Don’t go YOLO (you only live once) route and spend all your savings on a trip to Europe. Don’t forget that the YOLO lifestyle only works for people who do not have obligations such as a mortgage and a family. You can still travel wherever you want provided that you be smart with your choices. Should you spend on your accommodations? How about your meals? And what about your souvenir shopping money?
There are two ways you can look at this. The first view is that you have to splurge on the accommodations because you only get to stay in a nice hotel during your travels. It’s not like you’re going to spend on a five-star hotel every month. But that’s only for those who do not travel a lot and have the means to pay for a nice hotel. It is more practical to skimp on your accommodation and find an affordable hostel.
Of course, that depends if you’re traveling alone or with family. Perhaps, you can divide your vacation time and stay in a cheap apartment for the next few days and cap it off with a luxurious hotel experience. Either way, you shouldn’t spend too much on a bedroom you’ll only stay in for eight hours a night.
Meals: Splurge and Skimp
You should definitely try at least one luxurious meal when you travel. It is worth it to experience what others have been talking about on social media. So yes, if you can, splurge on a nice Michelin-starred restaurant. However, remember to check out the more affordable options, too. Make sure that you’re sampling what the locals eat or you are missing out on all the fun.
Travel Agent: Skimp
It used to be such a struggle to book a flight because you’ll have to call the airline ticketing office and talk to an agent. Today, booking a flight is easier than reserving a nice table in a five-star restaurant. You can search for the flights yourself and book seats using your credit card. The airline will send you the details of the trip. All you have to do is show that email to the agent at the check-in counter.
Good Seats: Splurge
If there’s one thing you have to splurge on, it’s your airplane seats. Yes, it is tempting to spend as little as possible on airfare. After all, you’ll only be there for 17 hours max, but it will spell the difference between having a restful flight and a stressful one. If you have some space in your budget, good seats (not business or first-class) are worth the price.
Travel Insurance: Skimp and Splurge
If it’s domestic travel, skip the travel insurance that’s worth between 4% and 8% of your total trip cost. Although you can’t put a price tag on your peace of mind, domestic travel is cheap. This means you can shoulder the loss in case your trip gets canceled.
For international trips, things are a little different. Since you are staying in another country under a different government, it’s best to have travel insurance. You cannot foresee the events that will disrupt your trip as is the case in 2010 when a volcano in Iceland erupted. The travel insurance will kick in when these things happen, and you need to rebook your flights.
High-end Souvenirs: Skimp
Those high-end souvenirs are probably made from the same country. You’ll also find these souvenirs in the local market for half the price of those sold in malls. Do not fall trap to your travel brain and splurge on everything you set your eyes on. Thinking that “I might as well since I’m on a vacation” is not practical or even smart. You only need a couple of items to remind you of your trip.
Specialized Group Tours: Splurge
Some places are just too hard to reach that you need to hire a travel guide. This is one of the things that you should splurge on. If you are not too fond of joining groups, you can hire a private guide. The point is that you need an expert to navigate these tourist sites because the experience won’t be the same if you try to do it yourself.
Local Transportation: Skimp
Should you spend on trains and cabs? For the experience, why not? But if to get around the city you need to spend hundreds of dollars, you should probably skip that. The whole point of being in another country is to have a full experience. How can you experience a city if you are on a bus or cab? Walk to your next destination if you can. Walk as much as you can to see as many things as possible.
Splurging on vacation is only warranted if you have the money for it. There is no point in going broke once you arrive home. That will only hamper your future trips. So, always be practical and smart when choosing what and what not to splurge on.