Silk travel pyjamas, perfect sandcastles and hotel pet menus – plus 47 more indulgent extras to give your holiday a boost
Turn the latest iPod Nano into a waterproof jukebox with the Atlantic EGO iceBar2 speaker system. The gadget encases your Pod in a clear plastic housing and attaches a small pair of small speakers designed to withstand up to three metres of water at a cost of £38.
2. Safe house
MindMyHouse is a new website that finds free house sitters. You want your home/pets looked after while you’re away; they want a free place to stay. The site lists around 1,600 house sitters across the globe and offers a contract, which deals with issues like damage to the property and utility bills.
3. Personalise your postcard
ppme.co.uk is one of a number of sites offering holidaymakers the chance to create and send postcards using their holiday snaps. Customers upload a photograph then fill in the text and a real postcard is sent anywhere in the UK for 99pence.
4. Keep it together
The Classic travel wallet from Kiki James is hand-stitched leather, lined with suede and has four sections for tickets, passport, insurance and other documents. Buyers can personalise by colour and add embossed initials or text. Prices start at £59.
5. Sleep in silk
Travellers Tree Silk Travel Pyjamas are made of a light and comfortable silk, dry quickly and can be folded into a palm-sized mesh bag. Short pairs for men and women cost £29.99.
6. Hire a welly washer
Boutique Cotswolds hotel Lords of the Manor offers guests the services of an outdoor butler for an extra fee. Duties include dog brushing, welly washing and even map ironing, with prices from £95 per day.
7. Personal paps
Forget cut-off heads and blurred vistas – Eye Photographic Workshops will provide a professional photographer, anywhere in the world, from £1,175 a day. They offer tuition, will bring whatever kit you need, and even a stylist if you want one – they’ll also help with the printing and framing.
8. Back rub in your bag
Turn your five-hour road trip into a massage session, with one of these portable gadgets. First up is the HoMedics Shiatsu Plus Massager which makes up for in functions what it lacks in compactness. It costs from around £60 if you shop around, and dispenses heated massages and can be plugged into a cigarette lighter slot. Or for less money – and a little more hand luggage-friendly, there’s the HoMedics Hydragel Lightweight Hand Held Back Massager that’s rechargeable and costs around £20.
9. Get someone else to do the lugging
The fiasco at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 earlier this year saw bookings with First Luggage more than double – but it’s not just Heathrow, you don’t have to ask around many friends to find someone whose luggage has gone amiss on holiday. The UK-based firm transports luggage door-to-door by FedEx from £49 per suitcase.
10. Arrive by chopper
Forget sitting in traffic. Guests of Dubai’s iconic Burj Al Arab hotel can arrive on the roof by Augusta 109 Executive helicopter. Transfers from Dubai International Airport take 10 minutes and cost around £1,500. Arrivals in Hong Kong staying at the Peninsula hotel also have the same option, with a one-way flight taking 20 minutes and costing £842. New York Helicopter offers the same service in New York City, serving Manhattan airports from £750 per four-person journey.
11. A first-class sleep in economy
Frequent fliers tired of sleepless journeys can seek refuge in the 1st Class Sleeper, an inflatable travel pillow that claims to provide back and shoulder support, available for £28.95. There’s also the Jetsleeper, which is a self-expanding pillow that hooks on to the aircraft headrest and armrest and can be adjusted to suit the size of the user. The gadget was rejected by the judges of the TV show, Dragon’s Den, but found funding elsewhere. It comes in a pocket-sized bag and costs £20.
12. Home, James
The next best thing to your own James? Global chauffeur agency Tristar provides chauffeurs in smart cars in over 40 countries, or they can drive your vehicle if you’d prefer. The Premium service offers Mercedes S-Class and E-Class. Rates vary, but you can get a quick quote online.
13. A baby butler
Young guests of Keswick Hall in Monticello, Virginia, will receive just as much pampering as their parents, courtesy of the hotel’s Baby Butler, a glorified nanny. Services include warming bottles, changing crib linen and gourmet meals. Rooms start at around £150 per evening.
14. A private jet for less
ElJet specialises in what are known in the industry as “empty leg charters” – the discounted return legs of one-way flights chartered by other people. Destinations range from Hong Kong to Paris, with a flight from London to Los Angeles costing £42,000 for around eight people.
15. Telly addict
US firm Sling Media offers Slingbox, a set-top box that plugs into your television at home and lets you watch programmes from any device that will connect to the internet. It’s a one-off fee of £104.99, then you can watch television shows and anything you’ve recorded on a laptop, PDA or mobile phone. Read Mark Frary’s Slingbox review here.
16. Fine airport dining
Just outside Salzburg Airport, in Hangar 7, is the Michelin-Star-winning Ikarus. serves up food as extravagant as its décor. Regularly hosts visits from the world’s greatest chefs, with a business lunch costing £27.
17. Talk is cheap
Forget hefty hotel phone bills – international calls can be made from 1 pence per minute using Skype – you just need a laptop or mobile device with a microphone and speaker. The SkypeOut subscription service allows unlimited calls to European landlines for £3.60 per month or pay as you go.
18. Take pictures underwater
Cameras tend to fare badly at the beach, let alone under the sea. Ikelite’s range of underwater housings will render even digital SLR models like the Canon EOS 40D ship-shape, at a cost of £1,089.99.
19. Up to speed
If you book a holiday with Black Tomato, the company offers a couple of added extras to ease you back into normal life after your holiday. The Back to Reality kit is delivered to your chosen adddress and includes a DVD of your choice (or a voucher for a takeaway meal if you live in London) and a copy of The Week. They’ll also supply you with an Arts of Travel kit before you leave, which is a selection of music and books to match your tastes.
20. Peace at last
Caye Chapel Island Resort, 12 miles off the coast of Belize in the Caribbean, is a 265-acre paradise. The island offers a full 18-hole golf course and over two miles of beaches – which you can have all to yourself for around £60,000 per week. Also check out the Sunday Times list of the ten best private island hotel hideaways .