Luxury Travel on a Budget

Travel Upgrades

Don’t blow your travel budget paying full price when you don’t have to

There are major discounts to be found if you know where to look

1. Travel Off Peak (Shoulder Season)

You can seriously get great discounts on airfares and accommodation, some up to 60% off during off-season

Travel outside of School Holidays or right after major holidays

2. Staycations

If you want to travel and only have a few days off, consider a location closer to home

Domestic or even local hotels offer huge discounts for last minute getaways to fill up their bookings

If you look on Google Maps you can find places to travel to within a 3-4 hour radius of your home, you don’t want to spend a whole day getting there

If you do your travelling overnight the night before you are booked in to your hotel, you can get in an extra day of sightseeing / restaurants

3. Use Hotwire to get 4-Star Accommodation at 2 & 3-star prices

You can get $315 rooms for $128, that’s a huge savings, staying in much nicer rooms, what’s not to love?

4. Book ahead if you are planning to travel during holidays and peak travel

While you can snag great deals on last minute trips during off season, the same cannot be said for peak travel times

Public holidays, School Holidays, Summer are the busiest times to travel.  If you leave it to the last minute to book, you will pay a lot more for accommodation and not get the best deal for your money.  Popular festivals or hotels have people booking sometimes 12 months in advance, around Sydney Harbour or Times Square for New Years Eve for example

Some hotels will only allow bookings 3 months before, so make sure you get in early as soon as bookings are available

It used to be the rule to book international travel 12 months ahead and domestic travel 3-6 months ahead for the best rates

Often vacation packages have special ‘early bird’ rates to popular events like music festivals etc or around Christmas / New Years

5. Book Flights on Tuesday

It’s the cheapest day of the week to travel, and around 3pm Tuesdays is the cheapest time

Tuesday, Wednesday & Saturday are your cheapest days for air tickets,  while Sunday is the most expensive

6. Ask for an upgrade, dress the part

If you dress like you belong in business or first class, you can sometimes get an upgrade by politely asking, it doesn’t hurt to try

The answer will be a firm ‘we don’t have anything available’ if you are in a singlet and flip flops or wearing your pj’s to the airport

7. Ask for a Water View

If you are travelling off peak, chances are the hotel isn’t even 2/3 full

Ask on arrival at your hotel if might be any water views available, sometimes they will upgrade you just because you asked

8. Bundle

If you book, car, accommodation & airfare all at once, you will save a lot more than booking them separately

Look for package deals or ‘vacation’ packages

9. Join Hotel rewards programs

They are usually free to join and you can earn free nights accommodation on future travel if you earn enough points

You can earn points from your fist stay and they also send you bonus offers during the year to earn points more quickly

You usually get free wifi, sometimes free breakfast and other discounts & perks for reward members only

Plus you have a better chance of room upgrades if you are a reward member, than if you are not

10.Stay on the outskirts

If you stay in popular ‘touristy’ locations like downtown or on the riverfront  in popular cities, you aren’t going to get as great a deal as if you stay 10-15 minutes outside of these areas

You can quite often get a much better room if you stay 10 minutes out of town and you will get to see a lot more of the city

Most hotels have shuttle services to the city and big tourist attractions for free

OTHER TRAVEL TIPS:

  • Ask the locals what to see, where to eat…we have had some of the best tips by asking people who live there if there are other places to see while we are there
  • Also if you visit museums etc late in the day, say an hour or two before they close, you may get in at a big discount, 1/2 price etc
  • Check the tourist guides and pamphlets at the hotel for discounts to museums and places of interest, they offer discount coupons

Biloxi, MS

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After Hurricane Katrina, much of the Gulf Coast was submerged under water
Biloxi has had a pretty rough trot with Hurricanes going through the area
nearly every year since
Hard to believe this was all under water at one stage
1412 Biloxi Postcard
It’s amazing to see how these little towns bounce back, one tragedy after another
We were first introduced to Biloxi, Mississippi when Jay Leno did a benefit concert to help raise funds to restore the community
We were invited to go for a weekend and have been back several times since
The views alone are pretty amazing, but also the casinos and Headliner acts they get down there are world class, big name musicians, comedians and entertainers
See my Travel Guide Post on Biloxi here
I am sorting through my photos at the moment and listing postcards to sell in my Photography Store
I forgot about some of these photos, they are pretty neat looking over them again
I have more somewhere, I need to find them
2658 Biloxi Postcard

BILOXI bird

BILOXI POSTCARD

Biloxi Postcard1

BILOXI sailboat

Live Local, Enjoy a Tourist Life

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Provided you are well dressed, well mannered and not drunk or obnoxious, you don’t have to be booked into luxury hotels to be able to enjoy their amenities

If there are no major events on in town and it’s not peak holiday season, you can enjoy all the things local luxury hotels have to offer just about year round

 

  1. Enjoy Hotel Amenities

You can quite often drink at the bar, dine at their restaurants, listen to live music and even book a day at the spa, even if you are not staying at the hotel

It’s a great way to pamper yourself without the accommodation costs of travelling and you are supporting the local economy

2. Buffets

Big chain hotels often have breakfast brunches and buffets that offer great value for money

Making a reservation is recommended

On Mothers Day, Easter and Christmas, they offer upgraded buffets for lunch, book early as these tend to fill up fast

Casino buffets are also great value

3. Shows & Concerts

You can often get discounts to shows and concerts by buying at the box office or ticket booth on the day of the event

4. After Dinner

You can get dessert and a coffee at ‘hard to get into’ high end hotel restaurants if you go after the dinner rush

5. Late Lunch / Early Dinner

If you eat after the lunch rush and before dinner, around 3pm you will get lunch time prices and get in and out before the 4pm dinner rush

6. Happy Hour

Most Hotel Bars have Happy-Hour prices on drinks &/or  appetizers

7. Valet Parking

Valet parking (for a fee) is often available if you are dining at the restaurant or attending a show – save yourself the hassle of finding parking on the weekends

If there is an event on in town or the hotel is booked out, they may not accommodate your request

You should be fine during less busy times of the year

8. Discount Websites

Discount websites like Groupon Restaurant.com can save you money on Restaurants

9. Living Social

As well as discounts of up to 80% off local services and attractions, LivingSocial.com have a restaurant program if you link your credit card and use it at one of their participating restaurants you will receive up to 30% cash back on your next credit card statement

Try to buy any restaurant e-cards a few days before you are planning to go to the Restaurant as some may take up to 48 hours to be sent to your email inbox, most arrive within an hour of purchasing them

10. Free Entertainment

Some hotel chains offer free live music in the bar or bistro, great for a night out

FUN FACTS: Sydney Harbour Bridge

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Today the Sydney Harbour Bridge is 85 Years Old

1. The Bridge, affectionately referred to as “the Coathanger”

by Sydney-siders, is a globally recognized, iconic Landmark and today has earned its own hashtag #SydneyHarbourBridge on social media, who would have thought?

2. It was opened March 19, 1932

3. Today the Bridge carries rail, vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney CBD (central business district) and the North Shore

4. The public was allowed to walk across the deck of the bridge 
when it was first opened in 1932 but not allowed 
to walk across it again until  1982

5. When it was first opened, the ribbon cutting ceremony didn’t quite go to plan.  NSW Premier the Hon. John T. Lang was supposed to cut the ribbon, but Capt. Francis de Groot of the New Guard paramilitary group beat him to it, slashing the ribbon with his sword.  The ribbon was tied back together and Capt. Francis de Groot  was arrested

6. It took 1,400 men eight years to build the bridge 
at a cost of 4.2 million dollars 
16 lives were lost building the Bridge

7. It took 272,000 litres of paint for the initial 3 coats of pain needed to paint the bridge

8. In the 70’s, actor  Paul Hogan was a painter by trade and one of the ‘tradies’ / crew who was employed to  paint it.  He later went on to host his own comedy show on tv (it was hilarious) and then launched his acting career with Crocodile Dundee placing him on the world stage.  He was commissioned by the Tourism board of Australia to do a TV commercial on the Sydney Harbour Bridge aimed towards getting American Tourists to visit Australia

9. When the bridge was built,
800 families living along the path of the bridge 
were demolished without any compensation

10. It took 55 years to pay for the bridge

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Postcards Available In our Store

5773 Harbour Bridge

 

 

You might like my other Sydney Posts:

10 Sydney Lighthouses

28 of Sydney’s Best Photography Locations

10 Hidden Bars in Sydney

Pawleys Island, SC

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A little while ago, we were watching Beachfront Listings and they were doing a feature on Pawleys Island, South Carolina
Its a beautiful tiny beachfront community not many people have heard about
I knew some day we were going to travel to South Carolina, I was mainly interested in the Myrtle Beach area
The photos and tourist brochures online looked amazing plus we knew people that lived in the area
I also knew it was going to be a good photo op with all the beaches and sunrise / sunset pictures I was seeing around the internet
As I was planning our trip, I discovered Pawleys Island was very close to Myrtle Beach and I remembered it from the show on TV.  It was definitely ‘do-able’ while we were there
I am so glad we went to see it, it is a beautiful place, small, quiet, remote. There are lots of little beaches that are close enough to do a day trip from Myrtle Beach
I am revamping my blog, my website and my online Stores and  have spent most of today uploading and sorting through photos of Pawleys Island & Myrtle Beach to sell on Postcards in my Photography Store

Pawleys Island 1

Pawleys Island 2

We are blessed to live in a place with so many beautiful bays and beaches and to be able to travel and see the country.  I don’t get to travel nearly as much as I’d like, but hopefully we’ll get to see a few more of these places before we are too old to enjoy it

 

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