New year, new destination! At least that’s what some of our team are thinking when they look at planning their PTO for the coming year. Some of the folks here at Stash Wealth have some travel strategies that are too good not to share. It’s something we are calling “Balanced Travel.” Balanced travel isn’t all luxury or all budget, it’s somewhere in the middle.
Have you ever taken a trip where you really tried not to break the bank? You stayed in hostels, shopped at grocery stores, skipped that second glass of wine, and generally just skimped? You probably came home with some great stories, but not feeling terribly rested or pampered. On the other side of the travel coin, have you ever really splurged on a vacation? You stayed at five star hotels, booked a table at the best restaurant, saw that Cirque show, and had all the bottomless brunches your credit card could handle? And then paid that trip off for months. One of our key pieces of credit card advice is don’t carry a balance. AKA don’t take a vacation you can’t afford, so make sure you can pay it off at the end of the month.
Those six inches of extra leg-room and early boarding can go a long way for those longer flights.
Instead, we like balanced travel, and we’re going to teach you how to do it. It’s about spending enough to make things feel special and luxurious, and saving where you can. That way you have a truly memorable adventure while staying in budget. It’s all about strategy. Side note: We’re not saying travel has to be pricey. It definitely does not. Some of the best travel experiences are definitely the ones money can’t buy. But sometimes getting that massage or ordering the really nice bottle of wine is #worthit.
Here are a few of our favorite tricks for planning a vacation that can stay on budget but still feel like a splurge.
Balance Between Luxury and Budget
This is the key. When booking a balanced vacation it is important for some of it to really feel luxurious and then skimp where you won’t feel it.
Here are a few ways you can do this:
GET OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Be smart about which cities you’re combining in a single trip. Maybe don’t book Zurich, London and Scandinavia in the same trip. Major cities are expensive, so try combining London with Nice and Lisbon, or Zurich with Budapest and Munich to save your splurges for one or two cities rather than trying to make your dollars stretch far across the whole trip.
Upgrade to economy plus for the important legs of the trip. If you’re living that HENRY life you probably aren’t rolling in business class all the time (yet), but those six inches of extra leg-room and early boarding can go a long way for those longer flights. So upgrade on the ones that really count.
Willing to throw in a hostel? You can really splurge big on some fancy nights if you skimp in other places.
Balance Between Planning and Spontaneity
LEAVE HOLES IN YOUR VACATION
This may sound crazy, but bear with us. If you want to spend a few nights in a five star hotel, don’t book them in advance. No really. Leave a midweek hole in your trip and book them a day or two ahead. Then use apps like HotelTonight and Hotwire to get great, last-minute deals on a five star hotel. One of the members of our team does this whenever she travels and has scooped up five star stays in Dublin, Frankfurt, and Boston for around $130/night.
Fill in the rest of your trip with quirky Airbnb stays, hostels (if you’re into that, hostels also have well-priced private rooms), and budget hotels. An added bonus of staying at a funky Airbnb or hostel on the weekend is that locals give you recommendations for the stuff you aren’t going to read about online.
TALK TO THE LOCALS AND ALSO BOOK SOME #CHEESY TOURS
A walking tour can be an affordable way to get your bearings in a new city, and now with Airbnb Experiences, it’s easier than ever to add one into your trip. (We promise we aren’t partnering with Airbnb on this one, we just have had some awesome experiences with their homes. Have you ever handmade a silver ring in Dublin with a goldsmith? We have! Thanks Airbnb!)
ONLY SPEND MONEY ON TWO MEALS A DAY
Pick a meal you aren’t going to eat out. This means taking a trip to the grocery store and having a few snack meals. That might be an apple and some cheese for breakfast or lunch, or stocking up on granola bars and jerky to eat between browsing galleries and getting a massage.
None of this travel advice is truly revolutionary. If you’ve travelled a lot, you’ve probably figured much of these tips out for yourself, as we did. But what is key here is the idea of not getting carried away with luxury or budget. We often think of our vacations as one or the other and have our friends we know we can count on for either type of trip. Our challenge to you is to combine your budget brain and your indulgence brain and use a few strategies mentioned above to take a trip that feels like a splurge, but keep the price tag something you can save for in a couple months.