Budget Vs. Luxury Travel – What Kind Of Experience Are You Looking For?

The Mulia Resort Bali

It is always a good feeling to be pampered while on holiday, but then the bill comes in, and suddenly you don’t feel that good after all.

This is reality. So you’ve got a budget to work with? Most of us do. Luxury holidays sure don’t happen every day, or month. Or even year.

The trick is knowing when to spend and when to hold back, and it all depends on what is most important to you. Comfort, safety, cleanliness, and all the other kinds of experience you’re looking for all factor into your decision-making process. Here is our ten cents worth.

Airplane Mode


If you can afford business or first class on an airplane, then by all means, go for it.

But the truth is most of us are always struggling between budget and regular plane carriers to begin with. First, start by weighing the pros and cons of each option before making your booking.

Maybe you need a comfier seat for better rest during the long flight, or maybe you are perfectly fine with going budget for a few hours. Then again, budget carrier may not always be the cheapest option because you have to factor in check-in baggage fees and meal add-ons.

Ninja Train

As for domestic trips and traveling within a country, it is more often than not more economical to go by train, bus or even a rented car. You don’t really need to spend on airfare and go through the hassle of checking your bags in and waiting for security checks.

Phuket resort


How much time will you be spending in the room, really? If you are at a beach resort to chill out, then spend that extra tens or hundreds of dollars and put yourselves up at a more comfortable accommodation. The “investment” will bring great mileage to your holiday, surely!

But if you are heading to a place where you plan to shop your heart out and explore every nook and cranny, then consider saving money on accommodation with hostels, rented apartments, home stays or smaller, not-so-lavish hotels. After all, you just need a basic space to sleep and shower in.

Another train of thought is that it can be lodging at a very convenient location. The “top-up” may mean you can save on transportation within the city/ country.

Taipei Garden Hotel

Think about where your expensive hotel is located at – if it is just another high-end chain in another city that can be replicated anywhere else in the world, then maybe you might want think twice before splurging.

Bed and breakfasts, hostels or boutique hotels can provide you with an experience more unique to your destination, as well as more exposure to the locals and their non-tourist trap suggestions.

Alkaff Mansion RIstorante


Fine dining can be an indulgent treat, where you get all dressed up and pamper yourself for a day. Everything is clean and shiny, the service is impeccable, the food’s pretty darned great, and you get to brag about all the Michelin-starred restaurants you experienced. If that is the type of experience you are hankering for, the world is your oyster and lots of amazing meals await.

Nomz Bar

But fine dining can also burn a hole in your wallet and leave you wanting more. Or maybe lavish meals on big plates just ain’t your thing. Then we say make the trek to hole-in-the-wall bars, small eateries, local joints and even roadside stalls for more quintessential experiences!

MBK Centre

Other activities

We don’t know about you, but as much as possible, we steer clear of spending a bomb on touristy city tours, cruise ships or anything that includes souvenir shopping and random photos against a green screen. Souvenirs all look the same, and no one really appreciates them anyway.

Know what works for you, do your research and ask around – then you can map out an itinerary that suits you better than any pre-planned tour.

Gold Coast Hot air balloon

If you are dying to try out an activity that is pretty costly, ask yourself if it can be done anywhere else, and if you will regret not doing it when you get home.

Sometimes, money doesn’t matter in the face of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences. It is the precious memories that are invaluable, right? And so, we often splurge on such intangibles despite being on a budget – but we’ve never regretted.

100 waterfalls

On an extremely tight budget that there’s really nothing left to spend? Go for free or low cost activities. There are aplenty around the world; depending on where your holiday is at, of course. You can visit historical and cultural places like museums, parks and galleries, or get in tune with nature at rainforests, beaches or waterfalls.