When to Splurge & When to Save on Accommodations

web_LoewsCoronado_TheCarsonsTravel_01We definitely consider ourselves budget travelers. Our financial resources allow us to go places, but to help keep the cost down we stay at modest hotels or B&Bs. Two months ago we went on a paid trip where were put up in a nice hotel, and we were reminded of just how much luxury accommodations can positively impact your trip.

We got to go to San Diego for three-ish days because Trae earned a trip through his work (same deal with our New Orleans trip last spring). We stayed at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, just a few miles from the famous Hotel Del Coronado.


Our room had a ridiculously good panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, San Diego Bay, and downtown San Diego. It was so luxurious to wake up to this every morning!


All of this luxury got me thinking about why we don’t splurge on accommodations when we travel. So here’s my two cents on the topic.

For beach vacations, stay-cations, or trips for pure relaxation:

Spend money on a nice hotel or resort. You’ll probably spend the majority of your time at the hotel, so put a good portion of your budget towards that. If you think about it, you’re not out sightseeing, shopping, etc. so that money can be used to Treat Yo Self at the spa. And if your destination is the beach, pick a resort on a good beach. That way you can just throw on your swimsuit and walk down to the water. No rental car needed. No taxi or Uber. And then you can spend that money on margaritas and pina coladas. Sorted!

For big city trips and road trips:

Book less expensive accommodations. Unless you have an endless budget. Then do whatever the hell you want! :) But, otherwise, spend modestly on the place where you’ll sleep because it will most likely just be that; a place to sleep. These are the kinds of trips we almost always take, so our days are spent out sightseeing and exploring which means we’re not at the hotel all day to take advantage of the nice amenities. There are usually more unplanned expenses when visiting a big city or taking a road trip since transportation is involved, so having extra cash to budget for that is always helpful too. Your room probably won’t be anything to Instagram about, but it’s worth it to get to visit a place you want!web_IMG_8838

Expanding on the modest accommodations, I feel like I often hear that people won’t visit a big city because it’s so expensive to stay there. My answer to that is to spend a little more time researching options online. Such as:

  • You don’t have to stay in the city. Google nearby suburbs and look for hotels there. Most likely there will be options to take a train or subway into the city (research that too) so you won’t have to worry about driving, parking, and dealing with traffic.
  • If staying in the city is a priority to you, look up non-traditional accommodations like B&Bs or booking a local’s shared place through Airbnb or HomeAway.
  • If you’re up for more of a gamble, download the app Hotel Tonight and you can book something at a lower rate up to seven days prior to your arrival.
  • Trip Advisor is your best friend. You can find good deals and honest reviews.

So, there are other options to make your trip happen. The way I see it is if I really want to go somewhere, I may have to adjust some things that may not be the easiest or the most ideal, but it’s better than not going at all!!

I hope this has helped if you’re looking to book a trip that you don’t think you can do! I can go into more specific accommodations details to some of our trips if anyone is interested in a certain city. Check out our Places We’ve Been page and leave a comment at the bottom of this post if you want help/ideas!

3 thoughts on “When to Splurge & When to Save on Accommodations

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