Once you turn left to and walk down the aisle to business class, it’s hard to ever turn right again. However, we may now have you turning right into the world of champagne before take-off, real cutlery and extended leg room sooner than you can dream of, as we have discovered the best tips and tricks for an upgrade.

But before we arrive there, it’s crucial to know there’s certainly more to travel then flying business! It’s the journey, the experiences of your destination and the wonder of the worlds locations; and with the travel industry valued over billions of dollars globally, it’s a competitive and saturated market with many questions left in the air. Where do you go, who do you go with, how do you get there and for how much? Not to mention the jet-lag, currency conversions, tours and travel essentials to conquer before the plane tires touch the tarmac.

That’s why we’ve gone straight to an expert to uncover some of travel’s most unanswered questions and sat down with Sonia Pilovska who’s Head of Tours at Luxury Escapes. Sonia has provided the what’s what on traveling the globe, the lessons she’s learnt the hard way and her dream destination.

Tell us about how you started in the travel industry?
I’ve loved travel from an early age and when I was old enough to realise I could make a living from it I switched my job in finance for one that fulfilled my passion.

What’s your favourite travel-related memory?
When I was seven my parents took my brother and I to Macedonia for our first overseas holiday. We spent six months living with my grandparents in the little village my dad grew up in and I fell totally in love with the simplicity of living off the land and being surrounded by an enormous family. I have a photo of me sitting in the dirt next to a mountain of corn cobs that we’d picked from our farm – I believe this was where my wanderlust started.

Your top five on-board travel essentials?
I keep everything I’ll need in-flight in a soft clutch bag so it’s all in easy reach once on board. In it I have my earphones, a phone charger, Paw Paw ointment, a new book for in between movies; and a pack of LifeSavers Musk lollies. Not sure why but I started buying a pack of these every time I was flying overseas and now it just doesn’t feel right to break the habit.

 

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What are your top tips to be upgraded when flying business class?
• Airlines very rarely upgrade somebody who is not a frequent flyer with them, so be sure to join and travel with the same airline whenever possible.
• Fly on off-peak days, flights are less crowded so the chances of an upgrade are higher.
• Be nice to check in staff and try your luck by asking at check in!
• Travel alone, good luck getting an upgrade if you’re travelling with your 6 friends.
• Be savvy and use your points to upgrade! Even better, when booking through Luxury Escapes you can earn points for your next holiday.

 

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Best tips to combat jet-lag?
There are two golden rules for me:
• If you arrive in the morning spend the day out exploring – trick your body into thinking it’s your normal time zone.
• If you’re arriving at night go out and have a big night on the town – when you wake up the next day you won’t know if you’re jet lagged or hungover.

What is your fail-safe must-see location/experience?
My fail-safe destination is Puglia. Beaches, food, language, culture, wine, olive oil, sites and scenery– everything here is next level amazing. If you could only travel to one place in the world this would be my recommendation!

Biggest travel lesson you’ve learnt the hard way?
• Not hiring a local guide – my whole world opened up when I started truly immersing myself in the local culture. This is why we make sure to pair you up with local guides during Luxury Escapes tours.
• Always research what visa you need before taking off – nothing worse than arriving at the airport and being declined boarding!

What is Luxury Escapes’ point of difference compared to competitors?
Luxury Escapes partner with some of the best hotel brands and local operators around the world to provide luxury travel for a fraction of the price. We personally curate packages and tours with exclusive member inclusions including massages, airport transfers and insider access to experiences not available to the public. Furthermore, we’ve now added flights to our offering to make Luxury Escapes a one-stop-shop for all aspects of your holiday from flights to travel insurance.

 

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And now for the quick fire questions:
• First overseas destination you ever visited? Macdeonia
• Last stamp in your passport is from? South Africa
• Favourite country? Italy
• Ever sat next to someone famous? Yes – just the once. I used my points to upgrade to First Class on a flight home from Europe and ended up sitting across the aisle from Adrian Grenier (Vincent Chase from Entourage).
• Wanderlust destination? Please don’t make me choose just one!