Who wouldn't love to travel in luxury-style every time they go somewhere new? Unfortunately, most of us just can't afford a first class seat or a king suite with spa treatment every time we go on vacation. However, there are ways that you can get that luxurious vacation experience, for a fraction of the price.
This list presents 20 ways that you can save some serious money when it comes to planning, booking, and enjoying your next luxury vacation. You will be surprised at how a little extra planning up front can help you save on a summer vacation that will be the talk of the office when you get back.
From little things like booking through a travel agent to bigger ideas like waiting until the last minute to snag a deal, this list will take you through 20 amazing ways to save money on luxury accommodations, or the feel of a luxury accommodation, so that you can really experience all that your travel destination has to offer.
If you thought that a 5-star resort experience was out of reach for your next vacation, take a look at these tips that will save you money and make any vacation seem like the most luxurious experience you have ever had.
20 Avoid very popular destinations and try something that provides the same atmosphere/experience
Say you really want to visit France, but you cannot afford the airfare to Paris and the nice hotel room. Well, there are options on the Western side of the Atlantic Ocean, such as Quebec, Canada, where many people cannot tell the difference between a visit to Paris and a stay at a Quebec hotel. There are a number of places around the world that are so much like another place that you will hardly be able to tell the difference.
Alternatively, you could visit a less expensive place in the same country. So you can't afford Paris, but what about staying outside of Paris or in the French countryside and commuting?
19 Avoid the city center/touristy area of the popular destination you are visiting
When you visit a city, you are paying for the luxury of being able to stay in the city. When you visit Barcelona, you are paying to stay in Barcelona. However, if you are willing to commute into the city (which can be fun and a whole experience in itself!), then you can stay outside of the city in luxury accommodations that do not cost as much as the luxury accommodations within city boundaries. There is no reason to stay in a 3-star fancy hotel in the middle of London when you can stay across the Thames in a 5-star luxury hotel for the same price.
18 Don’t book 'the' suite
Have you always wanted to book a suite at a fancy hotel? Who hasn't? The problem is, unless you are going to be spending your entire time in the suite, you are going to be throwing your money away. When you are on vacation, you are probably not going to be spending all of the time in the hotel suite, so why spend the extra money for something you are not really going to be enjoying? Skip the fancy suite with all the added amenities, and just book a room big enough for your family. That way you will have some extra money to enjoy the rest of your vacation.
17 Take advantage of deals by booking your flight and room together
Did you know that if you book your hotel along with your flight, you can save some serious money? That's right, many booking sites, whether they are associated with a brand or one of those sites that searches for the best price, will let you bundle flight and hotel to save money. This way, you can book an upgraded hotel room along with your flight somewhere nice to help bump up the wow factor of your entire luxury vacation. You may be able to save hundreds or thousands of dollars on your entire vacation if you book it all together at the same booking site.
16 Try Roomer
Have you heard of one of the best kept secrets in hotel rooms? It's called Roomer, and it will let you save up to 50% off the cost of hotel rooms and suites, worldwide. The concept of Roomer is that people resell their unusable hotel rooms at steep discounts. You can resell your unused concert tickets, why not resell your unused hotel rooms? People are unable to use their hotel rooms for a lot of reasons, so if you are looking for a huge discount on a great hotel room, then take a look at Roomer, which will help you save big time on your "luxury" vacation.
15 Vacation rental
If you want to stay in a resort area, you should definitely consider doing a vacation rental. Here's why: You could stay in a 5 star resort for a few hundred dollars a night, or you could rent an entire villa for less. You may think of vacation rentals as things like Airbnb, but there are plenty of other options for renting a house at the beach or a villa in Versailles. If you want to live a luxurious life on your vacation, then you should take a look at renting a house or villa for a price less than staying at a resort in the same area.
14 Use a travel agent
Travel agents may seem like they are a thing of the past, but they are actually still doing a lot of business. One of the things that travel agents help deliver is a better experience at a lower price. Travel agents have connections and skills that websites simply don't have, and that means that they can actually get out there and use those connections and contacts and skills to find the best deals on airfare (think first class upgrades) to hotel (that king suite instead of the double) all for the same price as any website will deliver for you.
13 Travel during the off-season
Why would you want to travel during peak season? There are plenty of reasons to travel in the off-season, but saving money is probably the biggest reason. When there are fewer tourists, hotels and resorts will lower prices in order to try and draw in more business. This is your opportunity to strike and reel in the savings. That nice castle you wanted to vacation at in the Scottish Highlands will likely reduce its prices in the middle of the Scottish rainy season. Plus, there will be fewer people to spoil the sunsets and surf. When you save money and have more freedom to enjoy your vacation, you will be living in the lap of luxury.
12 Take advantage of various rewards programs
You probably have a credit card that has a rewards program associated with it, or you may be a member of a frequent flyer or hotel rewards program. But have you ever taken advantage of those rewards? If you haven't you are really missing out on living the high life when it comes to your luxury vacation. It may take some time to save up the frequent flyer points or hotel rewards, but how often do you plan a luxury vacation? If you can wait a few years between amazing vacations, then you can take advantage of rewards programs to have a luxury vacation for virtually nothing!
11 Don’t over-do it
Sure, we all want to have a big, huge, amazing luxury vacation, but you can probably have just as much fun and as great an experience if you cut back a little. For example, only plan one or two fun activities that cost a lot of money, rather than planning a whole vacation of expensive activities. Or, instead of staying in the 5 star resort, stay at a less expensive place that has the same access to the same activities. Remember, you are probably going to remember the activities more and make better memories with the people than the silk sheets and feather pillow at your luxury resort.
10 Watch out for promotional periods
Did you know that periodically, throughout the year, different types of travel will have promotional or discounted "seasons?" For example, "Wave Season" for cruises generally runs January through March, and coincides with a period of time when fewer people are taking cruises. By taking advantage of a promotional period, which you can find out about by visiting a travel site and signing up for emails or notifications, you will have access to some great travel deals that will help you have that luxury vacation that you would otherwise be unable to afford. So go ahead, travel during a promotional period, and you will be amazed at just how much you will save on that once in a lifetime vacation.
9 Become a house sitter
Have you ever gone on vacation and had someone sit your house? If you have, then you know what this one is all about. Someone will pay you to watch their house while they are on vacation, or they will give you free reign of that same house. The thing is, why not do this in a luxury house in a nice place? These people go on vacation, too, and they will gladly have you stay at their house, especially if you are working through a legitimate house sitting service. The only downside is that you will need to get yourself to the house, which is a small price to pay for living a luxurious life for otherwise free.
8 Try a luxury area in Eastern Europe
People like to visit Europe, but most of them try to stick to "Western" Europe. However, if you are willing to go beyond London and Paris to Warsaw or Prague, you can really have a great luxury vacation for a lot less money. Since people often forget about "Eastern" Europe, these countries have a lower cost to visit, and they offer all, if not more, of the same luxury amenities as their counterparts further West. Some travelers may be wary of visiting the former Soviet Union, but in the 21st century there really is little to worry about, and you will have that much more fun enjoying a luxury vacation because you didn't spend as much.
7 Take advantage of deals available in the city
Some cities will offer deals on luxury experiences, just to up the number of people visiting a particular site. For example, you could visit a fine art museum for a reduced (or free) price because the city has paid for your admission in order to have more visitors to the museum. Look for these deals at the end of the day or week when tourist attractions are trying to run up numbers of visitors. Then put on your finest clothes and experience something like an opera or fine art museum for a discounted price, and only you will know that you paid less than the couple next to you.
6 Book directly with the hotel
Like booking directly with an airline, booking directly with a hotel will save you money, especially if you are a member of their rewards program. While many travel sites offer the "best" price for hotel, most hotels actually offer lower prices than even the cheapest discount site. That is because the hotel knows what rooms they actually have available, and can help book those rooms at a lower price than the travel sites. Plus, you will not need to be jumping through hoops to get the price, and if you have rewards with the hotel you can rack up the points or redeem them for even better deals.
5 Try a B&B, the trend is for them to offer more luxury appointments
You may not have thought about a Bed & Breakfast (B&B) when thinking about planning your next luxury vacation, but there is a growing trend around the world for B&Bs to try to make their guests as comfortable as possible, and this includes having a more luxurious atmosphere. They may not offer 5 star resort service, but a nice little B&B can actually offer a lot when it comes to high quality luxury stays and dining (yeah, you get a meal or two included in the price of a B&B). So next time you are looking at a luxury option for your vacation, consider staying in one of these little inn-like places.
4 Want an expensive meal at a high-end restaurant? Go for lunch (you will get the same experience at cheaper lunch rates)
We all know that lunch generally costs less at most restaurants, so if you are looking to eat at a high-end restaurant but can't stomach the cost of a fancy dinner, try going for lunch. You will be able to experience dining at some of the world's top restaurants, but you will end up spending a lot less than if you went for dinner. The menu may be a little different, but you will find the same world-class service and quality of food as you would a few hours later, all for a lot less money. So, next time you are out, consider the lunch specials.
3 Make the most of your flight
If you have a long flight, be sure to try and spend a lot of time at your destination. If you only have a short amount of time to spend at your location, try to book a place that will have a short flight. The reason? You will be making the most of the money you spend on your flight, freeing up valuable dollars to spend on other things on your vacation, such as luxury accommodations at your destination. Sure, you can't always align everything so you can spend the optimal amount of time on the flight, but if you plan your vacation so you optimize both time in the air and time on the land, you will have the most experience for your money.
2 Look for last minute, discount deals
You may be the type of person who wants to plan every detail of their vacation a year in advance. However, if you look for last minute deals, you may just be able to score the vacation of your dreams for a fraction of the cost. Because airlines, hotels, and other travel companies want to have as many people using their service as possible, they may heavily discount prices at or near your weekend just to make sure they have enough people visiting. So, if you can hold off on planning until right before your vacation, you may score that luxury dream suite for a steal of a price.
1 Look through Groupon
Groupon (and other similar sites) offer coupons and deals for travel, in addition to other experiences. If you have never used the site, take a look, you may be surprised at what you can get for a heavy discount. Groupon offers deals from companies that run hotels, airlines, and other travel organizations, who want to offer discounts to potential future users. The idea is the same as a coupon you would take to the grocery store, and the savings on luxury travel can be immense. You never know what you are missing unless you take a look, so peruse the Internet to find some great travel deals that you didn't know about.