Have a few hours to spare before you can check into your hotel? Finished your meeting, but don’t have to be at the airport until later? Loaded down with luggage, most travelers settle into a restaurant or café to wait out the time, missing a golden opportunity to do something more exciting. But now, thanks to some creative start-ups, there are a host of convenient, safe and affordable luggage storage options in cities throughout the US and Europe.
Piggybacking on already existing businesses such as dry cleaners, nail salons, cafes and hotels, for only a few dollars an hour, luggage can be stored in a secure location complete with damage and theft insurance. LuggageHero has 250 locations in New York alone and plenty of others in London and Copenhagen. Knock Knock City is also popular in New York and has locations in San Francisco and Boston as well. In Europe, Stasher and Nannybag are the big players with hundreds of drop sites throughout the continent.
“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst” is a mantra to live by when traveling. Natural disasters and civil unrest derail the best of plans, but more often it’s the mundane things that disrupt our travel – a lost wallet, a bottle of prescription medicine left on the bathroom counter, a hotel reservation that can’t be found. Error on the side of caution by leaving vital information with a trustworthy friend, coworker or family member. More than likely you’ll never need it, but if the unexpected should arise, you’ll be thankful you planned ahead.
What information should you leave behind?
Click here for more tips to ensure you're prepared to travel internationally!
Airports can test the nerves of even the most well-balanced traveler. There are places, however, where calm and tranquility reign – where a comfortable seat is always available, fresh coffee and snacks await, and a glass of prosecco can be had a moments’ notice. We are talking, of course, about airport lounges. Rack up several hundred thousand air miles on the same airline, and you’re sure to get an invitation to join the club. For these rest of us, there are other options, and given the benefits, they’re worth exploring.
1. Join a Lounge Network
Depending on how often and where you fly, joining a lounge network such as Priority Pass might be your best option. Priority Pass offers access to over 1,000 worldwide lounges for an annual fee of $99 with a per visit fee of $27 (alternatively, an annual fee of $399 gets you unlimited access).
2. Buy a Day Pass
Have you ever been stuck at an airport for hours on end? Next time, a day pass to a lounge might be your saving grace. Prices vary considerably between airlines, but for around $50 you can have a day’s worth of food and drink, free Wi-Fi, and a quiet little corner to call your own.
3. Use Your Credit Card
Several credit cards, including the American Express Platinum card and the United MileagePlus Explorer card, offer free or reduced-cost lounge access. The drawback is that these cards often come with higher annual fees, but added benefits such as travel insurance, priority boarding and free checked bags might make the upfront payout worthwhile.
4. Upgrade Your Ticket
Buy an international business or a first-class ticket and more than likely you’ll also receive complimentary lounge access. This can be a particularly nice perk on long haul flights, as most international airport lounges have private shower rooms where you can freshen up after your flight.
Over 25 million people will take a cruise this year, and while these numbers are staggering, so is what the cruise industry is doing to attract and accommodate this growing, and increasingly demanding, clientele. Ships are larger and more spectacular than ever before, and with even the most budget-friendly cruise lines offering tiered service and an impressive list of amenities, what does it mean to take a luxury cruise these days? Of course, the definition of luxury is highly subjective, but for those looking for a truly exceptional experience, let us introduce you to the world of ultra-luxury cruising.
What sets ultra-luxury cruises apart from their mass-market counterparts? First, the size of the boats. Ultra-luxury cruises from lines such as Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn and Silversea rarely carry more than 500 passengers, with most topping out at around 250. This small manifest ensures a level of personalized service that is hard to achieve on a larger ship. Imagine the ambiance of a private club, where perfectly prepared cocktails are sipped in stately elegance.
If this sounds inherently dignified, that’s because it is. While ultra-lux cruises aren’t for everyone, families with young children and those looking for an endless party might be better served elsewhere, they are an extraordinarily refined way to explore the world. Sailings are usually accompanied by renowned lecturers in the arts and sciences, onboard piano bars host jazz singers and classical musicians, and shore excursions are small group affairs that range from private tours to authentic cultural experiences.
The food and wine is world-class as well, and onboard restaurants often feature menus curated by internationally celebrated partners such as Thomas Keller and Relais & Châteaux. Luxuriously appointed staterooms, spacious well-designed public spaces and serene spas are, of course, standard on all the lines. If an ultra-luxury cruise sounds like something you might enjoy, keep in mind that they can also be a remarkable value considering the level of service and amenities. A seven-day Caribbean cruise can cost as little as $2,000 per person including food and beverages, gratuities and sometimes even flights and shore excursions.
Sharing my travel experiences and insights