Just as different people have different ideas of what luxury travel is and different expectations once they get there, they have different budgets, too. I don’t believe that you need to be rich or take out a second mortgage to enjoy luxury travel.
There are a lot of luxury lodgings in the world that are filled with honest warm hospitality, where hosts believe in giving their guests the best at a fair price. And there are high-priced properties that offer amazing bargains in the off seasons or to promote a new feature or program.
Finding these chances to enjoy true luxury without breaking your credit card is one of the things this page is all about, so let’s begin with a few tips I’ve learned from my own travels.
Ask for a better rate when reserving. Most people are afraid of sounding cheap, or worse, as though they really can’t afford the place, so never think to ask the magic words: “Is this the best rate you have available?” You’ll be amazed at how often you will be quoted a smaller suite, or one with a less grand view, at a much better price. Unless you plan to spend all your time in your room looking out the window, what does it matter?
Ask about affiliation discounts. In the United States and Canada, membership in AARP or AAA will often get you at least 10% discount. But don’t ask about this before you are quoted the best rate; sometimes the best rate is lower than the discounted standard rate.
Check website icons. Look for links to “promotions” or “Specials” to find seasonal and other bargains. Fore example, the pousadas of Portugal frequently offer last-minute specials that can bring double rooms at some down to below $80 a night.
Travel in shoulder or off seasons. It’s no secret that you can save money – and enjoy less crowded destinations -- by traveling when others are not. This is especially true of cruises: Peter Deilmann offers spring and fall rates on their five-star boutique river ships that bring deluxe cruises as low as $1600.
Book early. Early booking can save you money on cruises and resorts packages. On Norwegian Coastal Voyages, for example, booking in May can save $500 on August sailings.
These tips will help you save money in advance. In later articles we’ll discuss how to save money while you’re on vacation, and without sacrificing one bit of the luxury you deserve.