How to Travel Extravagantly on a Budget


Just because you have to stick to a strict travel budget doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice all the trappings that come with a luxury vacation. You just need to be smart about it. When you’re planning your next trip, identify the areas where you need to stick to the budget or whether it’s possible to binge a little.

By prioritizing expenses in your trip, you can keep a nice balance of cost-saving techniques while sneaking in a bit of extravagance at the same time (without blowing your entire budget). Here are some of the best ways to do that for your next adventure.

How to travel extravagantly on a budget

Modes of Transportation

While traveling in first-class may be something you would like to do on your next holiday, keep in mind this will unnecessarily eat a huge part of your budget. Instead, consider making your flight choice with a budget mindset. Use search engines, like Kayak or SkyScanner, to find the best prices out there, or even look into discount airline companies (and there are actually a lot).

You may have to sacrifice some amenities in-flight, but the amount you save could be put towards other areas once you actually reach your destination, like choosing some luxury wheels for transfers and day trips. If that sounds up your alley, make sure you do your research on what type of luxury vehicle is worth the extra dough.


The level of luxury that is healthy for your budget when it come to where you’ll lay your head at night, often depends on where it is your going for vacation. Countries that have a lower of cost-of-living, like Thailand, give you the option to choose deluxe hotels at prices that would normally get you a cheap night at a Holiday Inn at home.

However, if your destination is to a pricier city, like Paris, you may want to use sites, like AirBnB, that give you the luxury of your own apartment in a central location without the exorbitant costs. Or, check out discount sites like Groupon, where luxury hotels often have huge bargain offers and discounts for stays in their establishment. There are options out there for you. You just have to be willing to do a little digging.

Eating & Drinking Out

One of the biggest siphons on your travel budget can be eating and drinking out and not spending smart. Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t reserve at least one or two nights where you splurge on a really fancy meal, but you can also find good eats without falling into a tourist trap and blowing your whole budget. A great app to use is Spotted by Locals, which gives you insider tips on where to eat and drink. It’s a great way to uncover lesser-known gems in the cities you visit and save some dollars simultaneously.

You can also off-set some of the costs of eating out (and save some calories) by utilizing kitchen space in your lodging, which is another huge perk of “AirBnB-ing” it. This way, when you head out to that Michelin restaurant you’ve had on your bucket list, you won’t suffer from any buyer’s remorse or diet guilt.

Daily Activities

The best way to be smart about how you spend your money on sites and activities is to know what is a ‘must-see’ and what is not. If you can label your ‘must-sees’ before you go, you’ll be able to budget more easily for those bucket list items that are absolutely non-negotiable. Remember too, that during the planning process, you’ll probably find the cities you visit offer a lot of free activities as well – another reason to do your homework.

If you find – even with all the planning in the world – you still can’t fit the cost of a dream excursion into your travels, consider asking for these activities as a gift from family or friends for a birthday or special occasion. They’ll love the idea of contributing to your dreams and passions, and you’ll be able to stretch your budget further.

luxurious relaxing view


Buying mementos and keepsakes from your travels can be a dangerous rabbit hole, especially if you’re lost in the grand markets of places like Florence, Italy or Fez, Morocco. You want to buy everything, and sometimes you do (Oops). Avoid blowing all your money (and extra luggage space) on cheap souvenirs by choosing specific items as your way to remember vacation.

For example, keep your purchases to items that easily fit in your bags and don’t weigh much, like scarves, paper items or jewelry. Small items such as these allow you to be selective and find high quality products, start a tradition for each trip you take, as well as the possibility to choose unique, one-of-a-kind pieces no one else will have. You’ll have both luxury and memories that stick within your budget.

Drink champagne boat lush life

Where you decide to trim your spending and splurge is completely up to you, but just remember that there are plenty of options out there for you to try. Your only requirement is putting forth the effort to look.

Kacey Mya HeadshotAbout the author: Kacey Mya Bradley is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective.” Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Find & Follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest!

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  • Tickets/entry fees are usually our biggest travel splurge. I don’t want to bother traveling all the way somewhere, and then skimp out on things I actually want to see just because the prices are too high! We love Airbnb, though–it definitely lets us stay in nicer accommodations than we could otherwise afford!

    • I’m exactly the same, Rachel! I always think that I won’t miss out on the things I truly want to do simply because of something as silly as money 🙂 AirBnB is brilliant, I’ve only just started using it, so I’m a bit behind! 🙂

  • Great ideas – I love trying local street food when I’m in a new city – it’s usually the cheapest (and the most delicious) option, so I feel like I’m getting the best of both worlds! Also, choosing accommodation that offers breakfast can save money sometimes.

    • That’s such a great idea, Elle! The best Food can often be found where the locals go, and it sure is way cheaper than mainstream restaurants! 🙂 I always make sure to fill up on breakfast wherever I’m staying too, it’s a great money-saver!

  • I love this post! I’ve been traveling a lot for work lately, and I’ve been trying to do a little exploring while doing so 🙂 I will definitely be checking out the Spotted by Locals app!

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

    • Awesome, I’m glad the post was helpful! 🙂 Where are you traveling to/between for work? 🙂

  • These are some great tips! I haven’t done much traveling but hope to do some of the next couple of years so I’ll have to keep these tips in mind!

    Rachel |

    • That’s great, Rachel! Fingers crossed you’ll be traveling in luxury while maintaining your budget! 🙂

  • Karin Rambo

    One of the biggest takeaways we took from traveling all over Europe was that it’s better to plan transportation when you get there instead of planning it ahead of time. We didn’t think about greyhound buses and they were 1/4 of the cost of the train!

    • That’s a great tip, Karin! Europe has so many transportation options, but you may not notice them all until you get here! For example, in Oslo, most people will hear of and know the airport express train ahead of visiting, and book their (expensive) tickets with them. But once you get to the airport you’ll notice that there are cheaper local trains and buses that cost half the price! 🙂

  • Jessica Hughes

    Great tips, thanks for sharing!

    • Of course, Jessica – thanks for reading! 🙂

  • Great tips. I feel like food usually eats up the biggest part of our budget, I need to get better about that! I’ve done really well about thinking and cutting down on souvenirs lately.

    • So true, food is a big one! For me it’s the drinks, haha – I’ll never say no to a mojito! 🙂

  • Ksenia Ruzanova

    Those secrets are really working! The only thing I’m not ready to safe on are the unique experiences. For example, deer ride in Lapland. It may cost a fortune, but, who knows, will I ever get one more chance to try that? Worth spending the money!


    • YES, I couldn’t agree more! The one thing I NEVER want to miss out on is experiences like that, and I won’t let money hold me back 🙂 Then it’s good to know you can save in some other areas and still travel as luxuriously as you’d like 🙂

  • Great post! I feel like food is what can really eat up your budget quickly if you’re not careful. We always try to be mindful of not eating out for every meal and pack snacks and water when we’re out and about to keep from overspending.

    • I completely agree with that, Cara! Packing a lunch and bringing water bottles is a great way to save some money, and be able to spend it on more important things – like experiences! 🙂

  • Penny @ pennyspassion.blogspot

    Good points. When we travel I like to spend our money on great restaurants. A nice hotel would come next. I don’t mind flying coach to save some money so we can have more to spend at the destination.

    • I’m exactly the same, I’d fly coach anywhere if it meant splurging on accommodation and experiences once I get there 🙂

  • Great post. I love travelling and it’s very much what takes up most of my savings. I like to travel extravagantly and I don’t like to be cheap when travelling because it’s something most of the time can be done only once in a lifetime, especially for travels outside the continent. But I really appreciate these tips. Many thanks for sharing the app Spotted by Locals. I am so downloading it.

    • I feel you, Heide! I hate missing out because of money, and will gladly spent everything I have on travel! 🙂 I have the exact same mindset as you; “I’ll only be doing this once”, and so I will splurge on experiences I really want to do 🙂
      But it’s nice to prioritise which areas I don’t mind saving a bit of Money on (such as transportation), so that I can splurge and add some extra luxury to others (such as experiences and nicer hotels) 🙂 Thanks for commenting, Heide! 🙂

  • Great tips! I am heading to Europe for a longer adventure this summer and am so bad with staying on budget and totally need more tips for that 😀 Love connecting with you on Insta babes!

    • I’m glad you liked them, Veera, that means a lot! 🙂 So happy to connect, too!

  • Great post! So informative…knowing when to save and when to splurge really is the key to having the best trip and allows you to travel more!

    Nikki |

    • Thank you, Nikki! It really makes such a big difference 🙂