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Is It Worth the Hype? Three Tips Before Splurging

For most travelers, the most critical aspect of planning their next adventure is building out a realistic budget. Depending on the destination, budget-building might feel like a full-time job—especially for those with limited finances. But whether heading to Bali or Buenos Aires or Berlin, there’s a feasible budget for earners of all stripes.

For the most part, there are a few key tips that work no matter the location. Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance. Check all the roaming charges for your smartphone service provider. Be sure to set a fixed rate before hopping into a taxi. The list goes on and on.

But what about actionable tips for those who really want to wring out every ounce of excitement from their trip? Keep reading for tips on how and when to splurge with respect to your budget — and respect to the most exciting and important things on a travel itinerary: nightlife, meals, and lodging.

The Big Night Out

Even for the shortest of trips, most travelers want to spend a night out on the town. Let’s use Monaco as a case study. One of the biggest questions for those considering a detour to a place like the Casino de Monte Carlo, for example, is to consider the purpose of the trip.

Those looking to put on their most glamorous dress and saunter around the casino floor won’t find a better place to see and be seen. However, those looking to have fun playing slots, roulette, and other table games can try out an online casino from the comfort of their hotel room. It’s a way to unwind after a long tour and prepare for another busy day of travel.

The tip: Prioritize where you’ll spend big before you leave — and make sure to read reviews to verify that you’ll get ‘bang for your buck’ at pricier locations.

The Michelin Star Meal

For foodies, the ultimate splurge is a trip to a Michelin-starred restaurant. In locations like Monaco, in keeping with the example above, finding a Michelin-starred restaurant isn’t difficult. By contrast, finding an available reservation and building out a realistic budget can be a heartbreaker.

Those looking to book a place at a top-tier restaurant will need to book at least six weeks ahead of time. They should also take a close look at the menu or call the restaurant for pricing information. One great way to balance a Michelin-star meal in terms of budget is to stick to local street food for other meals, which tend to be both exotic and affordable. 

The tip: Verify the price per head for the meal, budget accordingly, and then come with a hearty appetite.

The Perfect Palace

Many travelers have learned the hard way that skimping on lodgings simply isn’t a reliable way to budget for a trip. Conversely, splurging on accommodation also isn’t a great idea, as it zaps the rest of the vacation’s resources. So, how can someone find a balance — especially in pricey areas like Monaco? 

There are a few tricks to employ here. In Monaco, for example, many visitors actually lodge just across the border in France. Public transportation makes entering the country easy, while the available rooms in France are both cheaper and nicer than comparable options in Monaco.

Lodging outside the city center also saves on other peripheral costs. In general, hostels or hotels located in a tourist area will see prices double within a six-block area. This applies not just to nightly room rates, but also to bars and restaurants, entertainment, and transportation.

The tip: Build out a sample budget for lodgings that includes nightly rates and the expected costs of staying in that neighborhood, including meals and transportation.

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