{travel} Luxury Travel Planning Secrets

With summer just around the corner and honeymoons & destination weddings in full force, I thought I’d share some of my favorite go-to travel websites when I’m looking for good deals.  I used to be in consulting, so business traveling was my life!  For me, maximizing frequent flyer miles and hotel points along with getting “status” was a must have!  However, now that my time in the air is minimal and my travel expenses are not on the company dime, it’s very important to me to find good luxury travel deals.

I traveled through Costa Rica and Thailand (& the islands) for less than $60/night at 5-star hotels, found flights around the US for cheap, booked a cute bed-and-breakfast get-a-way in Jackson Hole, stayed in an exclusive private estate in La Quinta, and more.  I must have saved hundreds of dollars on flights, hotels, and rental cars over the past years.  My friends have used these sites also for Jamaican destination weddings to honeymoons in Bali & Kauai.  Although some of these sites require a free membership, it’s definitely worth it for the flash sales!

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For luxury hotels throughout the world, all-inclusive travel packages, or experiential travel packages (i.e. Super Bowl, Fashion Week):

  • Jetsetter ~ owned by parent company Gilt Groupe, this members-only site provides members with insider access, expert knowledge, and exclusive deals on the world’s greatest vacations. Join!
  • SniqueAway ~ invitation-only site owned by TripAdvisor that offers members top brands and A-List accommodations (only 4-5 star luxury properties) at affordable prices on travel throughout the year.  However, you can sign up on my invite list.
  • TravelZoo ~ travel, entertainment and local deals (air, hotels, rental cars, cruises, vacations)
  • Agoda ~ Asia-Pacific’s leading online hotel reservation service that is also branching out to other countries.  I booked all the hotels for my trip through Thailand (Bangkok, Koh Samui, Koh Tao) & Hong Kong here.
  • LuxuryLink ~ gain access to luxury vacations & 5-Star resorts through 2 different methods: Auctions and Book Now offers
  • Vacationist ~ a members-only website featuring exclusive sales for stays at fine hotels… gain access here

For vacation & home rentals:

  • VRBO ~ Vacation Rentals By Owner is a great site to find good deals in destination locations.  For example, I rented a 5 bedroom vacation home on a prestigious Palm Springs golf resort for only $175/nt, a Mammoth Mountain vacation cabin for 20 people and a 2 bedroom condo in Waikoloa, HI for $125/nt.
  • Home Exchange ~ a vacation swap (your home for mine) site.  I have never used it, but I have a friend who uses it for her vacation house in Bali!
  • Home Away ~ has the largest collection of vacation rentals through property management companies & individual owners.

For cheap flights:

  • Kayak ~ co-founded by ExpediaTravelocity and Orbitz, this site aggregates most airlines to find you the cheapest flights.
  • Side note ~ flight deals are usually released on Tuesdays, so check airline sites then!

For cheap rental cars:

  • Priceline ~ yes, we all know how Priceline works; however, for rental cars specifically they are the best!  This winter I got a mid-sized 4×4 SUV for only $50/day in Jackson Hole & Denver!

Enjoy your summer travel planning!!!  If you have any more travel tips & sites, please let me know as I’d love to share!

[image credit: South Male Atoll, Maldives on Jetsetter]
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