Many of you love to travel. Some of you likely have champagne taste with more of a beer budget. I want to share a few ways you can still travel in luxury without going broke. The key is to spend wisely to get the most value from your travel dollars.
Look, I may be a financial planner, that does not mean I’m going to sit here and tell you never to spend any money ever. Or worse, that you have to only stay at a youth hostel or one-star hotels (to save money) when you travel. Most people in the US have limited vacations days, taking seven stops over three days to get to some fabulous vacation destination is not worth saving a few hundred dollars. You would need a vacation from spending that much time shoved into a coach seat.
I hope to inspire you to put a little extra effort into stretching your vacation budget to travel in luxury for not much more than a budget vacation might cost. Consider what travel spending will bring you the most joy? Likewise, where can you cut back without really noticing?
Here are five ways I use to Stretch My Travel Dollars.
-Plan Ahead- AKA Book Early:
A few years back, I took a Mediterranean cruise with a few other friends. Some of us booked our flights well in advance. A few of our other friends couldn’t be bothered and ended up paying about three times more for airfare than we did. Same plane, same class, same destination, just triple the price. No thank you.
-Be Flexible with Dates:
My husband and I spend New Years exploring Argentina. For those of you who have traveled around the holidays, everything is more expensive. We were able to each save $900 off our flights home by staying an extra two days in Buenos Aires. Twist my arm why don’t you.
The $1800 less we spend on airfare more than covered a hotel, meals, and tours for two more days of vacation. You can often save a boatload of money by choosing your travel dates wisely.
-Maximize Your Points And Miles:
Since we are talking luxury travel here, flying first class on international flights is amazing. Whenever I travel around the globe, I do whatever I can to have lie-flat seats. That being said, I am still to frugal (or cheap, or smart with money- depending on whom you ask) to pay full cash for these tickets. You can fly first class (sometimes) without going broke.
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When we traveled to Oktoberfest two years ago, our round trip tickets would have been about $12,000 each if we had paid in US Dollars. We were able to get a ton of value from our Delta SkyMiles and found round trip tickets in Delta One (their first-class cabin) for around 170,000 miles each plus a small amount in taxes and fees. Arguably that is a lot of miles to accumulate, but if you have them, flying in first or business class is one of the best ways to maximize their value. We earned some of our Skymiles from flying, but most of our miles come from using the Delta Reserve American Express credit card.
-Mix the Level of Your Hotel Stays:
If you are looking to stay at a high-end luxury hotel, don’t waste the money when you are going to be running around sightseeing all day. Splurge on a stay at a gorgeous property like the Four Seasons Hualalai, in Hawaii, when you are planning on spending most of your time at the resort enjoying the various amenities.
On an upcoming trip to Asia, we booked moderate priced hotels in cities where we planned on running around the sightseeing heavily. We just needed a place to sleep and store our stuff, and we were not planning on spending much time in our hotel room or relaxing by the pool.
We used the money we saved on the city hotels and put that towards the amount we spent at the beach resorts on our tour. The luxury resorts are where we will be meeting up with some other friends for some rest and relaxation. We will have the time and desire to get our money’s worth during our time at these properties. In fact, we may not even leave the resorts once we arrive, we shall see.
-Take Advantage of Credit Card Perks:
You can get extra value or just save some money off luxury hotels by using the Fine Hotels and resorts benefits available with the American Express Platinum Card. If you have the Delta Reserve American Express, you will have access to a first-class two for one flight voucher each year. So if your trip is somewhere in the contiguous 48 states, this is a great way to fly first class for half off.
To help get to your next luxury trip fast pay for travel with the right credit card. You will get three points per dollar spent on travel with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card. These points can be used like cash at a value of 1.5 cents each. That means every dollar you spend on travel can give you 4.5 cents towards your next trip. Plus the new miles you accrue on your flights, as well as points you may earn on hotel stays.
Even if you can afford everything you want when it comes to luxury travel, why not get the most enjoyment from your travel dollars. If nothing else, this will leave you that much closer to your next fabulous vacation. Where are you dreaming of traveling too next?