Budget Vs Luxury Travel - Tips To Make A Budget Experience More Luxurious

Being able to travel is a luxury many of us in the Western world take for granted. Flights are so cheap these days and with a quick hop on board a flight or a boat, you can be transported to a new country in no time.

But what type of traveller are you, are you a luxury traveller or a budget traveller, or somewhere in between? You may not compromise on luxury hotels but don't mind flying in economy, or do you prefer to stay in hostels but love spending money on food?

Whether you're taking part in a luxury trip with the help of a luxury travel expert, or keeping the cost low with budget-friendly options, either way, it will be a fantastic trip. Below, I will cover some tips and tricks for whichever route you decide on.

To address what type of traveller you are I think we need to break it down. The important thing is what actually matters to you and what experiences do you prefer to pay for?


upper class on Virgin Atlantic on the Dreamliner

For example, you may be happy to pay for cheap flights yet on the other hand the extra legroom, improved food and attentive service may mean you prefer a premium economy, upper class or business class service. A case in point is that I am happy to pay for extra legroom on the plane as I am a nervous flyer and feel more comfortable with the extra space. Flying to Boston upper class on Virgin Atlantic was amazing and something I would definitely repeat if I had the money again. Alternatively, you may feel that you would rather fly economy and then have more spending money when you get to your destination. 

If you fly economy on long haul here are some things that can do to make the experience more luxurious.

  • Take noise cancelling headphones.
  • Pack some toiletries to pamper yourself on the plane.
  • Buy some luxury foodie treats in duty free.
  • Take a good travel pillow, slipper socks and a lightweight blanket to make you feel more comfortable.
  • Download your favourite movies to your laptop or portable device so you can watch them on the plane, especially a good idea if you do not have an entertainment system available or you have to pay for it.


Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees Lake Maggiore Italy

Luxury hotels in popular tourist destinations can be very expensive. Personally, we enjoy staying in luxury hotels but ones where we still feel we are getting value for money. Yet sometimes it's worth paying for something you really want if it will make your trip, like a beachfront room at a five-star luxury resort like 
Belmond Cap Juluca Anguilla. You have to weigh up what really matters to you. I do find though that it's almost always worth booking direct too, as some hotels will give you breakfast with the rate if you book directly through them and not a third party. A trend I have noticed is that some boutique hotels will offer snacks and wine during the night complimentary too. A way to save money if there are more than two of you could be to book an apartment, where you will get more space than a standard hotel room, and often at a similar price.

To save money here are some things you should take into consideration when booking a luxury hotel.

  • Travel in the low season as prices are often cheaper.
  • Stay in a luxury hotel slightly further out from the main attractions as prices will be more competitive.
  • Check that you are getting extras such as free breakfast, coffee and tea or snacks and wine in the evening.
  • Use comparison sites to look for hotels, but then consider booking direct as you may get extra perks such as free Wi-Fi or breakfast. To make sure that everything is covered, book your hotel room with a company like cozycozy.
Eating out

Gabriel Kreuther - 1 Michelin star restaurant in New York

Eating out can be relatively cheap if you know the spots the locals go to. However, you may want to go to that cool rooftop bar or Michelin star restaurant that you don't get the chance to visit every day. Think about how important it is to you to have that gourmet food or expensive cocktail or would you rather save money eating in a simple restaurant, cafe or bar.

To save money eating and drinking out here are some things you could consider.

  • If you want to go to a special restaurant with gourmet food, consider going at lunchtime when most have cheaper menus. We did this in a Michelin star restaurant in New York and saved a fortune.
  • Check out TripAdvisor and Yelp for reviews, and ask the hotel staff for recommendations for good quality food that won't break the bank. 
  • Make use of the hotels 'Happy Hour' for cocktails and cut-priced alcoholic drinks.
  • Drink locally produced alcohol which will be cheaper than imported drinks.
  • Check restaurant and special deal websites like Groupon as you may get money off vouchers or cut-priced deals. Restaurants in the US are particularly good at taking money off vouchers.
Car Hire

Car hire prices can vary a lot depending on the age of the driver, the size of the car, the type of car and if you are driving through borders and countries.

To save money on car hire consider the following.

  • How far are you travelling? If you are hiring a car for the day you could get away with a smaller car but if you are planning a road trip a more comfortable car would be preferable.
  • Get the smallest size car in the most comfortable category you can. 
  • When only a large car will do, don't forget to use price comparison sites for the best deal on car hire such as Dealcheker.
  • Consider a higher excess to reduce price, but only do this carefully, weigh up the roads you are driving on and any hazards you may encounter.
  • A local car hire company may offer cheaper prices but there is something to be said for going with a company you can trust and has an international reputation to uphold.

Dealchecker a comparison site that lets you save money on travel, has looked at research into budget vs luxury travel and as you can see below, the savings are staggering. Even if you do have the money to book a luxury hotel and premium flight service you may just want to save the money to spend on something else - like more travelling!

Let me know, are you a budget traveller, luxury traveller or somewhere in between? What do you like spending money on, whilst on vacation?

*PR Collaboration


  1. I am generally somewhere in between. I like going for nice hotels especially and will pay more for something nicer but do look out for deals or going out of season x

  2. Wow! Such a great read and an excellent comparison! I like to consider myself as a budget traveler so reading this was so much fun!

  3. These are some great sounding tips, I have to admit we always go on holiday out of season to try and save a bit of money.

  4. I'm a bit of an in between. I normally pay less for my flights so I can splurge a bit more on my hotel and have a wonderful experience. Although some of my favourite holidays have been when I've been on a super cheap holiday x

  5. I do like a little luxury when travelling. First class flights on Virgin to Florida were great. Also, First to Toronto, New York and DC. Hotels I do like plush, as usually you do get lots of extras that I normally pay for. Eating out I am happy to go budget and eat wear the locals go, as usually it is the best food anyway x

  6. Definitely in between traveler. We use points when we fly so we're paying less or almost nothing for our flights. We always try to go in the off season when possible for cheaper hotels.

  7. I think if we could I would rather spend more on the flight and getting that extra leg room especially for a longer haul flight. Eating out I not normally to fussed about higher end as I'm a bit of a fussy eater but great tips.

  8. These are great tips for saving money travelling. We are definitely budget travellers. We fly on the cheapest flights and stay in cheaper, slightly out of town hotels. But we're often off exploring so not in the hotel and it means we can travel quite a few times a year.

  9. I am a budget traveller that would like to be a luxury traveller haha. I love looking for deals to get some extras x

  10. I think that taking your own food on flights is a great way to make economy seem more luxurious. Plane food sucks, but some tasty snacks make all the difference

  11. Some great tips on this page, especially love your eye popping pictures and the way you word things, definitely grabs the audience and makes me want to read more, keep up the good work.

  12. Looks amazing - first class on virgin really is something else isn't it?!

  13. I love this post so much Mellissa! I am definitely a budget traveller, as you know, but I like to have luxuries on a budget (remember that 5* hotel I got for just £158 for a week, all-inclusive for mum and I?!). These tips are handy though, from eating out to flights, you can make even the cheapest trip seem more luxurious! x