When you’re traveling, a little luxury goes a long way. No longer are luxury travel experiences only for jetsetters and the rich and famous. With a little time and effort, you can manage a luxury travel experience on a lower budget, even if you’re traveling alone. These top tips will help you create the best for less, no matter where the road takes you.
Research Your Destination
If you can’t afford to splash out easily on life’s finer things, then a little research goes a long way. Even being very selective with your destinations can be surprisingly effective. From flights to accommodation, you want to make sure you’re always seeking the best bang for your buck. Bypassing middlemen and booking everything directly can do a lot to reduce the price tag of any itinerary. Plus, it gives you the chance to really dig into your travel experience, and get the maximum joy from the anticipation, too.
For example, you’ll find hidden boutique hotels and luxury living experience for travelers tucked away in the most surprising places, and they may not have the visibility of larger chains that offer less. Spend some time with travel articles for the destination, check out local sights and experiences, and have fun doing it.
Stretch Your Dollars with Smart Choices
A dollar isn’t worth just a dollar in many global locations. When you’re traveling in locations with weaker currencies, you can get a whole lot more from the experience than if you head somewhere with a currency that competes in strength with your own. This doesn’t mean third-world facilities and destinations, either. Many popular destinations, from Egypt and Turkey to Thailand and Costa Rica, can be enjoyed by travelers while still letting you stretch your budget even further.
It pays to spend a little time considering the cost of living in your destination, too. The more affordable the cost of living, the greater luxury buying power you will have with your budget. You might even snag a fantastic deal on a 5-star hotel, or be able to enjoy luxury dining, without spending all that much compared to home. Many low-budget travelers feel they have to stick to local locales to make the most of their dollars, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Plus, you’ll have an exotic destination to share to your Instagram and socials- and great bragging rights, too.
Don’t Think Like a Tourist
Where tourists flock, high prices follow- but you’re smarter than that. Dreaming of Alpine landscapes? Swap Switzerland for Slovenia, and watch how you can amp up the experience without losing a single thing. Emerging and off-the-beaten-track destinations aren’t just excellent for bragging rights, but they’re likely to be more service-focused, offer comparable experiences for less, and they’ll be free from strength-sapping crowds and touts looking to rip you off on every corner, too.
This will also help you have a more connected and authentic travel experience free of kitsch tourist trappings, and the locals are often more friendly and welcoming than in jaded mainstream locations.
Go Out of Season
Not everyone has the flexibility to travel out of season, but if you can, you’ll thank yourself for it. Again, you’ll find less crowds while still having a comparable experience. By traveling across hemispheres, you can also do things like grab yourself a scenic snowy Christmas, or a beach tan in the middle of your winter season.
Of course, this one comes with one caveat- there is a reason peak season got popular in the first place. Sometimes, off-season travel can come with closed attractions or less predictable weather, so balance this particular trip with your plans and intentions.
Cut Down on Travel Costs
A holiday is exciting- getting there, not so much. Few people enjoy traveling, so it’s understandable that you might want to sneak a little luxury into the moment. However, it’s important to realize that the premium costs attached to things like business-class flights are not always worth what they’ll cost you- and those costs are coming out of your budget for the destination, too. While business-class flights on some airlines will be a luxury experience indeed, on others it brings you barely any benefit.
This goes for road and rail travel, too. Is it worth paying through the nose to arrive at a destination one meager hour earlier than you might have with a more moderate option? Is the catering on board a specific train line really of much care when you’re traveling overnight and will be sleepy anyway? What’s the point of an expensive hire car in London, where there’s reliable mass transport on every corner?
We’re not saying to go full Scrooge and not enjoy a moment of the trip. In fact, you should view your travel between destinations as part of the trip. No one wants to be frazzled and cranky just trying to save a few bucks here and there. But with a little research and some smart evaluation of your options, it’s possible to find that perfect balance between convenience, comfort, and cost.
Swapping where you book can make a big difference, too. Perhaps you have some airline loyalty points to burn. Or maybe the cost of a different airline will still be lower, even with that loyalty discount. You may find lower cost flights (for the exact same flight and destination) on a mass booking site, or you may find it’s cheaper going to the airline directly. By taking the time to do a little research, you’ll find the cheapest route to what you want- and that’s always a great feeling.
When you take a little time to carefully plan a travel experience that meets your expectations while remaining in your budget, you’ll find you have the extra to spare on splurging on what really matters to you. This will look different for everyone. Someone craving a beach experience might love the little bit extra paid for a beach-view hotel room. Someone who wants to dash about the city and barely enter their hotel room other than to lay their head on their pillow, on the other hand, may prefer to take a cheaper room and splurge on some fine dining.
No matter what you crave, however, you can save a ton and still enjoy a luxury experience with a little planning and research.