If you choose to stay in a luxury hotel, that doesn’t mean your entire trip has to have a luxury price tag. If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw I recently traveled to South Africa, with my husband, on what looked like, a luxury vacation. While we were there I realized some very important tips that will help you keep costs down while you travel, while still maintaining a luxurious feel.
Don’t let the luxury setting sway your mindset
When you arrive at your fabulous destination, you will get caught up in the luxury and start dreaming about extravagant dinners and pricey tours. Also, the concierges at these type of hotels will be recommending these type of activities.
First, acknowledge it is going to happen and talk to your partner/travel buddy about what you can and cannot afford to do before you leave. This makes it much easier to turn to one another and realize you are getting carried away.
Second, realize that it is ok to stay at a 5-star hotel and eat Nandos on the floor of your room one night. We actually did this while staying in 21 Nettleton, it was awesome. There is no right or wrong way to travel – remember that.
Budget the rest of your trip before you leave
Decide how much you want to spend on food, excursions, and everything else before you board the plane. Have a good plan and stick to it once you get there. This will also help stop you from overspending and making last-minute pricey decisions.
Plan zero-spend days
If you are spending most of your travel budget on the pricey hotel, you are going to have to compensate elsewhere. Before we leave, Matt and I like to challenge each other to plan a zero-spend day for our trip. These means lots of googling “free activities in X”. As the trip approaches, we look at what activities each other has found and combine the best ones into one day. Once on location, not only do we have a zero-spend day already planned but we also have a backup list of free options if we need to fill gaps in our itinerary.
Realize your expensive hotel is also saving you money
Fancy hotels usually have free breakfast, sometimes free happy hour or tea sessions and often times a killer view. Make sure if you’re shelling out the cash for these places that you are really experiencing everything they offer.
If you get a free, and luxurious, breakfast every morning, don’t plan an activity that will have you miss it. If you love sunsets and views try to book a hotel that has those built in so you don’t go looking for restaurants or bars to fill that void.
Enjoy all the fancy moments
5-star hotels are sometimes that expensive because they offer experiences you can’t replicate if you aren’t staying there. Plus, they are moments you probably won’t even consider until you’re there.
For example, while staying at Ivory Lodge in Sabi Sands, we walked to our room every day surrounded by Kudu and Impala grazing not even 5 feet away. And while at Lukimbi, we watched an entire herd of elephants – around 40 total – grab a drink from the river as we ate lunch.
As cliché as it sounds, these unique experiences I will remember for the rest of my life. This is a huge reason I think if you’re going to drop a lot of money on something while traveling it should be hotels.
Push the “Is it worth it?” thought out of your head
It is human nature to experience something and immediately start thinking “hmmm, was this worth X dollars”. And while that thought is valid, it is a thought you should have once you get home.
Instead, while you’re there take a mental picture and probably a couple real ones as well. Enjoy the amazing vacation you are on – you deserve it.
In my next article, I will be giving you tons of tips on planning long-term travel.
Be sure to follow on Mint and follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss an article.