Think “luxury travel” and you’ll likely start seeing the dollar signs racking up. Splurging on luxury travel can be attractive — seriously, is there anyone that doesn’t like spoiling themselves? And even backpackers like to flashpack every once in a while.
We’re seasoned luxury travelers. We’ve stayed at five star hotels from Amman to Zurich, hung with the cool kids at design hotels, and had all five senses soothed at sophisticated spas in the world. But we enjoy nothing more than getting luxury for less.
So we always seek out ways to enjoy luxury trips without paying top dollar for them. Here’s seven ways to save that we’ve picked up along the way.
#1: Package Your Own
DIY-packaging your own trip – searching for flights, hotels, car rentals, transfers, and more online and then booking them directly with providers or online agencies can lead to big savings.
Over the years we have DIY-packaged our trips saving thousands of dollars. You’ll often find that you can save up to 50% off the prices offered by traditional travel agents.
But it’s not just the savings you’ll make on your next luxury trip that make DIY-packaging attractive. The real beauty of it is that you get to choose the vacation you want — unrestricted to a travel companies’ pre-packaged deals. You get your choice of airport, airline and accommodation, on the day you want, for as long as you wish.
#2: Work It!
DIY-packaging takes a little persistence. And finding the best luxury travel deals requires you to look at more than just one or two websites. To really save while you splurge, you need to work at it.
But the results are worthwhile.
So treat your vacation planning as you would any other piece of work that requires research. Visit a number of sources, take notes of the best deals around, compare and contrast what one site is offering against deals elsewhere and you’ll find five-star deal.
#3: Flex Your Muscle
Flexing your muscle means giving yourself every chance to find an affordable luxury travel deal by being able to bend as necessary. Flexibility is key to snagging a bargain. The more flexible you are when choosing a destination, travel dates, type of accommodation, and location, the easier it will be for you to find a great travel deal.
#4: Flights First
Always book flights first. It’s easy to cancel a hotel or change bookings, but more difficult and often costly to change flights.
When checking prices it can be easiest to start with flight comparison websites like Kayak and Hipmunk but check airline sites too. An increasing number of scheduled airlines are trying to compete with low cost airlines by offering their most attractive deals on their own websites.
#5: Don’t Hurry a Hotel
Hotels are easy to find, even at late notice. If you’re dissatisfied with the prices you’re finding, a web search for something like “New York hotels” will reveal sites you’ve never heard of often with very attractive rates.
As an alternative to hotels, apartment rentals are proving very popular, and some companies like onefinestay are leading in luxury home rentals in London and New York.
Or if you’re traveling in a large group you could consider a villa. Some of the world’s most luxurious properties can prove inexpensive when rates are shared by an entire group.
#6: Being Flash Pays Off
A good flash sale site will provide serious savings on your travel splurges, allowing you to squeeze even more luxury trips into your annual schedule.
Hotels publish deals with flash sale sites like Jetsetter and Voyage Prive to fill remaining rooms after they reach a certain occupancy level. This means you can find luxury hotels, and often hotels packaged with flights, at three-star prices.
Granted, the percentage off the discount quoted isn’t always as impressive as it may appear. Most of the prices are based on hotel rack rates, which are significantly higher than what you’d find listed with online travel agents. But with five-star hotels from around $95 a night, you can still make serious savings.
Keep abreast of the latest deals by signing up to a selection of your favourite flash sales companies’ email alerts and notifications on your smartphone or Facebook.
Don’t forget to read the fine print before purchasing. Flash sales can have restrictions such as black-out periods (stopping you from traveling on certain dates) and dates by which all travel must be completed.
#7: Seal the Deal
A deal isn’t a deal until all aspects have been factored in. So consider the total trip price including accommodation, flights, any hotels needed during layovers, car rentals, transfers via taxi or public transport, and airport parking, before sealing your luxury travel deal.
Of course the tips here are not exhaustive, but offer a good start to helping you find luxury travel for less on every trip.