Luxury travel: The frugal way *

In many ways, money is the fuel that enables travel just like how jet fuel transports you from where you are to some faraway shore, and money for most people is tight, yet just because you aren’t a millionaire doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits associated with luxury travel.

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Indeed, luxury travel doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  It’s all about re-purposing your travel budget so that you can squeeze more from it so that you can save on the less important stuff and splurge on the most important aspects of your trip.

Whether you want to enjoy the best Michelin rated restaurants in Bangkok or a luxury cruise down the Nile, the most important thing about luxury travel on a budget is re-purposing your budget, so that what you save on some of the largest expenses such as flights can then be spent at your destination.  

For instance, if you were travelling as a couple and each saved $250 on your international flight, this additional $500 could be spent on a nicer hotel, and in places like Thailand, for instance, this can make a huge difference in terms of the quality of the experience you’ll receive.

In addition, to reducing the main travel costs detailed below there are several things you can do in the destination itself, such as making a packed lunch rather than eating out in restaurants each day, or downloading money saving apps such as tastecard in London that offers a 50% discount at a variety of decent restaurants.

Essentially, there are plenty of money saving ways to facilitate luxurious travel, yet it’s necessary to consider what you define as “luxury travel” as for some people, it has to involve business class or first class flights, whereas for many people, they are more concerned with the standard of accomodation than the temporary discomfort of a flight – and this article is written more with this group if people in mind.

It’s more about budget repurposing, as not everyone can afford to travel in luxury, yet just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean the world of luxury travel should pass you by – indeed, the amount you can save on certain aspects such as flights and hotels simply by shopping around could pay for you to go to a Ski School in Chamonix or swim with the Dolphins in Hawaii.

See, the majority of people would be happy to travel in economy class on a flight if that mean they could stay in a more luxurious hotel.

Similarly, there are ways of having a more “business class” experience without having to pay a fortune for the ticket, for instance, you could pick up an airport lounge pass (in fact some bank accounts and credit cards offer these as freebies) meaning you get to enjoy the perks of business class on the ground, and then when it comes to flying, you could pay a small supplement to have an emergency exit seat which will offer plenty of additional leg room, in fact, even more than many business class seats, and perhaps take an iPad with your favourite films pre-downloaded onto it.

FLIGHTS

Flights can take a huge chunk out of your ravel fund, but, if you can be flexible with flight dates then searching for cheap flights via comparison websites such as Skyscanner or Momondo that compare hundreds of flights and present you with a curated list of the cheapest deals for the dates and destinations selected can save you a heap of cash!

In addition to dates, you can often save money by being flexible with the departure and arrival airports; as an example, if you’re travelling from Key West, Florida to England – you might have to pay an extra $300 for a ticket from Key West rather than Miami, which is just a couple of hours drive away, and between two people that’s an extra cost of $600 that could be better spent elsewhere.

Similarly, with regard to your destination airport, in London for example there are a number of airports you could travel into that are within a short distance of London.

You could take this one step further, and if there were significantly cheaper flights to somewhere else within Europe, such as Amsterdam, it might pay to get the cheap international flight to Amsterdam and then hop on a low cost airline to take care of the last leg.  

To put this into context, a plane ticket from Amsterdam to England can be as little as $10 with a low cost airline and takes just 50 minutes.  Meaning, the amount you could save on airfare could be spent on treating yourself to a romantic stay in Amsterdam, in a luxury hotel.

That’s the power of re-purposing your budget; it’s all about saving money on the big items so that you can splurge on the smaller experiences that really make travel so compelling.  It’s all just about being resourceful, yet if you don’t have the time to put into this, there are plenty of freelance travel brokers that don’t cost much money at all to hunt out the deals on your behalf.

ACCOMMODATION

A further considerable expense when travelling is accommodation; if you consider the fact a basic hotel room in Central London is likely to cost in excess of $150 and a luxury hotel is in the region of $500 per night – it’s important to find ways to reduce this.

In this sense, there are a number of apps that offer same-day cheap deals on luxury hotels such as HotelTonight where you can often find five star hotels at a fraction of the cost (often up to a 60% reduction) meaning you can grab yourself a bargain.  

The other thing to consider is using a comparison website such as Travel Supermarket that is similar to SkyScanner in that it will look at all the hotel inventory in a particularly destination, and all of the prices of each main provider (e.g. Expedia, Hotels.com, Booking.com and so on) to find you the best deal.

* This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links
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