If you daydream of exploring ancient ruins, strolling sandy beaches, and shopping along cobblestone streets, there’s a way to do so on just about any budget. With some careful research and planning, you can experience the luxurious destinations on your list through the eyes of a local, and do so without breaking the bank.
Here are five helpful tips for traveling to luxurious destinations on a budget:
1. Leverage the Sharing Economy
Skip the pricey hotel, and opt to leverage the sharing economy by renting a house, spare room, or basement from a local via sites like Airbnb and VBRO. By using these resources, prospective renters can see photos, reviews, and availability of places for rent in the area of choice. Because these rentals come furnished, they offer the cozy accommodations of a typical home to renters who want to feel like they’re “living” in the place they visit.
2. Go Couch Surfing
Crash on someone’s couch for free and hang with the locals via Couchsurfing.com. Although couch surfing is most popular with students on a budget, it’s open to adults and families of all ages who want to get to know the locals.
Hosts go through a vouching process to build up community trust and reviews on the site. Guests are not obligated to pay a dime, but encouraged to extend a gesture like buying a meal, or bringing a small gift like a bottle of wine in exchange for their guest’s hospitality. Hosts are often eager to show their guests the sites, best places to eat, and how to get around.
3. Rough It
Even the most densely packed and expensive cities in the world have low-cost camping options.
Brooklyn, New York’s Floyd Bennett Field houses 32 tent sites and nine RV parking sites. For around $20, travelers can pitch a tent and sleep under the stars. The campground is located near Jamaica Bay Kayak Trails and the beach for a nature escape from the city. The campground is also near bus and subway services, as well as the airport, so travelers would be wise to bring earplugs for a restful night’s sleep.
4. Get Unconventional
Not all camping options involve roughing it. Europe is full of upscale, luxury campgrounds that you can enjoy on a budget. Choose from inexpensive campsites on up to luxury cabins. ACSI Europe’s website connects travelers to over 9,900 campsites that are inspected annually.
Access popular amenities such as heated swimming pools and coastal proximity, across Europe’s priciest destinations. Many campgrounds offer live entertainment, children’s programs, snack shops, and even bars to unwind after a long day of sightseeing in a nearby city.
5. Be a Holy Guest
It’s not uncommon to find safe, inexpensive lodging at convents and monasteries around the world. Cities with a strong Catholic influence, like Rome, are often the easiest to find such accommodations and do not require guests to be religious. Such lodging is occasionally only offered to female-only or male-only travelers, but accommodations can be found for married couples as well.
Religious-affiliated accommodations are typically spotless and often have amenities like heated towel racks, but lack televisions and other luxury amenities you would find in a typical hotel down the street. Fortunately the price tag is a fraction of nearby lodging, and provides a highly unique and memorable experience.