Expert-Approved Travel Upgrades That Are Really Worth It

If you’re watching your budget, you may wonder if travel upgrades are really worth it andsome upgrades and add-ons to your trip definitely are.






Let’s face it, travelling on a tight budget may not always be the most enjoyable experience. For some, traveling is their time to unwind and perhaps indulge in some of the finer things in life. While travel is all about new adventures, it's important to recognise that certain add-ons do come with a price tag.

If you’re watching your budget, you may wonder if travel upgrades are really worth it, but according to Anton Gillis, CEO at Kruger Gate Hotel, some upgrades and add-ons to your trip definitely are. 






Lounge access - international travel

Waiting around in an airport terminal can be tiring and undeniably unenjoyable. For most travellers this is the part of their journey that is most despised. Having access to a private lounge, however, can be a gamechanger. “The wonderful benefits of having airport lounge access are that in some lounges you’re able to shower and refresh yourself in-between flights - a luxury that I can’t recommend enough - and that there is comfortable seating with space for everyone, so you don’t feel as though you’re in an overcrowded waiting area. You can also use the lounge’s WiFi and power outlets. Of the different upgrades you may be considering when travelling, I would say that lounge access makes a massive difference to your overall journey,” explains Gillis.

There are various ways to gain entry into airport lounges. Travellers can access lounges when flying via business class, some banks offer access if you’re a customer using specific cards or credit cards, you can opt to purchase a once-off entry, or you may purchase yearly airline lounge passes. With there being a few options available to gain entry you can assess which way suits you best. For example, if you aren’t a frequent flyer then you wouldn’t need a yearly lounge pass.





Hotel upgrades

Staying in a hotel room is already a treat for most of us, but there are some upgrades that can really dial up the enjoyment of your experience. For example, prior to arrival, Kruger Gate Hotel offers guests the opportunity to add services onto their stay, such as shuttles, spa treatments or safaris. The shuttle service is particularly helpful to guests who may be visiting the Kruger National Park from far flung destinations or even South Africans that are not familiar with the region. “A shuttle service that picks you up from the airport to take you to your hotel, wherever you may be in the world, gives you such peace of mind and allows you to begin your holiday with ease. Landing in a city or town you’re not familiar with and having to find your own means of transport can be stressful, and once you’re situated at your hotel or accommodation you could rent a car for the duration of your holiday.”

“Once guests have booked a stay with us, we contact them to let them know about options to upgrade their experience. There will always be guests, in any hotel, who might change their minds and want a bigger room or added spa treatments and we want to ensure that they have the option to make these upgrades with us before their travels,” Gillis says.





Extra legroom upgrade

The legroom that you’re given on a flight varies depending on which class you’re flying in. The typical standard of legroom you’re given in economy class is 81 - 86 centimetres. If you’re in business class you’re given 1.22 - 1.52 metres and in first class, you’d have 1.75 - 2.18 metres in legroom. If you are flying in economy class you may be content with the typical legroom space, however taller individuals would naturally benefit from having more space. Many airlines allow you to pay more to upgrade your seats and add extra legroom within economy class which can significantly enhance your overall travel experience.

“The additional space provides a level of comfort that is incomparable to standard seating. When you have access to that extra legroom, you’re able to stretch more, you feel more relaxed and you’re able to avoid the cramped feeling that comes with travelling on a long-haul flight,” says Gillis.





Delaying departure

Specifically purchasing flights later in the evening is not necessarily an upgrade that you can opt for, but a decision that can upgrade how you experience your last day on holiday. Imagine waking up on the final day of your trip and squeezing in the last bit of sightseeing, perhaps having a lunch at a local restaurant you loved or purchasing curio gifts for your loved ones at home and then leaving for the airport in the late afternoon. “It’s really gratifying to have some time throughout that last day to conclude your holiday on a leisurely note instead of feeling the rush of needing to get to the airport first thing in the morning,” he explains.







Baggage travel insurance

It’s no secret that over the last few years flights have become more expensive, and once you’re ready to purchase your tickets the last thing you might want to do is add another expense to cover. However, while paying a little extra to secure baggage insurance may feel like a grudge purchase, it’s worse if your baggage gets lost, or is damaged or stolen and you’re not insured.

“Alongside protecting yourself with baggage insurance my biggest travel hack of the year is to add an Apple AirTag into your bag that will allow you to track the location of your belongings. The very first thing I do once an airplane has landed is to check where my bags are, and it’s great to feel relaxed and stress-free when you’re able to see that all your bags have made it to the airport,” he adds.

If it’s not necessary for you to take out a full general travel insurance policy, you can still ensure that you’ll be covered for any baggage problems by purchasing baggage insurance directly from your airline.

“Each person travels differently and has their own set of priorities when it comes to travelling. I wouldn’t recommend that each traveller has to opt for every travel upgrade that comes their way, but it does pay to give consideration to upgrades that meet very specific needs, and those that will truly make a difference to your overall travelling experience,” Gillis concludes.






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