Six tips for luxury travel on a budget
Although motels and 'rustic' cabins can be charming, don't we all secretly prefer a five-star hotel suite, infinity pool, plush robes and a private butler?
"The good news is that with a little bit of creativity and planning you too can enjoy a luxury holiday on a budget," says Adam Schwab, CEO of LuxuryEscapes.com
Schwab shares his top tips for luxury travel on a budget.
Chase the fare, not the destination
You might be intent on going to the Maldives, but be open to where a great-value airfare might take you. Sign up to airlines' newsletters and look out for specials. By chasing great fares instead of destinations, you can afford to travel more often and upgrade your accommodation, not to mention discover stunning places in Australia and around the world you never even knew existed!
Travel off season
If you can, travel off season for best prices on both airfares and hotels. That doesn't just mean avoiding travelling during school holidays and public holidays; peak periods vary depending on the destination. Look for great deals in Thailand in June and July, Bali in November and early December or Croatia and the Greek island in May or September.
Do it yourself
Become your own travel agent by booking your holiday online - but be prepared to spend some time getting it right.
"Research, research and then research some more. Make sure to read the fine print of any hotel or holiday deal, especially the validity dates and inclusion conditions. Take the time to check reviews of the hotels, and look the hotel location up on a map and check its distance from the CBD or beach, as well as public transport options. You don't want to end up spending your entire holiday budget on taxis," Schwab says.
Get as many inclusions as possible
It's not just about getting the cheap flights and hotel rooms - whilst on holiday your credit card will be getting a workout. Look for a package holiday with plenty of inclusions.
"On LuxuryEscapes.com, all of our holidays include indulgent extras such as airport transfers, dining experiences, spa treatments and Kids' Club in our packages," Schwab says.
"Not only are you saving money, but often those little extras are the difference between a nice trip and the experience of a lifetime."
Become a regular
Airline frequent flyer schemes, or even Qantas Club (which gives lounge access), make your stay at the airport a lot more enjoyable. If you fly a lot, also consider a Priority Pass, which gives you access to lounges across the world for an annual or per use fee.
If you want to increase your odds of getting a flight upgrade the trick is to earn status credits as opposed to frequent flyer points says Schwab. Qantas has five levels of status (bronze, silver, gold, platinum and platinum one) and you get status credits every time you fly.
"The higher the status, the more chance you'll get upgraded - platinum and platinum one members have a reasonable chance of an upgrade," Schwab says.
Save on insurance
Unfortunate incidents can make your travel bill skyrocket, so travel insurance is a must.
"Travel insurance policies can vary a lot in price - it's definitely worth checking online as there are less middlemen and usually better prices. Get an annual policy if you're a frequent traveller, and make sure you get the right cover. There are policies more suited to risky activities such as skiing and scuba diving, so make sure to read what the cover includes," Schwab says.