A welcome drink, humble hospitality and exalted buffet with local and good quality ingredients, everyone enjoys and appreciates luxury but if I start spending on luxury trips without giving it a thought, I'll probably be eligible for just one trip in 5 years. The last time I spent four days with my sister in Kerala in a 5-star villa including multiple spas and food, I ended up spending lakhs on that trip within India, which encouraged me to explore some methods and tricks to enjoy the similar luxurious environment on my budget trips as well.
I realised that as much as luxury is about the destination, it is mostly about the experience. For instance, you can feel equally relaxed during a trip to Bali as you can on a trip to Sydney, and at times London can make you feel as uncomfortable as Dubai, it depends on the quality of your experience in a particular destination. So, here are some tips and tricks you can use as make your budget trip feel like a luxury one!
A rule to remember: book long-haul flights for longer trips and short-haul for shorter trips. Short-haul flights for shorter trips are cheaper.
Do a little research and explore local transport options. Go for a pre-booked cab if necessary.
Calculate a ballpark figure for your overall trip including food and travel and divide it with the number of days you are travelling for. Keep a check on the ratio of your per day expense and your flights. For example, if your per day cost for accommodation, food etc is Rs 10,000 and your flight is Rs 1,00,000, you can always check a travel website for a possible better offer.
In case of expensive flights, the longer you travel the more you'll to spend. So expensive flights will be directly proportional to a shorter trip. Choose wisely!
When thinking about a complete 5-star retreat, think about the country first, then find a hotel. You may find a good one in your own country or you can look for a country where Indian Rupee gets you more bucks like Nepal etc.
Of course, central locations are expensive for a reason but your preference at the moment is something else, so go for an accommodation that's in the lesser-known areas of the city. It makes a lot of difference as centrally located hotels are so in demand that they are always high-priced. Explore the interesting neighbourhood and food instead. Airbnb has some great options all around the world. If you're going for long, rent an apartment.
Hours spent online on travel sites like Trivago and MakeMyTrip will pay off. Research about the local places and areas, you can save a lot by doing so. For example, if you are well-researched, you would prefer to explore Eastern Europe over the West because it's cheaper yet will give you a great experience. Countries like Budapest, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, try Croatia, Slovenia, Romania etc.
If you like to travel often, pick destinations which have cheaper flights from India. I, once, wanted to travel to Seoul but the flight alone was the double of 5-day accommodation plus food. So, I changed my destination.
Your overall trip cost and a travel package offered by a travel site can have a huge difference, so don't forget to compare before you decide to book. Due to their tie-ups, some sites come up with better deals on accommodations than we, personally can. Your inbox is usually full of hotel and budget travel offers, so don't hesitate, just pick a package from there. Always check the price with the hotel directly as well.
Buffets are cheaper than a la carte. At times, the price difference is so much that you wouldn't regret even if you miss a meal.
Instead of a 5-star, stay in a Bread & Breakfast or a Boutique hotel.
For other luxury activities like spas, drinks, go for local options instead of using only what your hotel has to offer.
If that is something you are okay with, you're about to save a lot of bucks. In fact, off-season travel is hassle-free, the destination has a few people so the hotel will have more time to treat you with all the luxury you ask for.
As the stalls at the airport know that this is your last resort, they take advantage of the situation and exchange at higher rates. So don't do that.
You don't have to book a 5-star. You can get a suite at a 3-star. It would be more spacious and will have more advantages.
Have fun in the local market, try the special foods of the place but that's it. Don't spend extra on the same food you eat in your country. Like pizza is everywhere, spend more on Fiorentina Steak instead when you are in Italy!
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