Luxury Travel 101: Experiences to Add to Your Bucket List and Ideas to Make Your Trip Less ‘Budget’

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With the planet shrinking and opening up at the same time, travellers would like to explore it for all possible experiences that money can buy. Here is a look at some luxury experiences every travel bucket list should have, and a few ways to steer you in that direction!

Luxury travel experiences that must be on your bucket list

1. Stay at amazing accommodations

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Make one of your trips about where you choose to stay. From the usual 5-star chains to exotic boutique hotels, the choice on the luxury tray is vast. Add to your wish list a heritage hotel that was once a palace; an overwater villa in the Maldives; a reclusive luxury haven of a resort in Bora Bora; or even a penthouse suite in a fancy city hotel.

We recommend: A stay at Soneva Kiri, where a private seven-seater plan whisks you away from the airport to this exclusive remote island of Koh Kood. Indulge in a variety of dining and stay experiences. Their Maldives property is fantasy in real, too!

Related: 5 Best Ski Resorts Around the World and When to Go

2. Travel first class

If travelling by private jet is on your bucket list, it might have to stay there for a while; but for the ones with less ambitious lists, there is always first class to aim for. Of course, this experience, if it is bucket listed, should be had on airlines like Emirates and Singapore Airlines!

Keep this point in the list a little flexible and add to it a cruise on a luxury liner, speed boat transfers for your island hopping escapes, or aerial helicopter tours of a pretty city.

We recommend: Checkout Etihad’s First Class, now known as First Apartment. And why not! You get a large leather armchair, a separate bed and space to walk around.

3. Visit a wonder of the world

Pick one of the wonders of the world as your bucket list destination. While the thought of trekking Machu Picchu may sound daunting and not luxurious at all, consider this: there is the ‘other’ Inca Trail. This alternative route that takes you to Machu Picchu is authentic, without the crowds, and it is dotted with luxury lodges. Ah, the comforts of money!

We recommend: The Ultimate Bucket List Tour, takes you across eight countries and eight cities, to see the seven wonders of the world in just 30 days.

Related: You’ve Got the Most Powerful Passport in the World, Where Are You Using It Next? Here Are 8 Amazing Destinations

4. Get a private island experience

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It doesn’t get more luxurious than this. Buy a private patch land, add to it your own boat and strip of beach and you can forget about life’s worries. But unless you know something about money that the rest of the world doesn’t, a week or so on your own island is going to be a once in a lifetime experience! So dream on, add it to the bucket, and choose from slices of heaven in the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, Belize, or practically anywhere on the map your finger decides to stop.

We recommend: Voavah in the Maldives is the First Four Seasons island. A stay here comes with its own private yacht.

Related: A Singaporean’s Guide to Buying an Island in the Philippines

Cracking it on luxury travel deals

Though some of the above is a little far-fetched for the regular bucket list; here are a few tips for luxury travel aspirants with normal fantasies.

1. Hotel loyalty

Hotel loyalty can take you places, in fact to better places. The Starwood Preferred Guest program, for example, offers rewards and benefits over various hotel brands around the world. You are looking at everything from room upgrades, a choice of welcome gifts and late check outs to complimentary access to executive and club level floors.

Such memberships also allow for crossover rewards with airlines. In the case of the SPG program, the arrangement is with Delta and Emirates to name a couple. So get that membership card and start notching up eligible stays at participating hotels!

Related: 10 Travel Deals You Must Check out Before You Book Your next Holiday

2. Airline loyalty

Getting upgraded to first class is every luxury travel aspirant’s dream. Though there is no exact formula to crack this one, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of bagging a seat in the front.

Loyalty is one sure shot way to bring you closer – stick to one airline alliance, stash those frequent flyer points to get you elite status, and then wait for lady luck to strike. And yes, choose high end airlines like Singapore Airlines or Emirates if you expect such niceties.

A more realistic way is to optimise your credit card spends to accumulate miles on your spends. Use multiple cards to get as many miles as you can for various types of spends. For example:

Stash these miles and redeem a first class flight when you have enough. Just remember to take note of the expiry dates for the miles/points!

Other hacks include being well turned out (actually!), arriving ahead of time, travelling alone, or simply asking for an upgrade! These actually work if you are high on the loyalty scale.

Related: [Infographic] Ultimate Guide to Choosing A Credit Card

Did you know? If you are flying Singapore Airlines, you get complimentary upgrade from Business Class to First Class or suites with your American Express Singapore Airlines Solitaire PPS Credit Card.

3. How to get lounge access

While the hallowed lounge access comes along with first class tickets, this is definitely not the case with tickets that take you to the back of the plane. In such cases, step up your luxury quotient (at least while you are at the airport) with these simple hacks.

You can buy a day pass offered by some airlines; regular travelers on one airline can invest in a long term relationship and buy lounge membership and not so regular ones can choose third party membership of a lounge network with an annual fee.

Then of course there is that piece of plastic – your credit card – that opens the doors to many a lounge.

Did you know? With your DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card, get two free visits a year to Priority Pass partner lounges with the Priority Pass Membership.

4. Outsource your travel issues!

Booking your luxury stay through online sites like Virtuoso is the way to go. These sites are networks of luxury travel advisors around the world who facilitate your travel in a way that appears to be seamless.

Not only will you get access to great rates, but there will also be perks like spa treatments and room upgrades thrown into the offer. The service is exceptional, with an advisor from the website in touch with you all the time; and you don’t even need to make the bookings yourself.

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