Saving on travel is all about flexibility, says the anonymous editor-in-chief of the luxury travel site Andrew Harper. He told Lifehacker about a few reliable ways to watch for discounts on luxury travel, one of which will make you feel like a complete master of the universe, which you already know because we spoiled it in the headline.
The editor endorses the usual tactics: Travel in the "shoulder season" on either side of the peak season (in the Caribbean, he says, prices drop over half from peak to shoulder). Keep your dates flexible, and look for flights in the middle of the week. He loves the trend of "premium economy" seats on international flights.
As long as your dates are flexible, you can save a lot of money by setting many alerts for infrequent discounts. And even the most glamorous hotels, he says, occasionally offer a free third or fourth night.
As Hotels.com's regional director for Australia, NZ and Singapore, Katherine Cole knows a thing or two about the hotel industry. Travelling on a fortnightly basis, she's stayed at hundreds of hotels and has learned a few tricks along the way.
But our favourite hack is timing your holiday to the country's currency exchange rate. If you have long-term goals of visiting certain expensive countries, keep an eye on the exchange rate and try to buy your tickets during a dip, or even to time your whole trip during a favourable year. Japan, the UK, and Argentina have all gotten cheaper for travellers as their currencies have fallen against the US dollar.
Time your trip right and you can get a 10 per cent discount or more just from the exchange rate. Combine that with the above strategies and you can knock a lot off your travel prices without changing your actual experience.
The point isn't to go somewhere with a consistently lower cost of living or developing economy, but to go somewhere when life is pretty much the same for the locals, but temporarily weakened when compared to your own country's economy. Try to lock in your prices before the rate swings back and you're suddenly just a poor tourist stuck in an expensive country.
Over the past two years, two of my close friends have gone on holidays to Italy. At first glance, their multiple European holidays made it look like they were rich. Turns out, the key was when they were travelling: during the off-season.