When you are on a trip, there are some things that you should spend additional money on and some things where you can be budget-minded.

Decades ago, my girlfriend (now wife) and I were off on our first (fly somewhere together) vacation. Instead of a taxi to the airport, I arranged a surprise…a limo! It was not that much more expensive than a taxi, but it was a terrific start to what was a wonderful vacation.

Pay a premium to be in the heart of the action. Paying less for a hotel because it is in a suburb doesn’t create the same experience. If you need validation for this recommendation, just ask someone who visited Las Vegas and wanted to save money….so they stayed “off the strip.”

Take a “Foodie” tour. It’s a terrific splurge! You get someone with local knowledge…you get to sample wonderful local cuisine and you can skip lunch. You can find them almost everywhere now.

Splurge on speed. Flying a route that has 3 stops because you can save a few dollars will eat up your valuable vacation time. Pay a little more and get a direct flight. It’ll save both time and stress, the former of which is in short supply and the latter of which has no place on a vacation.

Eat well! If you’re going away without the kids, great, authentic local food can be one of the best splurges of your trip. It can be critical to experiencing the culture of the place, and fine dining in an exotic locale is seldom a waste of money.

Some destinations have very unique, in-depth special attractions like ancient history, extraordinary architecture and hidden outdoor wonderlands. Except for the most seasoned, adventurous, research-loving traveler, specialized tours can be totally worth the money. In many cases, you simply won’t have the full experience on your own.

Contributor: David Massie

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