Trip Ideas

How to Explore #LikeAJetsetter: VIP City Experiences Worth Every Penny

There are two ways you can explore a city: the way everyone else does, and the way few others do. If you're trying to experience London or Paris #LikeAJetsetter, we think you know exactly which option we'd choose. Here's how we'd prefer to eat in Brooklyn, shop in Paris, and sightsee in Rome...

Crabs for sale at the Tsukiji fish market.
Sushi chefs preparing Sushi plate at small restaurant in Tsukiji Fish Market
The outer market, fish stalls and many people, some with umbrellas on rainy day buying fish and other seafood.
1

Tokyo

Countless chefs have hailed Tokyo “the world’s best food city,” and it’s hard to argue with the facts: as of 2018, Tokyo holds a whopping 314 Michelin stars to its name—the most of any city and 173 more than Paris, its closest rival. Across the sprawling cityscape, restaurants big and small have perfected the culinary game—whether that’s ramen, sushi, soba, kaiseki, yakitori, tempura, udon… And, although Tsukiji’s inner market recently packed up shop and moved to Toyosu, the city’s famous fish markets are still ground zero for sampling some of the country’s freshest ingredients.

How to Do It Right: Experience the magic (and flavors) of both Tsukiji’s Outer Market and Toyosu during this four-hour tour, which includes shopping for ingredients before a sushi-making class—you’ll fillet your own fish—with an expert chef. Preparations completed, you’ll get to dine on your own creation, which is paired with up to five different kinds of sake. Alternatively, enjoy the cooking experience inside a resident’s home during this intimate lesson hosted by an English-speaking local, who will instruct how to make nigiri, maki, and temari-sushi from her own kitchen.

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Sistine Chapel ceiling painting
Rome, Vatican city
2

Rome

Art and ancient architecture are two of Rome’s greatest draws, but so too is its religious legacy. No traveler can say they’ve truly experienced Italy’s capital unless they’ve paid a visit to Vatican City, the seat of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. An estimated five million people make the pilgrimage to this sacred, 100-acre city-state each year to walk the halls and catacombs inside St. Peter’s Basilica, marvel at the sculptures and tapestries inside the Vatican Museums, and whisper beneath the lofty ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Few rooms will hit you in the gut (proverbially speaking, of course) quite like Michelangelo’s masterpiece—but crowds and rules (such as the discouragement of talking) still put limitations on the experience.

How to Do It Right: Although it’s a (serious) dent in your wallet, your money will be put to good use during an epic private tour. An art historian will lead you through the highlights of the museum, where you’ll also gain access to secret galleries off-limits to other visitors. After the Sistine Chapel is closed to the public, you’ll even get the rare chance to have it all to yourself and discuss Michelangelo’s frescoes with your guide—something not normally allowed here.

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Paris, France, St. Ouen flea market
People choosing rare and used books, wooden masks and figures of African culture at the historic flea Aligre Market (Marche d'Aligre) in the Bastille district.
Montmartre by twilight - tourists and Parisians walking around shopping street near Sacre Coeur."
3

Paris

For centuries, Paris has remained at the center of the fashion world—shaped in no small way by the influence of some of the world's most famous French tastemakers, from the court of Louis XIV to the fashion houses of Coco Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Christian Dior (which are still headquartered in the city). Of course, affording to wear these names is no small fee: Chanel handbags begin at a cool $3,000, while the smallest of Louis Vuitton's carry-on luggage will run you out $3,250. Dressing like a Parisian may not be cheap, but shopping at the city's handful of flea markets, which peddle vintage wears at a fraction of their label's typical costs today, makes it much more doable—if you know where to look. 

How to Do It Right: As far as vintage shopping goes, it doesn't get better than the selection at Paris's Le Puce de Saint-Ouen Market, whose roughly 2,000 shops (divided into 14 separate sections) make it the largest of its kind in the world. On this four-hour private tour, you'll navigate it all with the help of a personal guide, who will not only customize the tour depending on what you're looking for (be it bags, clothes, jewelry, tableware, or eclectic paintings) but help negotiate the best prices and arrange shipment for larger purchases.

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Brooklyn: View of under Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo outside exterior outdoors in NYC New York City,
4

New York City

The love we harbor for our home city is no secret, but if there's one borough people still can't get enough of, it's Brooklyn—Manhattan's hipper-than-thou eastern neighbor home to some of NYC's hottest new restaurants, coolest new shops, and countless independent breweries, cozy cafés, museums, and bars. Granted, you could spend months—nay, years!—exploring just a single neighborhood here, from Williamsburg to Bushwick, but if you're from out of town, who's got that kind of time?

How to Do It Right: A half-day is hardly enough time to soak in all the flavors of this diverse neighborhood, but it's a good start. This "Best of Brooklyn" tour gets to the heart of what makes this borough so fascinatingly diverse. You'll start in trendy Williamsburg, where you'll taste artisanal coffee and sit down at a farm-to-table restaurant; munch on pierogis and kielbasa in Greenpoint, nicknamed "Little Poland" and home to America's second-largest Polish population; chow down on Neapolitan pizza in Park Slope before cannolis in Carroll Gardens; then work off dessert in DUMBO with a spin around Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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Buckingham Palace in London, United Kingdom.
Multi-shop panorama of Westminster Abbey, London in high season;
Big Ben and westminster bridge in London
5

London

For first- or even third-time visitors to London, packing in all the sights proves to be no small feat. Factor in the amount of foot traffic that often fills the streets of Westminster—home, of course, to big-ticket landmarks like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the London Eye, which sees lines down the block—and your afternoon stroll is decidedly less than glamorous. Hoping to add a tour guide to that equation? Good luck sticking with the group.

How to Do It Right: Explore à la James Bond and hop into a vintage Morris Minor convertible for a private, hour-long spin around Westminster. (The car made its famous appearance in 1964's Thunderball, starring Sean Connery.) Along the way, you'll cruise by iconic London landmarks like Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, and the famous shops along Oxford Street all while your chauffeur briefs you with historical (and colorful) commentary. For an even more indulgent splurge, upgrade the tour to include a bottle of Champagne, so you can sip while you cruise.

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