Want to vacation in luxury ... for less? After traveling the world -- and documenting her trips in 150+ posts on her Style*Mind*Chic blog -- Heather Lindstrom now helps clients curate their dream excursions as an independent travel consultant through Great Escape Travel. From wine country explorations to paradise beach vacations to glam European getaways, I've followed Heather's adventures for years and have always thought: "That's exactly where I'd want to go." Her latest trip to Positano impressed me not only with the stunning scenery but with the smart, money-saving tips that didn't compromise one ounce of chic. In this guest post my longtime blog friend and sister in style shares her top 6 savvy tips for making the most of your travel budget and time. Read on to find out why lunch is a better bet, what's worth spending money on and how to get a 5-star, $1500 a night hotel experience for $150--stellar views included.
(All that -- plus enjoy a stylish perk at Heather's Style*Mind*Chic online boutique!)
LUXE FOR LESS: 6 Savvy & Stylish Ways to Make the Most of Your Travel Budget & Time
Tips & photos from Heather Lindstrom
As an avid traveler, with a newly launched travel consultant business, I am frequently asked about my top tips for traveling in style, even without a luxurious budget.
1 - If your budget doesn't allow for you to stay at the 5-star hotel of your dreams, stay next door. You will share the same views, dining/lounging options and amenities. My husband and I used this tip while visiting Positano, on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, last July. The luxurious Le Sirenuse Hotel, of movie fame, is on my travel bucket list. Our budget didn’t afford us that reservation, on this trip, but I did my research and booked a charming hotel right next door. As you can see, the views are breathtaking, and the same as the views at 10 times the price.
2 - Earn frequent flyer miles on one credit card. My husband and I have traveled to Europe five times on free miles. It makes such a difference in the overall budget of the trip when the airfare is free. We charge everything we possibly can on our United Visa card. We meticulously track the balance and fully commit to paying it off every month to avoid any unnecessary fees. We bumped our membership up to the premium level so that we aren't charged any fees for using our card internationally. We also receive upgrades like free passes to the United Lounge and free baggage which are great perks.
3 - On a lengthy trip, like our three-week vacation in Italy and Paris, don’t plan on expensive meals three times a day. I recommend mixing up your dining options. Bring in croissants, baguettes, cheese, yogurt and fruit for a simple en suite breakfast, as we did when staying in an apartment in Paris. Go out for lunch at that fancy trattoria, rather than a 5-course dinner. The quality will be the same, but the price tag nearly half the cost. Ask the locals where they find the best local cuisine. We were treated to an unforgettable, and surprisingly inexpensive, dining experience high on the mountain above Positano at La Tagliata.
4 - Buy good quality travel items. I always travel with a good quality cross body bag. Cross body bags leave your hands free for shopping and hauling luggage. They also add an extra layer of security for your valuables.
I've also learned to invest in good quality luggage. A stylish, but not particularly well made suitcase I had a few years ago, ended up losing 3 out of 4 wheels during a trip to the Caribbean. One wheel doesn't make for an easy roller bag situation, I can assure you.
For luggage, I prefer a hardshell, lightweight spinner. If you have the budget for it, Tumi is an investment that will last and perform well for a very long time. A more affordable, but still great quality option is the Helium Aero from Delsey.
My favorite travel bag for cosmetics and toiletries is the EMME bag. It’s indestructible and keeps all my essentials organized.
5 - Plan ahead and always carry necessities in a carry-on bag. Necessary medications and a toothbrush are key items. I always pack a wool pashmina for cool temps on the plane and to use a pillow on a long flight. If you are headed to a beach vacation, always carry a bathing suit with you. There is nothing like sitting in 95 humid degree temps, poolside in street clothes, wondering if that ugly $250 hotel boutique swimsuit is a good purchase (It's not!). When our luggage was lost for three days while traveling to the Dominican Republic, I discovered that the right bra, belt and sarong could be fashioned into cocktail attire, if necessary.
6 - And finally, be as prepared as you can be and enjoy the adventure that is travel!
Experience More of Heather's Italian Adventures in an afternoon at Le Sirenuse on Style*Mind*Chic Life
** A Stylish Perk **
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** Shop any time -- No expiration date! **
Heather Lindstrom recently made the big leap from a 33-year career in education to follow her passions as an independent travel consultant and lifestyle curator. If you, or someone you know, is looking to book a vacation, she would love to put together a dream trip for you. Contact her at Style*Mind*Chic.
"Use the good china for breakfast."