There’s no doubt about it: we Brits love a holiday. In 2018 alone, 71.7 million trips were taken, amounting to £45.4 billion spent going abroad by tourists from the UK. And having an exciting trip to look forward to later in the year can really help with our motivation to work hard now.
We are also increasingly developing a taste for the high life, with 29 per cent of holidaymakers staying in five-star accommodation that same year. It’s clear we enjoy the finer things while on our annual holidays, and from top-notch hotels to comfortable flying, luxury travel can be far more accessible than you may think.
While traditionally only a small percentage of the population would be able to afford a holiday considered to be ‘luxury,’ there are now a seemingly endless array of top travel tips and hacks that can help us live out our best luxe lives without spending an absolute fortune.
We’ve done the research, and have revealed some of the easiest things you can do to in order to get the best out of your holiday on a budget. From getting a flight or hotel upgrade to being able to travel in taxis during your trip, read on to find out our top tips.
Get into a great hotel for less
Hoping to live the life of luxury in a top-notch hotel? Find a cheap deal by looking into a newly-opened place. Many hotels that are trying to become established will have great introductory offers to their first however-many-guests in the months after they have opened. Check out Conde Nast Traveller’s new hotel updates, and do your research into smaller, more obscure places that may be a little more under the radar.
If you don’t have a location in mind, follow fancy chains like The Hoxton on social media, as they always announce their newest destinations there first, usual with big price cuts for those early bookings. And if you know a local who can recommend you the best new places, you’re in.
Ensure you have a quiet, peaceful hotel room
While booking your hotel and finding the best deal is usually the primary concern, it’s always a bit of gamble when arriving at an establishment you’ve never been to before, particularly in terms of the quality of room you are given. You may find you’re plonked right by a busy road, or could be unlucky enough to have some noisy neighbours.
However, in a report by Cosmopolitan, a rep fromhotels.com revealed that you can increase your chances of maintaining the peace by requesting a corner room. ‘Due to the structural layout of a building, these rooms generally have the most square footage and windows, while also offering the lowest noise level,’ they explained. ‘It will feel like you have a nicer room, without actually paying for one.’ Score.
Get a free upgrade on your flight
Getting an upgrade on your flight is the ultimate luxury travel goal, and while there are many suggestions floating around, here’s one you may not have heard of yet. New York Times best-selling author Tilly Bagshawe, who flies an average of 100,000 miles a year, revealed that there are two words you can drop when speaking to your airline, which may help your plight: ‘revenue management’. Tilly recommends ringing up the reservations team before you fly, because ‘by mentioning it you reveal yourself as someone who knows how things work and understands how seats are released.’
Begin by asking: ‘Have revenue management released any first-class seats for miles upgrades yet?.’
‘When they say no, ask them to check or just be put through to revenue management so you can ask when they will release some, as well as how many seats are left.’
‘Politely respond like this: “You have 20 seats unsold? Why aren’t you releasing them?” Often by the end of the conversation they say, “OK, we’ll release one for you,’ or they might tell you to call back tomorrow.”‘ Apparently it has worked for Tilly 100 per cent of the time.
Get a free upgrade at your hotel
Along with getting an upgrade for your flight, there’s no lovelier feeling than getting to your hotel after a long journey and learning you have been upgraded to a better room. There is no exact science that’ll guarantee this happening, but there are certain things you can do to increase your chances.
One of these is to check in as late as possible; by this point, room allocations will be clearer to staff at the hotel and they will know what they can offer. Another top tip is to book directly with the hotel. If you book through a comparison website, that company usually earns a commission, while if you go direct to the source, they get the full lot. They are therefore usually more inclined to help you out.
Book a great luxury Airbnb for less
If you’re more of an Airbnb kind of person, there are still ways you can take advantage of opportunities to get cheaper stays. yourmoney.com revealed that research by My Property Host highlighted short breaks on Airbnb are best booked just six short days in advance. Analysis showed this time frame offers the best combination of choice and cost. This said, it’s usually better to plan long-term trips further in advance for more stability.
Take taxis abroad without spending a small fortune
It’s always a treat to be able to travel by taxi while on holiday, and it saves you having to carry your heavy luggage on potentially complicated public transport. Travel expert Lexi Alford, who currently holds the world record for being the youngest person to travel to every country, believes it is absolutely possible to do this in a fairly priced way.
All you need to do is email ahead to your hotel, and ask them what the usual price is from the airport to the hotel (or whichever trip you are taking), and a local will be able to tell you what a fair price would be, to save being ripped off. Simple but clever, huh?
Hear about the best deals for all destinations
Certain tools can really help you to plan your trip, and if you have patience, these tools can get you the best trip for the least expensive cost. One such resource is Jack’s Flight Club, which sends daily emails exposing the best flight deals on the market right now, covering all destinations and airlines. Luxe destination sites such as Voyage Prive and Secret Escapes also reveal the best sales, so it’s crucial to always have your fingers on pulse at all times and remember: it’s all about embracing the waiting game.
If you’re travelling as a couple, Mr & Mrs Smith is also worth keeping an eye on – it focuses on the best boutique and luxury hotels with special deals for members, and often throws in an extra perk with your booking, like a free bottle of champagne or spa treatment.
Be spontaneous – and have it pay off
While booking your Airbnb six days before your trip sounds brave, this method will strike fear into the hearts of big time planners everywhere. Website Hotel Tonight does as it says on the tin: offers hotels for tonight… and at the best, last minute prices. It does take some nerve however; simply visit the website when arriving in your destination and find a hotel for that night for the best cost. If spontaneity is your thing, this is the travel hack for you.