In this article I want to talk about how you can enjoy luxury travel while maintaining your budget. By using these tips I was able to go a Sandals resort for my honeymoon and not go into to debt for it.
Why Luxury Travel?
So why luxury travel and not a more frugal option? If you read my article on what financial independence means to me, you’ll recall that it is all ensuring your money goes towards your personal goals. One thing that really makes my wife happy (and me in turn) is staying a luxury resort from time to time. It can still fall in line with your financial goals provided you budget for it. If you haven’t established your budget yet, click here to get started on that first.
Budget For All Expenses
The key here is to budget for your vacation far enough in advance that you can save for it. On our recent trip to Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, we planned our next trip for 18 months from now. We put a deposit on it to lock in the price and will set aside money each month so that we can go on the trip without debt.
We choose an all-inclusive resort so that there are no unexpected expenses. Sandals resorts include transportation to and from the airport, all meals, snacks, alcohol, and gratuities. Excursions are an additional expense, but you can book them in advance so the cost is also rolled in. If you don’t stay at an all-inclusive resort it will be harder to budget for these items because the cost can vary greatly depending on the location.
Tips For Saving On Luxury Travel
In addition to choosing an all-inclusive resort, there are a few other ways you can save money on luxury travel.
Off-Season or Shoulder Season Travel
Obviously travel will be most expensive during periods of high demand like summer and spring vacation. So why not consider traveling during the off-season or shoulder season. The shoulder season is the period between the high and low seasons. It’s not quite as inexpensive as off-season, but the weather is usually still nice enough to enjoy the vacation. Depending on the destination, there are shoulder seasons for both the spring and fall. However, fall often ends up being a great time for travel deals in the US, Europe, and the Caribbean.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas is one of the best times to take a Caribbean vacation because you’ll avoid the cost and crowds associated with holiday travel and you’ll miss the end of hurricane season.
Look For Airline Deals
So maybe you dream of Hawaii and the Caribbean. Do a little research. Often based on where you live and what airlines fly in and out of nearby airports, one destination may be less expensive than the other. Living on the east coast, I can usually find great deals to the Caribbean.
I like to book well in advance (again so there are no surprises) and use sites that allow me to compare airlines. My go to sites are KAYAK and Google Flights. With Google Flights you can find flights in a dozen different ways. If you’re flexible traveler, KAYAK is also the best site to find hacker fares — round-trip options made up of one-way flights from two different airlines. Using techniques I was able to fly to Las Vegas for my bachelor’s party from Washington DC for $75 round trip!
Don’t Forget The Impact On Income
My previous job didn’t provide vacation time, so I had to budget for the lost income. My current position includes paid time off, but I still have factor in potential missed commission in my budget. You may be able to offset this by working overtime or side gigs in the time leading up to your vacation.
You can choose the type of travel you want to enjoy, but it still has to fit into your budget. You do this by determining all costs up front, then assess how much you can afford to save each month. That will drive when you can travel. So for example, if your trip will cost $5,400 and you can put aside $300 per month, then you can travel in 18 months.