Managing your finances on a vacation is tricky. On the one hand, you don't want to come home broke. On the other hand, you don't want to spend so much time fretting over every expense that you don't enjoy yourself. You're in a unique place, trying unique things. It's okay to live a little. These are some purchases that you can lighten up on a little bit.
Part of the joy of seeing a new place is the culture, and a big part of any culture is food. Go ahead and treat yourself to a nice meal or two. You don't have to go nuts, but you also didn't fly all the way to Paris to make ramen in the hotel coffee pot. A Miss Travel poll recently revealed that food is the most splurged-on expense, at least among nearly 37,000 members of that site. It wasn't even close—46% of respondents answered with "food."
- A Comfortable Flight
It's no secret that air travel is not the luxury it once was. Tiny spaces, draconian security, a horde of people just as miserable as you are can make flying an ordeal. So give yourself permission to do whatever you need to do to make your flight a comfortable one, whether that means new headphones, in-flight Wi-Fi, or a drink. There are so many ways to save money on a flight that you might as well spend enough to be comfortable once you're there.
Living accommodations may or may not be important to you. Maybe your perfect vacation involves lots of downtime at a nice hotel room somewhere, but maybe you just need a place to pass out for a few hours before you head back out to party. Whatever level of "niceness" you do or don't want out of a hotel room, be sure that it's at least close to what you're in town for. You don't want to have to spend an hour or more commuting on each day of vacation.
Money is limited, but so is time. Give yourself permission to hop into a taxi every now and then if you need to. Let's say, for instance, that you're visiting New York, staying in Brooklyn, and you go chat with an old high school buddy who lives in Queens. Trying to get from Queens back to Brooklyn basically takes a million years. If you hop on a bus in Queens, Brooklyn might not even be there when you get back. Civilization might not be there. Especially if you're traveling at night. Pay the taxi fare. It's worth it.
It's worth paying a little more for a tour guide who knows what she's talking about. You can get a bored high school kid who's competing with his coworkers for who can make up the most preposterous story and get away with it, or you can get someone who grew watching the tanks rolling in and can tell you about every time that her country was overrun by Hapsburgs and Ottomans and Soviets.
Do all the things. You know the ones. Every city has things. Punt down the River Cam. See the Louvre. That whole notion of "experiences over things" can be taken to some pretty hilarious extremes, but there is something to it. The things that make us happiest are the memories that stay with us. Memories have a way of getting rosier with time in a way that smartphones very much do not. You've already asserted this as part of your values to an extent when you made the choice to go on a vacation. So commit to it. Do the things.
(featured image via Instagram)