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How to Visit Luxury Destinations in the Northeast on a Budget

Check out these insider tips from a AAA Travel agent to book affordable stays at luxury destinations.

luxury destinations on a budget

Getaways are a great way to relax, recharge and ease your mind from the daily grind. But let’s be honest: The hefty bill at the end of a trip can put a damper on things. Even money-conscious travelers can enjoy a getaway to expensive vacation spots in the Northeast. AAA Travel agent Jeffrey Pearson shared his insider tips on how to save at luxury destinations in the area.

Book a Smart Stay and Save

Summer brings warm weather, sunny days, the end of school and a bite from the travel bug. Although the summertime seems like an ideal time to get away, Pearson suggests avoiding the tourist season of any luxury destination to keep costs down.

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“Visiting a luxury destination during the off-season is your best guarantee for low prices,” he said.

Many hotels offer special rates during fall, winter and spring for significantly less than during tourist season. And to get the most bang for your buck, shy away from the temptation of a weekend away.

“If you’re really looking to save, consider vacationing during the week instead of on the weekend,” Pearson said. “Weekend rates tend to be higher.”

Keep an eye out for seasonal packages at local hotels. Many hotels, like AAA Five Diamond Rated Ocean House in Watch Hill, R.I., and Thee Diamond Rated Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa in New York, provide amenities, one-of-a-kind experiences, resort credit and more included with your stay at certain times of the year.

Take Advantage of Affordable Eats

You want to taste the local cuisine, but you don’t want to break the bank. Pearson says the solution is to consider eating out based on your budget.

“Opt for the lunch or breakfast option instead of the pricey dinner,” he said. “The burger at the local tavern could be just as tasty as the fancy steak dinner at the trendy restaurant.”

Breakfast and lunch choices at restaurants are often cheaper meal options than eating out at the end of the day. If you’re still looking for that perfect dinner, eat a light breakfast or lunch with snacks throughout the day. You can still save a little money during the day to make for a lighter bill at night.

If you find that the call to indulge in the local food scene is just too strong, consider visiting a luxury destination during a restaurant week. Locations across the country, including Newport, R.I., and Cape Cod, host restaurant weeks annually. Enjoy multi-course, prix fixe lunches and dinners at some of the best eateries around for an affordable price, based on how much you want to spend.

luxury destinations on a budget

Enjoy Some Budget-Friendly Fun

A little research goes a long way. Pearson urges anyone planning a getaway to do their homework beforehand.

“Think about the interests of the people you’re traveling with,” he said. “If you’re traveling with kids, you don’t want to plan a day that will make them miserable.”

Additionally, you don’t want to make an itinerary that will bust your budget. There are plenty of fun activities in luxury destinations available for an affordable price or completely free of charge. Pearson recommends taking advantage of the recreational opportunities in the area, like hiking nature trails or visiting famous landmarks. Here’s some inspiration to complete your daily itineraries before your trip.

The Hamptons: Montauk Point State Park

If you’re looking for some outdoor fun on the cheap, look no further than this natural area in Montauk. There are plenty of nature trails to explore and activities to try both on land and in the water. Montauk Point State Park is a great place to get some cross-country skiing in if you’re traveling during the snowy season. The best part: Admission is charged by car.

Newport: Cliff Walk and Prescott Farm

The Cliff Walk provides stunning views of Newport’s eastern shore and winds through a portion of the grounds of the Newport mansions. Winding 3.5 miles, this National Recreation Trail is one of Newport’s most popular attractions, combing nature and history in an unforgettable walking path.

Prescott Farm, just over the line in Middletown, R.I., has ties to the American Revolution, making it a wonderland for any history buff. The beautiful gardens are taken care of by a team from University of Rhode Island’s Master Garden Program. Prescott Farm also offers workshops and youth programs seasonally.

Both attractions offer free admission.

Cape Cod: Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory

Get a chance to see how these famous kettle-cooked chips are made and manufactured daily. Located in Hyannis, the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory provides free tours to more than 250,000 visitors every year. The self-guided tour shows how potatoes are turned into crispy chips, culminating in free samples to bring home.

The Berkshires: Berkshire Botanical Garden

Spanning 15 acres, the Berkshire Botanical Garden is one of the region’s oldest public display gardens, featuring thousands of native plants. The greenhouses and education center are open year round, where a variety of workshops and classes are held, as well as the center house, which showcases art pieces, a botanical library and more. Visit during the off-season for free admission, or on Tuesdays May 1 through Columbus Day for half-price admission.

Do you have any money-saving travel tips? Share in the comments!

Check out AAA member exclusive discounts to local attractions, restaurants and more.

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