What’s Worth the Splurge on a Trip (and What’s Not)

a picnic on a wooden tray with wine, cheese and breads

I am not a budget traveller, but I am budget conscious and carefully calculate what is worth the splurge on a trip and what’s not.

Travelling is one of the only things in life that you get back more than you spend and I’m a firm believer in investing in experiences.

For many of us, the trips we take are memories we’ll have for a lifetime. Personally, I’d much rather regret doing something than not doing it and I definitely don’t want a few extra dollars to be the reason I missed out on something amazing. That being said, a girl’s got to eat, I get it! That’s why I’ve made a list of what’s worth the splurge on a trip and what’s not to save you money and time discovering it yourself.

Worth the Splurge

A Unique Experience

This is the biggest thing worth splurging on! It might be a few more dollars to do something truly unique, but you’ll have that memory for the rest of your life. I promise you that this is always worth investing in.

A Local Guide/ Small Tour

A local guide or small tour ( I’m talking less than 10 people) can help you to experience places and things you may have missed otherwise. They’re also a great way to get a little company and great conversation if you’re travelling solo and are feeling a bit lonely.

A Memorable Meal

You may not be a foodie, but hear me out. Taste and smell create memories that are sometimes stronger than sight. Remembering the taste of homemade pasta in a small Italian Pallazo might bring back the memory of in a more authentic way than looking at a photo.

Timed Entrances at Popular Attractions

Your time is valuable, period. If you are only visiting a place for a few days than every minute counts. Many times these passes are only slightly more than the regular ticket and you might be saving hours of time waiting in line.

A balcony

This is definitely a personal preference, but I’ve grown to really enjoy a view on my trips. I don’t often feel comfortable exploring at night alone ( again, personal choice), so having a balcony lets me feel as though I’m still a part of my surroundings from the safety of my room. Often its only a small increase in price from a regular room.

Your Safety

Your safety is never worth saving a few dollars. If you ever feel unsafe it’s always worth paying more for a taxi, switching hotels or whatever it takes for you to feel safe. Pay the extra money. You’re future self (and your parents) will thank you.

Not Worth the Splurge

a picture on a large tour bus showing one of the things not worth splurging on vacation on

Taxi’s

Generally public transportation is faster, cheaper and more efficient. Howevever, if you feel a taxi is a safer choice or you’re just plain exhausted and want don’t want to think about navigation you may decide it is worth the splurge for you. Personally, I find that the cost of taxi’s add up and public transportation often ends up as a fun new adventure.

Large Group Tours

These are never as good as they sound. You’re group will be too large to ever experience anything truly authentic, you’ll feel lost in the crowd, and loud talking will often ruin anything where silence is required. There are exceptions to this rule, but you’ve been warned.

Expensive Mediocre Meals

It’s one thing to splurge on a memorable meal, but eating out at mid range places that aren’t great is money that could be spent on other things. Check out local markets, grocery stores and smaller cafes for cheap eats and splurge once and a while on a meal that doubles as a unique experience.

Luxury Resorts

This depends on the type of trip you want. If the sole purpose of your trip is to enjoy a luxurious resort, then by all means, splurge away! However, if the experience of the trip is your focus then local boutique hotels are a good alternative. They often offer cheaper prices while still providing beautiful accommodations that feel unique and authentic. Many also offer single rooms at a lower rate, a budget glam gem!

Data Plans

Depending on the length of your trip, it’s usually cheaper to find a local sim card to use instead. I don’t usually bother with this unless I am going for 3 weeks or more as I find I can survive on free wifi most places. If you are travelling somewhere that wifi isn’t as readily available, you may want to reconsider this timeline.

Want more about travel budgeting? Try These:

20 Ways to Save for Travel

How to Find Cheap Flights

What are some things that you think are worth the splurge on a trip? Comment below!

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