What are your travel indulgences? Champagne at night? Hot tea every morning? Perhaps a pedicure or a truffle from a nearby chocolaterie?
I confess I’m not much of a posh traveler. By the time I get somewhere I’ve usually spent most of my money on a plane ticket, hotel, and rental car, and have every other penny budgeted for food and whatnot.
But as I thought about it more I realized that indulgences don’t have to cost a lot of money.
They can be very simple, small, FREE things that delight your heart, please your eye, and charm your stomach.
When I first started traveling, I would always bring a piece of home with me – usually in the form of a tablecloth that I would immediately drape over those ubiquitous small round tables you find in most hotel rooms. It instantly made the place cozier and “mine”. I’d also get up early while most folks were still tucked up in bed and go for long walks to see what I could find. And I love to take naps on hot afternoons when lines are long and streets crammed with folks rushing hither and thither.
Here are a few other indulgences I like to make part of every trip:
I’m a sucker for boat rides. Whether it’s hiring a creaky old fishing boat for a jaunt around Alcatraz or catching a high speed ferry to Capri, I’m in!! I love being out on the water, the wind tossing my hair, sun browning my shoulders. All the stresses of travel melt away as I bob along. If you split the cost with an obliging friend or three, the trips are downright cheap. I’ve paid about $5 to be rowed across a turquoise lake in Slovenia, $2 for an ocean trek in Greece and about $7 to board a fishing vessel for an island tour in Croatia.
I rarely spend money on expensive souvenirs, but I’ll happily plunk down money for a memorable meal with lovely folks. My brother Ryan taught me long ago not to rely on guidebooks or hotel pamphlets for restaurant choices, but instead to turn to locals for recommendations. I ask them where they’d go for a special dinner or date night and I’ve never been steered wrong. If I can’t find someone to ask, or I don’t speak the language, I start my search around lunch time. I look for places that are filled with locals – a sure sign of good eating – and make sure to arrive early enough that night to get a table for dinner.
I adore scarves. The brighter the better. I don’t have a house full of cuckoo clocks from Germany or statues from Rome, but I have $2-$10 scarves from Ireland to Bosnia and they make me happy. They’re cheap, small and easy to pack, and gorgeous yet practical. I wear them year round and drape them over lamps or spread them along tabletops, and each time I see one I smile inside and remember the people, the country, the food and memories of that trip.
And how about you? What indulgences do you have that make your travels extra special?
For more ideas and inspiration visit The Travel Belles.