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,”
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.
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
“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.
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.