You’ve walked down the aisle of a plane past the first-class section or seen these cush seats in movies and thought, “Next time I fly, I’m going first class all the way.”
It sounds great — until you see the price of the tickets, that is. At that point, you decide you want to travel like you’re in first class, without the mega airfare cost.
Going five-star all the way may not be in your budget, but you can still indulge in some luxury perks if you use these travel tricks.
1. Travel Off-Season
If you are flexible with your travel dates, you’re more likely to get better accommodations for a lower price tag. This applies to everything from airfare to lodging and excursions.
For example, if you’re not afraid of a hurricane canceling your cruise at the last minute, book your trip during hurricane season. The odds are in your favor that your cruise will go on as planned, but lots of people are nervous about sailing the high seas from August to October. You can easily get a balcony room for the same rate you’d get a regular cabin the rest of the year.
Find out where you want to go, then check to see what is considered the off-season for that destination.
This works great for business trips, as well. Since you’re planning your conference well in advance, you can choose the off-season time and get those discounted rates.
Just make sure you have corporate travel insurance, as this article by Hotel Engine talks about, in place. It will be handy in case you need to cancel for inclement weather or another reason.
2. Be Mindful of Your Layover
Sometimes, you can find cheaper flights if you are okay with an extended layover. Instead of rushing to catch your next plane, a long layover gives you the chance to regroup and refresh. It’s also an opportunity to make use of the airline’s lounge.
Look on the app to see if your airline has a lounge at the airport you’re hanging out in, then find it when you disembark. Many airlines, like United Airlines, allow you to use their lounges with a business class ticket or higher, or pay a small fee for the facilities.
Lounges provide refreshments, WiFi, and dining options, as well as a clean, comfortable place to rest between flights. You’ll feel like (and look like) a first class traveler, and the cost to access the area is probably about the same as what you’d spend on snacks and drinks during your layover anyway.
3. Ask Nicely
Remember how your parents used to remind you to say please and thank you? Those manners somehow disappear from many guests in a hospitality interaction.
The simple actions of being kind and polite may get you further than you think. Hotel attendants and airline staff are often the recipients of frustrated customers upset with delays or problems that aren’t caused by the person behind the desk, yet that’s who gets to hear the blame.
Find a time when it’s not busy to go up to the desk and politely greet the attendant and thank them for their hard work. You can leave it at that, and let your karma points add up later, or take the opportunity to quietly ask if there are any upgrades available.
In hotels and flights, there may be seats or rooms open because of last-minute cancellations or no-shows. The staff can offer you those at an extra cost, or bump you into them for free. You won’t know if you don’t ask, though!
4. Make the Most of What You Have
Even if you don’t score a first-class upgrade or luxury room, you can still travel in style. All you need is to pack the right gear to take your space from economy to upscale.
Luxury all boils down to an extravagance of the senses. When you pack, keep this in mind, and include things that will make wherever you go look, feel, smell, and sound better.
Some examples include:
- A comfortable travel pillow that lets you rest your head while you’re sitting up
- An eye mask that blocks out the light while soothing your skin
- Ear plugs that stay in place comfortably, preferably Bluetooth to connect a calming app
- A mist spray with a soothing scent for your pillow
These items are ideal for any travel environment, unless you’re driving. They’ll take your current situation and help you make the most of it, no matter where you are.
First-class is a dream for millions of us, but the reality is often too far outside our budget. But you can still travel like you’re first-class without paying the mega price tag with these four expert tips.