Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Travel Splurges that are worth it (My top 5)!

I love to save a buck when I can. Nothing makes me quite as giddy as getting a great deal! But sometimes there are things that are expensive, that I cannot find great discounts on, or any discoutns at all really. But they are TOTALLY worth it to me. Now, my splurge-worthy items are probably different than yours would be because my interests are different than yours. But I want to share with you what some of the pricy travel choices I have made that I would absolutely do again! 

My top 5 worthwhile travel splurges 
(In no particular order)! 

I have written extensively about Disneyland and how difficult it is to get deals for Disney. This post is all about choosing the right ticket options for you to get the most bang for your buck. But notice there is no top secret money saving tips here-the tickets are what they are. There are rarely any discounted tickets or awesome deals on DL tickets, but in spite of that, for our family, Disneyland is a travel splurge that is totally worth it. When we plan a Disney trip, I just plan on the park tickets being expensive and I try to save money in other areas (Hotel , Food, airfare, etc)

2-Hotel Del Coronado
Our family stayed here once for Wes to go to a conference, and it was magical. We went to Disneyland a couple days on that same trip, and our little Disney fans could not wait to leave DL and get back to the Hotel Del. There is something magical about this historic gem right on one of the most amazing beaches in the world. But it is a real splurge-especially for a large family like ours. Wes and I were able to go back there last month without the kids. It was still as magical as the first time and we cannot wait to go again with the kids (they are so mad we went without them this time LOL). 

3-Broadway shows:
For my 16th anniversary my amazing husband just took me to New York City for a week of Broadway shows! Dream come true!! But I will tell you that the prices for Broadway shows have certainly gone up in the past decade since I was last in NYC. The good news is there are ways to get discounted tickets (which I will write about soon). BUT I decided that on occasion, it is totally worth the splurge to buy exactly the seats you want at exactly the show you want to see. Like how I bought full price tickets almost a year ago to see Hamilton for my 16th anniversary on May 17, 2017...totally worth it!!! :)

4-Helicopter in Kauai

When I was planning our trip to Kauai, there were a few consistent pieces of advice people gave me-make sure you get to see the Na Pali coast, and take a helicopter ride-it is amazing and totally worth the cost. Once again I learned that my friends give great advice. We took a helicopter ride through Blue Hawaiian Helicopter. They had an online special that saved us some money by booking it online at least 5 days in advance. Even with the special it was over $200 each (We saved about $30 each through the online special). But $200 per person is not cheap! But it was totally worth it! Maybe someday we will take our kids to Kauai, and if so, we will have to save for this splurge! 

5-Universal Studios VIP tour!!

Last year we took our family to Universal Studios and since Harry Potter land had just opened and we had one day only, we decided to splurge and go for the VIP experience. It was pricey, but so, so worth it! I thought the front of line passes all day would be worth it alone, but that was just the tip of an already awesome iceberg! We are NOT guided tour people. At all. So we thought that if we get through the few hours of the tour, it will be worth it to get the front of line passes the rest of the day. BUT friends, this tour was awesome! Our guide rocked, our group was fun, and we had so much fun. Then the gourmet, all you can eat lunch...Um YES! Please! It was ideal for our family (my teen aged son for sure got his money's worth of food! I wrote an extensive review of this amazing experience here. Please read all about it, and if you are considering a big family splurge, consider this one seriously! 


Family Visits

There is not time that is more expensive or more of a hassle to travel than holidays. Seriously, they are not cheap times to travel, but they also happen to be the times when kids are out of school and hubby is (sometimes) off and we can go see family. We do not live near any family, so it is a treat to visit family or to have them visit us. And a lot of times, it is also an expensive splurge to do so, But it is always worth it! You can save money of course on those family visits by staying with family (not hotel costs) and letting them feed you as often as possible (less $$ on food spent), etc. One more thing I always do when planning a family visit during the splurgy times (cough Christmas cough) is to research flight options plus van rental costs and compare that cost to how much gas (and time) it will be to drive to the family. With 5 kids and 2 adults and family visits usually about a 10 hour drive away, it almost always ends up that driving is our best cost option...but sometimes I still splurge on the flight/car rental option because like I said, sometimes the Splurge is worth it (like if you have limited time!).