Travel in luxury on a budget

Tony at the Great Wall in China. Photo provided.

by Tony Baker
Travel Columnist

Fine travel is one of the most rewarding experiences in which one can partake. Travel opens the mind and is something almost everyone loves to do.

In my opinion, the money spent on traveling is never wasted. Most of us like a little (or a lot) of LUX in our travels, but many of us don’t have a LUX bank account. I have crafted five tips and tricks on how to travel well, on the cheap.

Stay loyal and collect those points and miles: One of the main things I tell people when they ask how I travel so well is that I collect points and miles anyway I possibly can. Most, if not all, airlines and hotel companies offer a points or miles program.

I am loyal to Delta airlines for my air travel, and Marriott for my hotel stays. It’s good to stay loyal to one program for many reasons. If you put all your flights to one airline, or hotel stays to one program, you soon gain elite status, which helps a lot in getting free added perks.

For example, staying loyal helps you gain miles and points in these programs so you can eventually have enough for free flights and hotel stays. The higher the status, the more you earn, the more you get. Check my blog on many creative ways to earn points and miles; you’d be surprised.

Credit cards can be a blessing: I would start by saying, be careful and smart with them, but travel credit cards can be a great way to get lots of points and added perks. Again, stay loyal to the program you want to earn and grow in, and you’ll get a boatload of points before you know it.

Don’t procrastinate, just do it: If a good deal pops up, grab it, and fill in the blanks later. I often write about travel deals and who to follow and where to check for them, but many times, you must act fast. You can always fill in the blanks later. Also, booking early, even if it’s not a “deal” is usually better than last minute.

Be flexible: Many times, staying an extra day or two in a place can save you hundreds and hundreds, and if it’s cheaper than your hotel stay for those extra days, then it’s a no brainer. I use for searching. They have many cool tools on searching the cheapest and most creative itineraries. I encourage you to use them; I sure do.

Price Match Guarantee: A little-known option most hotel companies offer is a “Price Match Guarantee.” What this means is if you book direct and find a cheaper rate on a third-party site, most will match it and then some.

For example, Marriott will match the lower rate, and take an addition 25 percent off, or give you bonus points. When looking at hotels, I pick two or three on Marriott affiliated properties in the place I'm going and compare prices of each property against sites like Tripadvisor or Trivago. If I find a cheaper rate, I submit a claim. Very important; you must go over the terms of the program before booking to make sure your claim is approved. I saved almost $700 for one stay using this, so I know it works.

These are just a few tips and tricks on how to maximize your dollars when traveling bougie. It doesn’t have to be expensive to travel luxuriously. If you have any questions, please drop me a line at or check out my site. And please travel more!

Copyright The Gayly. 9/26/2019 @ 1:59 p.m. CST.