Luxurious Travel: On a Budget

When struggling in the current economic climate, traveling can be a case of champagne tastes on a beer budget. Do not worry—it does not mean missing a luxurious getaway. Try these tips to enjoy an elegant trip for less:

• Travel off-season.

The prices can significantly vary based on the time of the year, and knowing the seasonal fluctuations can land you substantial savings. However, there may be some risks in travelling off peak—temperature and climate fluctuations. On the other hand, the fewer people around, the better chances of a nice upgrade—and the staff will be more accommodating as well.

• Visit destinations that are off the beaten path.

Finding a new and upcoming scene cannot only save you money, but can also be quite exciting. While being relatively unknown, these places are usually priced below comparable luxury areas. Consider vacations in The Azores, Nicaragua and Vietnam—but do it quickly; the best kept secrets may not stay that way for long.

• Do your homework.

The best deals for vacations are found when your research starts online. Sign up for frequent flyer programs—both airlines and hotels offer notifications of sales and discounts by email. Memberships in associations like AARP or AAA will usually get you as much as a 10 percent discount.

• Do not be afraid to ask.

You can certainly ask for additional discounts, or a better rate—but patience is the key! Wait to ask about discounts until a first price is quoted; sometimes the extra discounted rates are lower than the discounted typical rate. Check out which amenities they charge for—you may not have to pay for extras you do not want.

• Book early and save.

Book early—vacations are generally less expensive if they are planned. Do not make the mistake of waiting until the last minute—especially when saving for vacations. Put a small amount of money aside each month—specifically for the vacation. When the time comes, there will be enough money for the holiday you want, without overspending.

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