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14 Ways To Travel Like You’re Living The High Life On A Budget

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Everyone likes a touch of luxury on holiday, but not at the price tag that usually comes with it. Spice up your travels with our tips and tricks for getting luxe for less.

1. Book far in advance

Being organised can really pay off when booking flights and hotels for your trip. Airline ticket prices are notorious for fluctuating, and it can be hard to know when to book. Generally, booking at least three to four months before you’re due to depart (more in advance if possible) might nab you a good deal. Some airlines will let you sign up for price alerts, and keep an eye out for sales too. Saving money on your flight means you have more to spend on your trip! Same goes for accommodation – by booking in advance you have plenty of time to look around and compare deals, meaning you could grab a great deal in a normally expensive hotel.

 2. Use the airport lounges

There’s no better way to kick-start your trip feeling like you’re travelling in luxury than by getting access to an airport lounge. Understand all the ways you can gain access to a coveted lounge in our Insider’s Guide To Airport Lounges.

3. Try for an upgrade

Getting an upgrade on your flight is another sure-fire way to feel like you’re travelling in luxury for less. Although it may seem like an impossible task, there are a few tricks and tips to trying for an upgrade. Read about them in our blog 9 Tips And Tricks For Getting An Upgrade.

Trying for an upgrade on your flight is a sure-fire way to feel like you’re travelling in luxury for less

4. Book a private airport transfer

Fancy being greeted at the airport by your private airport transfer driver and being taken straight to where you need to go, with no worries about luggage, waiting in a taxi line or getting lost on public transport? Get some luxury for less with a private transfer on We work with many different types of airport transfer companies, including those offering private transfers and luxury limousines. Find out how to pick the best transfer for you on our blog.

 5. Explore glamorous European cities

There’s no better way to feel like you’ve stepped onto a movie set than by visiting some of Europe’s most glamorous cities. Mingle with the rich and famous on the French Riviera but at an affordable price; have drinks in Cannes, St Tropez and Monte Carlo, but stay in Nice or Antibes, which unlike the big players of the coast, are not just catered to huge budgets and offer lots of reasonable accommodation options. There’s a fantastic train line linking many of these luxurious cities and towns, meaning it’s incredibly easy to stay in a more budget-friendly location and still visit the glamorous towns of the Riviera. Similarly, live la dolce vita in Venice or Rome; if you plan far enough in advance and book early, you can snag some great deals on websites such as Airbnb, and still experience what makes these cities so famous. Think sipping on an espresso in St Mark’s Square in Venice (ok, you’ll pay an inflated price to do so, but if you’ve saved on accommodation then you deserve it) or enjoying an aperitivo in Rome (we’ve got some great tips on where to do just that in our article 24 Hours In Rome).

Find your perfect airport transfer in Rome, Venice or Nice on

There’s no better way to feel like you’ve stepped onto a movie set than by visiting some of Europe’s most glamorous cities, such as the gorgeous Venice

6. Stay out of the tourist centre

You may have your heart set on a trip to London, a jaunt to NYC or a stay in San Francisco, but these are some of the most expensive cities to visit in the world. If that’s the case, you can still experience these 5-star cities for less by setting up home outside of the tourist centre. In London, avoid central hubs around Leicester Square, Covent Garden and Oxford Street as well as pricey boroughs such as Kensington & Chelsea and the City of Westminster. Instead, head east to Tower Hamlets or Hackney, or north to Camden or Islington – these boroughs have great personality and are all still extremely well-connected by public transport, meaning you can get to central London in a few stops on the Tube, and have many tourist attractions of their own to explore. It’s a similar story for New York and San Francisco, too. In the Big Apple, head across the river to Jersey City for more affordable accommodation, or stay in up-and-coming neighbourhoods like Long Island City. If you’re wanting a trip to ‘the City by the Bay’, head towards Oakland instead of central San Francisco. Staying just outside, but within easy reach, of the central tourist hubs is a great way to experience these popular and expensive cities on a budget.

 7. Hop aboard a cruise

Cruising can feel like a real luxury, often at a price that beats a hotel stay in one city. Visiting many different places in one trip; sailing into ports on a sleek ship; all-inclusive food; pools, spas and gyms, plus plenty of entertainment… what’s not to love?! The often-strict dress codes and black tie nights really add that touch of glamour and luxury, too. If it’s your first time considering a cruise, be sure to read our 6 Tips For First-Time Cruisers article before you hit the high seas.

Cruising can feel like a real luxury, often at a price that beats a hotel stay in one city

8. Stay in a basic room in a luxury hotel

If you’re not planning on staying in your room all day every day, but would still like to experience the amenities and atmosphere of a top hotel, why not stay in one of their most basic rooms? You may not have huge square metres to play with or the best view, but you’ll still be able to experience the swanky side of hotel life with access to the gyms, spas, bars and restaurants.

Claire from our marketing team did just this on a trip to Tasmania last year: ‘My partner and I had been recommended to stay in The Pump House Point Hotel, which is located in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. It’s an absolutely stunning hotel with an enviable location right on the lakeside and overlooking mountains. We stayed in their cheapest room but still got to benefit from the incredible location and atmosphere, as well as the relaxing lounges with open fires and board games. It was an unforgettable stay for a reasonable price.’

9. Or even just visit a luxury hotel

Even if you don’t stay in high-end hotels, you can experience them on a visit. Many luxury hotels have bars, spas and restaurants that non-staying guests can visit – treat yourself to a cocktail in a fancy bar and you’ll get a taste of the atmosphere without having to fork out on a room.

You may not be staying in a luxury hotel, but popping into one for a drink can certainly feel like you’re travelling in luxury

10. Travel in off-season

Avoiding school holidays and peak travel times such as Christmas, Easter and other national holidays could mean that you find that luxury deal for less. Shoulder seasons mean less visitors and less competition, mid-week travel often leads to great deals, and if you can be more flexible with your dates, especially travelling to popular destinations, you’ll probably find hotels and flights are much cheaper.

11. Plan your trips to museums and galleries

If you’re hesitant to pre-book all of your tickets to those famous galleries and museums on your trip because the costs quickly add up, make sure to check that you actually need to pay; many cities have free museums and galleries, or have days of the month when it’s free to visit major attractions.

For example, most of Britain’s museums and galleries are free to enter. Our favourites include the British Museum, the Tate Modern and the Natural History Museum. In France meanwhile, there are some museums and monuments that are free all year round (Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Maison de Balzac for instance), while others are free on the first Sunday of the month.

12. Don’t pay full-price for theatre tickets

Watching a show on Broadway in New York or in London’s West End is on the bucket list for many travellers. But the cost of tickets can often mean it’s a luxury that can’t really be justified on an already expensive trip. Our advice? Don’t pay full price for a theatre show! If you’re flexible with what you see and when you see it, and you’re more after the experience of seeing a production in such famous musical and theatre districts, then make a beeline for the discount tickets.

In New York, you can get discounted same-day tickets from the TKTS Discount Booths, while Off- or Off-Off Broadway shows can also be much cheaper; the difference between Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway is simply size of the theatre, not quality of the show. Theatres with more than 499 seats are Broadway theatres, 99 to 499 are Off-Broadway, and less than 99 seats is considered Off-Off-Broadway.

In London, there are a few ways to find discounted and last-minute tickets. If you know far in advance that you’d like to see a specific show, booking tickets online can sometimes save you up to 60 per cent. There is also a TKTS booth in Leicester Square, which is the go-to if you’re looking for half-price or discounted tickets for same day performances or even a few days ahead. If there’s a particular show you really want to see, you can also go to the theatre’s box office on the morning of a performance and see if they have standby or return tickets.

Theatres also often have a lottery that you can either enter online or go into the draw by arriving to the theatre early and putting your name down hours before curtain. This can be a great way to nab some heavily discounted tickets to popular shows. Simply look up ‘theatre lottery’ and the location you wish to see a show to find out which theatres and shows participate.

Another great tip for theatre lovers and foodies is that you can often score great dining deals at top restaurants nearby to theatres if you get a theatre and dinner package, so it’s worth bearing that in mind if you want to go for the full ‘luxe’ experience.

Experience the opulence and glamour of a theatre show or musical, but at a discounted price

13. Research before you make that dinner reservation

Before you book that restaurant you’ve always wanted to go to, check if there’s a restaurant deals website or app in the country you’re visiting where you could find some fantastic offers. In Australia for example, online restaurant reservation website Dimmi lists offers on particular days of the week, so you could make some great savings and still get to go to top restaurants.

14. See if your city has a tourist pass

If you’re keen to do a lot of sightseeing while you’re away, but are put off by the ticket prices, check to see if your city has a pass that bundles the top sights into a cheap pass. In the USA for example, CityPASS sells discounted ticket packages to top tourist destinations, while The London Pass does similar in the UK’s capital city.

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