Are You a Budget Traveler or a Value Traveler? Here's the difference.....
I don’t know if you have looked recently but there are a TON of travel bloggers out there (me included). Some are specific to a region, some are adventure oriented, some are for luxury travel, some are family focused, etc. You can pretty much find travel bloggers for any aspect of travel in which you are interested.
A lot of you already know that travel doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg if you know how to do it right. And if you don’t know that already…..HEY! Travel doesn’t have to cost and arm and a leg! Now that I have your attention, let’s continue…..
I am not a budget travel blogger. Budget travel bloggers are great because they help a lot of people save money. They are a great resource for learning how to save money while traveling, and I have learned more than a thing or two over the years from budget bloggers.
I myself am a value travel blogger. What is a value travel blogger? I don’t know if there is a specific definition of a value travel blogger but I will tell you why I consider myself one.
First, I am not focused on getting the lowest price. I don’t want you to read that and think I just pay whatever is the current published price. That is not what I am saying at all. When I say I am not focused on getting the lowest price, I mean that the lowest price available is not my end goal. I travel with my family most of the time and budget travel strategies wouldn’t work for us.
We don’t stay in hostels or do couchsurfing. We don’t bid for flights. We don’t do a lot of things that budget travelers do because we travel with our kids and one of them has special needs. There are a lot of things we have to consider and plan for, and budget travel does not support that all of the time. If budget travel works for you, then by all means do it! I love and appreciate budget travelers. It just doesn’t work for us.
This weekend I am staying at 4 star hotel that I was able to snag for almost half price. I could have stayed at a hotel with 3 stars for even less but, as I said before, the lowest price is not the goal. As a value traveler I look at getting the most for my travel dollar. I keep that in mind when I look at airlines, hotels, tours, cruises, anything at all. My end goal is getting more for less.
You see, I like to travel as much as possible and I like to travel well: premium seats on my flights, nice hotel rooms, bad ass cruises, etc. The thing is there are ways to do that but pay way less than published prices. You probably know a lot of ways of doing that and you may be doing exactly that already. If you do, do you realize that you too are a value traveler?
Sometimes I can’t get what I want for less so I pay what I have to. I don’t do it until I have done all of my research, put out all my feelers, and have employed every trick, travel hack, strategy, and voo doo doll necessary. Fortunately paying regular price rarely happens but, when it does, I am ok with it because it meets my family’s needs and that is what matters most to me.
So what meets your travel needs? For us, we need seats with space. My husband is 6’5” of sexy lumberjack while one of our daughters is just 100 lbs on a good day. She may not need the legroom but she has cerebral palsy and sometimes she needs the space to be able to stretch or I need to have room to massage her back or legs (muscle spasms suck). I myself am 5’11” so I say yes to more legroom.
Sure we could save money by booking my husband in the seats with the best legroom and the rest of us in economy but part of the fun is traveling together. I have rheumatoid arthritis so sometimes I need my husband to help me help our daughter. Mostly though, we just like traveling together.
I personally am not willing to sacrifice all comforts in order to save money. Yes we are willing to sacrifice some but not if we suffer for it. No one has fun traveling with muscle spasms (or whatever it is that results from a poor travel choice). Therefore we look at the overall experience to determine what sacrifices are logical and practical before we pull the trigger on booking our next adventure.
Sometimes it is just nice to travel a little more luxuriously, especially when we visit a country that is very budget friendly to begin with. I will always remember the condo we had in Greece and how much the kids loved it. 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, huge living areas with 180 degrees of ocean view……it is the kind of thing upon which we look back fondly. The kids had a great time and I had great satisfaction we enjoyed luxury accommodations for a fraction of what we usually pay for similar accommodations elsewhere. Thank you Airbnb!
If you are a budget traveler, I applaud you. If you are a luxury traveler, I applaud you. If you are a value traveler like me, I applaud you. You see, there is no right or wrong way to travel as long as you travel as much as you want to, the way you want to, and you have a great time!
You also have to remember that sometimes you really do get what you pay for good, bad, or indifferent. When a prospective travel client contacts me, I ask them several things:
What kind of trip is it? Solo travel? Family travel? Honeymoon?
Where do you want to go? I get as specific as possible too. I prefer to get countries and all of the desired cities within.
What is your budget for the entire trip?
What activities interest you?
Are you a member of any loyalty programs?
What are the amenities that matter most to you?
What amenities are absolute must haves?
This is just a starting point but it gives me an idea on what direction to go, and it gives me the information I need to match them up to the ideal trip. Sometimes I need more information but, once I get started working on their itinerary, I talk to them throughout the process so that I can employ as many cash saving strategies as possible while giving them the travel experience they want. When I am working for a client, I am no longer working with my own money. I am now responsible for handling someone else’s! Not all strategies will work for everyone.
Do you think I am asking too much to travel more and better but to do it for less? I don’t think so. Oh the power of competition! There are so many travel options out there so you can be picky and choosy about where and to whom you give your travel dollars. Freebies and perks can make a huge difference sometimes!