You Need to Put the Luxury Back Into Your Lifestyle Vacations
I don’t know about you, but when I travel I like to create lifestyle vacations based on whatever my destination has to offer.
What does that mean?
To me, lifestyle vacations are simply going beyond seeing the standard sights and sounds of a locale, and really experiencing what the locals have to offer.
Over the past few years my wife and I have tried to make a point of upping the ante and adding some luxury into our travel.
This doesn’t mean we’re going out of our way to blow our budget on anything frivolous. Rather, we’re taking the time to make better decisions about what our “can’t miss” activities are.
We hear all the time “how can you afford that” or “how did you know about that” … well, to be honest, if you know where to look these luxuries are everywhere and they don’t need to break the bank.
Take the Scenic Route
Not all routes are created equally!
I’m sure we’re all familiar with those signs at the side of the road marking where to turn off from a major highway to enjoy a more scenic drive.
Did you know the same thing happens with train rides?
While researching our recent trip to Switzerland we needed to get from Geneva (where our flight landed) to Lauterbrunnen (our hotel). We had our EuRail passes and were ready for an amazing trip!
What we found was that there were 2 routes we could take to get to our destination. The first took us along the main rail-lines via Lausanne and Bern, arriving at our destination in about 2.5 hours.
Then there was the Golden Pass Scenic Train. This route started along the same line, but continued along Lake Geneva to Montreux, a beautiful lakeside town complete with island castle. From Montreux you road directly through the beautiful Swiss Alps to Interlaken, complete with panoramic windows to take it all in. This trip took about 3 hours to reach Lauterbrunnen.
We definitely preferred to take the Golden Pass route, but what would that cost?
Can you believe this amazing luxury experience was already included in our EuRail Pass! Had we not checked, we’d have missed out on one of the most amazing experience of our entire trip.
Have an Amazing Meal
We have a rule when we travel: at least one meal must be a culinary masterpiece!
You know … those meals where the bill comes and you don’t even care what it says because the food and experience were that good. We’ve actually done that on more than one occasion.
Often we try to choose a place that will provide an amazing food experience that caters to local taste. We have a bit more of a challenge now that we require vegan-friendly fare, but it can still be done.
There’s just something about mixing food with travel that can make a great experience into something epic.
Here are a few of our favourites … that we’re still talking about. I highly recommend them the next time you’re in any of these locations:
Tender Steak & Seafood – Located at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, USA
Mesa Grill – Located at Cesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, USA
Tanner Smith’s – Located in New York City, USA
The River Cafe – Located in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Ristorante Da Vinci – Located in Bern, Switzerland
Restaurant Shiva – Located in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Pai – Located in Toronto, Canada – who says you can’t travel at home?
Use Your Perks
Are you taking advantage of your travel perks? There are some really amazing activities that appear to be luxury, but can be added to your lifestyle vacations more easily than you might expect. Some of these are big bucket list items for a lot of us, so there’s no reason not to start checking them off!
Sure you can use airline points for discounted flights or upgraded hotel stays, but there are many more out there just waiting for you to claim them.
Here are a couple examples, along with how we added them to our travels (often at a big discount):
Hot Air Balloon Ride – I recently wrote a blog post about our first experience in a hot air balloon that you can read here. Since then we returned for a second ride that was equally thrilling.
Looking at the regular price of these rides, there’s no way we’d do it a second time, no matter how amazing it was the first time. And we definitely wouldn’t have treated our friends to come along with us!
Our secret? Groupon! At 50% off this is by far the best way to add a hot air balloon ride to your Las Vegas itinerary. Always check sites like this before you arrive at your destination. They’re perfect for discounts on activities, lodging and food.
Viking River Cruise – As part of our honeymoon my wife and I included a week-long cruise along the Rhine River aboard an amazing Viking ship. The whole experience was top-notch!
Though we wanted to add this to our 3-week honeymoon tour of Central Europe, having just paid for our wedding this didn’t seem likely.
How’d we do it? We used a concierge from one of our travel clubs! Not only did we get the exact dates we wanted, but we received 2 tickets for less than half the regular price of 1 passenger. I highly recommend looking into the perks offered by your travel club to make sure you’re squeezing out every benefit.
Not part of a club yet? Get in touch here and I’ll share what I’ve learned with you.
VIP Treatment – In the past, attending a “VIP Party” was hit or miss. You know the ones … there’s some guy on a street corner trying to convince you to go to some random club. Have they ever turned out to be what VIP means to you? Not me!
These days things have changed and we totally get the VIP treatment already included in our travel packages.
Rooftop parties overlooking Central Park or the Las Vegas Strip, or exclusive launch parties for new ideas in the travel industry are no longer out-of-reach. Once you start experience the “Rockstar Treatment” it’s tough to go back!
Ask for Recommendations
Thanks to crowd-sourcing we now have recommendations for anything at our fingertips. Sure some are more reliable that others, but the information is definitely out there. Test a few out and find one that really suits your travel style and taste.
Some of the best lifestyle vacations we’ve had were the result of getting recommendations from people we trust.
I remember when we were planning our trip to Switzerland we had planned to spend a few days in Interlaken. Mentioning this to a friend who had recently returned from the region, he highly recommended we look into staying in Lauterbrunnen instead. We took his advice, and were completely blown away by how amazing it was. Sure we would have had a great experience in Interlaken, but this small change turned out to be epic!
So get out there and ask around. Those travel luxuries won’t add themselves to your itinerary!
Now how do you make all of this work for you? Decide what you want, then figure out how to make it a reality!
If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that there’s always a way to put a little luxury back into your lifestyle vacations.
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Be sure to comment below and let me know what luxuries you’ll be adding to your next lifestyle vacations!
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Here is a list of the resources mentioned in this post:
Groupon – Discounts at local retailers to help stretch your luxury budget
Luxury Travel – Learn how to add some luxury into your next travel experience
Blogger’s Jumpstart Guide – Download my FREE guide outlining how to successfully start your own blog
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