It’s easy to get carried away when planning your vacation, from luxurious resorts and five-star restaurants to once-in-a-lifetime tours in places you’ve only dreamed of. If you’ve ever wondered where you should splurge and where you should save, this is for you:
Upgrading to Business / First Class
Maybe you’ve always wanted to be on the other side of the curtain aboard your plane, and you think now is your chance. While it is tempting, paying thousands more for a business class seat can drastically eat into your overall travel budget. An option that straddles the line between splurging and saving (although leans heavily towards a splurge) is checking last minute at the gate if there are any seats available in business class at the time of departure. If there are empty seats, some airlines will sell them off for less than what they sell them for online – although it can still end up being a hefty sum. Instead of stretching your budget to reserve business class, consider asking for the bulkhead seats with extra legroom, or in the premium economy section. Verdict: Save
Unless you enjoy layovers and transfers and sitting on tarmacs for any length of time, splurge for the direct flights. A splurge can almost always be seen as worth it if it significantly reduces your hassle while traveling, or if it gives you back your time. Verdict: Splurge
I’m more of a risk taker when it comes to this department, but my husband is more the realist so with travel insurance while I would typically suggest, nah its a safe risk, since COVID19, we’ve all heard horror stories of non-refundable trips gone wrong. Never before has travel insurance been so important, with rules and regulations changing rapidly from country to country. So this one I’m leaving up to you, the only time I recommend splurging on insurance is for car rentals when you’re taking a long road trip, we’ve hit deer in a rental car and the hassle is not worth the headache of dealing with that. So Shaun always makes us get some kind of insurance that protects against those types of accidents, but I always rent cars with my AmEx who has excellent insurance policies and has covered my rental car accidents, so call your credit card companies and see what kind of protection they offer for free! Verdict: Save
High-End (read: overpriced) Souvenirs
It can be tempting to want to pick up beautiful ceramics, local pieces of art, or even tasty treats from your favorite destinations. But think again. The run-of-the-mill tourist shops that feature these goods get them in bulk from a fraction of what they’re selling them to you for, without any real story behind them. Visit a local market for artisan-made goods, and snag local delicacies at-where else? The local grocery store! While the treats won’t be as delicately packaged, they’ll be extra authentic, after all – they’re what the locals eat! However, to avoid the souvenir splurge and buying things I’ll never use, look at again, I decided to pick one thing to collect when I’m traveling and that is typically the only thing I buy when I’m on a trip. For me, I collect a ring from every country or adventure I go on and when I find a ring that speaks to me, I buy it no matter the cost. Its a total splurge, but in the long run justified as I almost never waste money on touristy traps and knick knacks! Verdict: Save & Splurge
This is a tough one to call, and ultimately really comes down to your travel style. For some, a vacation includes 1,000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and prompt room service, while others simply want a place to rest their head after a day of explorations and adventure. Ultimately what matters most is location, location, location. Wherever you choose, make sure it’s accessible to attractions you’d like to visit and activities you’d like to partake in. If you’re young, I would save save and go with the cheap option now as when you get older you are not going to be ok with slumin it quite as much! I spent many of nights in my 20’s staying in hostels and that was great for that time in my life, and now I want 5 star all the way… but feel I’ve earned it after spending so many nights experiencing the other side of it. And to be honest, there are way more stories of adventures tied to those nights in the saver sleep options then the all-inclusive and I’m so glad I have those stories and adventures to tell! Verdict: It’s a Tie.
I’m talking about the stuff travel dreams are made of. A hot air balloon ride at sunset in Cappadocia, a private driver on the Amalfi Coast, a private safari experience in Kenya, eloping to Bora Bora. Whatever is on your dream list, if your budget can allow – definitely make it happen. Life is short, you’ll never regret a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience. Verdict: Splurge.