Happy Leap Day! Anyone doing anything exciting with the extra day of the year? Sadly I will be at work and then buying groceries, so I anticipate my extra day will be quite mundane!
If you’re taking the day off, or have some extra time, check out my new page: Traveling. I spent some time this weekend, putting together all of my past travel recaps into one place!
I was recently reading the blog, Fitnessista, and Gina had a post about Health and Fitness: splurge vs save (link here). After which, I started thinking about traveling, and where I prefer to splurge and spend the extra money, and where I prefer to save.
My personal list:
Traveling: Save vs Splurge
Save: Hotel prices
I like to stay in clean, quiet hotels, but after that, I try and find a cheap option which is close to where I want to be. I find that besides sleeping at night, I don’t often spend much time at my hotel, therefore the extra’s that you get with pricey hotels (such as gyms, pools, fancy hotels, room service), I don’t use anyways! If I want to work out, I bring my iPad and my travel yoga mat, otherwise walking around as I explore is my main work out. This is one of the reasons I love AirBnB so much- you have a kitchen if you want to cook, and the prices are generally half of what hotels are.
Save and splurge: Flight prices
I like to try and find cheap flight options, however I’ve included this as a bit of a splurge because I also have certain factors I consider. If at all possible, I try and go for the direct option. Sometimes having multiple stops can make a flight much cheaper, but do you really want it to take 32 hours to fly from London to Munich?! Therefore, my conditions are:
1) Flight time under 4 hours? Try and find direct!
2) Flight time greater than 4 hours? Try and find one with only 1 lay-over.
(That one was taken after Assen and I spent the night trying to sleep in the Toronto airport- hence the coffee the size of my head).
However, I save a lot with flying with cheap options (EasyJet, IcelandAir, RyanAir, etc.) which provide no extras (on IcelandAir, you fly for 8 hours and they give you free beverages and everything else you need to pay for- including food!).
Splurge– Guided tours
I love, LOVE, LOVE tours when I’m in a new place. A lot of cities have free tours, which you just tip the guide at the end. However, if I’m touring something specific- I love to have someone teaching me the details. I’ve now taken trips with Viator for a tour of the Vatican in Rome, a tour of the Sintra castle in Portugal, and the castles around Munich. I find their tours to not be crazy expensive, but the tour guides are always fantastic and the tour itself is well organised. Therefore, I don’t mind spending a bit more when I know the quality will be high.
When on holiday, I often see paintings, clothing, tea mugs- and in the moment, my brain starts telling me “YOU NEED THAT!” However, once I get home, the “I ❤ NY” t-shirt goes in the closet, never to see the light of day again, and the mug goes in the cupboard. A lot of those souvenirs are not things that you will actually want when you get home. I have gotten in the habit of getting a magnet everywhere I go- it costs me around 2-5 pounds each time, and I love looking at them on the fridge. Everything else, I leave behind at the destination.
(Breaking my rule when buying ALL THE CHOCOLATE in Switzerland)
This one is a bit of a mix for me. I’m all for having cheap food for most of the holiday, however, for a real authentic experience- I will always pay more for the real thing! I would much rather eat real gelato while in Italy, then buy the cheapest stuff I can find.
When my friend and I were in Spain, we fell into the tourist trap of “Five tapas for 10 Euros”. It sounded like such a good deal that we went into the restaurant- and had one of the most disappointing meals of our trip! It was much better when we paid a bit extra and got the authentic paella (and the sangria! mmmmm).
When I first moved to the UK, and starting planning trips, I noticed there was a lot of places to go to in Europe, which I had never heard of (which, if you know me, is not surprising as I’m not great with geography). Those places I hadn’t heard of where MUCH cheaper than flying to the places I wanted to visit.
While I’m sure that the places are nice (and maybe some would be even better than the places I’ve been)- I didn’t dream of traveling to a small city in Germany which I had never heard of. I wanted to see Paris, and Rome, and Munich. Walk through the ruins of Ancient Greece while in Athens, and swim in the water of the Algarve, in Portugal. Even though those places are more expensive to visit, I will have the memories of being in those places for the rest of my life. To see the sites I wanted to see have made it more than worthwhile!
Spending New Years Eve at the base of the Eiffel Tower will forever make my inner 10-year old self squeal with joy!
So those are my personal splurge vs. save’s for traveling. I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks!