Even the most frugal people like to splurge sometimes, especially if they have a specific passion. My passion is traveling to new places, so this is one area where I occasionally spend more than you’d think. I cook from scratch and share a car with my husband to save money, but if I want to travel somewhere new or book a hotel that’s on the pricey side, I typically go for it.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save on special trips and even luxury travel. You just need to plan ahead, consider alternative lodging options and keep your mind open.
Click to read more about ways to upgrade your vacation for less.
Here are my absolute favorite strategies to save on luxury travel, and how I have used them over the years.
Consider a Luxury Condo
If you’re angling to stay at a luxury resort, consider a property that offers condo accommodation. My husband and I did just that for our upcoming stay in Turks & Caicos at The Somerset on Grace Bay. This property is a five-star masterpiece on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, so it’s not cheap.
Still, we will have our own full kitchen. This will allow us to make all our own meals and drinks, skipping over one of the most expensive components of a luxury trip: dining out.
Choose Your Destination Wisely
Earlier this year, I spent some time at TRS Yucatan Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. This property is as lavish as they come but also all-inclusive, meaning all your food, drink and entertainment is included. I spent my days on their gorgeous beach and my evenings indulging in top-shelf drinks and fancy food. At night, I retreated to my luxury suite with a giant soaking tub. My room was bigger than my first apartment — and that’s not an exaggeration.
The thing is, this property starts at less than $400 per night, while a comparable property in a more expensive destination would easily cost at least $1,000 per night. This just goes to show that where you travel matters, and that you can save a bundle by choosing less expensive destinations like Mexico.
More on Choosing Your Destination: How to Travel to the 10 Most Expensive Cities on a Budget
Another way to make luxury travel more affordable is to book your trips during any destination’s off-peak season. My husband and I have done this many times, to places like France, Italy and Greece, where you can get stellar deals on amazing hotels and cheaper airfare during the fall months.
In late spring of this year, which is off-peak for the Caribbean, we even went to the island of Anguilla. We were surprised at just how affordable our airfare was, along with the low prices at hotels.
For part of our trip, we stayed at Zemi Beach House, the premier luxury resort on the island, located on the world-famous Shoal Bay. This five-star hotel often costs around $350 per night during the off-season, which is astounding considering the unmatched quality and pampering it offers.
Use Credit Card Rewards
Last but not least, my family leans heavily on credit card rewards to fund parts of our trips. You can’t always pay for an entire vacation with points and miles, but you can stretch your travel budget further if you get some components of your trip covered for free.
At the moment, we are preparing to embark on a Mediterranean cruise that I paid for with travel credit after using a third-party service to pay off my mortgage with a credit card. We also use points and miles to book hotels.
Finally, we frequently use rewards to pay for excursions that would be pricey otherwise. Next month, we are taking a boat trip from Praiano to Capri, Italy, paid entirely with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. We have also used Chase points to cover fun trip upgrades, like getting the Roma Pass for a week in Rome, and arranging private transfers to and from the airport.
Booking luxury travel is possible but you have to be willing to compromise. You may not get the exact trip you want every time but more affordable alternatives can be just as fun and just as fancy. Consider new destinations, be willing to do some of the work and consider off-peak travel — you’ll save money on your next bucket-list trip.
Click through to read more about this traveler’s all-inclusive vacation to Jamaica.