You’ve been totally sticking to your budget template, have successfully saved up the right amount of money and are finally ready to cash in on your vacation days. Congrats, girl — you’re ready to start planning your unforgettable vacation! With so many ways to treat yourself, it might be tricky to decide where to save (other than comparing travel fares) and where to splurge. To get some expert insight about which upgrades are *most* worth it on a trip, we talked with 10 frequent fliers who have been around the globe. Read on to see which of their ultimate picks sound great to you too.
1. Brunch: A good meal is essential when traveling, and brunch is a totally perfect twofer meal that will hold you over as you explore. Ashley, one half of the blog Blissy Life says, “We LOVE brunch. In every city we’ve been, we search out the most highly recommended Sunday brunches. Though they’re not usually for the budget-minded traveler, we make the most of each — especially considering how much sparkling wine we can drink!” Can we come along?
2. Flight upgrades: A long trip in economy class can be cramped, but it’s even more uncomfortable for a tall person. Kristi, who founded Encircled, confirmed that, saying, “My biggest travel splurge is definitely upgrading long flights to premium economy, or even business class. Because I’m tall, there’s nothing worse than being squished without room to stretch out or relax.” Look for those last-minute upgrade emails to get the best price.
3. A restaurant experience to remember: There are restaurants everywhere, but some offer a really special experience. Adelaida Diaz-Roa tells us that though she’s been living abroad for two years and has visited a mind-boggling 30 countries, she ALWAYS splurges on a trip to a nice restaurant — or to several! “I look for the top rated restaurants and try to go to three to five in each city. It’s always a great experience and the food is usually amazing and very unique.” Yum!
4. A quality suitcase and packing cubes: Longer trips mean more stuff, so a great suitcase for lugging it with you is pretty important! Sher, from the lifestyle and travel blog Sher She Goes agrees and tells us, “I’m a big fan of two- to three-week trips, which often means I have to lug my suitcase from city to city on my own. Nothing has been more stressful than a broken wheel or torn-off zipper.” So which suitcase has totally won her heart? “My Samsonite hard case luggage was an upfront investment, but it has majorly proven its worth between its durability and lightness.”
Sher also told us about her love of compression packing cubes, calling them a total game changer. “At first, I thought packing cubes were the ultimate vanity accessory — but they’ve transformed the inside of my once sloppy suitcase into a neatly organized nirvana!” Cubes can also be a lifesaver if your shampoo or other liquid cosmetics leak. Phew.
5. Totally unique experiences: Meghan, the founder of travel site Joyage, tells us, “I’m someone who really values experiences over things, especially when I travel. So for me, accessing things that are off-the-beaten path is essential. Since the Internet can have conflicting advice, having a credible expert help me with my itinerary is totally worth the splurge.”
6. Nutritious, in-flight food:Abigail Kinnear, a registered dietician, nutritionist and frequent flier sings the praises and health benefits of eating well while traveling. “My travel splurge is always healthy food in-flight. Though it’s cheap to survive off of the free cookies, nuts or pretzels on a short flight, attempting to do this on a long flight can leave you feeling awful — bloated AND fatigued! That said, I opt for the most nutritious meal offered. On my long Delta flights, I always get Luvo meals,” she explains.
7. Scenic views from bed: We’d be hard pressed to find a traveler who doesn’t love gorgeous vistas, and splurging on a way to see the best of them is something that Emily Nathan, the editor and publisher of Tiny Atlas Quarterly says she’ll do every single time. “I’m a sucker for an ocean view, and will always blow my budget if a room upgrade includes a view,” she says. Can’t switch rooms? Look to get on some tall peaks or out on the water. Instagram-worthy views are waiting for you.
8. A memento to treasure forever: Cheap souvenirs are SUPER fun, but a worthy purchase you can’t get anywhere else ranks high on the list of travel bloggers’ fave uses of money. Katie Hammel, a content marketing manager at TripCreator tells us that some of her epic splurges are things she still cherishes. “I love to find one nicer item that either has practical use or looks great on display at home. In Istanbul, it was a gorgeous Turkish rug. In Iceland, I found a hand-painted map and a sterling silver necklace in the shape of the country. In Florence, I snagged a beautiful leather duffel that I still use as a weekend bag.” Another benefit is getting to talk about your trip every time someone compliments your memento.
9. A nicer hostel: Hostels can be an amazing way to experience a destination, with options for the super tight budget to higher-end accommodations. Anna and Matt from Hostel Geeks tell us that while they’re partial, due to their love of the hotel alternative, “investing $1-5 extra per night can make a major difference and turn a normal stay into a luxury experience.”
10. Local spirits: Since you’re probably not trying to come home with a ghost in your suitcase (ha!), you probably already guessed that we’re talking about spirits of the boozy kind. Travel writer Spencer Spellman says that whiskey is the one thing he can’t leave a new place without, saying, “Whiskey, always whiskey. Seriously, though, I usually bring back one bottle of a GOOD local beer, wine or spirit.” Consider sharing your bottle with your friends to give them a literal taste of your travels.
What’s your most worthy travel splurge? Tweet us the deets @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)