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Now that you know (from part two) the true cost per hour of your vacation, you can use this information to evaluate what you do and how you do it.

All of a sudden, you'll realize that perhaps it makes more sense to take a taxi than public transport, and you'll see the savings rather than the costs of staying at a more expensive (but more conveniently located) hotel.

 
 
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How Much to Spend on a Vacation part 3

Spend prudently to maximize the amount and quality of the valuable vacation time you're hoping to enjoy
 

Maybe hiring a taxi instead of using public transport is actually a good idea rather than an extravagance.

Remember that 'time is money' and if you're saving time by using a hire car, you're also saving money - and probably the time/money savings outweigh the greater 'above the line' cost of the hire car.

Part three of a five part series on how to budget and plan for a vacation.  See also :

1.  An introduction to the philosophy of travel cost budgeting

2.  Understanding the true cost of your vacation and what this means

3.  Using the true cost figure and knowing when you should spend a little more on travel costs

4.  Balancing the time and cost of your vacation - how less can be more

5.  What quality level to choose, and the importance of including a special highlight in your vacation

 

 

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 quality time.

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 overall.

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 things.

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 not to 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 :

1.  An introduction to the philosophy of travel cost budgeting

2.  Understanding the true cost of your vacation and what this means

3.  Using the true cost figure and knowing when you should spend a little more on travel costs

4.  Balancing the time and cost of your vacation - how less can be more

5.  What quality level to choose, and the importance of including a special highlight in your vacation

 

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Originally published 14 Nov 2008, last update 19 Dec 2013

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

 
 
 
Related Articles
Vacation Budgeting Strategies 1 - Introduction and Overarching Philosophy
Vacation Budgeting 2 - The True Cost of Your Vacation Time
Vacation Budgeting 3 - When to Spend a Little More
Vacation Budgeting 4 - Balancing Time and Cost Constraints
Vacation Budgeting 5 - Spending Enough
Vacation Planning Strategies
Packing Tips
 

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