Tips for a Luxury Vacation on a Budget

Most of us feel like we could use a vacation. Vacations are a time to get away with our family and loved ones, see something new, and relax and unwind. However, there’s one thing that tends to stop many people from actually taking a vacation—they feel like it’s out of their budget.

Travel and especially traveling with family can be pricey, but there are ways you can be strategic and get a luxury experience even if you’re on a tight budget. 

Choose Your Hotel or Lodging Carefully

When you’re booking lodging in a big city like Los Angeles, New York, Nashville or Miami, you may be able to find better deals. That’s because there are so many options available as far as inns, hotels, motels, resorts, and rental apartments. The prices are going to be lower when there’s more competition. A lot of people think larger cities will be more expensive, but because of the number of choices, that’s not necessarily true. 

Regardless of where you’re planning to go, carefully choose your lodging. Compare prices, and go with something less expensive if you can. When you’re traveling you probably aren’t going to be spending that much time in your hotel or apartment, so put your money elsewhere in your trip. 

However, when you’re comparing the options if you can find something with a small kitchen, it can help you save money on meals and snacks. 

Tips for a Luxury Vacation on a Budget

Find Free Admission

When you’re traveling, whether in the United States or internationally, a lot of sites will have days with free admission. This is especially true with museums. Before you head to your location, check and see if something like this is available and plan your trip accordingly. 

Look for Under-the-Radar International Destinations

If you want to go somewhere international, look for an under-the-radar option, and you may find amazing deals. 

For example, Osaka, Japan is a beautiful option, and if you have points or rewards, you can use for airline tickets, even better. Portugal is another great place if you want an inexpensive destination, there are stunning beaches and old town areas, and you get a lot of the features you would in Spain or the South of France, but for cheaper. 

Sao Paulo is a trendy city in South America that also happens to have Michelin-starred restaurants and great shopping. There’s a good exchange rate from the U.S. right now, 

Eat During Happy Hour

The price of food and particularly eating out can soar when you’re traveling. Keep it in check by going to local markets and buying items for a picnic. If you want a restaurant experience without the prices, consider eating during happy hour. In the U.S. and abroad you’ll often find great prices on snacks and drinks during happy hour or tapas time. 

Many high-end restaurants will also do cheaper menu options if you sit at the bar. 

Leave key tourist areas to find better-priced food also. The heavily-trafficked tourist areas tend to always have the most expensive menus and usually lower food quality than elsewhere in your destination. 

Download Tours

When you’re traveling, you may like to do guided tours, and that’s understandable. You can see everything and get a feel for the location with an experienced, knowledgeable guide. These tours can be extremely expensive, though. 

Instead of paying a tour company and guide, consider downloading guided tours on your phone or tablet. You can listen as you walk and get much of the same experience but for free or at a very low cost.

Go During Off-Season

If you’re traveling with kids, it can be a challenge to go somewhere during the off-season because of school schedules, but whenever possible if you can try to travel during the down times. 

Different locations have different off-seasons, so do some research when you’re planning it. Most big cities don’t really have an off-season, but if you want to take a cruise, for example, consider going in October. You’re taking a risk because of hurricane season, but you’ll likely find deeply discounted prices. 

If you want to go to Europe, consider going in winter as most people go in summer. If you’re considering an island, think about going in summer as many people escape to islands during winter. St. Barth’s is a good example. If you travel to this luxury Caribbean island in winter, you will pay triple or more the prices you would pay if you waited until summer to go.