Even though you may have the art of maximizing your travel budget down to a science, there are some things worth spending extra money on when traveling.
If you’re a seasoned traveler, you’re well acquainted with tips and tricks to stretch your travel budget. While no one can argue that a travel budget is a necessity for just about everyone, there’s no rule that says absolutely everything you do has to be done for the least amount of money possible. More than once, we’ve made the mistake of being “penny wise and pound foolish,” and we’ve missed out on experiences because we were unnecessarily frugal. These we regret.
Visiting new destinations can be so exciting, and the memories made can be even more vivid if we’re flexible enough to consider what the impact of a specific aspect might have in the long run. Consult our list of splurge-worthy ideas to decide which parts of your travel itinerary might deserve a bigger investment.
On Long-Haul Flights
Airplane travel has never been more affordable. What was once only available to the rich is now open to all. Indeed, you can make things even cheaper by going without add-ons in Basic Economy, such as in-flight meals, extra legroom, or checked luggage. But while this may save you in the short term, is it really always the right way to go? On a long-haul flight, we’d say no, especially with the in-flight meal. While you can treat short-haul flights like a taxi, long-haul journeys should be an experience. Don’t ruin it by starving yourself! Likewise, we check the price of upgrading to the next class of service on long-haul flights. Instead of Basic Economy, it may make more sense to spring for extra legroom and other amenities in a Premium Economy seat, or even Business Class. When you’re booking direct via the airline site, make sure to double check all the options. You might be pleasantly surprised at the affordability considering what you gain.
A Private Room
Similar to booking flights, it’s also possible to find overnight accommodations in certain locations for surprisingly low prices. Hostels and shared rooms rented by private parties are often a budget traveler’s solution to the high cost of city hotel rooms. The only problem is, you’ll be sharing with others in a dormitory setting, and they’re all likely to be total strangers. While this can be okay for certain people, and even recommended in some destinations, we don’t think it’s enjoyable. We’re at the age where we like our privacy and don’t care to share a bathroom. If you’re coming off a tiring travel segment, the last thing you want is to be at the mercy of others in shared circumstances. Pay for the upgrade to a private room without regret.
A Night to Remember
Of all the cost-cutting measures, the one that makes the most sense is cutting down on alcohol and nights out. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend any nights out on the town; you absolutely should, especially in places where nightlife is a critical part of the experience. It’s worth making room in the budget to enjoy nightlife in one of the best sky bars, for example, just as it’s worth setting money aside for a fun evening in one of England’s quintessentially cozy pubs. These are integral parts of the traveling experience: don’t miss out because of misplaced frugality!
The Local Delicacy
Yes, you could save money by eating all of your meals at McDonald’s and other familiar branded or fast food restaurants, but please, don’t. While there might be a Starbucks on just about every corner in popular destinations, forego it in favor of local flavor. The world is rich with unusual and delicious foods – and drinks – and these should be savored. It might mean you need to spend a little bit more than you’d like on food, but we’ve never regretted it. We make it a point to seek out special places that locals frequent and are often delightfully surprised that prices are reasonable. If you do, too, you’ll have broadened your palate and learned something new about the world.
Nail Your Bucket List Moment
Finally, don’t make any concessions when it comes to something on your bucket list. If there was ever a time to splurge, it’s on something that you’ve been dreaming about for longer than you can remember. Years ago, it was a budget buster for Betsy to splurge on a carriage ride at the Palace of Versailles, but it remains one of the fondest memories of a special, once-in-a-lifetime mother-daughter trip to Europe. You only get so many chances for your dreams to come true – when in doubt, ask yourself: am I going to regret not doing this? Be honest and you’ll have the answer.