9 ways to have a luxe vacation at value prices

Have the luxury getaway of your dreams without breaking the bank by following these clever insider hacks to make your budget go further.

A man sits in front of a pool at a seaside resort.
  • Alison Bone
  • November 2019

Enjoy all the luxury trimmings on your holiday and get more bling for your buck with these clever hacks.

Get the 5-star experience on a budget

Live it up at a lavish hotel like you are one of the guests by booking a massage at a spa resort that includes access to facilities such as the pool, sauna and steam room and perhaps even healthy snacks in the relaxation areas. Or check out the DayUse app, which lets you live the jetset lifestyle for a few hours and could save you up to 75 per cent off first class hotels in 23 countries.

Pick the best time to travel

Choose your dates wisely - you’ll get more for your money if you travel during the off-season. And remember: hotels hate empty rooms, so wait until the last minute and you’ll find great rooms at reduced prices. Bookme has cheap last-minute tours in Australia, Fiji and New Zealand.

Avoid the crowds and get a bargain

Go offbeat and look for the up-and-coming resort towns that haven’t hit the headlines yet – think Quang Ninh in Vietnam or Rawai in Thailand. Also, you get better value at hotels located in less touristy areas rather than city centres.

Cruise ships in Quang Ninh, Vietnam.
It's much cheaper to travel to offbeat destinations like Quang Ninh in Vietnam.

Research for the best prices on hotels

Do your homework and hunt down the best accommodation deal online, then call the hotel and ask them to price-match. They want your direct booking so don’t be shy.

Hack how to get an upgrade

Make sure to let them know if you are celebrating something special – you may find yourself upgraded. A luxury attitude goes a long way when looking for upgrades on arrival so dress smart and be polite. If that fails, some resorts will let you upgrade to “club level” regardless of your room category so you can enjoy VIP benefits (think complimentary food and drink services in the club lounge). It might work out a great value way to enjoy meals and beverages in 5-star style.

Hire a holiday house and save

Travelling as a family or group of friends? A spacious villa provides good value and a more intimate experience than a hotel. It’s like having a resort all to yourselves and could even include a team of staff. Did someone say personal chef? Check Elite Havens and Bali Villas for gorgeous stays in Bali and Thailand.

A group of young people sit by a pool in a villa.
If you're travelling with a group, sharing a villa can be cheaper than a hotel.

Try package deals

A “package” might not sound glamorous but if you can secure an all-inclusive luxury resort deal for the price of a mid-range hotel, who cares? In the off-season, resorts will also bundle in all kinds of enticing extras. If you’re travelling with youngsters, look for a package that includes free kids’ meals or access to the kids’ club so you can enjoy your complimentary cocktails in peace. Scoopon, Luxury Escapes and the Secret Escapes app offer access to flash sales worldwide.

Sign up for a loyalty program

If you travel frequently, join a hotel rewards program that lets you redeem points for free room nights. Airline rewards programs like Club Jetstar also offer great savings and exclusive fares.

Enjoy great deals on restaurants

Keen to eat at the trendiest place in town? Keep your eyes peeled for lunch deals or set-menu dinner specials at renowned eateries and don’t forget happy hour. Check with your concierge or the tourist office to find the latest offers so you can dine out in style. Booking last-minute via EatClub could mean savings of up to 50 per cent.

For other great tips on planning holiday finances, read this.