Travels with Bob

Trading Up to Luxury Travel

If you are accustomed to cruising in a premium stateroom or suite aboard a mass-market ship, or you enjoy large group land tours of 10 or more days, you may be ready to trade up to luxury leisure travel.


Off-season in Paris offers outstanding value for luxury travelers.

It’s possible to enjoy a richer and more complete travel experience, replete with additional amenities and added value, for as little as a few thousand dollars more – and possibly only a few hundred dollars more – than you customarily spend for a vacation.   

In fact, through careful planning and making right choices, it’s possible to trade up to luxury travel without jeopardizing your financial well-being. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Choose your existing favorite ship but move up from a balcony to a suite, or to ‘ship within a ship’ on some cruise lines. Given the extra perks and larger accommodations, it will be a special experience that you will likely wish to enjoy again.
  • Select an ocean view stateroom on a small luxury ship rather than a balcony. Look for shoulder-season itineraries to your bucket-list destinations and consider repositioning cruises.
  • A four-star hotel in European city center may provide a good experience but many five-star properties offer specials, i.e., four nights for the price of three with additional perks. The net cost may be about the same.
  • Leverage the cost of international air by combining multiple vacations into one without lengthening your journey beyond your budget. Consider making only a portion of your trip an authentic luxury experience.
  • Cities, such as Paris, Rome or other European capitals, represent excellent off-season values, with rates for top hotels discounted and the number of tourists substantially diminished. Also, seek undiscovered tourist destinations off-the-beaten path, avoiding trendy destinations.
  • Splurge on an over-the-top land tour such as an African safari or a multi-country in Asia. Luxury land tours are usually more intimate than mass-market tours and offer exceptional dining, exclusive experiences and a traveling concierge.
  • Alternatively, you might consider an extended ‘self-driving tour of New Zealand. Look for top-rated B&B accommodations that are more personal than hotels as you absorb the culture of the North Island and the magnificent scenery of the South Island.
  • Always seek ‘value’ over ‘price’ when making travel choices and set realistic expectations, whether you desire cultural enrichment, adventure travel or simply rejuvenation of mind and body.

Trading up to luxury travel is clearly possible and a rewarding experience, especially if you do your research carefully and enlist advice and the expertise of a travel professional.