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Dec
23

Knowing When to Save and When to Spend

I recently came across an article that resonated with me. It was about our tendency—though well-founded—to put getting a good deal ahead of having a good trip. While it’s true in this economy that many of us have had to really count every extra dollar when it comes to booking a trip, what can often happen is that the trip can suck. Yep, you heard me suck. Which really makes no sense. You go through all that trouble, you take all that time, spend all that money and then it sucks. Why? Because you chose the hotel that’s $150 a night versus $200.  Or between $10 and $15 if you happen to be backpacking in the third world.

1 star hotel

1 star hotel

Putting the budget before the travel is something most of us have done in our lives. But suffering just to put a little extra money in your pocket? That sounds more like a job than a vacation, doesn’t it?

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So how do you go about traveling on a budget without turning it into a miserable experience?

Start by breaking savings into four categories:

A.  The sort that improves your trip. Like choosing a guesthouse with delightfully quirky owners over a four-star chain hotel with a super-smiley staff.

B. Discounts. Like an online coupon, negotiating a better price to a room, sweet-talking your way to an upgrade.

C. Packing sandwiches for lunch or packing four people into a motel room just so you can actually see the place.

The above are all part of trying to have a good time while not dreading the bill when you get home—it always seems to be waiting for you.

Where you don’t want to save is when it comes to wasting time (taking a long bus ride versus a short flight) comfort, nutrition, convenience, ethics, health or safety.

Saving should never become the focal point of the trip, the primary topic of conversation and even the subject of competitive facebook posts.

Be flexible. Take cabs! Sometimes it can mean the difference between seeing a part of the city you’ve never seen, experiencing a restaurant or tradition you would never have known about. Isn’t this the essence of travel?

cheap flights, know your details

cheap flights, know your details

If you’re scared, spend more. Hop in a cab rather than wait for a bus. Listen to your instincts.

You know where budget hunters make their worst mistakes? When it comes to buying their tickets.  They’ll buy a super cheap flight without really thinking about where it takes off from and where it lands. Cheap flights in Europe are well-known for dropping people off far from big cities and it can often cost you a half a day to get into town and god knows how much on transportation.

the layover

the layover

Layovers are another unseen bump in the road to cheap flights. Layovers not only mess with your brain and body they eat up your vacation time!  Before you book your flight check and see how many hours of layover are acceptable? What about very late-night or early-morning flights?

Know this: booking the absolute cheapest ticket you can find is far too simplistic a strategy. Know your needs. Some savings are worthwhile and others are not.

And what about paying for your checked bags? $50? Avoid it if you can.

why eat here?

why eat here?

Eating. Restaurants are expensive and often close after a few hours of lunch service. Try hitting the markets. It’s so much fun to see all the foods there. I always go.

Lodging may be the hardest travel conundrum of all. A common error is to disregard location when looking on booking.com or Airbnb.com. A lot of people end up sleeping outside town, stuck. All that saving might just get blown to smithereens by all the taxis.

do you really want to be stuck out here?

do you really want to be stuck out here?

There’s no reason at all to be miserable on vacation, aren’t we miserable enough at home?

Do you like being the first to know?

If you enjoy always getting the best tips, deals and insider news before everyone else then make sure to visit www.fareboom.com and follow us on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

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  1. daniel says:

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