Do you have champagne taste, but a beer budget? Traveling well typically coincides with big wallets – that is, unless you know where to find the deals. Well, you are in luck; we have uncovered the top hacks of seasoned travel experts. Below are budget-friendly ways to travel like a millionaire.
1) First Class Flights
Don’t have a few grand sitting around for a first class seat? Well, there’s no need to blow your entire vacation budget on the flight.
- Pay the upgrade fee: Most airlines allow you to upgrade 24-48 hours in advance. Upon check-in always ask if there are any upgrades available. If so the upgrade fee will be a fraction of what a normal first class ticket would sell for.
- Always (or almost always) fly the same airline: Like retailers, airlines reward loyalty by offering free upgrades, no baggage costs and other incentives to keep their customers happy. Additionally, if you sign up for airline loyalty programs you will be rewarded with airline miles, which means free flights! Each time you fly your chosen airline you will be earning air miles. Redeeming airline miles for a first class ticket is a great way to fly well without the high price tag. In fact, first class reward tickets have been known to cost the same as economy seats closer to the departure date.
Yes, timeshares! Timeshares are one of the oldest travel hacks, and I don’t mean purchasing a timeshare. Often, unused weeks will be up for purchase online. Prices tend to be rock-bottom, because the weeks and location are fixed. Many times these rentals are housed in 5-star resorts, coming with all the amenities offered at the resort for a fraction of the price. This is a great option if your vacation days and location are flexible.
Websites Priceline and Hotwire are a deal-finder’s dream, so long as you’re up for a gamble. Priceline allows you to “name your own price;” you specify the location down to the neighborhood, star level and your desired price. If your price is accepted the name of your hotel will be revealed. Hotwire is quite similar but takes the bidding out of the equation, offering unsold hotel rooms at a discounted price. The catch? All hotel names are hidden until you purchase your mystery hotel, and once purchased the name of the hotel will be revealed.
4) International Travel
Traveling well internationally can be more much more affordable than traveling stateside. When choosing your destination, take into account the average cost of meals, lodging and activities. Locations such as Thailand or Costa Rica have a number of 5-star options well below $100 a night.
Aside from choosing a budget-friendly location, it is imperative to choose a location where you will get a good exchange rate. How strong is the U.S. dollar in your desired location? By choosing a location that boasts a strong exchange rate in favor of the dollar you will be able to travel quite well. Additionally, pay with cash. You will ALWAYS get a better exchange rate when paying cash, plus you’ll be able to avoid those pesky transaction fees.
5) Travel Off-Season
Traveling during high-season is a sure-fire way to blow your budget, but traveling during low-season is a great way to score high-end resort deals. Hotels hate having empty rooms, often slashing prices to lure customers in.
Regardless of your destination there are a number of ways to travel well without breaking the bank.