What She Wants

The Rules of Fabulous Travel, According to the Truly Rich Lady

Comfort is key when it comes to luxury travel.

I am not obsessed with this Meghan Markle who married a Prince, and who made all our girlhood dreams come true. I am not!

I do not know, for example, that she is on a tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand, a whirlwind trip that will launch the 2018 Invictus Games and also a little jaunt that will highlight a mastery of baking. I do not know all of these details, really!

All I know is that I should tell you how to travel like a Truly Rich Lady (not like a Duchess, mind you!), because we all want to look as cool and happy as this Meghan person, who I am not obsessed with at all!

Rule Number One: Fly In Style

Okay, we don’t all have a private plane like a royal, so first or business will have to do.

There is a strange idea that Truly Rich Persons become truly rich by pinching pennies. Well, maybe, if you are a very frequent flier, and the seat is worth a small fortune, you can save enough coin to buy some trinket.

But really, no. You will not build a fortune by suffering in coach.

And suffer you will! Long ago, on a volunteer trip with an organization whose core values include living a spartan life (it was a religious group), I found myself in one of those sardine-can sized seats. It was a 14-hour flight! By the third hour, I could not bear it anymore. My model-esque legs were jammed together and my seatmate snored. I offered my apologies to the sisters and proceeded to upgrade my seat into the blissful world behind the curtain. God may have frowned a little, but at least I arrived at our destination full of spirit.


Also, another perk is the express pass to most things. I am a person who respects lines, but if the golden ticket can open magic portals that will transform airport transit into a more civilized activity, I will be glad to skip all of it.

One more thing: When flying first, the stay on the plane becomes as good as your stay on land. The food, the room-like cabin, the service, the solitude—everyone should try this at least once. I’d give you my own premium seat for 15 minutes, but the flight attendants tell me this is not allowed.

Rule Number Two: Forget Fashion

I say fashion because fashion is like a pair of doorknocker earrings, while style is the discreet but utterly flawless diamond studs your mother gave you on your 10th birthday. One is unwieldy, the other manageable. On a whirlwind tour of the Old World, go ahead and prioritize the ability to move and breathe (even after several bowls of pasta), but maintain your dignity.

If that’s not clear enough, follow this: Dress like a pregnant Duchess.

Meghan Markle’s early pregnancy style is a lesson on what to wear while traveling. She prefers darling dresses with flared, flowy hems—all comfortable for walking and waving, but still chic. Most reveal the arms, others have a twist. My favorites are the olive dress with a button-up collar and a pleated skirt and the navy napkin-hem dress.

I would re-think the Stuart Weitzman heels, only because I don’t have a real-life Prince who will carry me when my feet hurt (maybe I will pack it for a dinner date), but I am all about the flats. Give me the flats.

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Rule Number Three: Pack Smart

How does Meg pack? How do you pack? How does my Truly Rich Mother pack?

My secret obsession is finding out the different ways people pack their clothes, because I believe the various methods say much about their personalities.

Do pack with the aide of those funny little cubes? Do you roll instead of fold? Do you tuck in all the sleeves together? Or do you just throw in everything at the last minute and hope for the best?

And do you plan your outfits? As a perfectionist, I do! From my arrival at the airport to my departure, every combination is accounted for.

Now, how do I, the Truly Rich Traveler, organize my clothes in my luggage? I really do not know, because I have someone who does the packing for me, of course. 

Rule Number Four: Take Pictures

If you’d ask me a year ago about my opinion on the incessant need to document experiences via the lens of social media, I would have said: “What is social media?”

But now I understand the allure. Instagram and Facebook are like the diary of yore. It says in one picture that you had a very sweaty time trying to find this highly recommended out-of-the-way restaurant, only to discover that it was closed on the day of your visit.

My Truly Rich Friends ask me, “But Si-si, you do not have Instagram or Facebook, so why do you even take all these photos.” I just smile at these so-called friends and then take their photos with my comically giant phone (my hand hurts.).


To my dear friends: When I am sad, I look at all the snaps in the gallery and remember how very, very, very angry I was that you dragged me to this faraway restaurant that was not even open. And then I laugh at my fuming face captured so perfectly by a selfie.

Rule Number Four: Walk, Walk, Walk

I know silly rabbits who fly out to a buzzy city like Beirut or Shanghai but spend most of their vacation time cooped up in the hotel suite.

Yes, the suite is over-the-top fantastic, but you could have just had one of those trendy staycations in Manila. I am aghast at the wasted opportunity! I am also talking about a version of myself from long ago.

It took one Truly Loquacious Rich Friend to make me realize that I was silly. She would not accept a “no” to her invitation, and so dragged me out of my room and into early fog of a still-sleeping city. Instead of enjoying the Dionysian feast from the hotel’s breakfast buffet, she took me to a little shop serving the softest and sweetest morning buns. It was not the cleanest place and the seats were plastic, but the food was undoubtedly good.

She also took me to this secret garden with a little playground, and then she made me sit on the see-saw. Now, I am a grown woman who has graduated from playground activities, but at the moment, I just did it. I had a frown on my face the whole time, but I secretly enjoyed it.


Rule Number Four: Be Free

Which brings me to this rule: No one knows you in this strange city, so release yourself from the restrictions you normally place on yourself.

Laugh really loud. Enter a 24-hour dance club and, well, dance. Try karaoke. Try public transportation. Eat sugar (please abandon your diet).

But, of course, while you are dancing like a woman possessed or devouring the dessert tray like a woman possessed, a Truly Rich Acquaintance will show up and recognize you. And that is why you should always be stylishly dressed. When Nosy Mary from Zumba class takes your photo, I pray to God that you are not in a T-shirt.

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C.C. Coo
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