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Six tips to enjoy luxury travel on a budget

Finding a good deal to enjoy an exciting weekend break takes time and patience, but the rewards definitely make it worthwhile. Everyone loves to boast to friends and family about an action-packed weekend or an amazing trip away, come Monday morning. As the travel challenge judge on the Nectar Savvy Lifestyle competition I’ll be looking out for inspirational culture vultures who go that extra mile to enjoy new travel experiences for less.

Whether it’s a city break just a train’s ride away, a luxurious retreat, a family day out to entertain the kids or a cool new find just around the corner, I want to get wanderlust from reading their posts and learn new ways to see and do lovely things without breaking the bank. I’d love to hear from you either go on line on or leave a comment below.

Here’s some of my ideas to get you going:

Live like the other half live

Luxury hotel rooms are great, but feeling like you’re lord or lady of the manor for a weekend is tough to beat. Check out house swapping sites and companies such as Airbnb and you’ll be amazed at the incredible accommodation you can find. Why not book a trip away with a group of friends and share the cost of a night in a country manor, or a city centre penthouse apartment? Some rental sites even allow you to book private catering as part of the package so you can really live it up in style for a weekend without spending a fortune. Stay healthy and enjoy your relaxing vacation.

Valuable lounging time

Paying for an airport lounge may go against the grain, but it’s a surprisingly great way to get fantastic value for money whilst you wait for your flights in style. It varies at each and every airport, but for around £15 per person you can relax away from the hubbub of the waiting lounge whilst enjoying newspapers and magazines (not just the free ones), charge points, snacks and unlimited hot and cold drinks (sometimes even alcoholic beverages). Even better, lots of airport lounges are free for under 10s and provide them with plenty of entertainment whilst you put your feet up and relax before your flight. It’s lovely to feel like a VIP sometimes!

Be smug about discovering secret treasures

Out of the way destinations are often cheaper than major tourist attractions, but can sometimes offer far culture, culinary delights and sightseeing, away from the hustle and bustle of tourist crowds. How about going to Brno in the Czech Republic instead of Prague? The second largest city in the Czech Republic is full of history and cultural quirks of its own. Alternatively, head to Cesenatico in Italy. Located on the northern half of the Adriatic Coast, between Ravenna and Rimini, this tiny coastal town has a colourful and impressive array of historical boats and there are several inexpensive hotels in the area. You can travel the world or find treasures in your backyard. American cities like Hollywood or Washington DC have unique hidden gems just not as old as ancient European and Asian cities.

Enjoy a taste of luxury

Many of us take the cities and towns on our doorstep for granted and always look abroad when planning a weekend trip. But with a little bit of planning, you can have a glamourous treat-filled weekend that will have you boasting to all who will listen on Monday morning. If the weather’s nice, you can treat yourself to a luxury ready-made picnic hamper delivered right to your picnic blanket wherever you set up camp – places such as Fortnum & Mason, The Mount Street Deli, Parknic and Picnic2u offer this service. It won’t cost as much as a fancy meal out and you can pick you own al fresco spot and enjoy tasty treats. Watch out for all the envious glances!

Get out on the water

We may live in a country full of beautiful canals and waterways, but we often forget to think about getting out and about by boat when making our weekend plans. Booking a mini cruise in the UK (other European countries too) or hiring a boat with a group of friends can be a really cost effective but stylish way to enjoy the great outdoors. You’ll find some brilliant deals if you book online, and you can often book catering as part of the package too.  Splitting the cost between a group means it’s a surprisingly low cost way to enjoy a fantastic day out together, and all you need to do is sit back and relax whilst you watch the beautiful scenery slip by.

Hitchhike the modern way

If you are heading out on a road trip, no need to go it alone. There are websites such as BlaBlaCar that now connect you with drivers or passengers who are going the same way. This means you can share the cost of the journey while have company during the road trip.