So I’ve already shared my top tips on saving when booking luxury holidays, but this one’s all about how to save once you’ve arrived at your destination. All the points below are things I do myself, so let me know if you have any questions!
1. Take advantage of breakfast
I always book a bed and breakfast package at the very least. Mainly because it’s my favourite meal of the day and the idea of wasting time finding somewhere to eat every morning is basically hell, but also because the menus/buffets at the resorts I’ve stayed at so far are too good to pass up on. Which leads me into tip number 1: take full advantage. I eat so much at breakfast time when I’m away that it means I’m honestly not hungry again until evening. It’s not even something I consciously do to try and save money- it just happens that way, and means I only end up spending on one meal a day. In short, make sure you find somewhere that does a good breakfast, and make sure you eat. A lot.
2. Pre-book excursions
Make sure you book any activities/tours/days out before you arrive at your destination. Hotels and tour providers are aware of the fact that once you’re on holiday, you’re too busy enjoying yourself to worry about looking elsewhere for cheaper deals, and will hoik up the prices whether it’s worth it or not. I usually pre-book any activities we want to do at the same time as booking our hotel. And don’t just use the very first website Google gives you- do a bit of digging and make sure you’ll get the best value for your money. I often use Tripadvisor forums to see what other travellers think of certain companies.
3. Bring snacks
Again with the food. Sometimes, the breakfast slot at hotels can end pretty early, and holding out until dinner isn’t feasible no matter how much I eat. If last orders are anything earlier than 10.30am (check this out on your hotel website before you leave), I make sure to bring a few non perishables that I can snack on in the afternoons. My go-tos are Pip and Nut sachets, Profusion protein bread and tinned fish.
5. Plan where you’ll eat
Ok, it’s starting to sound like my trips revolve around food, but they kind of do. I always make sure I have a restaurant booked for each night. I do my research and make sure they aren’t overpriced, but also that they’ve got good ratings on Tripadvisor. A bit of Instagram stalking comes in handy if you want to see what the food/decor looks like, too. In turn, you’ll avoid walking into tourist traps that overcharge you, and you won’t miss out on any must-sees if you turn up without having booked a table.
6. Be friendly
This applies to two situations: 1) Hotel staff. 2) Fellow travellers. I’ll start with the staff- a good old chinwag with someone who works or knows the area you’re staying in well can open doors to things you’d usually have to pay for. For example, befriending hotel staff might get you a free room upgrade, or a free tour guide for the day. A chat with a member of staff at Alila Seminyak led to us having our very own tour guide around Seminyak centre for the day. The concierge in luxury hotels are there to help, and they want to! As for fellow travellers, you can save a lot of money when it comes to excursions/getting around. Sharing taxis is something we do a lot, while we’ve also taken private boat trips with other couples and slashed the prices without having to share the charter with a whole load of others.
7. Try the local delicacies
I promise I won’t mention the food thing again, but be open to trying the local cuisine. Check out the street markets- they’ll cost you pittance, and they’re usually absolutely delicious. Of course, it depends where you’re going, but South East Asia is a good example- you’ll get a whole meal for no more than £1. Bangkok’s street food is up there on my bucket list!
8. Make the most of your hotel
As I’ve mentioned, if I’m going to splurge on anything, it’s hotels. It might seem like a lot to shell out for a first, but if it means I don’t end up spending on things to do and see once I’m there, it makes it even more worth it. I’d happily spend hours relaxing in hotel facilities, and a lot of luxury resorts put on evening entertainment so once the sun goes down, there’s still no reason to leave.
9. Avoid the mini bar
Ah, the mini bar. So conveniently placed, and so extremely overpriced. When I first started going on luxury trips, I wouldn’t think twice before slipping myself a San Pellegrino (or 9) from the mini bar. Then I’d see the bill once my stay was up. Be aware of how much you’re spending, but if it’s necessary, it’s necessary. My trips are all about escaping and living in luxury, so if I want a £5 chocolate bar, I’ll have one. But just the one. Similarly, take note of the added room service charge. The novelty of having food delivered on large silver trays will never wear thin with me, but I always make sure I check how much extra we’ll be charged to have it in our room.
10. Remember your toiletries
Sounds obvious, but the amount I’ve forked out for overpriced toiletries because I’ve forgotten to pack them is ridiculous. Brands will charge more depending on the country you’re in, but if you’re in a tourist area, chances are the pharmacies are expecting people like me (a Brit who couldn’t live without their fave moisturiser for a week), and will put the prices up. Triple check you have everything before you leave.
11. Set a daily budget
Whenever you go away, work out how much you’ll spend each day and stick to it. I usually go with more than I think I’ll need to be safe, and it’s nice to know there’s extra there if you need it. Take into account food and drink, excursions, transfers, getting around once you’re there, spa treatments- everything.
Hope that helps! For me, luxury trips are all about relaxing, and that costs absolutely nada. Get a good book, set up camp- hammocks are the one- and fall asleep in the sun. Then do it all again the next day. And the next…