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Almost every year this New Yorker likes to get out of gritty NYC and do some California dreaming. I wouldn’t consider myself a jet-setter, but I take around 4-5 trips each year with a big vacation in the mix. I’ll be honest, I like to travel in style. From my flights, dining out, and most importantly the hotel, nothing sub-par will do. This LA trip was no exception and I enjoyed every minute of it.
I’ve always looked forward to planning trips. I love finding delicious restaurants to try, shopping like a local and of course booking excellent accommodations. I don’t have a fortune to spend when traveling. Luckily, there are some tips and tricks you can use to save money without skipping out on the luxury.
4.5 Star Accommodations
My mom always said, “If you aren’t staying somewhere that is at least as nice as where you live, then find a better hotel!” I have definitely taken this to heart. To escape the Florida heat, she packed a bag or three and joined me on my California trip. We decided to spend a few relaxing days at the InterContinental Century City, conveniently located blocks away from Beverly Hills.
The lobby was adorned with gorgeous orchids and the decor was definitely Hollywood Glam. The first night we had a deluxe room with two queen beds and a balcony. The second night we stayed in a fantastic suite with a full living room, dining room, a soaking tub, and shower with multiple heads. This room was so impressive, and with its purple accents – my favorite!
I took time to lay by the pool and relax and we even took a dip in the hot tub after dark! To top it off, the hotel has a Tesla courtesy car (driver included) to take you anywhere within a 1 mile radius of the property. I was seriously impressed! I know you are thinking that this certainly sounds like balling…but where is the budget?
Traveling isn’t cheap when considering parking or taxis, airfare, dining, shopping, and excursions. As an avid traveler, I know the method to making the most out of your trip, 2 words – Loyalty Rewards! Anyone can go on a travel search site, but it doesn’t always get you the best deal.
The way to take advantage of all the perks that come with being a frequent traveler is to join the brand’s loyalty program and stay with them every time you travel. The Intercontinental’s IHG Rewards is one of the best reward programs around. You can earn points at any of their 5,000 properties worldwide, including Crown Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Kimpton Hotels, Even Hotels, and Holiday Inn.
As an IHG rewards member, we were able to use our points to book a free night at the hotel, which saves serious money! We also received free internet access, late check-out, and an exclusive rate. The more points you earn, the more benefits you are able to unlock, like room upgrades, guaranteed availability and even a Hertz Gold membership. The best part is that there are no blackout dates for your points, which means you can travel anytime you like.
With a program like this, you feel like a VIP without having to break your bank!
Tips for Traveling Like a Baller on a Budget
- Take advantage of your hotel’s breakfast buffet. If you’re not an early riser, sleep in and eat a little later in the morning. The buffet should fill you up and carry you through lunch.
- Happy Hour is King! If there is a high end restaurant you want to try, see if they have a happy hour. Order cocktails and appetizers from the discounted menu and maybe a side dish or two. You will have a full tapas style meal for a lot less than a traditional dinner.
- Stay on your Hotel’s Club Level. Some room upgrades will include a room on the concierge or club level. Access to this floor generally comes with continental breakfast and evening hor d’oeuvres.
- See if your hotel has a courtesy car. Some properties have vehicles that will pick you up from the airport or even take you to local hot spots. This could save on rental car costs.
- Uber if you are in a big city! This was the first time I went without renting a car in LA. I was able to save on parking fees, gas and the rental. Plus you get chauffeured around!
- Join a few Frequent Flyer programs. I am a loyal Delta flyer, and from racking up all those miles, I’m now an Elite member. You can get access to upgrades, free checked baggage, and priority boarding.
- Get the airline’s credit card to unlock even more privileges. They usually give you bonus miles when you sign up that you can use to upgrade your ticket to first class or even fly free!
What is the #1 way you save money when traveling in style? I’d love to you hear from you in the comments below!