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Luxury Travel For Less – Hints & Tips

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What is Le Bon Lifestyle?
Living Le Bon Lifestyle is living life to the full, grabbing it by the scruff of the neck and not accepting compromise or second best. Demanding the best service, from the best hotels and restaurants around the world.
But the best doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg…

What the Le Bon Lifestyle isn’t
Living Le Bon Lifestyle doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You categorically do not have to be a millionaire, or even close to being one! The best hotels don’t necessarily cost the most money, and the best restaurants don’t have to have a Michelin star to their name.
Trust me, I’d rather spend less, and get more!
Fly business class for less

You have to be rich to fly business class right? Nope, think again. You just need to be smart.
Most people in business class are either corporate travellers or those travelling on air miles. You can earn air miles every day, just by spending on your basic expenses like travel and food!
  • I use my Amex like a debit card. Lets face it, banks aren’t exactly paying interest on your hard earned money these days, so why not look for rewards elsewhere? The trick is to pay your balance off every month so you don’t get charged the interest. Set up a direct debit to pay the balance every month and watch the air miles roll in
  • Some companies don’t accept Amex though? Correct. So I also have a Tesco Clubcard MasterCard where you can convert club card points to Avios. This covers all bases. Use your Amex where possible though where you will earn the most Avios
  • HeadForPoints is a great web resource for finding out which card suits your needs best. The site also details the best offers and deals around at the moment
  • HeadForPoints also has a nice little app to search for upcoming redemption flights here
  • If you spend £10,000 per year on your British Airways Amex you get a companion voucher. This basically means your partner flies for free when you book a reward flight – kerching – that opens up business class return for two, for the price of one!
  • Book your holidays through British Airways travel and you often earn double points – and the package prices are very competitive too!
  • Try to book flights around 11 months ahead when some of the best deals can be had
  • I tend to use Skyscanner quite a lot as my cheap flight aggregation tool of choice. This search tool from ITA Software is also quite interesting but I haven’t used it much in anger yet

Get the best deal on your spending money
Don’t, don’t, don’t exchange your money at the airport.
The days of travellers checks are history. This is 2017 and apps rule. Sign up to Revolut and get the best foreign exchange rates in the market.
  • Revolut gives you the best foreign exchange rates on the market
  • You can exchange via the app at any time or just use the Mastercard they give you to withdraw cash / pay over the till
  • You can also transfer currency to other Revolut users for free such as your friends and family
  • Try not to use your Amex abroad as you get charged 2.99% on transactions and 3% for withdrawing cash. The exchange rate they give you is rubbish too!

Book a villa through AirBnB
Club together with some friends and book a crib through AirBnB. £4,000 for a week sounds expensive when it’s just you footing the bill. Split that between 3 people and it doesn’t sound so bad at £1,300.
You can get an 8 bed villa with infinity pool in Hvar for that kind of money and live like a rock star for the week.

Avoid peak season
Booking anything during the school holidays or peak season is a no no if possible. Hotels and flights can easily be double the price.
  • Try and reserve your stay during the shoulder seasons to ensure a cheaper price whilst still getting the best of the weather
  • Spring and late summer / early Autumn are great times to travel in Europe and the US
  • Book standard rooms and email / call ahead of time to enquire about an upgrade
  • Use price comparison sites when booking as these can offer significant discounts
  • I tend to use booking.com, hotels.com, expedia, trip advisor and trivago the most
  • You can also get some exclusive deals with the hotels directly, so be sure to sanity check their website before booking
  • BA holidays allows you to use Avios to reduce the cost of your flight and hotel as well as earning you reward points

Rustic beats Michelin star most of the time
Don’t get me wrong, I love a fancy restaurant, but there is a time and a place. On holiday I prefer to eat rustic and local cuisine to really immerse myself in the culture.
  • Do your restaurant research before your holiday
  • Book ahead
  • Conde Nast is a great source for research
  • Use Tripadvisor to validate your choices. Don’t use Tripadvisor as your sole source – I prefer to use it for photos and headline ratings to backup a recommendation from elsewhere
  • I tend to look for at least 3 sources recommending a particular restaurant. I then look at pictures posted from patrons to finally validate
  • You can go Michelin star for less if you book lunch or dinner during the week
  • Go easy on the booze in high end restaurants – that’s where the highest markup is

And finally, be prepared compromise
Unless you’re a billionaire, everybody has to compromise.
  • Maybe you sacrifice the sea view for the bigger villa
  • Perhaps an entry level hire car will suffice
  • Maybe self catering in a villa will save on meals out
You know what matters to you most. Work out your budget, cost up every element of your trip and make adjustments where necessary. No holiday is fun when you come back to that huge credit card bill.
And remember, usually the best things in life are free…

I am Rob, the editor of Le Bon Lifestyle. I am married to Gemma and love the finer things in life. My passions are food and travel.

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