British Royal Family

How to travel like royalty in real life

How does your own private butler sound?

By BTYB Flight Centre

As everyone's favourite newlyweds, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, gear up for their first state tour down under later this year, we've been daydreaming about travelling like royalty.

Imagine having a personal secretary on hand to buy your holiday outfits and pack your suitcase. Or an open-top carriage to whisk you through the crowds. And don't even get us started on the accommodation — five-star suites in the best hotels as standard? Yes please.

Not a Duchess? No problem. Traveling in luxury isn't just reserved for royalty. We've teamed up with Flight Centre to show you how to travel like a royal in real life — starting with a 14-night APT Magnificent Europe River Cruise. Fit for a Queen, you'll cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam, enjoying luxurious sights and your very own private butler. Plus, when you book at Flight Centre, you'll get a free flight to Europe*.

Colour-coded carry-on luggage

The Queen's luggage arrives at JFK airport in New York.
The Queen's luggage arrives at JFK airport in New York.

When we say 'carry', we mean get your chauffeur to do the heavy lifting (obviously), but when the royals travel they do so in style — right down to their monogrammed luggage.

On a major royal tour, like Prince William and Kate Middleton's state visit to Canada in 2016 or the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh's 2007 trip to the US, the bags are colour-coded by family member. The Queen's luggage is always tagged yellow (and unloaded from the plane first), Prince Charles and Prince William opt for red and Princess Anne goes for green.

Visit stunning locations

Vienna's Schönbrunn Palace is just one of the regal sights you'll see on APT's Magnificient Europe River Cruise.
Vienna's Schönbrunn Palace is just one of the regal sights you'll see on APT's Magnificient Europe River Cruise.

When your royal counterparts reside in some of Europe's most breathtaking buildings, you can expect the red carpet to be rolled out on your arrival.

The Queen is no stranger to playing host. Her first guest at Buckingham Palace was King Gustaf VI of Sweden, arriving for a four day stay a year after her Coronation in 1954. Now, she hosts a state banquet twice a year for a visiting dignitary. The preparation is awe-inspiring: the 19th century table must be polished by foot (yep, two men in socks climb on top), the silver-gilt serving set takes a team of eight three weeks to clean and the chairs are placed exactly 27 inches from the table.

As part of the Magnificient Europe River Cruise, you'll also be treated like a VIP. Enjoy signature invitations to exclusive events including a cocktail reception on arrival in Vienna, followed by a private concert at the stunning Schönbrunn Palace. Germany's enchanting Namedy Castle is on the itinerary, too. Dating back to the 14th century, it's home to a real-life royal: Princess Heide von Hohenzollern. You'll be treated to a private tour before taking your seat at the table for a very special banquet dinner.

Make time for tea

The Queen and Meghan Markle arrive on the Royal Train.
The Queen and Meghan Markle arrive on the Royal Train.

No matter where in the world the Queen is, she always ensures there's enough time in her itinerary to break for afternoon tea. Staff reportedly pack English Breakfast tea, freshly-baked scones, Cornish clotted cream and her favourite Dundee cake in the royal luggage to keep HRH happy.

When she travels on the Royal Train, her aides also know to serve her four favourite daily tipples at set times. Her Majesty enjoys a gin and Dubonnet with a slice of lemon before lunch, followed by a glass of wine with her meal and a dry gin Martini to round things off. A glass of Champagne is her preferred drink before bed.

Leave your plane pyjamas at home

Prince William, Prince George, Duchess Kate and Princess Charlotte on the tarmac.
Prince William, Prince George, Duchess Kate and Princess Charlotte on the tarmac.

You'll never catch Kate stepping off a plane in sweatpants, or Meghan touching down at the airport in slippers. When the royals travel, they do so in style — right down to the outfit they fly in.

For Princes Harry and Wills, that's usually a Savile Row suit and for the Duchess', a bespoke designer dress (knee-length), heels and a bouncy blow dry. Prince George is the only one who's allowed to rock shorts!

There's no need to compromise on comfort once you're on board. All the royals have items they can't travel without. The Queen reportedly always packs a hot water bottle, while Meghan once revealed she needs "a thin cashmere blanket that feels like a hug". The perfect accessory for a long-haul flight.

Just remember to pack your passport...

Prince William helps Princess Charlotte board a plane bound for London on the last day of the Cambridge's royal tour of Poland and Germany.
Prince William helps Princess Charlotte board a plane bound for London on the last day of the Cambridge's royal tour of Poland and Germany.

Unless you're Queen Elizabeth II. HRH is the only member of the royal family who can travel without her passport (they're issued in her name across the Commonwealth), but Her Majesty still has to adhere to a strict set of airport rules.

Before she boards any plane the Queen must confirm her name, date and place of birth, age and address to immigration officials.

Brought to you by Flight Centre. Explore the APT cruise range to find your perfect holiday.

*Valid for an Economy Class airfare on an airline of APT's or Travelmarvel's choosing departing ADL/BNE/MEL/PER/SYD. Valid for new bookings only & available until sold out. Includes air taxes up to the value of $300 per person. Further conditions apply, please ask your consultant for more information.