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how to stretch your dollar when traveling

luxury vacation on a budget

POV: you’re looking at yet another influencer on a luxe trip to Bali or Mykonos and are screaming internally. Because, there’s literally no way that we could afford to travel to destinations THAT lavish, right… or could we?

Having a limited budget doesn’t mean that you still can’t experience luxury as you travel around the world! You can still enjoy AMAZING food and relax in maximum comfort, all while having major cultural experiences that will very likely change your life.

With a couple of easy steps and some minimal planning, you can prioritize and budget the perfect trip, and no one has to know that you did it on the cheap!

save money where it matters

Okay, so we’ve all heard the horror stories of budget airlines. Sorry, Spirit. But, when you travel in coach, you are saving hundreds of dollars versus business or first class.

Because, let’s be real… who honestly cares who you flew with or what your seat number was. These are details you probably won’t even remember 10 years from now. But, what you will remember is meeting the LOYL on the lush beaches of the Maldives. Manifesting for you, bestie.

Now, when it comes to lodging, this is where many of us feel the need to splurge a bit more (again, all depending on the experience you want to have)!

But also remember that even when you stay in a budget hotel, you’re STILL in a dreamy and luxurious destination. Sure, a nice hotel or resort is ALWAYS a nice experience and can be worth the extra bucks, but most of what you want to experience is gonna be outside of the room you’re staying in.

So, even if you can’t afford the gold-plated penthouse suite (manifesting this for you too, though), at the end of the day, the destination itself is gonna trump a lot of the frilly stuff. 

Hotels are for sleeping anyways.

travel during the “slow season”

If you really want to save a few dollars, try to avoid the following:

  • College winter/spring breaks
  • Your destination’s “perfect weather” season
  • Any major events happening (unless, of course, you’re attending – this can majorly hike up prices for lodging, etc.). Take it from someone who accidentally took an impromptu trip to NYC during Rolling Loud weekend… I quite literally PAID THE PRICE for that mistake.

But, if you really want to visit a place and are okay with maybe the occasional wet or cold day and have the flexibility to not need an organized break from work or school to go on a trip, this can save you A LOT.

Plus, you probably won’t have to deal with as many crowds. Major plus.

prioritize spending on what actually matters to you

For some people, a luxurious trip means all of the best food (it’s me). Others want to score deals on designer goods. Buying your first actual Louis Vuitton bag in Paris? Yes, please.

And some of us just want to dive right into the culture – see every museum imaginable, sit in the hole-in-the-walls, and eat how the locals do. Literally, all of this is possible on a budget.

And if you can’t do it all, pick what’s actually important to you and spend on that. Traveling is never gonna be a one-size-fits-all thing.

If you love street food and don’t need a three-course meal every day, now you have more for a designer bag. Or if you spent the big bucks to travel across the world for VIP passes to your dream festival, you can wear thrifted clothes.

It all depends on your goals for the trip and what you want to remember at the end of it all.

still treat yourself

Now, we all have that one dream hotel that we want to stay at. Or that five-star restaurant that we know will make the best backdrop for your next IG post. Budget your trip around that moment! It might sound silly to some, but if that’s what matters to YOU, then do it!

You could also do most of your nights in one budget-friendly hotel and then move to the nice one for a night or two so you still get to experience it. Or put a certain amount of money away every week or month leading up to the trip so you can eat at every fabulous place you want.

Traveling on a budget is something a lot of people do, even if their Instagram doesn’t look like it. Focus your major spending on what is important to you and what you know you will remember most from your trip.

These trips could be once in a lifetime, so don’t overly limit yourself!

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