Andrea Siben, Melanie’s incredibly talented sister, has traveled the world as a model, art historian and commercial real estate broker. As a specialist in the buying and selling of hotels globally, Andrea shares her most prized advice on how to be a successful, globe-trotting bon vivant.
1. Make your travel fantasies realities. Read, read, read, and thumb through magazines, travel guides, underline what hits your eyes. Remember to make a file for yourself.
2. You will always be your best concierge so do as much planning as possible before you go. Make your own bookings and appointments. Secure $20 to $50 dollars of local currency before departing in case the line at the ATM or airport bank is long. Remember to take between 20 to 50 single dollar bills. In a pinch, you can use these as tips.
3. Travel light. One small shoulder bag and one carry-on bag. Nothing more. This takes practice and time, but it’s well worth it. Ladies, choose a color scheme, say three colors, and place on hangers what you wish to take. This may include a dress, pants, a jacket, shoes and accessories.
4. Dress elegantly. You will feel great and the airline staff may actually treat you better. I have the upgrades to prove it!
5. Wear shoes without laces for your flight. Not only will airport security go faster, but it’s so much easier to slip laceless shoes on and off when flying.
6. Once in your seat, change your watch, if you wear one, to the time zone of your destination. This adjusts your body clock faster.
7. Once you have arrived at your hotel, and looking lovely, go right to
the front desk. Introduce yourself to the front desk team and ask for their names with a smile. Show respect and remember that you are an ambassador for your country.
8. Perhaps the greatest tip I can give all travelers is this: Tip on the front end. If you tip the concierge or manager in the very beginning of your stay, the staff will go out of its way to help you begin your bon vivant voyage in style. If you don’t like your room, speak up immediately and ask for another. If you ask with charm, you might even get an upgrade! Once in your desired room, quickly unpack, drape your scarf on the bed or sofa and head to the local market to buy flowers for your room.
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