I’ve always longed for a day when I could buy a high-end trip to a “high-end” destination and not worry about having to plan out certain details. I’ll admit that while a part of me is very “minimalistic”, another part of me really likes “luxurious” things, too. Owning an excessive amount of things doesn’t appeal to me, but having moments of “splurging” are part of what makes life fun, isn’t it? When it comes to travel, a lot of people think that in order to travel, you have to spend an excessive amount of money and constantly worry about your budget. This isn’t really true, when it comes down to it.
When I travel, I like to prioritize certain things over others, depending on the destination.
If you’re travelling in Europe, finding cheap accommodations is actually rather easy. While they’re not popular with everyone, hostels are actually an option for many. I’ve been to hostels that were really quiet, and had private 2-bed rooms (including keys and lock). Some of these even have private bathrooms, with only the kitchen being shared. Although it may seem scary to some, sharing accommodations in this way cuts your budget down quite a lot. Since using hostels, I’ve come to learn that I’m willing to spend more money on a private hostel room than risk sharing a room with snorers, barge-in-at-4-am types, or anyone who seems shady. This has been my limit with hostels, so as long as you know what you’re capable of dealing with, you can find yours, too.
On the other hand, it might be worth it to give a little more money to accommodations at an all-inclusive resort if you’re looking to stay in your resort/hotel more often. While some countries have fairly affordable resorts for good value, sometimes budgeting a bit more for your accommodations makes the trip more worthwhile as you’re spending most of your day in the place you’re paying for!
A good tip for finding cheap hotels, if that’s your thing, is to search for deals on various sites, but to always make sure these hotels are legitimate! I’m not a fan of hotels, personally, but in some places, they’re worth it. While I stayed in Paris, my friends and I found a $50/night hotel right by the Louvre. I still have no idea how we got that lucky, but splitting $50 between the three of us made it worth it!
Only you know how much the quality of your accommodations matters. And again, the longer you plan on staying in your hotel/hostel/resort, the more likely you want to splurge a little more.
Food is a big one. I personally like to budget for one really good meal a day (usually dinner). Breakfast and lunch are really easy, for me, and can be easily done through going to a grocery store and stocking some goods away in your accommodations. If you’re in a country like Spain, you’ll also still find some places serve “free” food with your beverages, or that some places serve cheap coffee/croissant deals. There are also food trucks or street food, although it’s wise to be careful of those. In Paris, crepes (for a dollar!) are commonly found, and are delicious. In Rome, gelato is everywhere. In Istanbul, simit (a type of bread/bagel) is also usually sold on the streets for a cheap amount.
If you’re the type of person who can handle doing some grocery shopping while on “vacation”, this helps bring your budget down a lot. And if you’re in a culinarily-famous region, you’ll want to spend more money on eating out. It varies depending on the location, but my tip is that unless you’re at an all-inclusive, making at least one meal a day yourself through some groceries is the wisest option!
Now, you may be the kind of person who only wants to eat at the destination’s top restaurants for every meal of the day. I’m not like that, as I honestly like to know what goes into my food usually, but if you are, budget a little more!
I’m of the opinion that not a whole lot of clothes are needed for when you travel. If you’re going to a warmer destination, take 4-5 outfits and leave it at that. If you’re going to a cooler destination, that requires more effort, but stick to layering so that you aren’t packing your entire wardrobe. I always like to make sure I have flip flops on me, along with one “nice” pair of shoes and my running shoes. Warmer climates are way easier to pack for, but if you’re okay with recycling your outfits, cooler places aren’t that much more difficult to prepare for.
However, every place has its nice spots, so packing an exceptional piece of clothing (whether it be a dress, your favourite high-end pants, or a suit) is a smart idea.
It also pays off to leave some room in case you bring back goods with you, but don’t worry about saving tons of space for that unless you’re sure that you’ll take stuff back with you. My opinion on this is that unless something really stands out to you on your travels, buying unnecessary things is pointless. You’ll only throw that all out later.
I personally like to spend as little money as possible when flying. Some airlines are worth spending more money on – the ones that actually install TVs on their planes, unless it’s a short flight – but for the most part, I find it doesn’t matter a lot. Any flight below 6-7 hours is easily done. When flying further than that, it might be worth it to spend more money, but it all depends on what you’re capable of splurging on. If I were to fly to New Zealand, I’d probably want a better-than-average seat, if I could afford it. But if I were to fly to New York, I’d be fine in a regular seat!
While it seems overly complicated, travelling doesn’t require all of your savings. With a little preparation, and research on the destination, it gets easier to figure out what might be worth splurging on, and what might be easy ways to cut costs for a better experience!