I’m someone who can travel well on a very tight budget; I’ve taken 15-hour train rides in China, an overnight sleeper bus from London to Scotland and slept at a 24-hour McDonald’s, all to save money.
I scrimp on airfares and lodging so that I have more to spend on activities. I value experiences. If that means sacrificing comfort for a while, that’s fine by me.
And I know I’m not the only one.
No-frills airlines and hostels are very popular because everybody wants to be able to do more while spending as very little as possible during these trips. Travel writers focus a lot on budget trips and how to travel the world on a shoestring. People can now even travel within Asia for as low as P16,000.00, according to an article from MoneyMax.ph. Luxury experiences are not even considered part of the travel plan, especially by the younger travelers who have just graduated or are in the early stages of their careers.
Sometimes, however, an occasional splurge is worth the extra cost.
A few years back, my husband and I chanced upon a promo where the price for roundtrip business class tickets from Manila-Vancouver was almost the same as the usual regular economy fares. He loves all things related to commercial flights (airports, airlines, lounges) so this was something we didn’t want to miss. Needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed our 12-hour plane ride, which came complete with gourmet meals and a generous legroom, for a change!
On another instance, my dad, being a huge Beatles fan, booked a flight to Vegas for the sole purpose of watching Paul McCartney live in concert. Tickets to the concert of one of the members of The Beatles did not come cheap but since this was a rare opportunity and a once-in-a-lifetime chance, we treated ourselves to the tickets.
These experiences were the highlights of our trip simply because they were such standouts. We don’t always get a chance to enjoy a business class flight and definitely not everyday that we get to watch one of the greatest music bands of all time perform live!
It’s true; you don’t need to spend a lot to have a good time when you travel. But once in a while, it’s nice to spend on those rare experiences you won’t be able to do often or again.
Affording splurge moments
I recommend treating yourself to just one “splurge moment” per trip, not just to make it really memorable but also to offset the amount you’ll be shelling out.
Maybe you could book at a 5-star resort for one night, then transfer to a cheaper hotel for the rest of your trip. Or if you’re a foodie, you can book a fancy dinner at your favorite celebrity chef’s restaurant for a special evening and eat at cheaper local eateries for your other meals. Have your unique experience without blowing off your budget.
Choose what makes you happy
When choosing which activity to splurge on, make sure that you pick something that’s special for you. Try an activity that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t because you feel it’s too expensive. Fulfill your childhood dream. Splurge moments are there to enhance your travel experience, not for bragging rights. So choose something that makes you really happy!
A friend told me once “Money can always be earned again, but when moments pass, you won’t get them back.” So work hard, but don’t forget to play hard as well, and take advantage of these rare opportunities. Enjoy what you’ve earned and get more value than what you paid for.
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Sheena Sy Gonzales is an illustrator, graphic designer and travel blogger. Her future adventures will include taking an expedition to Antarctica, hanging out with llamas in Peru and traveling to North Korea. She writes about her adventures at www.sheenalovessunsets.com.