Travel Budgeting Tips: When to Splurge Vs. When to Save

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Voyaging is all fun and games until you reach for your pocket to tip the waiter and find out that you’ve run out of enough cash. Yes, it seems highly unlikely, but it could happen.

Indeed, traveling is expensive. Between the foreign transaction fees and exchange rates, all you want is for your money to stretch as far as possible. And that too without denting the quality of your trip. Right? Regrettably, things aren’t that simple. Even if you’ve figured out which credit cards to open and which to use for your everyday purchases, money problems are bound to ruin your trip. Perhaps you and your fellow are total food lovers, so dining at some of the more expensive and famous restaurants at your destination is crucial. Or, maybe you are perfectly okay eating street food throughout your ventures. Still, you might want to go crazy on your excursions so you can appreciate some truly magnificent views. All of these travel-related desires can end up emptying your wallet.

So, what’s the band-aid approach to these tough decisions? 

Here it is: Learn when to splurge and when to save. Thankfully, there are some ways to hold yourself back, all the while paying for your unforgettable travel experience. Here, we’ll be looking at two options: save and splurge.

Splurge: A hotel in the perfect destination

Traveling is way easier when we can return to cozy accommodations to use the restroom, relax, and drop off purchases. Typically, they’re situated at the heart of the pedestrian zone. And, while it may be more expensive, it saves us money on transportation as we move around less.

Furthermore, if you’re still thinking about where you should go, consider Gatlinburg for a change. Many of its famous tourist attractions include the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the remarkable Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the Sugarland, and so much more. When it comes to where you will spend your nights and leisure time, Top Cabin Rentals in the Smoky Mountains is no exception. Whether searching for a cabin with a breathtaking view or a place near the Pigeon River, the Gatlinburg cabin rentals provide everything you need. From economy chalets to affordable deluxe cabins to suit your budget and needs, they have it all.

Save: ATM/Credit Card 

Vacations are costly enough without adding 3, 4, or 10% to every payment. ATMs may charge a few dollars per transaction and typically more (in the form of a percentage) for withdrawals made outside of the country. Plus, credit cards may charge up to 10% for every dollar spent in a foreign country. But not all credit cards charge a percentage of the transaction, and not all ATMs charge fees. However, there is enough to warrant a thorough examination of your credit card and information. Costs can quickly add up. If your credit card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, this can be a secure and promising way to pay. Travelers’ checks are another excellent option. 

Splurge: Direct flights

Every additional flight added to a travel itinerary increases the likelihood of a delayed flight and possibly a missed connection. If you don’t have a non-refundable hotel reservation or you’re not in a rush to get to your destination, the risk might be worth it. But unfortunately, spending too much time in airport hotels is often a waste. And what’s worse, you miss out on all the fun events/activities at the start of your vacation. So why not splurge on booking the most accessible/best flights to your destination? You’ll be glad that you did so. Another tip: book the earliest flights possible (e.g., 6 a.m.) as they are rarely late.

Save: High-end gifts and souvenirs

It can be very tempting to return home with a souvenir to remind you of your fantastic time away from home. Right? It’s especially true since most of us suffer from “travel brain” and tend to buy anything that catches the eye.

But NO. Spending too much cash on gifts and souvenirs will drown you in hundred different ways. So, resist the urge to spend hundreds of dollars on souvenirs. It will serve no purpose other than to jog your memory. 

In most cases, the high-end rug from Italy will look a lot less fabulous when it’s sitting in the attic because you didn’t need one. Another reason to avoid high-priced souvenirs: they’re rarely worth the travel-brain-targeted prices.

Splurge: Anything under $10 that will keep the kids happy 

At the airport, your kids might want a stuffed animal, extra gelato, or a tiny souvenir. Or perhaps, they will want to buy grocery store cat food to feed the homeless kittens near your resort. Go for it. Everything in this category usually costs less than $10-15 throughout the trip. Besides, if the kids are happier, the journey is better, and everyone returns home with some fun memories.

Save: Breakfast buffets

Breakfasts at luxury resorts have become increasingly expensive over the years, costing around $20 for kids and $40 for adults. With taxes, breakfast for a family of six could easily cost more than $200. That is not worth it.

Instead, walk somewhere and get coffee and pastries. If nothing is within walking distance, get fruit and pastries at the hotel’s coffee shop. Of course, if breakfast is included in your room rate, take advantage of it. Still, there is a cost/value line where anything more than $10-15/person is (in our opinion) a waste of money.

Conclusion

There you have it: splurge vs. save.

The key to long-term travel is knowing when to watch your money and when to whip it out. Just remember, traveling on a budget is similar to running in a marathon, so learn how to pace yourself, and you’ll do just fine. So, consider both of your options carefully, and ensure that you know your budget before getting started.

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