Luxury Locations On A Budget

31/08/2010 16:42 | Updated 22 May 2015

tropical island

There are some destinations across the world that are notoriously pricey, and many people are put off visiting because of this. But there are often ways of making the most expensive places affordable. And if you're thinking of heading to the likes of the Caribbean, Scandinavia or the Indian Ocean islands, then we've tracked down ten ways to keep your costs right down.

Check out the cheap packages

Luxury locations have been hit as hard, if not harder, than everywhere else. This has meant that, in many places, prices have been slashed. This is particularly the case with package deals. The Maldives is a classic example, with numerous package deals having been released which include quality accommodation and flights for under £800 per person per week.

Stay in guesthouses

In the brochures and media coverage, you'll generally only hear about the plush resorts and upmarket hotels. But most expensive destinations, particularly in the Caribbean and the Seychelles, have a decent array of family-run guesthouses that slip under the radar. They're often set back slightly from the beach, but are perfectly acceptable and cost a fraction of the resort price. The best places to check are tourist board websites that have full accommodation lists or hostel booking sites, which generally list guesthouses too.

...or stay nearby

Many pricey destinations have much more affordable accommodation just outside. A classic example is Monaco, where hotel room rates can be eye-watering. A short, well-connected hop over the French border, and you have Beausoleil, which is much more affordable. The same applies to Dubai and Sharjah.

Take the bus

Taxis, especially ones ordered through a hotel, can be incredibly expensive. Yet hop on a public bus and you can often go halfway round the island in the Caribbean for the equivalent of a pound or two.

Eat where the locals eat

In touristy destinations, most cafés are set up for tourists, and the prices are set accordingly. Yet often just around the corner are much cheaper options that may not look all that appealing, yet serve good grub at reasonable prices. Expect limited menus, but anywhere that has a stream of locals pouring out with polystyrene containers is your goldmine. Again, this is particularly the case in the Caribbean and the Seychelles.

Stay at weekends

This one particularly applies in Scandinavia, where hotels can often drop their rates by 30 or 40 per cent at weekends. They're usually set up for the business guest, and try to make up the shortfall on weekends by enticing leisure visitors in.

Enjoy free activities

Often the best activities in the most expensive destinations are free. Lounging on the beach in Mauritius, walking round the Grand Prix track in Monaco, looking at the bizarre sculptures in Scandinavia's public parks or going hiking in the Caribbean are classic examples.

Go camping

Across Finland, Sweden and Norway, a traditional law applies that allows anyone to camp out in the wild for free, as long as the site is temporary, does not cause damage and is a sufficient distance away from dwellings. In other words, bring your tent, and you can stay for free. The Caribbean also, surprisingly, has a fair few camping options.

Pay in local currency where possible

Many expensive destinations, particularly small islands, tend to operate with two currencies. The official currency and euros or US dollars will often be accepted. Generally, it works out cheaper to pay in the local currency. This is particularly the case in restaurants and hotels, which can have laughably unfavourable exchange rates.

Buy booze at the supermarket

Drinks in hotel and beachside bars are often sold at a hefty mark-up, so it's best to do what the locals do and buy from the supermarket. Sticking to what you've put in the fridge rather than the outrageously-priced mini bar items could save you a fortune. For example, the cheapest bottle of wine in a Seychelles restaurant can often cost over £50. From a shop, the same bottle will be around £8 or £9.


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