You only live once, right? So, why not treat yourself to a luxury experience during your next trip? Don’t worry: you don’t have to come from a wealthy background to afford that!
“But I always travel on a budget! How could I afford a stay at a five-star hotel, for example?” Don’t worry: there are plenty of hacks on getting a deluxe experience without breaking the bank – like the seven ones below.
Be warned, though: this kind of trip may easily take more prep than the most difficult exam you’ve taken. You’ll have to spend hours in front of your laptop or computer looking for the best deals.
So, if you don’t have the said hours (but you’re dead-set on getting to know what luxury travel is like), you’ll have to make the time. You can always offload your homework to EssayPro, for example. And you can turn to its experts to make yourself available for the trip itself, too!
Since you’re a student, this shouldn’t be too challenging. After all, as long as you hand in your assignments and show up for exams, you can probably skip some classes.
Why do you need to be flexible? That’s because the best deals are usually inconvenient for those who have regular jobs. They’d prefer to travel on the weekend to spend as much time at their destination as possible. So, the cheapest flights typically leave midweek. They take a vacation in summer, so that’s when the flights and accommodation are more expensive.
Besides that, remember to be flexible when choosing your destination. If you’re on a budget, it’s better to choose “Everywhere” in the destination field on ticket search platforms like Skyscanner. That way, you won’t miss out on great deals!
This is the most popular tip for affording luxury travel, and not without reason. Travel hacking, in a nutshell, means taking advantage of all those loyalty programs, credit card perks, and frequent-flier points. You can use them to get dirt-cheap or free flights, accommodation, and leisure activities.
Travel hacking deserves a separate blog post as it’s just too enormous of a topic to be put in a couple of paragraphs. That said, there are still four simple tips for you if you want to become a beginner travel hacker:
Get yourself a travel credit card and/or a hotel credit card to earn points;
Make sure the welcome bonus is there, and it’s hefty (> 50,000 points);
Choose one or several airlines and hotel chains and sign up for their loyalty programs;
Always be careful and read the fine print!
Choose Your Destination Wisely
If you come from a high-income country, your local currency is probably worth a lot in many destinations around the world. So, choose those countries – and harness the power of the exchange rate!
For example, a stay at a five-star hotel in Paris will cost you anywhere between $400 and $1,000 per person per night. But if you look for a five-star hotel in, let’s say, Hanoi, Vietnam, a one-night stay will have the price tag of just $50-100. If you want to compare average trip costs around the world, budgetyourtrip.com is a great way to get started.
You can also save money and have a perfect trip by choosing a destination off the beaten path. The more obscure it is, the less likely you are to fall into tourist traps or spend a small fortune if you decide to travel in the high season.
Speaking of seasons. Whenever possible, steer away from traveling during the high season. If you don’t, you’ll end up paying more for the same experience.
Different destinations have varying high seasons, so make sure to check them first. (US News has a chart of average tourist volumes and hotel prices throughout the year for almost any destination.)
If the high season is off-limits for you, when should you go on your trip then? In the absolute majority of cases, the shoulder season is your best bet. The weather is still pleasant, but you won’t have crowds of tourists roaming the streets. And, of course, accommodation and flights won’t be as expensive.
If you’re on a tight budget, even with travel hacking, you might not be able to spend two weeks in the lap of luxury. And that’s alright!
In this case, book various kinds of accommodation during the trip. You can spend several nights in a hostel, then several more in a mid-range inn or B&B, and one or two nights in a luxury hotel. A couple of nights might not seem like a lot, but they can easily turn into an unforgettable experience!
When it comes to the high-end experience, you don’t have to limit yourself to five-star hotels, by the way. You can also book a night or several at:
The best room at an inexpensive hotel/inn.
Tip: stay out of the touristy neighborhoods if you travel to (even somewhat) popular destinations. Don’t worry, you can still find upscale hotels there – but they will cost anywhere between 10% and 25% less!
Watch Out for Early-Bird or Last-Minute Deals
When it comes to accommodation and flights, the general rule of thumb is “the earlier, the better.” Last-minute flight tickets will always cost you at least twice the price that they were sold for two months prior. But with hotels, the story is a bit more complicated.
Early hotel bookings are likely to save you some money, but last-minute deals are also a real thing. Ultimately, whether there are deals or not depends on how full the hotel is on your dates. That’s one more reason not to travel in high season – hotels are way more likely to be booked out!
When it comes to leisure, though, last-minute deals can often be way more affordable than early reservations. For example, theater tickets on the day of the performance are twice as cheap in New York City! On the flip side, though, you’re not guaranteed to have the tickets for the show you’ve wanted to see.
In case you’ve always wanted to go to a high-end restaurant, here’s what you need to know. Chances are extremely low that you’ll be able to just show up at dinner time and have a table available for you. Reservations are a must, and you have to make them months in advance.
So, how do you get into the restaurant of your dreams despite that – and without breaking your bank? Come after regular dinner hours for dessert! You’ll have a lot more chances to score a table. Plus, it’ll cost you less than a full-fledged meal.
If you’re still dead-set on eating out at a high-end restaurant, opt for coming at noon for lunch. Prices are typically lower than during dinner hours, but the chef and the kitchen staff are the same!
This advice applies whether you’re planning a low-budget road trip or want to splurge some money to spend time in the lap of luxury. Since you’re still traveling on a budget, you’ll have to plan your expenses and set some limits. And this is where figuring out your priorities matters.
Since your financial resources aren’t infinite, you’ll have to decide what kind of luxury treatment you want to put first on your priority list. Have you always dreamed of flying first-class? Or, maybe, staying at a Hilton hotel? Or dining at a restaurant with at least one Michelin star?
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