My love of luxe for less

I’ll admit it – I like the finer things in life. I’ll choose a hotel over a hostel any day of the week, I live for fancy restaurants and indulgent spas, and I’ll never, ever, turn down a glass of champagne. But that doesn’t mean I want to spend a fortune to enjoy such things. On the contrary!

Being able to bag a bargain is one of my greatest joys. I refuse to pay for anything until I’ve carefully considered all the options, scoured the net for discounts, and have made absolutely certain that I can’t get it for less somewhere else. I’ve even got a bit of a reputation among friends and family for being something of a voucher queen. Why pay full price when you don’t have to? (Does anyone actually pay full price for anything these days?)

Happily, my fiancé is on the same page, and we build our holidays around one core aim – to have the nicest break we can afford. This often means that we’ll spend three or four nights in a nice hotel rather than a week in an average one, and even then, we make sure we’re getting a good deal. We’ll look for packages that’ll throw in a nice dinner, a massage or welcome drink – his love of spreadsheets really comes into its own to make sure that we’re getting the best for less.

My latest addiction is browsing through so-called “secret sale” sites, with Voyage Prive and Secret Escapes my current drugs of choice. Whether or not these are actually good value is probably a point of contention, as is the exclusivity hinted at from their marketing, but from what I’ve seen, the prices are certainly reasonable (having spent the best part of three months searching for the perfect honeymoon, I’ve got a newfound appreciation for the word “reasonable”!). I’ve yet to take the plunge and actually book through them, but for the time being, they’re helping ease my wanderlust.

Another site I’m quite partial to is Groupon. In this case, I can categorically say that the prices on offer are good value – having lusted after a night at the stunningly unique Cley Mill for years, I was thrilled at the chance to nab a half-price stay through Groupon, and I can honestly say that I was very impressed. The service was as good as I’d expected, the room was fabulous, and the locally-sourced food was to die for. I’ve been scouring the site for a repeat offer ever since!

I’ll admit, in the past I’ve been put off by the thought that the prices on offer from such sites appear too good to be true – or that I’ll get a lesser service for booking through them – but I’ve learnt that as long as you check that you are actually making a saving, there’s nothing to fear. After all, hotels would rather offer a cut-price room than have it empty, so why not take them up on the offer? Not only will you be helping their occupancy levels, but you’ll probably be spending extra cash on food, drink and other goodies, so it’s win-win all round.

I’m hoping that my love of bargain hunting will help ensure I’m able to meet my goal of visiting as many places as I can in the next few years – and hopefully, I’ll be doing it in style. 

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