A lot of people try to save money while on vacation, which is great. Even if you’re trying to keep to your budget though, there are still some fun ways you can splurge on yourself and add a little more enjoyment to your vacation. Here are a few of my favorites, would love to hear yours too.
1.Experiences – This may seem obvious to some. After all, you’re traveling to a new place to experience the sights and activities that make it famous. But sometimes these experiences can be pricey or inconvenient and some people may not take advantage of them. Is it possible to travel and not splurge on a few once-in-a-lifetime experiences? Sure, but why would you? You’re traveling for a reason and you should make every effort to enhance the trip whenever possible. Anticipate these added costs beforehand and budget for them. The best example I’ve had recently is the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb in Sydney, Australia. The bridge is one of the most well known sites in the country, and climbing to the summit is just as well known. It’s also really expensive, around $200 US per person. That’s a lot of money to spend on just one, 4-hour experience, but it is completely worth it. There aren’t many times you’ll have the opportunity to climb a massive bridge, safely at least, and the views and just the experience itself make it worth every penny. Not every travel extra is this extreme, but they are just as important. So be prepared to spend a little more to get the most out of your trip.
2.Spa – Most of us don’t get to travel very often. Increasing work loads, diminishing time off and budget restrict our ability to get out there and see the best the world has to offer. That’s why, personally, I think it’s nice to add some personal perks to the travel experience, such as spa time. Booking a spa service while in a tropical local is a no-brainer for me, I almost always indulge. But it’s also really useful when taking a more urban or active vacation. I’ve had back problems for years and trudging around a new town with cameras and guide books in tow leave me hobbled after a few days. Before my trip I usually try to find a few places where I can get a reasonably priced massage and book it for the midway point of the trip. The service helps my back, relaxes me and enables me to continue my trip without being completely run down. It’s a small conceit, but oftentimes it helps.
3.Food – I throw this out there for the foodies in the audience. Personally speaking, I am content with lower end food most of the time because it’s what I prefer. I’m a fairly picky eater and fussy food is not something I enjoy. But for foodies, travel can be one of the best times to experiment with new restaurants and even cuisines. Food is a critical part of the travel experience and usually forms some of the best memories of the trip. No matter where you go or how you travel, there are plenty of ways to experiment with food you wouldn’t try at home. Whether it’s a 3-star restaurant in Paris, a new sushi bar in New York or one of the premium dining options on a cruise, spending a little more for food can many times be the best investment you make. I use that extra food money to buy more Nutella crepes personally.
4.Hotels – This is a little more controversial, I’ve found most people to have strong opinions on the importance of hotels. Some don’t care where they sleep, it’s little more than a storage locker with a bed for them and doesn’t factor into their travel experience. In my opinion though, where you decided to spend the night is a vital part of a trip. Luxury is great, and there’s nothing better than being well taken care of in a high end hotel, but spending more on a hotel doesn’t have to mean super high end. It can also mean a better located hotel, which is just as important. Since our travel time is limited, making sure where we spend the night is convenient is very important. The lower priced hotels on the outskirts of town may be attractive at first, but after you factor in the travel time and general inconvenience, you’ll realize it’s much better to splurge on a more centrally located hotel.
These are just a few ways I like to splurge when I travel. What are some of yours?
8 thoughts on “Four Fun Ways to Splurge on a Trip”
Excellent points! I especially love that you and I are non-fussy food people! I think we might be the only two left on the planet . It is the only bone of contention with any travel buddies I have.
There aren’t many of us and it can be sometimes challenging!
Good ideas Matt. We are certainly all different; I would definitely splurge on experiences, good food and a hotel before a spa, but mainly because I spent so many years “suffering” budget travel and it makes me really appreciate the occasional extravagant experience in a restaurant or hotel. I love street food too, indeed some of my best experiences were had at the street food stands in Africa, but I’m hopefully done with the concrete floors, no electricity/no water hotel rooms of my misspent youth…I certainly wouldn’t have had it any other way – how can you truly appreciate a good meal or classy hotel if you haven’t eaten goats head and slept rough? :-)
We are mindful of the budget, but definitely see the need to splurge some times and in some ways. You’re right though about the ability to appreciate the better things only after you’ve experienced the rough stays.
I’m with you on the food part. It’s generally just a fuel for me. I don’t eat extravagantly when I travel. I also spend all my money on experiences, but do skimp on the hotels. But I also buy a lot of gifts when I travel. I tend to purchase Christmas Ornaments and things I can hang on the wall to decorate my home. I have a few great African Tapestries!
Like most people, I used to travel without doing any splurging – but now I never do, though I still look for ways to get the best ban for my buck. High-quality experiences can be expensive but they can make all the difference in the memories you bring home – on our Alaska cruise 2 weeks ago, a flightseeing trip through Misty Fjords was the biggest-ticket one and was worth every nickel. On Holland America ships you can bring as much wine on board as you want – the money saved by bringing 12 bottles on an 11-night Caribbean cruise allowed us to get a spa package, and the hydro-therapy pool there was wonderful! Going to the specialty restaurants on cruise ships is always worthwhile – the quality and service are exceptional for the few dollars they cost. After staying at one particularly bad dive in Miami a few years ago, we swore that if we had to travel like that we’d stay home. Location is our prime deciding factor, but quality is a must. In Amsterdam this coming October, we have one of the best hotels in the city, booked with credit card points plus $50 :)
Could not agree more with those ideas – particularly food! It can be easy to lose perspective on costs when travelling – when you visit somewhere where the living is generally a lot cheaper than home (and coming from London, that’s most places!), you start to think some great retreats or meals out are too expensive (in comparison) and skip them. Only when you return, and everyday costs become reality again, do you think how stupid you were to miss out when travelling!
Well I definitely think that’s more a problem for Brits :) Right now the US dollar is pretty weak against most currencies, but you’re right. It’s important to have a grasp on exchange rates and adjust accordingly
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