The cost of luxury travel can really add up; with business or first class flights, luxury hotels and tasting menus at upscale restaurants. However, travel and experiences are so important to me that I don’t want to compromise on quality and that being said here are my top 10 ways to travel in luxury for less – no compromise needed!!
1. Go out of season
In some places rates absolutely soar during high season. Summer time, school holidays and festive seasons mean hotels are more expensive and airfares will rise. Travelling in low season can be a risk, and once you’ve committed to a paying for a holiday, the last thing that you want is bad weather. Personally, I like to travel during the ‘shoulder season’ which falls between the peak season and low season. During this period hotels will be slightly cheaper, weather will be slightly cooler and you’ll avoid the crowds.
Travelling slightly off-season means you don’t have to compromise on your hotel choice as the rates will be slightly lower. For example Ellerman House, where we stayed in Cape Town, offers rates for high, mid and low season with a saving of around £100 if you choose the low season.
Another word of advice, avoid visiting places during big festivals and events for example when Mr S and I last went to Miami, we didn’t realise that prices would go through the roof due to the Art Basel Festival. Make sure to double check for big sports games, large conferences or carnivals as not only will rates go up, transportation will be crowded, restaurants will be difficult to book and bars will be packed.
2. Extend a Work Trip
If work are already paying for your flights and a few days in the hotel, take the opportunity to add on a few days holiday at only a little extra. Perhaps after you’ve finished working in a major city on a deal or at event, ask for permission to tack on another few days to the trip in order to head out to the countryside or the beach.
Alternatively, if your other half is away with work, take the opportunity to join them on their trip. You’ll only have to pay for one flight, and there will be less hotel costs. I’ve done this before when Mr S was away with work and Anna recently joined Mr Parker on a business trip to Milan – now that doesn’t sound too shabby.
3. Stay somewhere slightly off the beaten track
Hotel prices are often much higher in the major cities, but why not avoid these costs by staying a little off the beaten track but without compromising on the quality of the hotel. For example, Mr S and I absolutely loved our stay in Osaka when we were in Japan and we found the hotel and restaurants much cheaper than the more popular alternatives of Kyoto or Japan.
Think Seville rather than Barcelona, Avignon rather than Paris, Cinque Terre rather than Amalfi and Genoa rather than Rome!
4. Investigate the best value for money
Prices in Europe, particularly Italy and France can be jaw-droppingly expensive, my advice would be have a good look around to see where you can get the best value. For example hotels in South East Asia offer incredible rooms, villas and suites and you’ll get way more bang for you buck than in Europe. For example, Mr S and I visited Bali shortly after our trip to Cannes.
In Bali we had a huge bedroom, massive bathroom, outdoor living area and private pool.
In Cannes we had a tiny bedroom and a rather retro bathroom…
Would you actually believe that room in Cannes cost £100 more! I think I’ve made my point 😉
5. Try set menus and lunch deals
Michelin star meals, trendy restaurants, cocktails and champagne…the cost of dining out while on holiday can really add up. But if there’s a particular restaurant that I’m really keen to visit, I don’t want to go to for an alternative. For a chance to try the cuisine without the price tag I’d suggest going for a set menu or visiting for a lower cost lunch; make sure you investigate everything that the restaurant has to offer as you may get a great value infinity brunch or delectable afternoon tea.
6. Pay for your flight using air miles
Honestly, this is my top tip for luxury travel. Mr S and I always travel business or first class for long haul flights, but we don’t spend thousands and thousands of pounds to do so. Instead we’re members of the British Airways Executive Club and we’ve spent years saving enough air miles to be able to travel in total luxury for less. I think a luxury travel experience should start at the very beginning on a holiday and there’s nothing better than a comfortable flight where you’re pampered with champagne and great service. Read about my recent experience travelling First Class with British Airways to find out more.
If we’d paid for our First Class flights to Tokyo it would have cost £4000 return per person but instead we travelled First for the price of an Economy class ticket, paying only the taxes. The yearly companion voucher that you’re awarded will save even more money.
7. Check out airline sales
Keep your eye on the ball and follow your favourite airlines on Twitter and Facebook to look out for sales and special offers.
In particular check out the British Airways luxury sale for great deals on long haul flights in Business and First. And before you ask, I promise I’m not being paid by British Airways nor am I affiliated with them, I’m just a loyal customer.
8. Exchange Rates
Check out where to travel while your currency is strong. For example when we travelled to South Africa, the pound was very strong against the rand meaning the hotels and restaurants were excellent value.
Mr S and I stayed in luxury hotels and ate at world-class restaurants and everything was just incredible value for money. Check XE Currency Converter for the exchange rates and find the best rate on Money Saving Expert.
9. Book Through Virtuoso
I always used to book a hotel directly through the website but in recent years I’ve found it far more beneficial to book through a Virtuoso agent. These luxury travel advisors have insider knowledge and can often get free upgrades, restaurant and spa credit and special extra amenities. By booking through Virtuoso for The Four Seasons Florence, my holiday in Bali and my recent trip to Japan, The Philippines and Hong Kong, I’ve nearly always received discounts, upgrades and benefits. My agents of choice are Emyr Thomas at Bon Vivant Travel and Chinmoy Lad at Zebrano.
10. Plan Ahead
It depends what kind of person you are, but I personally prefer to opt for early-bird deals rather than missing out on the hotel that I want with a last-minute booking.
Often done straight through the hotel website, you can often save around 15% by booking early, though be aware this often means that you need to pay the entire amount upfront.
Final note: You can get great deals by for checking best available rates on websites such as hotels.com and travelocity.com and sites such as Jetsetter.com do special deals and flash sales. There’s also the option of joining hotel loyalty programs and saving points towards your stay. Personally I have no experience of these sites so I’d rather not give you advice on them but I’d recommend visiting Monica’s blog The Travel Hack to further tips on this.
Those are my 10 ways to travel in luxury for less. So how do you save money on luxury travel? What are your top tips for travelling in luxury for less?
This is a totally independent post and I have no affiliation with any websites or companies mentioned.
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