Last week, I shared 5 Travel Experiences Worth the Splurge. Today, I’m sharing the things I refuse to spend money on.
Hotel Lounge Access
Don’t get me wrong, I like hotel lounges. Going to the lounge for breakfast, drinks throughout the day and a snacks at night is very convenient. My family has enjoyed hotel lounges at several Hyatt and Hilton hotels for free because of credit cards we own and/or elite status.
But, I won’t pay extra for lounge access. Usually, the price for the lounge isn’t worth it. For example, at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, the cost to upgrade to the club lounge is $150 per night.
I’d rather grab a few pastries at the Starbucks in the lobby or eat food we’ve brought with us. I’ve been known to pack an entire suitcase of breakfast items and snacks if our luggage flies free.
Business/First Class Seats
Whether using cash or miles to book flights, we don’t splurge on business or first-class seats. Even with miles and points, the cost is too great for my family of five. I realize this makes me the oddball of this miles and points blogging world.
We flew 17 hours from DFW to Sydney this summer in coach with no issues. Sure, we would have been more comfortable in business, but the cost in miles would have been astronomical for five people. Not to mention, business-class award availability is scarce for that route.
If my husband and I ever get to fly overseas just the two of us and we have the miles, I may reconsider my position on this. But for now, I skip this splurge.
Concierge Level on a Cruise
If you think the price of a Disney Cruise is high, wait until you see the price of cruising in concierge. This is a 4-night cruise next summer on the Disney Dream. The price for a family of five from a regular verandah room to a concierge room is a jump of over $5500:
Sure, concierge guests get to board first. They have their own lounge, nicer rooms and get first dibs on a cabana at Castaway Cay.
But honestly, the price is a deal breaker. I know that concierge level isn’t as expensive on other cruise lines. However, I still feel it’s unnecessary. Plus, it would be difficult to go back to being a “regular” cruiser.
Disney World VIP Tours and Early Morning Magic
Disney World tickets are expensive at over $100 per person per day. However, Disney has figured out a way to add a lot of “extra” experiences for a significant upcharge. Many of these experiences involve extra time in the parks and expedited access to attractions.
I can’t get on board with paying extra for more time in the park and skipping the lines. The VIP Tours at Disney World are guided tours that get you special access to the rides without waiting. The shortest tour, which is four hours, is $249 per person on top of the park ticket price. Summer at TPG did a VIP tour a few years ago as well as a recent Early Morning Magic, which gets you into the park 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to opening.
I won’t splurge on these extras because you can get similar benefits for free by using FastPass+ and staying at a Disney Resort (or even a Disney Springs resort—see this post). Ever since FastPass+ has been around, I’ve never had a problem fitting in all the rides at Disney World. We arrive at rope drop (or earlier with the free Extra Magic Hour), hit a bunch of rides first thing, ride our pre-reserved rides in the late morning/early afternoon and then add on FastPass+ as the day goes on. That strategy has worked for us, and it’s free!
Unless breakfast is included at the hotel, we skip the hotel restaurant and the breakfast buffet. Hotel breakfast buffets normally run at least $20 a person, so for my family we’re talking $100 just for breakfast. At the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica where we’re staying next year, the buffet will run us almost $40 a person. My kids aren’t big eaters early in the morning, so it’s a waste.
As I mentioned above, we will bring some pre-packaged food or hit a nearby Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.
I can’t say that my family will never splurge on these things. Never say never, right? But for now, I’d rather spend my cash on other things. If you splurge on one of these things, no judgement from me. Not everybody agrees with the things I choose to splurge on.
What do you refuse to splurge on when you’re on vacation?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.