In the second part of this
series, we showed you how to calculate the true total cost of
your vacation, and how to express that as an hourly cost for the
'quality time' hours you'll be enjoying your vacation.
In this part, we show you how
to use that information to plan your vacation and to influence
things like your choice of transportation, and even whether you
should buy a souvenir at this shop or that shop.
Managing your time - and
recognizing how valuable it is - will give you more quality
hours of enjoyment during your vacation.
Interpreting the Cost of Your
Vacation's Quality Time
If you're spending $125 (or
whatever other number) per hour on your vacation, you should
consider this when budgeting your time, the cost of saving time
and improving the quality of your time.
For example, if
you have a choice between traveling somewhere by London's
Underground (or bus) or traveling there by taxi cab, and if the
time to travel by public transport is 30 minutes longer than the
time to travel by taxi, then those 30 minutes are costing you
just over $60. If the cost of the cab is less than $60
more than the cost of the other transportation alternative, you
should take the cab, so as to buy yourself an extra half hour of
There's another reason to
spend extra to travel by cab as well. If you simply step
out onto the street and hail the next passing cab, then sit back
and relax on the journey to where you wish to go, this is much
less strenuous than climbing up and down potentially hundreds of
stairs to get into and out of the Underground, walking to and
from the stations, standing on
rocking/swaying trains, and worrying about finding the right
train and getting off at the right stop and then making your way
to your ultimate destination. It means you're less tired
and better able to enjoy yourselves at the places you actually
want to be. You've saved your energy for enjoying
yourselves, rather than used it all up on simply getting there.
You can also use this cost
per hour to help evaluate hotel choices. If one hotel is
15 minutes closer to the places you'll be visiting than the
other, and therefore saves you 30 minutes of time each day
traveling to and from the hotel (or an hour if you return to the
hotel during the course of the day), then this half hour saving
is worth $63 to you (and $126 for a full hour saving).
You'd be well advised then to spend up to this much extra to get
the hotel that is closer to where you want to be - you'll save
the valuable time, and again, use up less of your energy getting
to and from places, and have more energy on tap to enjoy these
places once you get there. You might also directly save
money by spending less on transportation to get between the
hotel and the places you're going to.
You can use the cost per
hour to evaluate buying souvenirs. Maybe you saw a
souvenir at a previous shop that costs $20, but now you're
looking at the same souvenir that is $35 in a different shop.
Should you go back and buy it at the cheaper store? While
none of us like paying more than we should for souvenirs (or
anything else!) the $15 saving represents seven minutes of time.
If you're going to spend more than seven minutes to go back to
the other store, you're better advised to simply spend the extra
money and buy the souvenir now! (And then reflect on one
of the prime lessons of travel - if you see something you like,
and if you can afford it, and it doesn't seem ridiculously over
priced, simply buy it, because you might never see it again,
and/or if you do, it might be more expensive.)
This cost per hour of
quality time should be a guiding light in everything you plan
prior to your vacation, and everything you do while on your
vacation. It might cause you to spend a little more, but -
if used wisely - it will also result in a much better vacation
Should You Spend a Little More?
When you are planning your
trip, you are confronted with choices at every turn.
Should you fly coach, premium economy, business or first class?
Should you stay at a three, four or five star hotel?
Should you dine at a no-name convenience food takeaway, or at a
multi-Michelin-starred restaurant? And so on, and so on.
There's usually a reason
that some things are better than other things. That's
because they are better than the cheaper
Of course, there are
good-sense limits to the concept of more expensive things being
better than cheaper things. It usually makes sense to upgrade from
a three star basic hotel to a four star superior quality hotel,
but not everyone will have the budget - or see the value - if
upgrading all the way to a top of the line five star hotel.
For example, maybe you are looking at a $150 three star hotel, a
$250 four star hotel, and a $400 five star hotel.
You'll clearly get a very
better experience from the $250 hotel room compared to the $150
hotel room. But what extra do you get from the $400 hotel
room compared to the $250 room? A uniformed door man to
greet you in the lobby? A fancier grade of shampoo in the
bathroom? A larger television? More expensive drinks
in the mini-bar? Sure, the room might be bigger, but if
the four star room is big enough, maybe you're better advised
spend the $150 a night on upgrading to a five star hotel room, but
instead on upgrading your meals or your touring.
You're not going on vacation
as a money-saving exercise, are you! You're going on
vacation as a special treat, and it will only truly be a treat
if you apply a reasonably consistent approach to the standard
and quality of the travel items you buy.
So, yes, perhaps you should indeed
spend a little more, but be careful when it comes to
spending a lot more. Spend the extra money where you'll
get the best return from it.
Read on into the other two
parts of our series for when and where it is best to spend extra
money, and how sometimes you'll get a better vacation by cutting
back rather than by spending more.
Part three of a five part
series on how to budget and plan for a vacation. See
also the other articles in this series :
An introduction to the philosophy of travel cost budgeting
Understanding the true cost of your vacation and what this
Using the true cost figure and knowing when you should spend
a little more on travel costs
Balancing the time and cost of your vacation - how less can
What quality level to choose, and the importance of
including a special highlight in your vacation
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14 Nov 2008, last update
28 May 2011
You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.