Stay in Luxury HostelsYou may not have thought the words “luxury” and “hostel” where compatible, but luxury hostels are one of the most up and coming trends in the alternative/budget travel lifestyle. When someone mentions they stayed in a hostel, the most immediate picture to come to mind are cramped dorm style rooms, grungy overused shared bathrooms, and an eclectic worn out collection of furniture and linens. But this picture couldn’t be further from reality when it comes to luxury hostels, which offer first class amenities and second class prices. For just a few dollars more than the cramped hostel room, you can spend the night in your own private oasis, complete with resort comfort level mattresses, spa bathtubs ensuite, and breakfast on demand 24/7. Luxury hostels are popping up all over the world, and a private room will only run you anywhere from 15 to 100 euros, depending on the city and country. The prices are far cheaper than the hotels right down the street, but the rooms have the feel of a luxury resort rather than a mainstream hotel.
Never Wait in Line AgainThe first sign of of a wealthy traveler like Kim Kardashian? Never having to wait in line with the common folk again! Lucky for you, even if you’re a hardcore budget traveler with limited means, you can still feel the glam and posh of getting first class treatment at the airport. For under $100, you can enroll in the TSA Precheck Program or Global Entry Program, and enjoy expedited security checks and shorter wait times. You also avoid a lot of hassle in airport security checkpoints, like having to remove your shoes or take your laptop out of your bag. $85 earns you 5 years of security clearance through TSA. Forget your passport? No worries- with Precheck you can still fly almost as if you were famous enough to be recognized without ID. $100 gets you 5 years in the Global Entry Program, which includes faster processing through Customs on international flights. If you travel often enough, you may be eligible to join a reward program through an airline. For instance, if you fly Delta frequently, you can become a member, and depending on your level, you can earn SkyPriority status for free! This status includes free perks like accelerated boarding times, quicker security clearance, and the ability to skip those long check in lines at the beginning of the airport.
Win a Vacation Like This OneA few months ago, two luxury travel companies hosted a competition for a year long, paid vacation. The winner got to travel for an entire year on a $1 million vacation around the world in just about every country completely on the company’s dime, with the only stipulation being that you review each of the luxury resorts, restaurants, and activities by submitting reports back to the company of your experience. Sound too good to be true? The mathematical odds of winning are extremely low, but one lucky person gets to spend an entire year traveling like a millionaire without spending a dime of their own money. Luxury Travel Intelligence and VeryFirstTo.com were the companies that sponsored the trip, but other luxury travel companies often host similar competitions or drawings with prizes that include free vacations or 5 nights at a luxury resort. Do a good Google search and sign up to be on the mailing list for companies that offer these kind of opportunities so you can jump on board the next time a chance comes up to travel for free.
Fly a Luxury Jet For CheapThere may be nothing more exclusive and elite status worthy than flying in your own private jet. While buying a jet may be slightly out of your price range even if you saved your entire life, you can still enjoy traveling in style while paying around the same for a domestic airline ticket if you know where to look. Several sites, like Jetsuit.com, offer bookings on private jets the same way you’d book a flight on any other airline. The prices will still be higher, but if you become a member you’ll get access to the SuiteDeals section, where last minute flights are posted at a deeply discounted price tag. The best way to take advantage and make a jet flight cost effective and possible is if you are flying with friends. For instance, you can find a last minute weekend flight for $500, which is still much more expensive than a single ticket on a regular airline. However, if the jet seats 10 and you bring along 9 other people, all of a sudden it can actually be cheaper to fly on a private jet than on a domestic carrier. Welcome to the life of enjoying all the leg room you could ever wish for.
Rent Out a MansionAccommodation is another area where luxury travel is much more attainable if you can convince a few friends to travel with you. Hotel stays can run around $60 to $100 a night for a cheap, generic 2 star hotel per night, so a group of 10 people ends up paying $600 to $1000 each night. For about half that price, the same group can rent an entire castle in Ireland or island in the Philippines. Airbnb.com and Vrbo.com are great sites for private home and mansion rentals around the globe, and are very easy to reserve for group travel. Living like a millionaire has never been so cheap!
Travel in the Off SeasonTraveling opposite of the tourist crowd may seem pretty obvious, but it’s an often overlooked strategy that can cut the cost of your trip nearly in half. The same room in Florida during spring break will cost you up to 60% less in November; a cruise in the summer will run about 40% more than the same cruise during the school year. You can still take your exotic African Safari, just book it during the winter months instead of the summer.
Offer To Write ReviewsIf you’ve got a bit of bravado, and some mad writing skills, you can try to bargain your way into discounted or even free hotel stays, meals, and activities in exchange for writing up reviews. If you have a great online presence, like a successful blog or an Instagram account with a million followers, you can try to barter for higher stakes, like a completely free nights stay at a luxury hotel in exchange for writing up a review on the resort and posting it online. If you’re not as well known, you can still offer to write up a positive Yelp review or blog entry in exchange for a few bucks off your meal at a nice restaurant. Think outside the box and be a little gutsy- who knows? It might turn into a full time job!
Shop OnlineSometimes, you can find great deals on pre-arranged vacations and getaways online through discount travel sites or coupon directories. Groupon.com has an entire getaway section where a trip to Ireland with castle stays and car rentals often runs at under $1000 per person, including airfare. Travelzoo.com is loaded with discount vacation packages for similar prices but many more options and destinations across the globe. You can also buy your airfare and book your stays through websites like eBates.com, which gives you anywhere from 1 to 6% cashback on purchases made through the site. It’s not much, but it’s a great way to add a few dollars back into your wallet, especially if you’re able to find a good deal in the first place.
Visit Exotic (but Cheap) CountriesAh, to be rich and famous like a Kardashian, when all of your vacations center around exotic locations rather than just around your grandparent’s dining room table. In truth, your vacations can be just as exotic as the millionaire’s next door, and for the same price as a flight back to visit the relatives, if you just know which exotic country to visit. Instead of Spain, try Portugal; the weather and people are similar, but housing and transportation are significantly cheaper. Or skip Western Europe and head to Eastern European countries, like Romania, Ukraine, and Bulgaria, which are much cheaper to visit than Italy or France, but where you can still enjoy your European architecture, culture, and railways. Southeast Asia may not be Dubai, but you can still enjoy exotic cuisine and warm temperatures. The more you travel to countries where your dollar stretches further, the easier it will be to feel like a millionaire while only spending a few dollars. For instance, a Swedish massage in Sweden will run you at least $100 per hour, while the same message will cost you about $8 on the oceanfront beach in the Philippines.
Rent Your WardrobeWant to really feel like a Kardashian when you travel? Then you’re probably going to want to dress like one. If you’re on a tight budget, you probably aren’t able to afford a thousand dollar shopping spree for the latest clothes and fashions, but you can still give your wardrobe a temporary make over for your vacation and try renting clothes instead. There’s plenty of clothing rental websites around, but several, like Gwynniebee offer a free 30 day trial, and plans start at just $35 a month. Even for their most expansive plan, you’ll pay only $159 for 10 different garments, which is about all you need to pack for a trip anyway. A designer level wardrobe for only $159? No one will be able to tell but you!
Rent a Luxury CarCar rental sites, like Enterprise and Hertz, offer a lot more than just 4 door sedans and minivans. You can rent high end luxury rides like Porsches, Mercedes, and even Lamborghinis from the same rental agencies if you ask around. It will cost you a lot more, but you can rent these high end rides by the hour, day or week, depending on your budget. Make sure to ask specifically for high end luxury cars; many of the luxury cars aren’t advertised alongside the rest of the fleet and have long waiting lists. The price tag may look hefty, but if you have a few friends traveling with you, splitting the bill on a Ferrari starts to look awfully similar to renting a tiny hatchback.
Dine like a KingThe key to eating out in style is to take advantage of online promotions and coupon sites. Restaurants.com is a great site to use for really high end fine dinning restaurants; they often offer discounts than can easily help you eat filet mingon on a Mcdouble size budget. Another way to enjoy fine dining at a discounted price is to ask if restaurants have memberships; if you sign up to be on the mailing list, you can often receive promotional discounts like free meals on your birthday, half priced appetizers, or a secret list of discounted menu items only available to members. I worked as a server all through college, and it was amazing how many tables I served would order the exact same menu, but one table paid only $10 and had a free dessert just because they had joined the mailing list, while the other table’s bill was well over $75. If you want to enjoy eating at the best restaurants but can’t afford a full course meal, get dressed up and enjoy a meal at happy hour. You’ll feel like a million bucks, and enjoy incredibly personalized service because restaurants are much less crowded and your server will not have as many distractions. The food arrives faster, you won’t feel rushed, and food and alcoholic drinks are often half priced. My husband and I love to go and order a bunch of appetizers and split several plates of tapas; it’s cheaper than ordering two full meals and you get to try a little bit of everything.
Speak UpOne of the best and often overlooked ways to enjoy free perks and upgraded benefits is to simply ask! Ask if the hotels are willing to bump you up to a suite for free, or if a first class seat is still open and available. The worst they can do is say no, and if you ask politely, almost no one will take offense or even think the worse of you for asking.
Hire a ChauffeurWant instant elite status? Enjoy sitting in the backseat while someone else deals with the headache of rush hour traffic. At Bemydd.com, you can hire a personal driver for under $20 an hour. If you have a few friends you are traveling with, it will cost you only a few dollars an hour to enjoy first class service on the road, and the enjoyment of having to skip out on trying to find parking or walking from the bus stop.
Rent a YachtGroup travel really does pay off well, especially when it comes to accommodation and transportation. Similar to jet rentals or luxury car rentals, you can find discount yacht prices last minutely through booking services like Latesail. You can also find sailboats, houseboats, and yachts on independent accommodation booking sites like Airbnb or Vrbo. The savings are huge, especially if you can sleep on it and skip paying for a hotel, making the yacht double as both entertainment and housing. For instance, a sail-boating tour and hotel night in San Diego will easily run you close to $400, but you can rent out an entire sailboat for the weekend for around $100, and enjoy falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean right beneath you while living on a boat that costs three times your annual salary.
Take a Repositioning CruiseIf you’ve always dreamed of taking a luxury cruise but don’t have the budget, you can still sail the high seas and enjoy first class amenities for a hugely discounted price tag if you sail repositioning cruises. Repositioning cruises occur when a cruise ship is relocated to another area for a set of cruises, usually at the change of seasons. For instance, a ship that has been sailing around the Caribbean for the summer may get re-positioned to the Mediterranean for the winter. Since the ships only sail one way, the cruises are harder to sell, but rather than sail them passenger and profit free, cruise ships will sell heavily discounted tickets in order to try to recoup some of the costs. Sometimes these cruises will even include a one way fare with the prices, which makes it an even better deal for luxury wanna be travelers. While you are usually limited to traveling either in the spring or fall, on the plus side you’re able to cruise around some really unique areas with a different itinerary than normal cruises, while still enjoying catered meals, deck top swimming, and dancing under the stars.
Free Wine TastingIt doesn’t get much more posh than sipping fine wine and enjoying tiny midget size horderves. What most people don’t know is that there are plenty of vineyards where you can enjoy the wine for free, and taste several different kinds of wine on the house. If you really want to kick it up a notch, do some research and find when your city offers city-wide artwalks. Many of the galleries will offer complimentary wine tastings in the studios, so you can enjoy gazing at the newest avant-garde works of art while sipping wine. Dress the part and enjoy feeling like a millionaire without opening your wallet.
Become a Luxury Travel AdviserIt’s not an easy process, and requires a lot of hard work, but if you really want to chase the dream of luxury travel for cheap or even free, you could try becoming a luxury travel adviser. Similar to a glorified travel agent, a luxury travel adviser usually works part freelance part in partnership with a travel agency. It takes years of networking, and usually several months to a year or two before commission checks really start reeling in, but in the long run you’ll be able to help others dream in style and luxury while enjoying the perks as well. You’ll have first hand knowledge and access to deep travel discounts, insider tips, and the networking connections to travel the world like the rich and famous.
Embrace the All InclusiveAll inclusive vacations may sound like a punch in the gut, but don’t knock ‘em if you haven’t tried it. Yes, they’re touristy and predictable, and you’re miles away from actually experiencing the country, but staying at an all inclusive resort can be a fun experience in and of itself. The great part of all inclusive resorts is you can often find deals that include airfare, open bar, free meals, and plenty of amenities that all add up to make you really feel like you are traveling like a millionaire. After all, it doesn’t get much more posh than drinks delivered poolside while you soak in some Caribbean rays. While celebrities may enjoy the life on their own islands, you can still enjoy the same luxurious lifestyle at resorts for often cheaper than just airplane tickets alone. For instance, Groupon often runs deals on all-inclusive resorts with airfare in the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica for around $500 a person. It’s hard to find plane tickets in that price range, let alone free drinks, pool side rooms, and plenty of scuba diving and dancing on the beach. There’s a definite stigma attached to all inclusive resorts, but those people are usually the ones sitting at home while you’re the one partying like a millionaire in the Caribbean. Ready to suit up and explore the world in a very luxurious fashion? Trekeffect has plenty of resources, from luxury hostels to cheap and exclusive entertainment to take your next trip to an elite level without maxing out the budget. Sign up for Trekeffect
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips & Tricks
Shop for Travel EssentialsGet all of your essential travel gear right from our store. We hand pick the best travel products. Get everything from luggage to camping gear and other travel accessories for your trip.
Book your flightFind cheap flights using SkyScanner. This search engine is are our favorite, making sure you get the best deal for tickets all over the world. They are great at aggregating flights from multiple providers.
Book your accommodationsIf you're looking for a hostel, you should book it with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere else, book with Trekeffect. Our hotel booking system is powered by the Priceline Partner Network and we donate 10% of the hotel booking value to UNICEF to help starving children around the world.
Don't forget travel insuranceProtects yourself against illness, injury, theft, and even cancellations with travel insurance. You're buying comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. We never recommend traveling without it. We’ve been using World Nomads, a great company, with great service and highly recommend them. - World Nomads (for everyone below 70) - Travelx Insurance (for those over 70)
Looking for the best companies to save money with?Check out our resource page for the absolute best companies to use when you travel! We list our favorite companies that save people the most money when they travel and we think it will help you too! Disclosure: Some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. We only recommend products and companies we use and the income keeps the community supported.
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips & Tricks
Shop for Travel Essentials
Book your flight
Find cheap flights using SkyScanner. This search engine is are our favorite, making sure you get the best deal for tickets all over the world. They are great at aggregating flights from multiple providers.
Book your accommodations
If you're looking for a hostel, you should book it with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere else, book with Booking.com. Their hotel system usually offers the best rates out of any provider worldwide.
Don't forget travel insurance
Protects yourself against illness, injury, theft, and even cancellations with travel insurance. You're buying comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. We never recommend traveling without it. We’ve been using World Nomads, a great company, with great service and highly recommend them.
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Travelx Insurance (for those over 70)
Disclosure: Some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. We only recommend products and companies we use and the income keeps the community supported.