It’s getting closer that time of the year when you want to get away from it all and spend quality time alone or with friends and family. We’d all love to travel to distant exotic destinations. This yearning is more pronounced nowadays thanks to Instagram and other social media accounts of the rich and famous that depict their seemingly other-worldly vacations.
The bad news is the vast majority of us are unlikely to afford to buy a yacht and travel the seas for months on end. The good news is luxury travel doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank and looking for relief thereafter. The following tips have proved useful in optimizing travel spend and ensuring more value for much less.
1. Find the Cheapest Rate for a Luxury Hotel Room
If you have already identified the hotel(s) you’d like to stay in, do an online search for the cheapest rate for the room. With the copious amount of hotel search engines on the web, this may, sound like a tedious exercise. It doesn’t have to be thanks to two aggregator sites: Hotelscombined.com and Trivago.com.
These two websites analyze the price of a hotel room as quoted on hundreds of sites including Hotelopia, Expedia, Hotels.com, Otel.com, Ebookers and Booking.com. They then show where you can book the room at the cheapest rate.
2. Get Upgrades and VIP Amenities via Virtuoso.com
Booking a hotel room via Virtuoso.com won’t necessarily get you the cheapest rate as it would on Trivago.com or Hotelscombined.com. It can nevertheless be highly rewarding. You’ll get special perks such as free spa treatments, free dinners, room upgrades and the best travel pillows.
Virtuoso.com is one of the largest networks of luxury travel advisors: 9,000 agents in 26 countries. Virtuoso travel agents have contacts with the most luxurious hotels and resorts in the world.
3. Use Google to Find the Cheapest Flights
Many travelers use leading flight search engine Kayak.com when budgeting for their trip. Kayak aggregates airfares from numerous websites including Cheaptickets.com and Orbitz.com. Kayak however does not scan all sites so it’s best to take a look at other ticket-sellers such as Expedia, Skyscanner, Hotwire, Momondo, Hipmunk and Travelocity.
Search behemoth Google has made looking for the cheapest ticket even easier thanks to Google Flights. This simple tool shows you not just the lowest price to your chosen destination but also provides suggestions of cities that are popular travel spots among the residents of your area.
4. Follow Top Travel Bloggers
Many hotels and airlines have loyalty programs through which you can earn miles or points that are redeemable for shopping, car rentals, hotel stays, upgrades or free flights. These programs can save you a lot of money allowing you travel almost free of cost to some of the best locations.
That being said, loyalty programs are not created equal. You are likely to get best value when you know where and how to efficiently collect miles and points. One way is to follow famous travel bloggers. Given their large reach and influence, businesses in the travel industry are often keen to use them to reach more customers.
Expect not just promotions but also tips on how to travel in style while living within your means.
5. Avoid Predictable Destinations
Popular travel destinations are often the most expensive. With a captive market that needs little incentive to come, businesses serving these locations aren’t too keen on lowering prices. Think beautiful destinations like the Seychelles or Maldives and you can expect to spend at least a thousand dollars each night in the high season at an average hotel.
You are likely to get a better deal from an off-the-beaten-track location that is almost as breathtaking. Think of places such as Mongolia that are fairly safe and boast beautiful landscapes. The quality of the best hotels is pretty good yet costs significantly less than more popular locations elsewhere.
6. Stay in Newly Opened Resorts and Hotels
This is an open secret yet a surprisingly low number of people make the most of it. Newly opened luxurious hotels will offer attractive rates to lure as many guests as possible and get the word out there. Expect as much as 50% off in the first weeks and months.
Some resorts will even allow you to negotiate the rate depending on how many you are and how long you’ll be staying. For this reason, coming up with a list of newly opened hotels in the places you want to travel to should be one of the first things you do. Don’t pay more when there’s no reason to.
7. Don’t be Trapped by the Need for Loyalty
As noted earlier, loyalty programs are a great way to travel in style without spending too much. However, loyalty programs are also a carefully calculated play on human psychology. Over time, many people become fixated on the accumulation of airline miles and hotel points thus throwing any other rational consideration when planning their journeys.
Loyalty is great but shouldn’t rigidly determine your travel plans. Don’t fail to buy a product or service simply because it’s not covered by any of the loyalty programs you’ve signed up for. Adopting an open minded approach places you in a good position to reap from the best luxury travel offers available.
8. Travel in the Off-Season
Flight and hotel prices are not static throughout the year. The cost of staying in a popular destination will vary considerably depending on the level of demand at different times of the year. You’ll discover that you can spend time in some of the most luxurious properties at as little as half the price you would in the peak season.
Enjoying a luxury vacation doesn’t have to be stuff of dreams. Beautiful destinations are within reach. All it takes is flexibility, good planning and a little research.