Sometimes our travel dreams are bigger than our budgets and there are trips where backpacking just won’t cut it. When it comes to travel, easy usually means more expensive but if you are smart, flexible and do a little more digging it is possible to live the high life on a shoestring budget. Check out our saving tips and five examples of luxury trips that won’t bankrupt you.
Low budget luxury
Travel long haul anywhere and you’ll be fronting up a lot of cash for flights. A luxury holiday is more about experience and comfort than the destination, so save money on travel and spend it on a place to stay that will make this trip feel a little more special than usual.
Shoulder Season is your Friend
If possible, travel in the less popular parts of the year and you will find great deals on accommodation. Europe, especially in the south, is still warm and sunny through autumn and beaches and hotels are much quieter than in the summer. If you don’t mind risking some rain, prices on cruises and island stays in the Caribbean are much lower during September and October.
Shout Out Special Occasions
If you are trying to create a special trip for an anniversary or birthday don’t keep it quiet. It’s always worth mentioning when booking that you are celebrating. You’ve got nothing to lose and you might get a lucky upgrade or freebie especially if you are outside of the busy season.
Reduce Time Not Quality
If you can’t afford a long trip cut it short but don’t skimp on where you are staying. You’ll get more from four nights of luxury than a week somewhere cheaper but uncomfortable.
Eat with the Locals
Look beyond tourist centres and you could be eating grilled fish next to the boat that caught it, or organic produce straight from farmers at the market. Often if you ask locals where they go to eat you will find the best food without paying an extra tourist tax.
So many of the truly good things in life are free or cost little. The time and space to watch the stars above mountains, an early morning walk along a deserted beach or wild swimming in cold, fresh rivers. Remember that luxury doesn’t always cost.
Five luxury holidays on a budget
If you are a nature lover but not fond of carrying your house on your back then glamping is your answer. You can still sleep under canvas but snuggle down amongst feather pillows and cotton sheets, warmed by a cosy wood burner after taking a hot tub under the night sky. Sites like Airbnb let you search for glamping hosts, often in spectacular locations that cost less than hotels and leave you with unforgettable memories.
Head to Greece in April or May and you can not only beat the summer crowds but you’ll experience the country at its most beautiful. Wild flowers in every colour brighten the hills and the sun is already warm enough to sunbathe. Avoid islands like Santorini and Mykonos and you can find lower prices and friendly locals full of energy to welcome new season travellers. Try Milos, a beautiful island in the Cyclades where you’ll find rooms and suites with a third off summer prices.
Ski holidays are often prohibitive due to the cost but we have a few hacks that can get you on the slopes this winter without using all of your vacation budget for the year. Firstly, avoid flying, especially on budget airlines where you are often charged high fees to travel with sports equipment. Drive if you can, steer clear of the big name resorts and avoid the holiday season. Do a bit of research and you can discover where the locals head like Wolf Creek in Colorado, lift tickets are only $76 a day and it gets some of the most snow in Colorado.
Look for boutique hotels outside of city centres and you can score some luxurious rooms and still be within easy reach of attractions. You can often find further discounts by avoiding big name booking sites and going directly through a hotel’s website or by becoming a member of their loyalty programme. If you are organised, lots of hotels offer discounts with advanced pre-pay rates.
Caribbean on a Shoestring
The Dominican Republic is the most budget friendly island in the Caribbean and rates are especially low in the months of September and October. Although there is some rain, these are tropical showers which pass quickly.