3 Ways To Make Cheap Travel Feel Luxurious

Cheap travel doesn't have to be awful! There are ways to make cheap travel feel luxurious with just a few things to bring or do to make cheap travel better. Like, uh, the entire 'travel sized' section of Sephora.com. Click through for more ideas! #cheaptravel #budgettravel #traveltips
For six weeks last winter, I road tripped my way from Minnesota to Louisiana to Colorado to Minnesota.
My lodging was a mixture of friends’ spare rooms and cheap, mom-n-pop motels – partially because I like to patronize sweet little independent businesses and partially because I don’t want to spend $125 on a place where I will only sleep and shower. But I’m all about how to make cheap travel feel luxurious!

So I frequently find myself crashing in $40-a-night numbers, paneled in fake wood with pretty questionable bedspreads. But! I’ve figured out a few tricks to make this cheap travel feel a bit more posh. Here’s how I do!

How to Make Cheap Travel Feel Luxurious

1. Bring your own decadent, fluffy, clean bedspread and at least one pillow

It’s not really a secret that motels don’t change bedspreads with every customer – pillowcases and sheets, yes. Bedspreads, no. Plus they’re usually shiny and ugly and unfluffy. If you have space in your car, bring your bedspread from home. And if you’re a finicky fancy like me and have Opinions about the proper heft and innards of a pillow, bring at least one of your own. You’ll sleep so, so much better.

2. Bring a scented candle from home

No matter how clean or fancy, motels and hotels usually smell like stale cleaning products with an undertone of cigarette. Gross. Bring a scented candle that you burn at home; it’ll make the room smell nice and homey. Travel candles are particularly nice because they come in a tin and you can just throw them in your bag.

3. Use super luxurious travel size products

Sure, it makes a lot more sense to transfer your usual products to tiny containers. But why not use this as an opportunity try out some super fancy products in trial size. Check out AllTravelSizes.com for tons of great, tiny options or the travel-size section of Sephora.com!

You guys had so many good ideas and comments on the roadtripping post – how do you make cheap-o travel feel a bit nicer?

P.S. If you’re traveling on a budget, but you don’t want to stay in a Motel 6, Airbnb can be a good option. Here’s a $55 credit towards your first booking!

photo credit: mariya georgieva // cc

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  1. Julia

    many yonks ago, i purchased a relatively expensive 'sleeping sheet' – that is a sheet sewn into a sleeping bag. The thing about my sleeping sheet is that it is a deep purple colour and made of silk. AWESOME. It also has a pocket to put a pillow into so that your head rests on the silk. Brilliant stuff. the benefits are: (a) is compact and stuffs away easily (5 seconds to pack and unpack) (b) is quite warm when that is needed and also suitable in warmer weather too (c) if you need to wash it while en route, it dries really quickly (d) buy the largest size and you've got plenty of room – i'm a big person and always have plenty of room to move (e) its very durable – I've had mine for 14 years and it has been half way round the world from mongolia to the solomon islands and many places inbetween and its still going strong; and (f) when you are travelling you get to sleep on luxurious silk every. single. night.

  2. Julia H. @ Going Gulia

    Love the scented candle idea. I'm a huge fan of scented candles, yet weirdly I've never lit any of mine…I just occasionally take the lid off & let the smell waft through my room a bit. I think I'm too afraid I'll start a fire!

  3. Alex

    Hmm… in lieu of your own bedding, I'd suggest buying a spare set to use & storing it in airtight plastic bags as you travel. Why? BED BUGS. I'm surprised you didn't mention that in a post about traveling!

  4. magtravels

    My mind also went straight to bed bugs – traveling with bedding is a big no no. I travel with a silk sheet, it's not luxurious but at least bed bugs don't like them. Trust me, you don't want bed bugs in your luggage; it happened to me and it was terrible. I would have burned all of my belongings rather than bring bed bugs home.

    I agree with the rest though, good ideas!

  5. Julie Buz.

    Oooh… we're at one with the travel size toiletries! (I like to get mine at L'Occitane.) Here's how I do!

    1. I bring a framed photograph of the people I love with me and keep it on the bedstand. It makes waking up that much nicer.

    2. I bring my own tea, and if tea making facilities are not in the room, my own miniature tea-kettle. It's sooo nice to enjoy a soothing herbal infusion before bed!

    3. When I'm staying somewhere for a bit longer (say, a week) I get a pot of flowers to keep me company. Flowers make everything look nicer, and potted ones especially so. (Although cut flowers will also be lovely.)

    As always, I loved this post!

  6. katy

    Overall, this is all good advice to work with. Keep in mind that most places these days don’t allow candles and can fine you.

  7. Kate

    I love this but please for the love of all that is good don’t bring your own bedspread and pillow into a hotel room, no matter how cheap or expensive the place is. This is how to spread bedbugs and if you pick up a little friend or two, you will have a serious hell of an expensive pain in the neck time getting them out of your house/apartment once they’ve hitched a ride back there. Even worse, if the first place you stay has bugs and they settle into your bedding, you are then potentially spreading them to all of the subsequent hotel/hostel rooms you stay in as well. Bring on the tea from home, scented candle (if allowed, which it might not be), fancy-ass shampoo (my own personal weakness), and shower bomb from Lush, but leave the bedding at home.

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