Do you wish you could fly in first-class and stay at 5-star hotels -- despite the fact that VIP lifestyle is outside of your budget? Luckily, there are ways to make travel more luxurious without breaking the bank.
Here are some tips to travel like a VIP without spending like one.
Look for Deals
You just might be able to enjoy first-class flights and five-star hotels within your budget -- if you know where to look for them.
One simple way is to look for great deals at popular luxury travel destinations during the off-season. For example, Capri, Italy is less busy in the winter. You can get great deals at the city's usually expensive hotels and use the island as a home base for your explorations of the Amalfi Coast or Pompeii. Other off-season gems to consider include New Orleans in the winter, Greece in the spring, and New Zealand or Australia in the fall. The best part? Flights are also likely to be cheaper then.
Are your plans flexible? If so, check out last-minute deal sites that could help you book a 5-star hotel for 3-star prices. Resorts use sites like Last Minute Travel and Skyscanner to fill vacancies that would otherwise go unused. Also, sites like Cancelon allow you to buy non-refundable reservations from other travelers who cancel their trips and are willing to sell you their hotel reservation for less.
Looking for a cheaper or a free upgrade to first-class? Check out the frequent flyer programs offered by major airlines. Some offer first class upgrades the day of the flight for reduced fees, or the ability to use your rewards points to upgrade. The cost of an upgrade on unsold seats varies significantly from airline to airline, so make sure to fly with one that offers cheaper upgrades.
You should sign up for hotel rewards programs, which sometimes offer members free room upgrades, free breakfast, or even a credit that can be used towards services at the resort spa.
If you are looking to upgrade your next travel adventure, with the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card, you can use Visa Infinite’s Complimentary Concierge service, with great benefits like access to luxury hotels and room upgrades.
Look for Added Benefits
If you can't afford the travel experience you want -- look for ways to up your travel experience. For example, stop by the airport lounge. Sometimes your travel credit card can get you into the airport lounge for free. Like the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card, which includes a complimentary Priority PassTM membership plus six free airport lounge visits per year, which is a value of $321 CAD ($99 membership + $27 USD / Visit). You'll get free drinks, snacks, Wi-Fi, and a comfortable place to wait for your next flight.
Rather than upgrade to first-class, consider upgrading to business class or to seats that offer more leg room. That extra space will make a huge difference to your comfort on long flights.
Can't afford a fancy hotel? Look into boutique hotels or high-end Airbnb’s rather than expensive resorts. Boutique hotels are higher end independent hotels and often offer more free services than the 5-star resorts.
Or find an all-inclusive hotel that will pamper your every need. By committing to eating and drinking on the resort, you'll be able to save money and enjoy being waited on your entire trip.
Find a Balance
Just because you can't afford to stay at a luxury hotel for your entire two-week stay doesn't mean you have to go without. Consider staying a few nights at that fancy hotel to get the experience and then staying at a more affordable hotel for the rest of your visit to balance it out.
Or stay at a less expensive hotel and plan more upscale day excursions. You'll be so tired from your long days at the local spa, enjoying a beach-side dinner for two, or sailing around on a yacht, that you may not care as much about where you're staying.
Your budget doesn't have to stop you from living it up when you travel. You just need to get creative and you'll be able to enjoy a VIP trip that you want, at a fraction of the cost. In fact, you'll enjoy your trip even more knowing how much you saved.
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