Is luxury travel possible on a budget?

I can’t lie – I like a bit of luxury. But I unfortunately don’t have the bank balance to fund my lofty travel ambitions that often. There are a few exceptions – our honeymoon in the Maldives was a true blowout, complete with a stay on our very own private island (and I mean just the two of us on an entire island. Bliss!), and we’ll soon be heading to Dubrovnik for our anniversary to stay in what looks to be one of the best hotels in this iconic city.

Generally, however, I have to rein myself in a bit more, with my budget not always extending to the 5* hotels of my dreams. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy a bit of luxury from time to time – I just go about it the right way. For example, I make sure to nab the best hotel that I can afford, I’ll always do my research to get a bargain, and I prioritise to make sure it’s the kind of luxury I like. So, here are a few ways I manage to enjoy luxury travel without the budget to match:

Decide what kind of luxury you’re looking for

Luxury can mean different things to different people. For some it can mean having the best location with the best views in the city. For others, it’s a top-notch suite, with plenty of space and all the mod-cons. Others like a spa, a Michelin-starred restaurant, champagne on tap or even a butler service. As for me? Well, I’ve accepted the fact that having my own private butler probably won’t be a regular occurrence, but I do like to make sure I’ve got a few things ticked off the list.

For example, location is a big thing for me, and I’m happy to sacrifice a bit of space (so long as I’m not getting a shoebox) for that perfect spot. I need a good bathroom, and if I’m staying longer than a couple of nights, a decent spa is a definite plus. I like a good bar and the food is vital, especially at breakfast, and if it’s got champagne included I’m definitely on board. Often it can be those little details that make all the difference, and can transform something from so-so to all-that.

Make the most of secret sale sites

OK, so these sites aren’t exactly secret anymore, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth checking out. If anything, they’re a bit of an addiction of mine, with Secret Escapes (includes sign-up link) and Voyage Prive my current drugs of choice. I’ve booked through Secret Escapes a couple of times already and have had no problems with them, and the prices are always way better than you can get elsewhere. The hotels are always great, too.

Seek out Kuoni

We used Kuoni for our honeymoon and were blown away, so much so that we’ve booked through them for our upcoming anniversary trip as well! There’s something so indulgent about being able to sip champagne while you discuss your travel plans – I’d recommend visiting them just for that, even if you end up booking elsewhere – and the service is fantastic. You often get added extras thrown in (anything from a bottle of champagne on arrival to a sunset dinner), and they arrange everything from the flights and transfers to accommodation, restaurant bookings and anything else you could possibly need; it makes everything completely stress-free, which is luxurious enough in itself.

Go for the upgrade

Sure, it’s cheaper to go for the standard room, but a little upgrade can make all the difference – and it doesn’t always have to cost the earth. Case in point – in Dubai we decided to pay a bit extra to opt for a Club Lounge room, which gave us access to the lounge (which offered daily afternoon tea, happy hour with drinks and canapes, and the option to have your breakfast served in the lounge rather than the normal restaurant) and a room on a higher floor for a better view. I’d researched the options beforehand and figured that it would be more than worth it, and it so was! Particularly when you consider how expensive food and drink can be in Dubai. Definitely worth the extra. So, go for the balcony room, treat yourself to the overwater villa and revel in a bit of luxury.

Save some of your budget for once-in-a-lifetime experiences

It isn’t always about the hotel you stay in – it’s the experiences you have that can make a holiday truly luxurious. I try to always budget to have some of those experiences, such as the aforementioned night as a castaway on a private island, snorkelling with turtles, taking a seaplane, or watching the opera in a Roman amphitheatre.

Opt for the airport lounge

Generally speaking I’m in too much of a rush at the airport to make a lounge visit worthwhile, but if there’s one thing that can transform a travel experience into a luxury one from the outset, it’s this. I used a lounge for the first time on honeymoon and I’m sold – for all of £20 (ish) you can get unlimited food and drink, which could easily work out cheaper than buying food elsewhere at overly-inflated airport prices, and you get a relaxing experience to boot. It definitely beats hanging around in departures.

So, is luxury travel possible on a budget? Yes! Granted, it probably won’t compare to some of the luxurious experiences many other travel bloggers will be highlighting on this travel linkup thread, but right now, for me, it’s pretty perfect.


How to link up your post
For this month we’re thinking all things opulent – what are your travel luxuries? The whole shebang, ephemeral moments that you’ll always treasure or perhaps something in-between?

Just pop your post up over the first week of the month (the 1st – 7th June 2018), add it to the link up widget found on Adventures of a London KiwiSilverSpoon LondonFollow Your Sunshine or on the blog of our lovely guest host Sarah from More Than Just A Cupcake Lover.

There are no rules – all we ask is that you check out some of the other cool bloggers that are involved in that months travel link up; make a few comments here and there and tweet a few of the posts out to your followers that you think they will love. It’s a great way to meet some new travel bloggers and share some blogging joy!

The Travel Link Up is open to all bloggers as long as the post is relevant.



  1. June 6, 2018 / 2:56 pm

    Love this! Agreed that you can transform an experience from ordinary to luxurious with a few touches – I am totally with you on splurging on a club room and making sure the place we are staying in has a decent bathroom! #travellinkup

    • Leanne
      June 7, 2018 / 3:42 pm

      Totally, it feels really indulgent without actually doing too much! It’s the little things that make all the difference 🙂

  2. June 8, 2018 / 2:15 pm

    What a great list! we stayed with JA in Dubai and upgraded to the Club, we thought it was definitely worth it.

    • Leanne
      June 9, 2018 / 3:37 pm

      Agreed, definitely the best decision!

  3. Emma @ Adventures of a London Kiwi
    June 19, 2018 / 10:09 pm

    This is such a great list of tips – upgrading can make such a nice difference!

    • Leanne
      July 3, 2018 / 8:24 pm

      Thanks! And agreed – it can make something really special

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