We all dream of a little luxury now and again. Whether it be a romantic getaway, a girl’s trip, or an indulgent spa day. Many of us would love to enjoy a relaxing and luxurious vacation, but perhaps we don’t all have the budget to be swanning around a 5 star resort. This is where we come in, because luxury vacations don’t have to be as expensive as you think! With a little pre-planning, travel hacking and some insider secret tips, you can snag yourself a fantastic deal and unwind on a trip of a lifetime for less. We’ve compiled a shortlist of our top 10 favorite luxury vacations with an affordable price tag, ranging from oriental experiences in South East Asia to African Safaris and even Caribbean luxury vacations!
The Shortlist: Top 10 Affordable Luxury Vacations
There’s something to suit every taste and budget on this list, from the lesser explored areas of Africa and South America to popular hotspots on the European coastline. In no particular order...
When it comes to luxury vacations, Peru might not be a country that automatically springs to mind. In fact, the images that Peru conjure up are more along the lines of trekking up the Inca trail to Machu Picchu and other various hard going, muddy hikes. You could be in for a pleasant surprise though, as Peru has a number of affordable luxury hotels to cater to all different budgets. The gastronomy scene in Peru is very up and coming, with more and more fine dining establishments being opened. An underlooked destination well worth considering!
Thailand isn’t new to the world of luxury vacations, and whilst the prices on the islands have steadily been driven up by mass tourism over the years — the North of Thailand still retains its mysterious charm and comparatively cheaper prices. Whilst you want have a sandy white beach, you can stay at luxury hotels for a fraction of the price and enjoy a swimming pool and spa package before visiting sparkling temples and elephant sanctuaries.
Another contender on our luxury vacations shortlist is Morocco. Again, Morocco is no stranger to being considered a luxury destination, especially since it is famous for it’s spas. However, the prices are still perfectly affordable. In Marrakesh, you can stay in a traditional riad or a hotel on a budget, and enjoy traditional spa packages with local ingredients such as Argan Oil. You can taste the local cuisine of tagine and dates before exploring the souks, or you can set your sights further afield and explore the likes of Casablanca or Essaouira.
The terms of “affordable luxury” and the Caribbean don’t tend to go together, but Belize is the secret hotspot you’ve been looking for to get just that. Belize is blessed with inland jungle and Mayan temple ruins, cascading waterfalls, amazing hikes and a Caribbean coastline. You can soak up the same atmosphere in Belize than you would in the likes of Barbados for a fraction of the price. So when searching for Caribbean luxury vacations, set your sights on the secluded islands of Belize. You can enjoy world-class diving and snorkeling in crystal clear waters one day, and explore ancient monuments and sacred caves the next!
Whilst nearly everyone knows about Santorini, there are plenty of other wonderful places to go in Greece for luxury vacations. For example, you can head to Athens for the history and culture, the stunning mountain town of Arahova for something different, or the beautiful island of Mykonos for some luxury relaxation overlooking the blue ocean waters. Greece boasts plenty of beautiful luxury hotels and villas on varying budgets due to its longstanding popularity as a vacation destination. That being said, it remains popular for a reason!
Sure, Canada may not be everyone's cup of tea, with many preferring to spend their vacation time somewhere sunny. Canada has a lot to offer though, from stunning glacial lakes to beautiful countryside, and quirky cities full of bohemian art and bustling with creative energy. Whether you want a city break in a modern metropolis or a getaway in the heart of nature, Canada has something to suit every taste. Canada can also be surprisingly affordable as well, so don’t cross it off your luxury vacations list just yet!
Portugal is another long standing favorite when it comes to European luxury vacations. You will be spoilt for choice, from the cobbled streets of its capital city Lisbon to the pastel colored building of Porto reminiscent of the famous Italian cinque-terre. The ever-popular Algarve perches on the edge of the Atlantic ocean. Portugal is certainly not lacking in charm, diversity, or tasty food as it’s home to the Pastel de nata.
8. South Africa
South Africa makes a surprisingly affordable destination for luxury travel, in particular when it comes to safaris. The Kruger National Park has a range of affordable accommodation both inside and nearby the safari park, and offers both tours and self-drive options. In terms of luxury vacations in South Africa, many people enjoy the likes of Capetown and the surrounding areas such as Boulders Bay, one of only two places in the whole of Africa where penguins go to nest!
The Philippines makes a wonderful destination for luxury vacations. There are thousands of small, tropical islands to choose from in The Philippines; many home to luxurious hotels and villas. Traveling before or just after the peak season will mean missing the crowds of tourists and getting a better deal on accommodation prices! Explore perfect blue lagoons on bamboo rafts and breathtaking waterfalls, before relaxing by the pool or getting pampered in the spa!
What could be more luxurious than getting pampered, going shopping in one of the fashion capitals of the world, and indulging in some of the best cuisine there is? The Italians sure know how to enjoy life, which is why it’s a firm favorite when it comes to luxury vacations. Whilst the major cities such as Rome, Venice, and Milan will likely set you back a buck or two — Italy has more to offer outside of these locales! From the charming whitewashed coastal towns and baroque architecture than can be found in the Southern region of Apulia, to the historic town in Emilia-Romagna, there’s plenty of options to venture out of the typical Italian vacation comfort zone!
TOP PICK: Belize
Caribbean luxury vacations can be hard to come by, and after all, the Caribbean is synonymous with relaxation and luxury. That’s why Belize is our top pick out of the affordable luxury vacations shortlist that we’ve compiled. Belize has the best of both worlds, combining the wonder of ancient Mayan history and temple ruins with a sparkling Caribbean coastline. Excellent year round weather, beautiful secluded islands, and a happy relaxed attitude is the perfect atmosphere for a luxury getaway, that won’t end up costing you an arm and a leg!