Everyone loves a luxury vacation, but luxury doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Sometimes, it means the postcard image of relaxing in an overwater bungalow, while other times it’s camping beneath the stars in the expanses of Patagonia.
You also don’t always have to break the bank to head on a luxury vacation. While money can always get you the most exclusive travel experiences, you can also stretch your money in several international destinations to enjoy affordable luxury. The following destinations are some of the best destinations for affordable luxury. You don’t have to be rich to enjoy the best in these spots, instead taking advantage of smart vacation planning and ample travel options to put together your ideal VIP vacation.
What are the best destinations for affordable luxury?
No one is ever going to argue that Australia is the most affordable destination on the planet, but compared to other developed nations in the world, Australia allows travellers with flexible budgets to enjoy the bounty of its spoils. The cities of Sydney and Melbourne have world-class accommodations and high-end restaurants that are more affordable than similar amenities in Europe. Popular natural destinations like the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru/Ayers Rock offer several tour options for all budget levels; you may not be able to book a private yacht to cruise the reef, but you can still manage to enjoy a first-class cruise and diving tour of the outer reefs. Australia has travel options for all kinds of travellers, so regardless of your budget, you’ll find something fabulous to enjoy.
Belize is one of the unsung nations of Central America. It’ll never get as much attention as the Yucatan in Mexico or some of the more popular Caribbean nations like Jamaica and the Bahamas, but it offers comparable levels of accommodations and comforts while boasting some of the most beautiful landscapes in the region. Most notably, it’s home to the Belize Barrier Reef, the second-largest coral reef in the world. So beachside resorts and scuba diving tours are common here, with prices that are much lower than you’d find in Australia or parts of the South Pacific. As well, much of the nation is covered in rainforest, making it a great place to search for animals while enjoying the comforts of first-class eco-resorts. If you want to upgrade, your dollar will go a long way in securing luxury comforts both on the mainland and the coast.
Belize Jungle & Beach Experience
FIRST-CLASS | TAILOR-MADE: Stripping back to the basics, this weeklong escape to Belize captures two of the country’s most valuable natural assets. Begin your adventure either in the jungle or on the beach, with time at leisure to devote to the activities that interest you the most.More Details
Something of a cousin nation to the glamorous Islands of Tahiti, Fiji is no less beautiful than its Polynesian cousin, although with lower prices. Fiji is known for its traditional beachside bures, which offer barefoot luxury that taps into the nation’s traditional accommodation styles. There are many all-inclusive resorts that let you save costs, which means you may be able to upgrade to the swankiest bure or beachside villa. Fiji’s Coral Coast is its most popular tourist region, but other areas like the Northern Island offer more seclusion and great deals for first-class resorts.
Although it has its fair share of high-end pleasures, Italy is relatively affordable when it comes to luxury touring options. A self-drive across the beautiful expanses of Tuscany is a great way to save costs while still enjoying the historical and cultural wonders of the region. By driving yourself, you save costs on tour guides and transportation, which means that you can upgrade your accommodations and enjoy fancier meals while dining out. A self-drive also comes with the freedom to explore at your own pace. The southern island of Sicily is also a great spot to rent a luxury villa or spend some time in a first-class accommodation, as the prices are lower than in Rome or Venice. Italy remains one of Europe’s most popular destinations, and that popularity means it’s very accommodating of all manner of budgets.
Tuscan Adventure Self-Drive: Florence, Lucca, Siena and Montepulciano
FIRST-CLASS | SELF-DRIVE: Discover Tuscany on this 10-day self-drive program. Stay in first-class accommodations and travel at your own pace. Discover the region’s beautiful medieval old towns and verdant rolling hills, exploring Florence, Lucca, Siena, and Montepulciano along the way.More Details
Kenya is a destination where your money will go a long way. While Kenya’s city and coastline have their own appeal, the game reserves are the main attraction here. Thus, there are several ways to enjoy a luxury safari through these reserves without breaking the bank. You can combine several parks to save on costs, or take advantage of favourable travel deals depending on the season. A safari will never be inexpensive, but relatively speaking, you’ll save a lot by being smart and exploring places like Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Mountain Range in addition to popular spots like the Masai Mara. Balancing popular attractions and lesser-known gems and combining several parks on one itinerary is a smart way to save on a luxury safari.
Slovenia is as beautiful as Italy and Croatia, but not as expensive. This is largely because it’s not as popular. There are fewer tourists visiting this nation on the Adriatic, which makes for more personalised touring options and more affordable luxury options. Slovenia is absolutely gorgeous, so there’s a lot to like on a private tour across the nation, from the capital of Ljubljana to the picturesque Lake Bled. Add in celebrated wine regions and boutique accommodations in historic venues and you’ve got the makings of a memorable and affordable luxury vacation.
Highlights of Ljubljana and Lake Bled
FIRST-CLASS | PRIVATE-GUIDED: Visit Slovenia on a weeklong trip and immerse yourself in the spectacular scenery and warm, charismatic culture of this Adriatic gem. Stay in first-class accommodation, enjoying history, beer, and cycling tours. Then kick back as the time is yours beside the beautiful, cobalt-blue waters of Lake Bled.More Details
We’d be remiss not mentioning Thailand in an article about affordable luxury. Thailand is one of the most affordable destinations on the planet. The flight will be the most expensive component of a vacation here, as once you’re in Thailand, you’ll find everything from hotels to food to pampering spa treatments to be eminently affordable. If you have a tight budget but still want to splurge on some ultra-lux experiences like a night in a 5-star hotel or an all-inclusive resort stay on a private beach, Thailand is the place to be. Great food and high-end hotels are affordable in Bangkok, while prices are reasonable at the fanciest resorts of the southern islands, whether in popular Phuket or more remote Koh Lanta.
14 Sep 2020, 6:22 p.m.