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Travel agent tips to stretch your dollar but still travel in style

woman in white flowing dres and hat walking along pier

Crave the idea of luxury travel but your bank balance is looking grim?

Here are some tips from agents on how to stretch your travel dollar but still go out in style.

Bespoke luxury travel agent Black Tomato co-founder Tom Marchant said there were a few proven ways to upgrade your travel experience.

Travel out of season

Speaking to travel website thepointsguy.com, Mr Marchant said that with a bit of research you could still enjoy a top notch travel experience in an off-peak or ‘shoulder’ season.

“Green season – the safari term for warm, but sometimes rainy months – is a great time for safaris with better rates at lodges with equally as compelling animal sightings,” Mr Marchant said.

“It’s worth researching ‘shoulder seasons’ when thinking about specific destinations. You will find better value and fewer tourists, especially in popular places such as the Caribbean.

“Another benefit to off-season travel is that not only will the destination feel more authentic, but you’ll be helping to support local economies and ecosystems year round, outside of peak visitor months.”

Read: First class travel cheats

Go where your budget will take you further

Investigate where you can get the same experience for less.

“For example, Spain is a great choice for honeymooning couples on a budget,” Mr Marchant says.

“Offering an enticing combination of experiences, Spain has a longer season compared to some other destinations, so you can really go year round. Plus, it offers everything people want to go to Europe for; food, culture, wine and vibrant nightlife too.”

Book a new, or recently refurbished, hotel

New, or recently upgraded, luxury hotels often offer fantastic launch deals to entice customers. It’s worth doing a bit of research to discover the best deals as the discounts can be up to 50 per cent.

Larger chains are often upgrading their stock so it might be a good idea to start with their websites but a quick google search should get you on your way.

Read: Finding last-minute travel deals

Travel to emerging destinations

Who hasn’t wanted to go to Paris? But what about the Cook Islands? Or South America?

Popular destinations are expensive for a reason. Think outside the square and explore the off-the-beaten track options. There are plenty of ideas in Lonely Planet’s 2022: best in travel.

Mr Marchant says the same goes for where you eat.

“Go to local neighborhood restaurants, away from the main drag – the food will be more authentic and without the price tag tailored for tourists. Also, seek out local suppliers and tours that can get you the inside track and steer you away from the crowds of visitors and instead to where the locals like to hang out.”

Use your points

Just about everyone is signed up for loyalty points these days, whether it’s Qantas or programs through your credit card. Explore how far your points will get you for flights, flight upgrades, car hire, hotels travel vouchers, or even just a fresh set of luggage.

Read: Money saving tips for travellers

Book early and consider travelling midweek

“The sooner you book, the more choice of room categories you have and the cheaper flights will be,” Mr Marchant said.

Many hotels have entry level rooms they use for advertising a ‘priced from’ level but they fill up quickly.

“Once those are snapped up, you’ll pay double, triple or more to stay there, and while, of course, it’s lovely to have a big suite, you’ll have access to the same restaurants, pools and facilities regardless of which room you’re in,” Mr Marchant said.

“For shorter breaks, travelling midweek is usually a good hack if you can spare the time.”

Travel in larger groups

While this seems counterintuitive – more people means more money – renting out one property for a larger group can save thousands on accommodation costs. One villa in the Italian countryside for three families represents huge savings on hotel prices.

Choose wisely and you might still have the same access to all the required amenities – pool, restaurants, local activities, the desired weather – that the five-star hotel down the road has. The views might even be better.

What are your tips for luxury on a budget? Tell us about your best-ever travel deal in the comments section below.

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