The Essential Guide To Luxury Travel
While you may be used to backpacking around the globe, sourcing a cheap last minute deal when you want to get away from it all and finding the lowest priced flights you possibly can when venturing overseas, there’s nothing wrong with traveling in luxury once in a while. While you might think luxury travel is all top floor honeymoon suites, first-class air travel and spending obscene amounts of money, it’s actually a lot more nuanced than that. Those who spend the most and shout the loudest about their wealth don’t tend to travel in luxury; they are simply traveling and splashing their cash around. Take a look at this essential guide to tell you what it really means to commit to a period of luxury travel.
Size Isn’t Everything
While luxury travel used to mean staying at the highest quality world class hotels, the discerning traveler is now looking for a more personalized experience. It’s not unusual for a high-end traveler to opt for a boutique and chic hotel. Sure, they’ll still demand the finest room in the property and expect the highest level of customer service, personal touches and the most luxurious furnishings, but they won’t necessarily need to be staying in the Hilton, Dorchester or Savoy to achieve this. Many people don’t want to line the pockets of hospitality fat cats and would instead like to support the bespoke and more exclusive accommodation options.
Often luxury travelers shun hotels altogether and instead opt for a service residence. This gives a level of autonomy to a vacation where you aren’t necessarily within a hotel complex, yet you know that your room will be cleaned every day and there is staff available should you need them. By heading to a hotel or serviced apartment, you are opting for a more exclusive form of accommodation. You are the one setting the trend rather than following the crowds.
Experiences Are Everything
Back in the 1940s and 1950s, a status symbol of luxury travel was the size and cost of the souvenir you brought home with you. It wasn’t unheard of for people to travel to Kenya on safari to bring home the tusk of an elephant and support the ivory trade. This practice is now thankfully banned, and society would not accept such an abhorrent act. While some people still strive for an expensive souvenir, most luxury travelers opt to spend their money on authentic experiences rather than flashy material items.
While some travelers decide to head out to the finest Michelin restaurants serving up the highest quality international cuisine, most luxury travelers will choose a more authentic experience. They will pay to hunt out the best restaurant serving local cuisine. While there are plenty of Michelin starred eateries in Tokyo, a holidaymaker traveling in luxury would rather pay for a truly unique dining experience sampling the delights of a soba noodle recipe passed down a family for generations. Ramen, tempura and sashimi are all delicacies of Japan, so the luxury traveler wants to experience the finest examples of this. They want to devour these morsels, not the top quality fayre that they could get in any fine dining establishment anywhere across the world. Authenticity is key to the luxury travel experience.
One aspect of luxury travel is how you actually get from A to B. Budget airlines and second class train carriages simply won’t cut it. While the travel time cannot be miraculously cut, and a traveler still might have to endure a twelve hour long train journey or a fifteen-hour flight, a luxury traveler will go out of his or her way to make sure they are comfortable and travel in style. The first class section of any airline will allow for a fine dining experience, more comfortable seating positions and better legroom. The attendants are on hand to manage every request and the flight, although it may be as turbulent as it might be in economy class, will be a much more pleasant traveling experience.
The same goes for travel by rail. The first class carriages or luxury sleeper cabins on overnight trains attract the higher end of the traveller market. A luxury traveler will splash their cash if it means they get a private bathroom, top quality food and more spacious cabins. The service on board the luxury end of the Trans Siberian Express and the Oriental Express is second to none and has been highly regarded for decades, remaining some of the most luxurious ways to travel by rail.
While some people are happy to follow the rest of the luxury travelers to established destinations such as Bali, Dubai and the high-end ski resorts, others are keen to seek out new luxury travel destinations. There has been an emergence of high-end safari tours, where camping under the stars no longer involves pitching a tent and sitting around a campfire. Luxury yurts have been set up near the Masai Mara reserve, and top class chefs are being brought in to create a luxury safari resort.
Ethiopia, once regarded as a drought-ridden and poverty-stricken nation, is attempting to break through onto the luxury travel scene. Ethiopian food tours are taking off, where travelers sign up for a luxury tour to experience the wildlife, savannahs, scenery and history of the nation while immersing themselves in the culinary prowess and culture of the country. It is these smaller and less well-known destinations that are becoming a hive of activity in the luxury market. There still remains fewer tourists, and the destination is exclusive leading to it being highly regarded within the minds of luxury travelers.
If you fancy a foray on to the luxury travel scene, there’s no need to shout about it or opt for the grandest or most expensive accommodation. Think smaller and more exclusive, prioritize experiences over material items and enjoy every moment of your traveling adventure.