“Head in the clouds, feet on the ground” is often the phrase I repeat whenever planning a new adventure. I’ve painfully learned that having my head in the clouds, without my feet firmly planted, that my wallet tends follow suit in experiencing weightlessness. No one likes buyer’s remorse over a vacation. With social media having a greater presence in sharing our lives, it’s hard to not envy those that seem to travel often, because “how do they afford it?”. Well, outside of using credit card points- as that’s always going to be the best option; here’s a few ways- most of which involve planning.
What if I told you that travelling luxury can be much more affordable if you enter with that mindset “head in the clouds, feet on the ground”. It’s OK to dream and to want the best, I’m going to give you some insight to having a successful vacation with your budget in mind- you don’t need to shut down the idea of travel all together. Don’t put off that vacation because the cost seems overwhelming- plan to be successful instead. Here are some tips I’ve learned:
Luxury Travel 4 Key Points:
1.) Plan. If you’re planning your dream vacation and the costs are generally high with where you would like to go, start planning no less than a year in advance. This is a key in luxury travel becoming more affordable for you and accommodating your budget. If you want to go right now, you might have to compromise your budget or your experience.
2.) Book accommodations/hotel BEFORE your flight and as soon as the idea of travelling a place pops in your head. Why? 1.) You can usually hold a room/accommodations an entire year in advance. 2.)There’s often a cancellation clause where you will not be held financially accountable as long as cancelled within a certain window. That being said, I’ve often booked the nicest hotel I found within my budget and have often ended up cancelling it due to finding an even nicer hotel that has a special going on. If you don’t believe me, here’s an example:
I’m going to Santorini, Greece this upcoming early October- I have been planning this trip since April 2016. I was able to snag an upgraded room on special at the Volcano View Hotel, located in Imerovigli (not quite Oia)- a 5 star hotel at a rate of ~$120 USD/nt – Important note: breakfast is included too. Rates at this hotel can easily exceed over $200/nt. You might say $120/nt still is expensive, but Santorini is known as one of the most beautiful islands in the world and the costs are generally there to support that claim with the supply/demand that’s present.
- Often you can also get great deals on hotels/accommodation by waiting last minute as well, but this is a risk you must calculate.
3.) Travel SHOULDER season to your destination to get good prices and an often pleasant experience. Travel OFF season for the best prices, but you may potentially be gambling with your experience depending on your travel expectations. Research the peak, shoulder, low seasons of your destination to see what is best for your experience in mind and also you budget. Reverting back to Santorini for this topic, with credit to Santorini Dave on this one:
- Santorini’s PEAK season: Late June to Early September. Santorini welcomes you with warm and pleasant weather and is often crowded. With prices that support that demand is high/supply is low. If you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation full of water activities and swimming, this may be the best time for you to visit Santorini.
- Santorini’s SHOULDER season: May, June, September, and October. Often still warm weather, but getting in the sea water may not be possible
- Santorini’s LOW season: November to April. Santorini’s low season has unpredictable winter weather, but offers the best prices. In this season, you’re unlikely able to island hop as many other islands will be closed and some stores/shops in Santorini will be closed as well.
Check out Santorini Dave’s blog, if you’re interested in more information on Santorini’s weather and the best time to visit: Santorini Dave’s Blog
“Head in the clouds, feet on the ground”
4.) Stay away from restaurants near tourist locations- these are often the most overpriced and often (not always) deemed as poor quality food choices. This truly gives you a false sense of the cost of travelling to a new place, if you’re spending half of your budget on poor quality and overpriced food.
- Ask the locals of where you are where they would recommend, they often will direct you to affordable and delicious food choices. This rule also applies to shopping/boutiques.
The most important key in forming a budget for luxury travel- identify what experience you want from your travels. Do you want to relax with a nice view, do you want to eat/dine out a lot, and/or do you want to go clubbing? Often, when you adopt a “YOLO” concept to your spending habits while travelling, you tend to think travelling is more expensive than it truly needs to be and you then are afraid to travel anywhere outside of your comfort zone. You should come back from your travels feeling as though you came out to accomplish what you meant to, not that you maxed out your credit card unnecessarily all in the spirit of adventure.
See here for my current travel resources (none of which are paid endorsements):