How to plan a luxury holiday without going broke

If you think you need to be a celebrity, a page three regular, or a mover-and-shaker to enjoy a luxury holiday, think again! If the brilliant waters of the Côte d’Azur or the clear skies in the Andes are on your bucket list, you may not have to spend half your lifetime saving for it.  

All it takes is a little ingenuity – and often some compromises – to make it happen. 

1. Choose a destination that suits your pocket 

This has to be at the top of the cheat-sheet. The Côte d’Azur might be out of your financial reach at the moment, but there are options in the Maldives, Philippines, Malaysia, or Zanzibar that will let you enjoy the experience of staying in a water bungalow or staring out over clear blue waters where you can’t tell at which point the horizon meets the sky. And if you like being a few thousand feet above sea level, how about the Altai Mountains in Kazakhstan? Or even an unexplored part of Leh-Ladakh? It may not be the Andes but invest some time in researching and planning, and you could have a holiday that you look back on with satisfaction. In part because you went off the beaten track and saved yourself a significant amount of money.  

2. Travel during off-season  

Visiting any place during peak season could dent your finances more than you know. During the off-season, however, you could end up being treated like royalty. Sometimes it’s as simple as visiting in winter rather than during the busy summer months (or vice versa, if you are considering heading to the tropics). Okay, maybe fewer restaurants will be open, but hotels will be falling over themselves to get your business, and perhaps throw in some freebies at little or no cost.  

3. Make your own itinerary  

Planning a luxury holiday means you must opt for one that’s tailormade by you, for you. This is the only way to ensure you get to do what you want, rather than what a travel company forces upon you. This built-in flexibility, especially when combined with the travelling off-season, will ensure you come back with a smile wider than that of the cat that got the proverbial cream.  

4. Book during promotional periods  

Promotional periods are now ubiquitous across products and services, and in case of holidays, can fall between the off-season and the beginning of the rush. However, such deals are usually bundled as packages, though hugely discounted, and you’re likely to find other bonuses included in your room and board. However, you’ll need to stay abreast of such offers by tracking websites, signing up for newsletters, and talking to people about their experiences.  

5. Join a loyalty programme  

Loyalty programmes have become common with most banks and credit card companies. And you can discuss tips for luxury travel on a tight budget without talking about ‘travel hacks’. This refers to using points on branded credit cards that can be used against airfare, travel and hotel upgrades, access to airport lounges, and dining. There are several websites dedicated to the art and science of travel using points. However, as we all know, there are no free lunches. When planning a luxury vacation by redeeming points, you may need to be flexible with your travel dates as discounted hotel rates are temporary, and airlines only have specific dates available for rewards travel. 

6. Make your money work smarter 

  • Prepaid Forex cards – These are a safe and secure option to cash and can be used as a credit card or to withdraw local currency from ATMs worldwide. HDFC Bank, for example, offers a variety of ForexPlus cards. So, it may be wise to choose this over the riskier proposition of carrying cash.
  • HDFC Bank SmartBuy – This portal that gives you the power to plan all the elements of your holiday in the same place. Through SmartBuy you can compare and book flight tickets and hotels, shop online and get great discounts. It is one of the best ways to cut back on travel expenses when you’re on a budget. You can also avail reward points and CashBack if you pay through your HDFC Bank Debit Cards and Credit Cards.

Still dreaming of your luxury holiday? Rely on these tips to plan a fantastic getaway for yourself. If your friends wonder how you managed to pull it off on a constrained budget, well, let them! And if you’re looking for the best way to manage your money while abroad, this might help. Bon voyage!

If you are looking to apply for a HDFC Bank ForexPlus card, click here now!

* Terms & conditions apply. ForexPlus Card approvals are at sole discretion of HDFC Bank Ltd