Staying in five-star suites with exceptional room service and flying first class is every traveler’s dream. The thing is, not everyone could always afford these luxurious experiences. But just because we, who are on a regular budget, couldn’t afford them don’t mean we couldn’t experience them. Or at least, have the similar experience for less cost.
There are various ways to make staying in a standard hotel room and flying on an economy flight look and feel first class. Some of these hacks may cost under $100, or even free if you’re creative.
Aside from asking for an upgrade up front at a hotel, here are some of the low-key and low-cost things to do to transform your regular budget vacation into a deluxe one.
1. Hang out in the airport lounge
One of the perks of holding a first-class ticket, aside from comfortable seat, is the access to the luxurious airport lounge. There’s no better way to pass the time before boarding than with a complimentary meal, cocktail, and the opportunity to relax on comfortable couch seats.
If you’re holding an economy ticket but you want to gain access to the lounge, there are airlines that offer one-day passes for less than 60 dollars. You can also buy these passes from third-party retailers like Lounge Buddy.
2. Splurge on a luxury car transfer
Another difference between business or first class tickets and economy tickets is luxury car transfers to and from the airport. Imitate this extravagant experience by booking an Uber ride. You may also check other car services that offer chauffeurs in a fancy vehicle. These sure beat hailing a cab for hours or riding public transportation with your heavy luggage.
3. Pamper yourself in the spa
You deserve a break. One of the best ways to feel like a king or a queen during your vacation is by availing of the hotel’s spa services upon your arrival. The calming music, warm lighting, and soothing aroma of the rooms, as well as the top-of-the-line massage services and treatments, are enough to instantly put you into an invigorated state.
4. Tell the hotel about your special occasion
Are you celebrating a birthday, graduation, anniversary, or honeymoon? Informing the hotel may help make your day extra special. The hotel staff takes note of this and provide you with a cake, fruit platters, chocolates, wines and spirits, and other complimentary gifts upon your arrival.
5. Book a larger room
Not all rooms are created equal. Despite being in the same category room, some rooms are just superior to others in terms of size, comfort, and sights. Rooms at the end of the corridor as well as corner rooms often offer a slightly larger square footage. They're also likely to have more beautiful views. Additionally, they are far from the noisy elevators.
6. Take the room with the sofa bed
A lot of hotels advertise an extra sofa bed in some of their rooms, often for the same price of their standard one-bedroom suites. Even if you’re not bringing extra company, take the room with the sofa bed as this guarantees you’ll get the biggest basic room available for no added cost.
7. Bring luxury with you
Pack some scented candles or keep a handful of tiny tealight candles. The warm candlelight can make the room look cozier, prettier, and more fragrant too.
Have a miniature spa session inside the bathroom by packing some soothing toiletries, like essential oils and fragrant body scrubs and creams. You may also sprinkle some rose petals all over the tub to add some pizzazz. Another simple way to set the mood is by playing relaxing music.
8. Replicate room service
Room service is a personalized service offered by luxury hotels, providing you the opportunity to order and enjoy food and beverage in your own room for a convenient, private, and first-class dining experience. The main problem is its steep price. Even standard hotel rooms have an overpriced room service menu.
Replicate the exquisite dining experience by bringing your own wine for your nightcap. Buy good food outside and plate them nicely using the dinnerware you can find in your room. If you’re traveling with your significant other, get romantic by setting up an intimate candlelit dinner with fresh flowers.
9. Take advantage of the hotel location and facilities
Of course, your travel experience doesn’t only depend on you, scoring a better room. You can get a cookie cutter room and still make the most of your experience by going out and traveling.
It would be perfect if the hotel is only a few steps away from the attractions you want to see, like amusement parks, picnic groves, museums, great restaurants, bars, and lounges. If you don't feel like going out, check the gorgeous facilities of the hotel, especially the ones you have free access to, like swimming pools, view deck, landscaped gardens, in-house museums, and bars.
10. Ask, ask, ask
Take advantage of the hotel’s warm hospitality by asking for things that cater to your personal needs. Hotels have tons of free amenities waiting for travelers “demanding” enough to ask for them.
Request pillows with your preferred level of firmness. You may also ask for extras that are 99% free yet are not physically available in your room, including a robe, slippers, curling irons and straighteners, yoga mats, resealable plastic bags, kids’ entertainment packs, and even board games.
Author Bio: Mina Natividad is one of the writers for Holiday Inn Parramatta Accommodation, a modern hotel in Western Sydney known for their exceptional accommodation, service, and location, which appeals to travelers in Australia. She has always been passionate about giving in to her wanderlust and collecting mementos from different places.