How to pretend you're on a luxury getaway when you're not

2019-02-11 12:00 - Gabi Zietsman
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glamorous woman holding champagne next to car

You don't have be rolling in dollars for a 'luxury' holiday. (Photo: iStock)

Sipping cocktails on a private beachfront. Room service in the penthouse suite. A private bush safari while looking like royalty.

Scrolling through social feeds, gawking at the extravagance of 1% of travellers, you can feel a little despondent that your inner diva and your bank account do not co-exist in the same universe.

READ: Bubbly in a hot tub? Local getaways with deck pools and jacuzzis

But luxury isn't always about the amount money you spend on your holiday - those luxe pics from your favourite travel influencer are well-crafted, set up to make it look glamorous - and you don't necessarily have to be rolling in a trust fund to pull it off.

With a little creativity and a squad or S/O willing to ride that luxe train with you, you can let your inner Cardi B shine while your haters begrudgingly scroll through your own fabulous feed.

Here are a few tips to turn your budget holiday into a luxe experience.

Popping bottles

You may not be getting that free welcome drink of bubbly at your self-catering chalet, but it doesn't mean you have to skimp on your tastes.

It's already way cheaper to buy the premium stuff - whisky, sparkling wine, designer wine - yourself at a wine farm or select wine shop, so you can feel like you're supping from luxury on your semi-sea-view balcony.

Packing two pretty glasses will just be the cherry on top.

WATCH: This Limpopo bush lodge proves a luxe poolside experience is the best

Dress to impress

Just because you have to budget your accommodation doesn't mean your style has to suffer.

Few things make you feel as fabulous as dressing up for country clubs or just a night out at the local bar, so channel your inner boujee and pull that bow tie and wing eyeliner closer and let your crushed velvet seep out into your surroundings.

Make your own fine-dining experience

Like your body, dressing up your plate can also make your cheap holiday feel a little more glamorous - and you don't have to be the next Master Chef to dish up a hotel-restaurant experience.

Get a good, but easy cookbook to try out on your holiday, share your progress like a foodie star on social and watch a video or two on how to plate for perfection.

PICS: This Cape Town hotel just got a makeover - and it might be the next poolside drinks hotspot

Look for a hotel with an open-to-the-public pool

If you're looking for some poolside glam, many hotels - especially in cities - have their pools open to the public for sundowner drinks or lazy Sunday afternoons.

Sometimes you have to pay, or order a minimum amount of drinks, but splurging a little extra to make you feel like you're staying in a luxe hotel would still save you more cash than actually staying there.

Book a spa appointment

Spas may sound like an expensive excursion, but you don't have to sacrifice your firstborn to wrap yourself in seaweed while Enya plays in the background. 

Look for specials in your destination or check discount sites like Hyperli or Entertainer for any vouchers you can buy to help you count your coins while melting into a Swedish massage.

READ: Relaxation taken to another level at Addo with new spa treatments

Find a local to take you on a guided tour around your destination

VIP treatment means that you can step away from the crowds and get special treatment, and a great way to feel this vibe is by hiring a local guide to take you on a personal tour for you and your squad through your destination, while contributing to small-scale sustainable tourism practices.

You can inquire at the information centre or the reception of your accommodation if they can recommend anyone, or check out SA Tourism's handy online guide to connect with small-scale operators. 

Visit the local art centre or gallery

The 1% and the art world are very much entwined, and visiting a gallery or art museum doesn't mean you have to provide banking slips just to prove you are able to afford to buy something.

Have a look for any special exhibits or openings - they often have some free thirst-quenchers and you can indulge your eyes at the same time in some refined visual curiosities. 

WATCH: The 5 best places to uncover Africa's arts and culture on the continent itself

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