’ve ever been worried you might miss your flight because you’re waiting in a long TSA screening line, it’s time to apply for the TSA PreCheck program.
Money saving expert Andrea Woroch said applying for TSA PreCheck for approximately $85 is a worthwhile splurge since it offers a faster and convenient airport security experience. Woroch said the application process is pretty easy too. Visit the TSA PreCheck website to apply. From there, the site will direct you to the closest facility for taking fingerprints and other security measures to confirm your identity.
Earlier, we mentioned how certain travel credit cards, like Chase Sapphire Reserve, provide cardholders with a TSA PreCheck fee credit. Woroch said her Chase United Explorer credit card also reimbursed her for the application fee.
“Many credit cards offer credit card members this service when they pay for the TSA PreCheck application fee using their credit card,” said Woroch. “Check your credit card details or look for cards that offer this reimbursement perk for Global Entry and TSA Precheck.”
Level Up Your Flight Package
Depending on the length of your trip, the season and if you have travel insurance, Cuneo said upgrading your flight package can be a beneficial extra expense to splurge on.
“Many airlines have basic, mid-range and upgraded costs, none of which have much to do with the seat you choose. Instead, these different packages will increase in cost from basic to advanced, but they offer inclusions such as free changes or cancellations and free checked bags,” said Cuneo.
Check Your Bag
Checking a bag might cost you a little extra depending on the airline, but doing so gives travelers peace of mind.
Savvy travelers that pay for a checked bag know they won’t have to compete for overhead bin space once they board the plane or carry their bag through the airport (and into tight spaces like the restroom or an airport bar that might be full of patrons).
Book a Nonstop Flight
If you’d like to splurge on your flight, but don’t quite have the budget to spring for a business or first class ticket, consider booking a direct or nonstop flight. This is a flight that takes you to and from your desired airport destinations without any stopovers in between.
“The cost of these flights will vary based on where you’re flying from and to, but spending the extra cash for a nonstop flight to avoid layovers can make such a huge difference in your stress levels,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com.
With a nonstop flight, Ramhold said travelers won’t have to worry about missing a connecting flight or finding the right gate at another airport. Instead, you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy the flight to your destination.
Take Premium Transportation From the Airport
After a long flight, tired travelers might not feel thrilled about the prospect of hunting down a shuttle once they arrive at the airport, or sitting through multiple stops as it visits various terminals to pick up even more passengers.
Splurge on a rideshare or a taxi as your premium transportation of choice. This will take you straight to your hotel or destination so you can focus on checking in and settling in.
Splurge on Hotel Stays
Leslie Carbone, travel blogger at Sancerres at Sunset, said the hotel experience can make or break your trip. Carbone recommends splurging on a suite when possible with separated sleeping and sitting areas.
Here are a few other amenities, or extras, you might want to consider splurging on in your hotel stay:
- Club Room Access. Carbone said this usually includes a breakfast buffet and often a happy hour reception, with happy hour acting as a convenient way to reduce meal expenses.
- Kitchen. If you can get a hotel room that has a kitchen in it, do it. “Having a kitchen means you can keep real cream for your morning coffee, a chilled bottle of wine for after dinner and restaurant leftovers,” said Carbone.
- Balcony. Not only can a balcony provide you with a beautiful view first thing in the morning, but Carbone said it gives travelers a feel for the weather before they head out. A balcony is also a pleasant spot to relax before and/or after dinner.
No matter where you decide to stay or the extra amenities you seek out during your stay, Carbone recommends staying in a central location. “You get more out of a destination if attractions and activities are easy to walk to, and you can save by skipping a rental car,” said Carbone.
Choose Incredible Experiences
Having an incredible experience — like staying at a castle in Ireland, taking afternoon tea at Harrods in London or climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge — is what a great vacation is all about.
Sure, it might be expensive to have a unique or incredible experience, but where, and when, will you ever have the chance to do something like this again? Ramhold recommends springing for the things you want to do. The memories will be well worth the cash spent.
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