Don’t Forget to Splurge!

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  05.05.09 | 2:33 PM ET

Photo by Carlton Browne via Flickr (Creative Commons)

For me, part of the fun of budget travel is the chance to loosen the purse strings once in a while and drop some cash on a worthwhile splurge.

Whether that means a night in a plush hotel room after weeks of hosteling, a spa day, or a way-out-of-my-price-range meal, I generally find some way to treat myself once during any budget-conscious trip—and, I figure, I appreciate my reward that much more than if I’d been pampering myself all along. It doesn’t have to be about spending a lot of money, either. My favorite travel splurge of all time cost just $15.

It was my last day in India, after three weeks of solo shoestring travel, and I was fried from a combination of heat, harassment, and the inevitable case of Delhi Belly. I walked into the Imperial Hotel—a historic, Raj-inspired luxury property in the heart of New Delhi—and headed straight to the restaurant for brunch. The buffet was like nothing I’d ever seen before: table after table of pastries, a vast cereal bar, vats of different yogurts, and every type of fresh fruit I could name, and then some. Waiters took hot food orders once guests were seated, too—perfectly cooked French toast, or South Indian dosas or (hey, why not?) both. I’d lost 10 pounds when I got sick earlier in the trip, and I probably gained half of it back at that brunch.

My memory of the meal remains vivid, years later, but I also remember the cool air in the hotel corridors, the flawless manners of the staff. Outside, I’d been one “Hey baby!” away from dissolving into helpless rage; inside the restaurant, I felt completely restored. The bill came to around 500 rupees, or, at the time, about $15. It remains some of the best travel money I’ve ever spent.

Do you toss away the calculator once in awhile on the road? What’s your favorite travel splurge?

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

7 Comments for Don’t Forget to Splurge!

Tim Patterson 05.06.09 | 10:34 AM ET

Nice post, Eva.  I’m currently gaining back weight lost after India with lots of Vermont cheese. 

Favorite splurge?  Hmmm….long lazy afternoons at Dyen Sabai restaurant just over the river from the historical district of Luang Prabang.

Eva Holland 05.06.09 | 11:04 AM ET

Thanks, Tim. And good luck with the cheese therapy!

Grizzly Bear Mom 05.06.09 | 12:35 PM ET

$100 for brunch with mom at the El Coronado in San Diego.  (Of course I have to fly, lodge and feed her for the rest of the trip as well.)  You have to splurge once in a while.

Sophia Dembling 05.07.09 | 12:18 AM ET

A hotel with a really good bed. A really, really good bed with all-cotton sheets and big fat pillows.

Love2SeeNewThings 05.07.09 | 11:24 AM ET

As sad as this may sound in comparison to others:  A “staycation” (I know everyone hates that word now) at Atlantic City where my sister and I treated our parents on their 30th Wedding Anniversary.  We took them to the Melting Pot and the food, as well as overall experience was amazing.  Yes, pricey, our bill with drinks was close to $200, but it was a good time we haven’t had in a long time because of money issues and time.

Sandy Nielsen 05.12.09 | 9:46 PM ET

In between hotel stays in Munich at 145 Euros per night, and Berlin at 120 Euros per night for our family of 5, we splurged for one night in a castle for 182 Euros!  Our kids will never forget the drive as we approached the castle set atop the rolling golden hills, and the one overnight in a room with 3 foot thick stone walls with spectacular views to the horizon.  We fell asleep imagining historical scenes of medieval characters.  Worth it!

West Kauai accommodations 05.13.09 | 1:17 PM ET

I always travel on a budget, and my best splurge ever was to go bungee jumping!  I wasnt gonna do it, but my dad and brother in law did, so I did too.  Awesome

Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.