As you might know I’ve been a fervent luxury traveler for over a decade and always preferred affordable luxury / 4 and 5 star hotels that are stylish and comfortable, but also find authenticity and value for money very important! You don't have to be rich to travel the world or go backpacking to keep it affordable.
Luxury travel is possible on a budget, as long as you're flexible and apply some budgeting hacks on location and in advance when booking your trip.
I will share many tips for that in this blog, which are, as always, based on my own experience, as well as a recent study of Booking.com. Affordable luxury is getting increasingly interesting to travelers that value comfortable accommodations and unique experiences, without having to dig in to their savings accounts much.
Booking.com just published their 2024 Travel Predictions concluded from a study for which they interviewed over 27,000 travelers from no less than 33 countries, about which you can read all: Booking.com travel predictions survey - affordable luxury results.
I found it very interesting to see that one of the main conclusions was that budget travelling and affordable luxury will become even more important now that inflation and the cost of living keeps increasing in most countries. In the landscape of personal finance, it seems that we are finding creative ways to stretch our money without sacrificing on travel and holidays, which helps most of us stay happy and balanced. As we approach 2024, 62% of respondents in recent surveys express concerns about the escalating cost of living impacting their travel plans.
However, this challenge has sparked budgeting hacks and creative ways to maintain luxury at a fraction of the usual cost.
Affordable luxury budgeting tips & travel hacks
The art of budgeting is taking on new forms, where we seem to get even more creative in saving costs to be able to keep traveling.
A few of the reported hacks from the survey that stood out were:
47% of respondents plan to take their children out of school to travel during off-peak seasons.
46% would tip less while on the road to maximize their travel funds.
39% of pet owners are considering taking them on trips to save on a pet sitter, with a significant 58% of Americans leading this trend worldwide.
50% plan to pay for vacations using credit cards to spread out the costs.
Some other personal tips to save on travel expenses on location are to:
Do more on foot and find interesting activities and sites like art galleries and museums that are free of charge. Usually there's quite some free entertainment and nice things to see without a fee, especially in big cities, like Nuremberg for example:
Rent a bike or car and do your own sightseeing instead of booking expensive tours or taxi’s and venture off-the-beaten path to avoid expensive tourist traps.
Eat out less and if you do, also check out local restaurants and food trucks, like we did on Aruba. Find many authentic and less expensive foodie hotspots in this Aruba top 25 restaurants blog.
Get tips from locals and shop at local markets.
If you’re staying at a hotel, do check out their free classes for fun activities.
Despite these cost-cutting measures, it was interesting to see that a big group in the survey does not want to give up the basic luxuries associated with travel either.
Luxury for less (travel) tips
With this determination, 62% of respondents expressed that they'd rather look for travel hacks and deals that unlock premium experiences for less, than give them up entirely.
A few of these hacks and affordable luxury (travel) tips being;
Book package deals with tour operators, like Corendon, especially for more exclusive destinations like Andalusia and the Caribbean, booking a package deal will usually be 50-60% cheaper than booking a luxury hotel and flight separately.
Book longer in advance and search for upgrades afterwards, such as flight and room enhancements, enabling travelers to indulge on luxury without compromising their budgets.
If you do book a separate flight look for the cheapest dates to fly on, which are usually during the week and outside holiday periods. Check the cheapest days to fly easily on Skyscanner, you can even set up an alert to notify you of the lowest price for your preferred dates.
Make sure to clear your cookies, book on Tuesdays for the best flightrates, use incognito mode on your browser and a VPN connection when looking for cheap flights and the best travel deals.
Save up on frequent flyer/airmiles through American Express and Flying Blue for example, to get discounts on future tickets and hotels.
Travel light to save on luggage costs.
This week many travel companies and airlines will have Black Friday offers and discounts, so do make advantage of that if you're planning a holiday.
From the survey 50% of the respondents plan to select destinations in 2024 where the cost of living is lower than their hometown.
37% are open to renting a boat or yacht for a day instead of for a full trip.
34% would happily borrow or rent high-end clothing and accessories, to able to use designer brands instead of buying them.
Pursuit of Upgrades
The desire for upgrades extends beyond just accommodations and travel dates. A significant 54% of respondents express a likelihood to pay for accommodation upgrades, enhancing their stay with more luxurious amenities. Meanwhile, 47% are open to paying for flight or train upgrades, ensuring that their journey is as comfortable and stylish as the destination itself. And while the financial landscape continues to pose challenges, it seems that travelers are demonstrating creativity in finding ways to keep traveling in luxury, while also keeping it affordable.
The pursuit of budgeting hacks and luxury for less showcases a dynamic approach to achieving personal goals, while remaining mindful of financial constraints. Looking to 2024, luxury travel will require even more innovation, flexibility and adaptability.
I hope you found these affordable luxury travel tips and budgeting hacks useful and that they will help you to keep traveling in style on a budget, without having to compromise too much.