Since my family travels so much, we usually keep to a pretty tight budget on our trips. We stay in moderate hotels (lots of Marriott Courtyards!), dine at sensible restaurants, and usually watch airline tickets like a hawk so that we can buy them at absolute rock-bottom prices. We, of course, also redeem miles and points when we can for additional savings.
My husband and I were recently in New York City, however, where budgeting is a little more difficult. We shelled out some serious cash to get premium, second row tickets to see Matilda the Musical. We rarely get to NYC to see Broadway shows, and were only in town for one night, so we decided it was worth a splurge, particularly since Matilda was my favorite book as a child and the show is getting rave reviews.
This experience made me stop to think about where I spend my travel dollars. I almost never spend money on fine dining, as I’m just not a foodie and there is plenty of delicious and reasonably-priced food on my home turf in the SF Bay Area. I also rarely spend money on luxury hotels, as I don’t see much advantage to them since I don’t spend much time in my room. I will spend money on things that are truly unique experiences that are specific to a certain destination. And there are a few activities I do that are expensive no matter what — scuba diving and skiing in particular.
Here are a few things I’ve splurged on during travel in recent years:
- Broadway tickets: We don’t get to NY often, and good shows are just expensive.
- Disney’s Aulani in Hawaii: Can’t beat the Disney experience and the free kids’ club.
- Disneyland Hotel: Early park access makes it worth it to spend the big bucks to stay in a Disney-owned hotel.
- Helicopter ride on Hawaii’s big island over the volcano: Once in a lifetime activity!
- Ski trips: Lift tickets are expensive, even at a discount. But if you love skiing, it is worth it and you can scrimp and save on other aspects of a ski vacation.
- Scuba diving in exotic locales: Again, this is an expensive hobby. But we only do it once every few years in special destinations.
What are your travel splurges? Share your thoughts in the comments.