US Brits live for our summer holidays. Whether it’s a sunshine-fuelled holiday in Spain, a boozy affair in Belgium or an action-packed skiing adventure in The Alps, we save hard so we can play hard.
While a lot of of us are happy with our 3* resorts in Benidorm and caravan parks in Skeggie, many more are after a lot of luxury for a little money.
Luckily there are ways to have that Champagne holiday on a beer budget.
We spoke to Paul Johnson from A Luxury Travel Blog about the top luxurious destinations if you to holiday like a celebrity, but don’t have Leonardo DiCaprio’s cash.
It’s no secret that Crete is a pretty cheap holiday destination.
Elounda is in east Crete and once was a quiet picturesque fishing village, but has now developed into a resort famous for its beautiful scenery and the luxury hotels.
You get the price of a Crete resort, but the glamour of the pricey Italian Rivera.
Paul said: “Elounda, on the eastern side of Crete, is home to some of the finest accommodation on Greece’s largest island, many with amazing views of the island of Spinalonga.”
Cape Town, South Africa (combined with a safari getaway)
For a lot of travellers, watching a herd of impala springing over the Savannah with a cheetah in hot pursuit is as good as holidaying gets.
But there’s a reason going on safari is the kind of thing the royals do – because if you don’t have Prince William’s posh family connections, befriending an elephant over a camp fire is something that to many, seems unattainable.
However, if you travel during May – September, which is during South Africa’s “low season” you may find the weather chillier (for Africa anyway) but the price of your holiday a lot cheaper.
The low season also happens to be the best time to see the wildlife.
Portugal is one of the more budget friendly places in Europe, and Cascais is an overlooked gem.
The town is packed full of incredible restaurants and friendly bars and is conveniently just 20km from bustling Lisbon, which is a lot more expensive.
Paul said: “This up-and-coming region in Portugal is a must for its history, wild coastlines, natural beauty and excellent cuisine.”
The Maldives is the epitome of luxury travel, but don’t count it out if you’re on a less-than-extravagant budget.
With a bit of know-how these Indian Ocean Islands are more affordable than you may think.
If you want to stay in a 5* resort, you can expect to pay out 10k plus for a holiday.
However, it has plenty to offer more budget-conscious travellers too, with independent accommodation and local restaurants providing a completely different experience from the big-brand resorts.
You get the same beaches in paradise, but for a fraction of the cost.
Paul said: “”Not just a destination for honeymooners, but also families, the Maldives is packed with wonderful resorts, pristine beaches, amazing sea life and a host of different activities you can enjoy.”
San Sebastian, Spain
San Sebastian takes food very seriously. Although you don’t have to eat in the pricey Michelin-starred restaurants, but can get cheap, yet delicious tapas served in every bar – market-fresh that morning.
Sure, whilst the posh hotels and beaches are great, there is another (and arguably more authentic) side to Dubai that doesn’t cost a fortune.
Staying in the old town means you you can get a hotel room for under £80 rather than the eye-watering £20,000 a night to stay in the famous Burj Al Arab hotel. Although you can use the 7* hotel’s beach for free – no matter where you stay.
Paul said: “A great winter sun getaway, extravagant Dubai has it all. Whether you want to scale the world’s tallest building, skydive over the city, learn to ski, browse the souks or splash out at the water parks, this city is packed with everything you could possibly imagine.”
Lake District, UK
You don’t have to get on a plane to experience a bit of luxury. The Lake District is an area of natural beauty with some of the very best British hiking trails, and some fantastic places to visit.
You don’t have to live off vending-machine coffee and rice to experience the grandeur and excitement of Japan’s singular capital – but you can’t hang about if you want to bag a bargain.
The 2020 Olympics is coming, so the longer you leave it, the more pricey your trip will be.
New York, USA
New York is the most expensive city in the US but you can do it on the cheap with free sightseeing, ferry trips and affordable accommodation.
Get to the TKTS booth in NYC to get Broadway tickets at 50% off, avoid pricey tours to see The Statue of Liberty and get on a free commuter ferry and stay in one of NYC’s cooler suburbs such as Brooklyn for cheaper accommodation.
Believe it or not, you can experience Singapore on a budget. Singapore has always had the reputation of being expensive made even worse by the numerous possibilities to be fined.
When searching for budget accommodation in Singapore, you don’t need to forfeit on location, quality or comfort.
Get on Airbnb and go off-peak to really get the best deals.
Also, the best food in Singapore isn’t in fancy restaurants but in hawker centres in food courts.
There are also a load of free attractions including beautiful temples and parks.
Paul said: “Singapore has an incredible cultural mix that’s reflected in not just the people and places of interest, but also the cuisine. Food is taken very seriously here and you can enjoy a fascinating blend of Chinese, Malay, Indian and other Asian influences.”
Top tips to bag yourself a luxurious bargain
- A sure-fire way to blag an upgrade with flights is to sign up to its loyalty schemes.Asking politely will always get you places so, when it comes to hotels, simply be courteous and ask. If it’s a special occasion, don’t be afraid to say so.
- Booking in advance gives you the greatest choice and access to early bird discounts, although if you don’t mind a more limited choice, then booking last minute can also yield some bargains.
- Flexibility in when you can travel and the times of day you travel can also help you get better rates
- Book out of season
- Flying with a budget airline allows you to splurge a little more on your hotel
- Look at all-inclusive options. They sometimes work out as more affordable, but you do need to do the maths!
- Consider self catering accommodation. There are some amazing properties out there, often much cheaper than hotel options.
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