Let’s face it: The past year has been pretty rough on everyone, but especially so on vacationers. Due to travel restrictions, closed destinations, and the general stress of going on a trip during a global pandemic, many of us decided to skip the whole thing.
And boy, did our stress levels show it!
Now, all of us would love to take an all-expenses-paid luxury trip to Tahiti. We’d love to sip cocktails while getting a foot massage and lounging on the beach until sunset. However, the fact remains that not all of us have that kind of money laying around.
What if we told you that it was possible to enjoy a luxury trip without the luxury price tag? To indulge your champagne and caviar tastes on a Chinese takeout and boxed wine budget?
You can, we promise! Here’s how.
Travel During the Off Seasons
You’ve read it a million times before, but we will say it again and again until we’re blue in the face. Don’t visit a popular destination during peak season if you value your wallet or sanity. Don’t do it! It’s not worth it, we promise.
Disneyworld will still be as magical as you recall it if you don’t go in the dead center of Florida heat. The slopes will be ready for you with a nicer coat of powder if you wait until after the Christmas season for your luxury ski trip.
If you travel during the off-season for your destination, you can avoid the worst of the crowds. This means an easier time navigating, getting into things you want to see, and less stress for you!
Price Shop Until You Drop
When you plan any vacation, you should compare prices for multiple hotels and travel agencies to ensure you’re getting the best deal. When you’re planning for a luxury trip, this is even more important. The more money you can save on each piece of your trip, the more money you have to splurge on the extras that make your normal vacation a luxurious one.
While there are websites that can help you compare prices side-by-side, and even let you save money on your booking, there’s no substitute for looking into these things yourself. You might even find a special deal that wasn’t listed on that third-party site if you go to the hotel’s website properly!
Rewards Clubs Are Your Best Friend
Credit card points. Frequent flyer miles. Vacation club points. What do these things have in common? They’re all widespread rewards clubs that can save you loads of money on luxury travel.
Many credit card companies like American Express and Discover, allow you to save up and utilize rewards points on travel, hotel stays, and other vacation expenses. (Some even reward you for the things you buy while on your trip!) Make sure to check with your credit card providers before you start booking and set out!
On a similar note, if you travel often, you might have rewards points built up with your preferred chain. Just as an example of what your frequent stays can get you, check out this Marriott Newport Coast points chart and see what accommodations you can afford with your accrued points. You may be surprised by what you find.
Look Off the Beaten Path
Hey, we get it. You want to stay in New York City itself if you’re visiting the Big Apple. You’d rather stay in Los Angeles proper if you want to walk the Walk of Fame. On-site accommodations for big theme parks offer a lot of fun, immersive benefits.
However, staying on-site and in major cities can get expensive in a hurry, forcing you to downgrade your accommodations. Don’t hesitate to widen your focus a bit to the less-traveled areas. Whether you choose to take your vacation as a whole down that path less trodden or save the money on your hotel expenses, you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck.
You tell us what sounds more appealing: a roach motel in the heart of NYC, or a luxury suite with continental breakfast in Jersey? We thought so.
Sometimes, the Best Things Come in Packages
Never underestimate the benefits of a package deal. While some less than scrupulous travel agents might upcharge like crazy on a package deal, most of the main travel package sites will offer you a fair shake. As we mentioned above, you need to price shop like crazy to ensure you get the best deal, but sometimes, these packages are hard to pass up!
Think over the biggest pain points for your wallet on your usual luxury adventure trips. Then, check over the available packages to see if any of them offer significant savings in those categories.
Going Overseas? Check the Exchange Rate
Does your wanderlust often take you overseas? One great way to turn your normal trips into luxury trips is to check the exchange rate before you go. Think about vacationing in places where the US dollar stretches farther, rather than in places where its value contracts. (Sorry, EU, Britain, and Canada!)
By visiting countries where a dollar spreads farther, you can attach more splurges and luxuries to your budget. Like, say, a beachside hotel in Latin America, complete with a spa treatment package for the cost of a single night in a decent hotel in LA.
Need Food? Go for Mom and Pop, Not Chains
Whether you’re a lifelong traveler or a foodie, the same rule applies. Never eat somewhere you could eat at home while you’re on vacation.
You can shave a ridiculous amount of money off of your food budget by researching local hole-in-the-wall and mom-and-pop restaurants. While it’s nice to enjoy XYZ’s famous chef’s cuisine, you may find a hidden gem outside of the standard tourist traps!
Check Your Hotel Amenities
If you really want your next vacation to be a luxury trip, you should be checking your hotel amenities regardless. But your hotel’s amenities might well save you loads of money on other areas of your trip.
For example, a hotel with an included breakfast buffet will save you the cost of having to buy breakfast out, cutting one-third of your meal costs. And if your hotel has a refrigerator and microwave, you can make use of leftovers and let your meal budget stretch even farther.
How About a House Swap?
One excellent option for luxury family trips is swapping houses with someone else across the country or even the globe. Conducting a house swap requires quite a bit more planning than most travel accommodations, but it will save you an absolute fortune on hotel expenses.
In so doing, you can then funnel all the money you save into nicer food, richer travel destinations, and possibly even a personal valet, depending on your desires.
An Ounce of Planning Saves Pounds of Panic
If there’s one theme we’ve stressed and repeated throughout this article, it’s that planning ahead saves you money and stress later. If you want to make your dollar stretch as far as possible and enjoy a luxurious vacation, you need to plan and research everything as thoroughly as possible.
Plan and research the location of your trip and your accommodations. Look at what packages you can find and see what savings you can get on food. Research the local watering holes and favorite places to visit to save yourself money and time in the crowds.
When All Else Fails, Ask the Pros
Hey, we get it. Planning a luxury trip is stressful when you try to go it alone. Worse still, you may not be able to find all the best deals. If you’ve tried all the above tips and still can’t make any headway, don’t hesitate to reach out to the professionals.
Travel agents have years of experience and special connections at their disposal that can help you enjoy a luxurious vacation stress-free. Let them handle the hard work for you.
Planning a Luxury Trip on a Budget: Let’s Review
So, how can you plan a luxury trip on a budget? It all comes down to planning. Research your options and price shop thoroughly before you commit to your booking. Look outside the tourist traps and the peak seasons to make your dollar stretch further and get you more comfortable accommodations than you ever imagined.
Did you find this article about planning your next luxury trip on a budget helpful? Would you like to read more like it? Then check out our blog each day for more in-depth travel guides like this one!