What do you splurge on when you travel?

Old Feb 5th, 2009, 05:27 AM
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What do you splurge on when you travel?

I'd love to get some feedback about my new posts as the "No-Nonsense Traveler". Here's a link: http://www.fodors.com/news/story_3295.html

What are you willing to splurge on when you travel? What compromises are you willing to make in order to keep traveling in these difficult economic times? I know it's all about compromises for me right now, as I'm sure it is for you.

I'd also like to get feedback about what topics you'd like me to cover in subsequent posts. I'm open to answering direct questions, helping you with trip ideas ... basically anything that interests you.
doug_stallings is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2009, 06:06 AM
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Doug, my value-conscious husband and I travel very much like you do. Our biggest splurge is to hire a private airport car service to pick us up after we fly overnight from the U.S. When you're jet-lagged, there's nothing better than seeing a guy holding a sign with your name on it outside Customs. Public transport is fine for the rest of the trip.

Our other splurge is to buy great seats (online, in advance) to musical performances. Sitting in the sixth row at the Palais Garnier can't be beat. We can always have house wine and tartines afterwards!
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 06:32 AM
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When I travel out of the country my splurge is to upgrade to Business Class using miles and paying whatever the current cost of that upgrade may be. So, instead of bracing myself for a tortuous economy flight, I can sail right into vacation mode as soon as I board the aircraft. Plus, I have the use of the business class lounges at each end of the travel.
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 07:01 AM
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My splurge is on good food and drink.

Last year, in San Sebastian, we stayed at a modest hotel for < 100 euros. My wife and I went to dinner at Arzak, a Michelin *** restaurant and spent 350 euros.

We still remember that meal and how great the people were.
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 07:06 AM
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No shared toilets!
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 07:18 AM
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Well, my friend and I are going to Peru this spring and hiking the Inca Trail to Manchu Pichu. We are paying extra to have a porter carry our clothes/sleeping bags etc. so that we only have to carry a small day pack. We have done multi-day backpacking trips before, but this time we're a little worried about the elevation and want to make it as easy as possible. Also, this will likely be my only chance to do this and I want to enjoy it as much as possible.
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 08:56 AM
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I am a frugal traveler who will splurge on a fabulous meal or an expensive cocktail overlooking a beautiful countryside or body of water. But my favorite splurges come in the form of getting a reduced rate on any number of travel components. I've paid just $5 more to upgrade from a compact car to a full-size car on a week rental. Last March DH and I stayed in a B&B in the California wine country that was $275 per night - but the off-season special was to pay for one night and get one night free. Luxury and fine dining at bargain rates are the best!
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 11:01 AM
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I agree with Suze - no shared toilets! Our travel budget is usually not too big, but we both agree that we always want a hotel room with our own private bathroom!

Our other splurge is that we pick out one fancy restaurant (fancy for us, that is...about $30-45 PP) to try out on our trip. Otherwise, we try to be very frugal with our choices...but it's so nice to have a memorable lunch or dinner...it makes the trip even more special.
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 11:04 AM
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I splurge on those things that I just can't recreate at home and don't know if I'll ever get a chance to do again. Examples:

*My mom and I hot air ballooning over Cappadocia in Turkey
*White water rafting in a "so pure you could drink it" glacier fed river in Slovenia
*Taking a hydrofoil from Hong Kong to mainland China for a day-long tour during the Cold War (and almost being run over by a pack of bicyclists in the street during their equivalent of rush hour)

It's those kind of intangible things that are priceless to me and that I don't regret lavishing money on.
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 11:09 AM
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Hi Doug-

No need to call yourself "cheap", I like to address myself as a frugal traveler.

I have traveled frugally all my life, way befoe the current economic situation. I take public transportation everywhere I go with very few exceptions. I look for deals, coupons online before my trips.

While I enjoy fine dining, this is something I have cut down when I travel. I find that I enjoy eating at a small ethnic restaurant as much as at a michelin star restaurant.

One thing that I still splurge on is tickets for operas and symphony concerts for world-renowned orchestras or opera companies. Of course, I will try for the cheapest tickets available (no standing tickets though, I'm too old for that). If no cheap tickets are available, I am willing to pay $$$ for expensive seats. However, I am not willing to pay more than face value from scalpers.

And yes, I like the luxury of my own ensuite bathroom.
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 01:31 PM
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Doug, I splurge on birthday and Christmas presents for my family. I look forward to finding gifts from other countries that I think they'll really like to me it's part of the travel.I go without the Fine dinning as I am a good cook and can make almost any dish at home, budget hotels, just sleep there anyhow. I also go without new home decorations, electronics etc. in order to travel. Life is so short I want to follow my dreams as best as I can.
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 02:49 PM
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Like suzski I splurge on 'experiences' so sometimes I spend more on 'activities' than the average traveller.

Tickets to museums, art galleries, snorkeling/ SCUBA, rafting, horse riding, concerts etc. If there's something a place is renowned for then that's what I want to experience. For example bathing in the outdoor natural hot spring baths in Banos, Ecuador or slipping into the sparkly biobay in Vieques or getting up before dawn to see the sunrise at Bryce NP.

Admittedly some 'experiences ' are fairly cheap or even free such as a gorgeous view at the end of a hike but they are all intrinsically worth more to me than an expensive meal or fancy hotel.

One other thing I consider a splurge is paying a little more for a direct flight (at least on one leg of an itinerary). Vacation time is valuable to me so I try to get to my destination directly if possible.

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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 03:46 PM
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For my travels to London, I no longer stay in hotels but rent a flat. I could get a Priceline hotel in London for the price of the flats I rent but I sure wouldn't have the amenities such as washer/dryer, full kitchen which saves me money in the long run but where I stay is, to me, more than just a place to sleep so it's a nicer type place than I would have been satisfied with 20 years ago.

I, too have a car service pick me up at LHR. It is certainly cheaper than a taxi but pricier than taking the tube.

I also splurge a few times on black cabs there when I've been running around all day & just don't want to face getting on a crowded tube car. I'm at the age where the failing knees require this extravagance once in a while.
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 03:55 PM
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What I splurge on is what suzski and sassycat have already mentioned - activities, or "experiences". For example, a whale-watching tour, a helicopter ride into a valley on Hawaii, a special boat excursion trip in the Caribbean, a private tour of an island, a submarine trip, a great water-park for my child, etc.

We usually stay at mid-priced hotels and eat at less expensive restaurants, although we will eat one meal at an expensive place.

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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 04:24 PM
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I sleep cheap so I can eat well, although not generally at Michelin star levels! I also usually opt for en-suite rooms. My first mini-splurge for my upcoming trip to Europe was to pay extra for the direct RDU-LHR flight instead of going via JFK - I'll go via JFK on the way back, when it won't matter (so much) if I miss the connection or my luggage doesn't make it. And I just bought 5 tickets for French trains, and I made one of them first class - for an extra cost of all of 14 euros. It will be my first time in first class on a train!
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 04:25 PM
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I like to get up early in the morning to photograph before the rest of the tourists wake up when I travel on my own. My priority is a very comfortable room with a private bath with breakfast included starting at 6:00 AM.
I also like to fly business class on the return flight. I tend to have frugal meals and do not shop at all.
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 04:27 PM
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Hi Doug, I don't consider it a splurge but I have always had a hotel room with an ensuite bathroom. When I no longer want to walk (and I am a great walker) I take a taxi..it is always worth the cost to me. Wine and meals, I don't need 5 star restaurant but I enjoy good restaurants on some days so I guess you could say I have spent more then necessary at times but I have never regretted spending the money.

Regarding travelling right now, I am trying to figure out if I should or not as I am retired and need I mention my financial portfolio, sigh.

You have started a good thread, thank you!
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 04:30 PM
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I think we need a definition of "splurge".

I will pay more for a nonstop flight, for example, but does that count as a splurge?

Does having your own bathroom count as a splurge?

My main compromise is that I have changed destinations & am going more often to Mexico or Hawaii for beach vacations, and skipping my every-other-year Europe trips.
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 05:45 PM
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Doug- first off I'd like to say I am looking forward to reading your upcoming posts as this is the way I travel as well.

My splurges depend on where I'm going and can be on experiences, souvenirs or meals.

In Madrid/Seville my splurges were a Majorica pearl necklace, an afternoon at the arab bathes, a beautiful piece of pottery and a fan.

In Alaska I splurged on a Kenai Fjords NP glacier/wildlife cruise

I am also quite adept at getting splurge items at budget prices.I once stayed at the Hotel Martinez in Cannes for $100/night.
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Old Feb 5th, 2009, 05:50 PM
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We usually stay in medium priced hotels (marriotts and hiltons). I love a nice hotel splurge, but that will probably not happen for a little while since we are tightening our budgets as well. We generally eat cheap for breakfast and lunches and try to have a least a few nice dinners while traveling. I would love to fly first class, but as long as we are traveling as a family of four, we are all in coach. Maybe after we drop these two off to college, we can take a first class trip.. oh wait, then we will be paying two college tuitions! LOL. We have been bumped up and it is nice..
We usually tend to do excursions and buy things we might not buy at home as souveniors.
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