Skip to content

7 destinations where you can travel like a celeb without breaking the bank

March 29, 2022
8 min read
Yachts in turquoise water near the green island of Moni Eginas, Greece.
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Yacht-filled party hot spots like Ibiza, the coveted coastline of Cannes or the private tranquillity of Italy's Lake Como -- celebrities tend to flock to expensive, high-end European destinations to spend money in style.

Unlike celebs, though, the average traveler can't always afford the fanciest hotels in the priciest destinations.

However, there are workarounds.

Sign up for our daily newsletter
(Photo by M Swiet Productions/Getty Images)

Traveling in the off-season or using points and miles to stay at a luxury hotel can make dreamy celebrity-style vacations a reality. However, when it comes to traveling like a celebrity, it's actually more about the destination than anything else. By tweaking your desired getaway location, you may be able to rent that boat, afford a serious hotel splurge and generally feel like a celebrity version of yourself during your next vacation.

Here's where you should go to travel like a celebrity in and around Europe without breaking the bank.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

1. Kos, Greece

Kos, Greece. (Photo by pidjoe/Getty Images)

If you wish you were an A-lister partying in Mykonos or honeymooning in Santorini, choose a Greek Island for your next vacation. Just choose a more affordable one to stretch those funds further. We recommend the island of Kos, known for its fancy nightlife and pristine beaches. Plus, low-cost carriers EasyJet and Tui fly to the island from London nonstop for those that want to arrive cost-effectively.

Once there, sip white wine and admire a glowing sunset dipping into the sea, lounge on private white sands or live it up after hours at the club. Even the coolest hotels on the island, such as the boho-chic, adults-only OKU Kos are still under a few hundred pounds, even during the summer's high season.

2. Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech, Morocco. (Photo by Florian Fritsch/Getty Images)

Marrakech isn't just for celebrities. Traditional travelers can easily afford a beautiful Moroccan abode to stay in, snapping enviable Instagram shots in the bustling souks or on rooftops overlooking the dusty Moroccan streets with the snow-capped Atlas Mountains in the distance.

The pricey La Mamounia hotel, frequented by celebs like Khloé Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow and even the wannabe heiress Anna Sorokin, might be out of budget. However, there are plenty of boutique riads with private, floral courtyards and idyllic pools apt for even budget travelers. Try out TPG favorite Riad BE. Also, enjoying a private Hamman experience is accessible to all travelers, with different spots around the city offering this traditional Moroccan replenishing spa service.

3. Sardinia, Italy

Sardinia, Italy. (Photo by Ph. Francesco Ciccotti/Getty Images)

While many celebrities cruise their yachts through Porto Cervo along the cosmopolitan Costa Smeralda on Sardinia's east side, the island has much to offer travelers who visit the islands sans mega yachts.

The charming town of Alghero is perfect for visitors hoping for delicious and affordable Italian food and lodging. It's home to plenty of sandy beaches and various cultural attractions, too. Plus, there are a number of beautiful villages throughout the island -- from epic views from the hilltop village of Castelsardo to the vibrant colors of Bosa. For those who wish they could make it to the Caribbean, the fine white sands and crystal waters of Sardinia's Maddalena Islands feel like paradise.

4. Tarifa, Spain

(Photo by Ben Walsh/Getty Images)

Forego the pricier islands of Formentera and Ibiza, where you can spot celebs parking their yachts or sipping cocktails at beach clubs, for an equally sexy, boho-chic vacation along the windswept sands of Tarifa. Located on the southern tip of Spain, this Andalusian beach town attracts surfers and travelers in search of blissed-out beaches and a chill nightlife scene for a fraction of the price you'd pay in the Balearic Islands.

Beyond just enjoying the 'scene,' the old historical center is particularly quaint for a sunset stroll. Those visiting in summer and fall may catch sight of various whale breeds that migrate through the Atlantic. From stunning sunsets on the rooftop of the Kook Hotel to leisurely sipping cava to house beats on one of Tarifa's many beach clubs, soak in Tarifa's stylish and relaxing vibes, celebrity-style.

5. The Italian Alps

The Italian Alps. (Photo by Thanapol Tontinikorn/Getty Images)

Want a fancy ski trip in St. Moritz, Switzerland, like Kate Moss or Joe Jonas? Consider the Italian Alps instead. They offer plenty of powdery snow, towering white peaks and apres-ski in style at a much lower price than the Swiss slopes. From popular ski areas like the Dolomites, the Val d'Aosta or Val Gardena, there's no shortage of skiing action in the Italian Alps all winter long.

Visiting the Italian Alps in summer can be just as magical, though. Celebrities tend to flock to the pricier Italian Lake District (Lake Como is a favorite of George Clooney), but areas such as Trentino or South Tyrol offer that same rural rejuvenation without breaking the bank, including plenty of alternative lakes backed by snow-capped mountains.

6. Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain. (Photo by delreycarlos/Getty Images)

A luxury hotel boom lures celebrities and beyond to the historic Spanish capital of Madrid. The near $1,000-per-night prices of newly-opened spots like the Edition Madrid, the Four Seasons Madrid, the Mandarian Oriental Ritz Madrid and the Rosewood Villa Magna Madrid may be out of reach for the non-celebrity traveler. However, the bar prices, aimed to attract local Madrileños, are surprisingly affordable. Sip glass of Spanish wine for $4 at many of these hotel bars. Plus, Madrid offers endless options to both celebrities and regular travelers -- including incredible art museums, an up-and-coming dining scene and affordable and iconic nightlife.

When it comes to hotels, the aforementioned Edition does offer points availability, assuming you're willing to fork over at least 85,000 Bonvoy points per night. Don't worry, though. More affordable points options allow points-rich travelers to stay around the city for less at spots like the Hyatt Centric (starting at 20,000 Hyatt points per night) or the Westin Palace (starting at 40,000 Bonvoy points per night).

7. The Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve region in Portugal. (Photo by James O'Neil/Getty Images)

Looking to rent a gorgeous getaway villa at an affordable price? Portugal's Algarve is one of the most beautiful coastal areas in all of Europe – celebrity-approved sands at rock bottom prices. So, skip the expensive sands at Cannes and consider a home rental. Villas along the French Riviera that sleep eight average around $800-$1,000 per night, but equally gorgeous villas are available in the Algarve for a fraction of that -- even beachfront ones, too, according to summer Airbnb listings.

Besides the awe-inspiring sunsets at Cabo San Vincent, nearby mountain ranges and some of the most golden sand in Europe, Portugal's southern coast is perfect for travelers who desire a luxury experience for a budget price. Also, for any points-rich Algarve visitors, consider Pine Cliffs, one of the fanciest resorts in southern Portugal with seven outdoor pools, or the brand-new, uber-trendy W Algarve (both properties start at 50,000 Bonvoy points per night).

Bottom line

(Photo by Bob Thomas/Getty Images)

Average travelers can still enjoy celebrity-style vacation experiences, especially if they dip into their stash of points or select affordable -- but still beautiful -- destinations. After all, beauty and charm are for everyone, not just celebrities. There are many destinations in and around Europe where your dollars stretch further and offer you luxury experiences on a budget.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases