The backpacking experience of slumming it in hostels and surviving solely on instant noodles is the sort of adventure every young person should experience at least once in their lifetime. But sometimes you want something more. Travel is about meeting new people and experiencing new things, but it can also be an opportunity to treat yourself and live the high life for a few days. Unfortunately, such experiences don’t tend to come cheap.
For those whose idea of a luxury retreat is a penthouse hotel room in New York, a floating villa in the Maldives or a French chateau, deep pockets are a prerequisite. Luckily, with a little bit of knowledge about where to go, you can experience the best of luxurious travel without breaking the bank. Here are your top destinations for luxury travel on a budget.
For European elegance and plenty of old-world flair, as well as more al-fresco dining spots than you can shake a stick at, Bulgaria’s capital Sofia should be the first port of call for budget-conscious travellers. Room rates for the kind of hotels you’d expect to see on the Champs-Élysées are some of the lowest in the whole of Europe, whilst a sumptuous dinner for two with a bottle of sweet Bulgarian wine overlooking the elegant Slaveykov Square will set you back less than 20 euros. What’s not to like?
Travel allows us to live like high rollers for just a few short days. While the bright lights of Las Vegas might be the first choice for gambling globetrotters, the Chinese alternative will save you some serious dough. Macau is a former Portuguese colony off the southern Chinese coast and has fast become one of the world’s gambling centres, with experiences for every budget. Like any gamer looking to win big, you might want to practice beforehand. If you’re wanting to flex your muscles at baccarat, blackjack or any other game you’ll find on the sprawling floors of Macau’s mega-casinos, you should try playing online beforehand, either on your phone or laptop. There are quite literally hundreds of games you can play online and with tech-savvy Macau’s ultrafast WiFi network, you’ll be able to do so anywhere on the island. And you’ll want to practice your game before taking on the budget-canny gamblers that flock to Macau – they take the game seriously.
Elegant city breaks and high-flying casino getaways are all well and good if it’s adventure you’re in the mood for, but sometimes all we want to do is relax. The best place to do so is, naturally, a tropical beach paradise with white sands and crystal blue ocean waters. While the price of a beachside villa in global hotspots such as Bali, Australia and Spain can run you up tens of thousands of pounds, a luxury villa on the island of Boracay in the Philippines will set you back peanuts. You can enjoy a fortnight of literal paradise for the price of a single night in Paris. I know which one I’d prefer.
While some of the world’s most iconic destinations might be high on everyone’s bucket lists, it’s good to know that you experience the best aspects of these places even if you aren’t rich.