Enjoying a luxury vacation in a beautiful destination doesn’t have to be out of reach. After all, a luxury vacation is really about the experience and can be had just about anywhere – in cities, towns, tropical beaches or mountains.
However, with a little research and good planning, there are many ways to easily stretch your vacation budget and afford more luxury than you might think.
Here are 14 tips to help you enjoy a luxury holiday for less.
1. For shorter vacations, stay close to home; for longer vacation, travel abroad
Longer flights are usually more expensive than shorter ones. If you only have a short time to travel, try to stay close to home or within the same continent.
However, if you have the ability to travel over an extended period of time, the cost of that long-haul flight will be spread out over more days, which can make it easier to enjoy a luxury vacation on a budget.
2. Book a vacation rental or use Airbnb
Vacation rentals or Airbnb can offer luxury accommodation for less than the cost of staying at a hotel.
3. Book a 4 Star hotel for a 2 Star price on Hotwire or Priceline
If you’d prefer to stay at a luxury hotel or boutique property, websites like Hotwire or Priceline can help you score a 4 Star hotel for a 2 Star price.
4. Stay outside of the main tourist areas
Staying outside of the main area (or off the beaten path) can allow you to get a lot more for less. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a new neighbourhood which can help you get an interesting feel of the city.
5. Visit a less touristy city
While most people visit Paris while in France, consider visiting a less touristy city to get a different experience of French culture.
Your money will take you a lot further than it would in Paris and you’ll be able to enjoy a luxury vacation for less.
6. Use Skyscanner’s “Everywhere” tool
If you’re not sure where to visit, I highly recommend using Skyscanner’s “Everywhere” tool. Just put in the airport you will be flying from and hit everywhere (you can also select by dates, month or the entire year).
7. Travel during the off-season (or shoulder season)
The price of traveling to a popular destination can vary considerably at different points during the year. Be flexible with your dates and see how the price varies by month.
You may discover that you can visit a destination for half the price during the winter than in the summer.
8. Check for last minute vacation deals
If you are short on time for planning, you may get lucky with a last minute vacation deal. Check airlines, third party websites or travel agents for deals.
9. Use travel reward cards, club cards, etc.
By using a travel reward credit card you can collect points to redeem towards the cost of your hotel, car rental or flights. By redeeming your points, you can use the money you saved toward a fancy dinner or to help subsidize the cost of staying at a luxury hotel.
Many hotel chains also offer guests the option to sign up for a free membership or loyalty program, which can get you perks like free WiFi.
10. Embrace deal sites like Groupon
Looking to take a boat cruise?
Want to enjoy a helicopter tour of the city?
Want to experience afternoon tea at a posh hotel?
Check deal sites like Groupon or Travelzoo to search for discounted activities, restaurants, spa treatments, etc.
11. Travel with a group
Traveling with a group can help cut down costs since there are more people to help pay for the accommodations, car rental, etc. Sometimes hotels provide discounts when booking multiple rooms, or you can rent a luxury villa or vacation home for less.
12. Consider an all-inclusive vacation
If you prefer to have everything included in your trip (food, drinks, activities, etc.) consider taking an all-inclusive vacation. You can find 4 or 5 Star properties for less when booking last minute deals.
13. Travel where your currency is worth more
It’s a bit tricky with the Canadian dollar right now, but there are still many destinations to visit where our currency is worth more.
For example, this past spring when I went to Istanbul, I was able to enjoy fine dining and afford luxury options for a lot less than if I had traveled to the USA or The UK.
14. Ask for free upgrades
It doesn’t hurt to ask for an upgrade to business class or a suite at the hotel.
If there is an empty seat in business class, you may be able to get a free upgrade if you’re polite and ask nicely. It does help to be traveling alone or dressed in a smart-casual fashion.
When asking for an upgrade on your room, you will have a better chance of getting it if you already booked a middle of the road room. Booking the cheapest room at the hotel doesn’t really help your chances of scoring a free upgrade.
The same applies when renting a car, you may be able to get a free upgrade to a nicer car if your original booking was for something higher than economy or compact.