Sam Ewing was not wrong when he described a vacation as being: “Two weeks on the sunny sands – and the rest of the year on the financial rocks”
While we all want to make the most of our time off in the sun we also don’t want to have to rack up credit card debt to pay for it. Unfortunately it seems every year going away gets a little more expensive. Part of this is of course people’s expectations of what makes for a great holiday has changed over the years.
In 2010 American Express did a study which showed that the average American family of four will spend about $4000 on vacation. This steady rise in the cost of vacation is in part thanks to incessant images of distant sunny islands with a cabins perched over glistening seas or shopping expeditions in Paris or Milan.
But is it possible to have a luxury vacation without breaking your budget?
In fact having a luxury vacation can be made much more affordable provided that you are willing to do a little prior planning and shop around. Here are some tips to have your own luxury vacation without going broke.
Fly Business Class on the Cheap.
Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you need to be stuck in cattle class. If you are travelling in North America ask about getting a Y-Up ticket. This is a ticket which is priced as economy class but is actually in business class. You will need to ask the airline directly however as many travel agents do not know about them. If you are flying internationally try a smaller airline instead of one of the majors. These often attempt to undercut their bigger competition with lower prices. Try buying your economy ticket and then asking to be upgraded. This generally works better than going directly for an upgrade. And finally try calling the airline directly on the phone and ask about reduced business class tickets. These will often be non-refundable and have stricter conditions but that’s the price you pay for luxury on the cheap.
Stay in a Condo
Staying in a condo rather than in a hotel room can almost cut your accommodation costs in half. In order to take advantage of condo living you will need to be planning on staying for at least a week as many condos have minimum stay period. However condos are often as well located as hotels and in some areas are in even more prime locations. The disadvantage is that you will need to clean up after yourself but this is a small price to pay to cut your costs.
The other reason that you want to stay in a Condo is so that you are able to prepare at least some of your meals in the apartment. Condos unlike hotel rooms have refrigeration and cooking facilities. With an average family of four this can save you a huge amount of money. You will still be able to enjoy a few special meals out but being able to prepare breakfast and lunch in your apartment can bring significant savings.
Make Your Own Fun
Another big cost on vacation are tours and planned events. However most of these costs can be avoided with a little research and making your own fun. Instead of paying for a tour bus of the city rent a car or a moped or see the city on foot. If you like snorkelling rent the gear yourself or bring it with you. Going on hikes and walks is free and a great way to see the natural beauty of your holiday location.
Follow these steps and you too can enjoy your couple of weeks in paradise living like a millionaire without having to spend the rest of the year regretting it.