What is luxury travel?

Arriving by helicopter.  Champagne for breakfast. A tropical island all to yourself.

Sounds pretty luxurious, right? I certainly wouldn’t turn any of these luxurious travel experiences down! Let’s add in a plush bed, outstanding service and dedicated privacy. Luxury travel has always been about comfort and exclusivity.

But I think this concept and definition of luxury travel is inaccurate.

True luxury travel is about so much more than high thread-count sheets and the right brand of shampoo in the bathroom. Mirriam-Webster defines luxury as “…a delicacy, elegance, or refinement of living rather than a necessity”.

As a busy mom, I never have enough hours in the day and my mind is always many places at once. Sure my necessities are covered but it’s that elusive “refinement of living” that I seek.

For this reason, I consider ample time and true mindfulness two critical components of luxury travel. To me, luxury travel incorporates experiences that deliver this powerful – and yes luxurious – combination.

What is luxury travel?

Curious to discover what other well-traveled people around the world thought about ‘luxury travel”, I turned to the most knowledgeable community of travelers out there — travel bloggers!

I asked a group of travel bloggers “What does luxury travel mean to you?” Here is what I learned.

From Sharon and her adorable family of four who travel the world and blog about it over at Where’s Sharon:

“To me, luxury travel means not having to worry about money when I travel.  It is an awesome ‘home’ at the end of every day with no fuss; space, comfortable beds, great sheets, the perfect temperature.  All the little things that make life easier.

Luxury travel means not having to sweat it on public transport, except when I want to.  It stands for doing the awesome extras at attractions, having a well-deserved massage at the end of the day and poolside cocktails, perfectly made.  Most of all, when I think about luxury travel, I picture bliss, relaxation and comfort while still having all the amazing experiences of travel and discovering a new place. It just makes life easier.”

From Jeremy and Angie, the cute couple behind Living the Dream (they have been traveling for over 500 days!)

“To us, luxury travel is not the opulent lifestyle with penthouse suites, champagne, and expensive activities.  Those are nice, for sure, but we like to look at luxury in a different way.  If we had to pay for a luxurious travel style, we would rather upgrade for living conditions that felt like we were at home; nice apartments, fully stocked kitchens, and a property that we wish we could buy and live in forever.  There is something about staying in a place that feels like home that is far more relaxing than any hotel room we’ve ever stayed in.  The perk, of course, is that rather than being at home we are at an amazing destination somewhere in the world!”

Here is Paul Johnson’s take. As the Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog, my go-to for all things luxury travel, he knows a thing or two about the subject!

“Luxury travel is different things to different people and an increasingly over-used term that seems to cover a huge spectrum. For some it is about the materials things – the gold taps in the bathroom or the grand chandelier in the hotel lobby.  For me, that’s not what true luxury travel is about at all. Instead, it’s all about service and attention to detail. It’s about people going that extra mile to make your experience extra special. The notion that nothing is ever too much trouble and the feeling of exclusivity are integral to luxury travel.”

The PhilaTravelGirl, who has funded travels to 40+ countries with miles had this to say.

“For me, luxury travel is carefree. I use miles & points to travel in luxury – saving on the airfare costs and/or hotels, I travel business class international and stay at 4 or 5 star hotels. The savings allow me to spend my budget to upgrade my experiences by using private guides and participate in bespoke activities. A big difference from home life where luxury is a sour cherry sea salted chocolate chip cookie.”

So now, dear readers, I want to know “What does Luxury travel mean to you?” Tell me by leaving a comment below!

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  • Some great definitions, thanks for including us 🙂

    • Thanks for weighing in! A fun and interesting topic to write about!

  • Great post. It is good to know we are on the right track. When we talk about luxury to clients, we talk about attention to detail when using our preferred camps, knowledgeable guides in well taken care Safari vehicles, Plan B should anything happen like missed flight, delayed baggage, etc.

    • Thanks so much Mefi! Yes making things are comfortable and easy as possible — The Plan B – is very much part of luxury travel as well. Thanks for reading, hope all is well!

  • Hannah Logan

    After spending in two months in European hostels I spent my final night in Barcelona in an airport hotel (took advantage of the free airport shuttle since I needed to be there for 4 am) I have to say I squealed a little in happiness at finally having a room and bathroom to myself- that was luxury right there!

    • I bet!! Yes luxury is all relative. I very clearly remember hostel-living while backpacking through Europe!

  • Sarah Ebner

    I think to me, it is not worrying – about food, the bed, what to do. It’s feeling really looked after. Sounds like bliss…

    • I agree, just not having to worry about anything is a luxury, while traveling or not!