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So you’re a “budget” traveler like me, which is a euphemistic way of saying we’re cheap. Rather, I’d like to think of it as being “practical” or “reasonable” or, mostly, “not being ripped off”. “Cheap” implies that I would put others in a poor position to save myself a few $ but really, I end up putting myself in the poor positions instead, with frogs in my room (India) or boiler-room temperatures (Costa Rica).

In any case, us “budget” travelers every once in a while could use a splurge, and with some careful planning, you, too, can enjoy five-star luxury for two-star prices.

Enter, a luxury travel site that is members-only and posts 18 listings. These can be currently available, or available at a future date. If you’re flexible with your travel dates, or with your location, which can be difficult unless your only desire is to get away and you don’t care where as long as it’s away, there’s significant discounts to be found here.

For example (and I thank the Chicago Tribune for its legwork): The Palomar Hotel in San Francisco has a deluxe room at $260/ night in mid-June, but Jetsetter offered it at $165. $165! I’m about to pay about that much for a Holiday Inn off the Garden State Parkway sort of near the Jersey Shore. Another find: The Standard Hotel in Miami priced at $206 for June (off-season, not bad) and Jetsetter delivered it at $135. Hotels aren’t limited to just the United States, though it seems a large percentage are within the country.

When I went on to test out the site, I gave it my e-mail address and then was stuck on a “waiting list”. According to the Trib, there’s already more than 200,000 members but I am just not special enough to earn my way there, yet. Apparently if you’re already a member, you can send an invite to your friends to join like a country club. Jetsetter is affiliated with the Gilt Groupe, an exclusive member-only site that offers luxury brands at a discount (can’t you tell by the addition of the letter “e” at the end of “group”?) Like anything, be patient when it comes to travel, except when a fantastic deal shows up.


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