I often get asked how I can afford to travel luxuriously several times a year. Well first of all I have a full-time job so that helps! But I’ve also learnt few tricks from years of travelling that allow me to indulge in lavish experiences without breaking the bank! In this guide, I will share my insider hacks and resources so you too can luxury travel for less. 

backpacking girl in a field

I’ve done my share of backpacking, sleeping in shared accommodation and taking the night bus to save on costs but there comes a time in everyone’s journey where they start to prioritise quality over price. I’m at that stage where I appreciate the finer things in life and my back aches too much to sleep on a semi broken bed in a hostel.

But luxury travel is more than just a 5-star hotel or a fancy car hire. It’s a lifestyle for those who seek to elevate their travel experiences and create unforgettable memories.

What is Luxury travel? 

Luxury travel is a form of travel that emphasises comfort, exclusivity, and personalised experiences. It goes beyond basic hotel stays and transportation modes and focuses more on quality service, lavish amenities, and unique experiences which can enhance the travel experience. Luxury travel destinations and experiences are often characterised by their high-quality offerings, attention to detail, and emphasis on creating unforgettable memories for travellers. Whether it’s a secluded island retreat, a luxury safari in Africa, or a private yacht in the Mediterranean, luxury travel opens the doors to a world of splendour and unparalleled experiences to those who seek it.

girl on a boat looking at a skyline at night time

What is Travel Hacking?

Travel hacking involves leveraging strategies and resources to maximise travel rewards, minimise expenses and unlock exclusive experiences such as airfare deals, hotel upgrades and VIP experiences. If you want to experience luxury at a low cost, you need to look beyond the popular destinations. These may offer glamour and excitement but they come with a hefty price tag. The world is brimming with possibilities and hidden gems that offer intimacy and authenticity. Instead of Maldives, Dubai or Hawaii, try Tanzania, Mauritius or Sri Lanka. These are relatively unspoiled destinations with many options where you can experience luxury at a fraction of the price you would pay at the more expensive destinations. Timing is key if you want to experience luxury travel and save money. By traveling during shoulder seasons or off-peak times, you can enjoy much lower rates, fewer crowds, and a more relaxed atmosphere.

Luxury travel for less: My Favourite Strategies For Travel Hacking

How To Get Flights Upgrades

Use Points and Miles

One of the most powerful tools you can leverage is the use of points and miles. By strategically earning and redeeming rewards through credit cards, loyalty programs, and airline alliances, you can unlock a world of luxury without breaking the bank. Perks often include flight upgrades, complimentary business lounge access and free nights at five-star hotels.

Luxury travel for less: a bar in the middle of a business class of a plane

Set Price Alerts For Flights

Google Flights are a great way to grab bargains on flights, including business class flights. You can customise your search based on preferred airports or flight times (e.g., morning/afternoon/evening) so that you don’t end up spending more than necessary on tickets! Additionally, Google Flights also features price alerts which allow you to track prices for specific dates and be notified of changes as soon as they occur.

Volunteer To Take a Later Flight

Airlines oversell tickets sometimes, which can result in more passengers than available seats. In these situations, the airline must find volunteers to take a later flight. If they are unable to find volunteers, gate agents are required to randomly select passengers for bumping. If your travel schedule is flexible, you may be able to take advantage of this program and request a premium seat on the next flight. Bear in mind that this only works if there is a premium seat available.

Bid On Upgrades

Almost all major airlines offer bidding programs, whereby economy ticket holders can bid on upgrades and bag heavily discounted business class seats. The airline would usually send you an email few days before your departure date but you can also check availability via the “Manage My Booking” section on website. Alternatively, you can inquire at the airport during check-in to see if any inexpensive upgrades are available.

Don’t bother asking for a free upgrade at the desk. These are almost never given and are often against company policy.

How to stay at Luxury Accommodations

Join hotel rewards programs

Hotel rewards programs are loyalty programs offered by hotel chains to encourage repeat business and customer loyalty. These programs typically allow members to earn points or rewards for every stay at participating hotels, which can then be redeemed for free nights, room upgrades, airline miles, and other perks.

Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques have one of the most rewarding programs which allow their guests to enjoy perks at some unique and independent hotels and resorts that are part of the Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques loyalty program. These boutique hotels offer distinctive experiences, a personalised service and stylish accommodations in sought-after destinations around the world. With Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques, you can earn and redeem points, receive elite benefits, and enjoy exclusive perks while staying at these handpicked properties.

Use Coupons And Cashback Websites

Cashback and coupons websites offer generous discounts on some of the top hotel chains. You can use your cashback money to purchase a gift card which you can use to stay at your favourite hotel.

Websites such are Groupon, Voyage Prive and offer huge discounts on selected hotels especially in the shoulder season. allows you to save up to 60% on accommodation and flights. The only drawback to Hotwire is that the details of the travel deal such as the hotel’s name and address are sometimes kept anonymous until you make the payment, however, these details can often be found in the reviews. Hotwire is owned by Expedia so the hotels it partners with are for the majority the same ones used by Expedia so chances are you will get a hotel brand you are familiar with.

Ask Directly At The Hotel

Unlike airline staff, hotel staff are more flexible and can offer upgrades to guests when they arrive. A charming attitude can go a long way and I was often offered room upgrades just from chatting with the reception staff. Many hotel chains are big on customer service and would go above and beyond to ensure their guests have an amazing experience.

Booking directly with the hotel can also save you a ton as opposed to using a third-party website. Hotels often have last minute and seasonal offers which are not offered by third-party websites so always check the hotel website or call them before you book.

House Sitting

House sitting is when someone looks after someone else’s residence while they are away. Depending on the destination, some of these houses can be villas or condos in incredibly exotic locations. As a house sitter, you will be expected to complete basic chores such as maintaining the garden and collecting the mail. You may also be asked to feed pets or water plants. In exchange for your services, your host will provide free accommodation (and in some cases a car) for the duration of their trip!

How To Eat In Fancy Restaurants and Save Money

Online Deals

Similar to hotels, coupons and online vouchers from Groupon, Yelp, or OpenTable often offer discounts or promotional deals for fancy restaurants.

Dining apps such as Zomato and Dineout offer exclusive discounts and can save you up to 50% of the bill.

Take Advantage of Lunch Specials

Many fancy restaurants offer discounted lunch menus with smaller portions or limited selections compared to their dinner menu. Opting for a lunch reservation can often save you money while still allowing you to experience the restaurant’s ambiance and cuisine.

Early Bird Specials

Some upscale restaurants offer early dining specials or prix-fixe menus for diners who eat during off-peak hours. By dining earlier in the evening, you can take advantage of these discounted offerings without compromising on quality.

Bar Seating

Opting to sit at the bar instead of a table in the dining room can sometimes result in lower prices for food and drinks. Many upscale restaurants offer a bar menu with smaller, more affordable dishes that still showcase the chef’s talents.

Lunchtime Tasting Menus

Some upscale restaurants offer tasting menus during lunch service at a fraction of the cost of their dinner counterparts. Tasting menus allow you to experience a curated selection of the restaurant’s signature dishes at a more affordable price point.


How to enjoy experiences at low cost

Experiences can really  enhance your travel by providing immersive cultural encounters and exclusive privileges to wellness and relaxation services.

There are strategies your can use to enjoy luxury travel experiences without breaking the bank.

Spa Experiences

Spa day passes

Some spas offer day passes that grant access to their facilities for a flat fee, allowing you to enjoy amenities such as pools, saunas, and relaxation lounges without booking a treatment.

Girl at spa in old building. Luxury travel for less

Spa Discounts

You can find spa discounts and promotions on deal websites, such as Groupon or LivingSocial, which often offer heavily discounted spa packages and treatments so it’s worth subscribing to of these websites so you get email deals sent to you.

Spa Training Days

Some spas offer discounted treatments on training days when staff members are learning new techniques or practicing under supervision. While treatments may be performed by trainees, they are often offered at significantly reduced rates.

Hotel Spa Access

If you’re staying at a hotel with a spa, ask about guest access to spa facilities. Some hotels offer complimentary access to spa amenities such as pools, hot tubs, and fitness centres.

Hotel day passes

You can take advantage of a hotel and resort day pass to have a luxurious experience without committing to a full stay. These passes grant access to a range of amenities including pools, beaches, spas, fitness centres and sometimes meals and activities for a single day. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy the luxury facilities and services of upscale resorts without the cost of booking an overnight room. Resort passes are particularly popular in North America and Mexico. My favourite service to use is Resort Pass which has a fantastic selection of hotels.

Luxury travel for less: girl in blue swimming pool at a resort

Cultural Experiences

Cultural immersion promotes personal growth as you are encouraged to step out of your comfort zone and engage in activities that can be challenging but  help you build self-confidence. These experiences also help you forge emotional connections with the locals or travel companions and make life lasting memories.

You can immerse yourself in the local culture by attending free events such as street festivals, art exhibitions, live performances, or cultural celebrations in your travel destination.


Online vouchers and discounts

There are tons of websites that offer deals and discounts for attractions such as
restaurants, theatre tickets, spa days etc. Websites such as Groupon, Livingsocial
and  GetYourGuide have daily deals so make sure you check them regularly. You can
also check directly with the venue. Many theatre and music venues release heavily
discounted tickets, so check the official sites and also third-party websites such as
Tiqets and Time Out as they regularly advertise discounts.

These are just some of the strategies I use to make my travel experiences more enjoyable. If you want to learn more, download my free guide where I share more smart hacks and tips to help you plan your next adventure!

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