My past few essays have been all about the things that I don’t buy, so I thought it was about time to come clean and talk about what I do buy and what I splurge on. I love the delayed gratification that comes from the plotting, waiting and then finally enjoying a good splurge. In fact, I actually have found that by carefully planning on what and when I’m going to splurge, I’m able to live more in the present. There’s something about that focus that keeps my attention on what I’m doing at the moment and at the end of the day, it’s all about trying to live consciously rather than living by habit. So rather than ordering delivery every night because I’m not really thinking about it, I’ll do some pre-week planning (aka grocery shopping) so I can splurge on a fancy restaurant in a couple weeks time. So today, we’re asking what do you splurge on? And because fair is fair, I’m going to come clean about my recent splurge in Peru. -Amy
Before we get started, I want to share one caveat: I’ve learned that with delayed gratification, you have to be careful not to turn it into future-living (If you buy me a drink, I’ll tell you all about how I learned this one the hard way). For a stretch of time otherwise known as my twenties, I was so focused on what my life would be like in the future, that I wasn’t living in the present. I was just waiting for that ship to come in. I put off making changes to my apartment because I wasn’t going to be there for long or taking trips because they were too expensive. To make sure I don’t fall into that future-living mistake again, I’ve devised a simple solution: I must have a specific splurge in mind and I need a calendar date for that splurge. Having those specifics in place will let you focus on the reward and not get lost in endless “one day” living.
All images by de la Barra Photography
Learn how I planned for – and enjoyed – my splurge night in Peru after the jump!
For my most recent splurge (a night at an amazing hotel in Peru), I definitely had a date on the calendar because my splurge was actually a splurge within another already-planned splurge. Usually when I travel, I don’t stay at fancy places. I want to be out exploring and seeing things and the hotel is just a place to crash at the end of a long day. But this spring, my boyfriend and I went to Peru and in the course of my trip research, I found a hotel where I was dying to stay. This wasn’t just any hotel. This was one of the Inkaterra hotels in Peru. It’s a small, national hotel chain of hotels that are not only beautiful, but each hotel also has a nonprofit component that is committed to preserving local natural resources.
This was an experience that I just felt would be worth it, so to make the splurge night happen, we were extra careful with our budget pre-splurge hotel. Rather than staying at mid-range hotels for the entire trip, we decided to stay at lower budget hotels so that we were staying comfortably within our hotel budget for the entire trip. Not only did this make things easier on my wallet, but it also meant that when it came time for the splurge night, we were really looking forward to it. (That delayed gratification thing!)
Upon arriving at Inkaterra, after a full day at Machu Picchu, we wound our way around the property to our own little Casita, with its own fireplace and gigantic bathroom. After days without a reliable hot water shower, I can tell you that I enjoyed every minute under that luxurious rain shower. In fact, because our stay at this hotel was so highly anticipated, I felt like I was present for and enjoyed every minute of my fancy hotel experience in a way that I might not have had every hotel in our stay been the most luxurious. But by shaking things up, traveling cheaply in some ways and ultra luxurious in others, we were able to experience the full travel spectrum. That night, we made the most of our dinner (included in the hotel package!) in the dining room by heading to the restaurant well in advance of our reservation so that we could enjoy Pisco Sours in the lounge. And the next day we woke up early so we could explore the hotel before we had to take the train to our next destination.
That next day was absolutely magical. Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo has an Orchid Walk with a collection of over 372 species of orchids all native to Peru. It is one of the largest orchid collections in the world. Many were rescued as a result of local building projects encroaching on native habitat, so locals brought the orchids to the hotel. Some are so tiny that you need a magnifying glass to really appreciate them. The orchids and other flowers have created an environment perfect for birds and the hotel welcomes them by putting bananas in trees and hummingbird feeders throughout the property. Inkaterra also provides a safe haven for mammals like the critically endangered Spectacled Bear. The hotels have committed to rescuing and hopefully reintroducing this native Andean bear into the wild (Paddington Bear was actually a Spectacled Bear, coming from “Darkest Peru”). I was certainly sad to leave the Inkaterra and its luxuries, but because I felt like we made the most of our experience there, I felt completely satisfied. (The hotel has two properties in the Amazon. Can you guess where my next splurge is going to be?)
The lesson that I learned on my splurge night was that, for me, I’d rather scrimp in lots of areas, allowing me to afford an experience that I really treasure. For me, the saving is also part of the splurge adventure. I enjoy finding ways to cut costs, treating that as a fun part of the splurge. And I don’t have to go to South America to do it. Sometimes, the experience is a restaurant that I’ve wanted to try or a play that I’d like to see. And by living consciously, I can make these experiences part of my reality. I know that I’ll enjoy them all the more when I don’t have the headache of worrying about how they are going to effect my bottom line.
5 Splurge Travel Tips
If you’re new to the vacation splurge night (like I was!), here are a few ways to get the most out of your fancy stay.
- Schedule your splurge toward the middle/end of your trip. For obvious reasons, you’ll appreciate it all the more after you’ve been roughing it for a bit. For example, go camping for a week and then plan a hotel stay for the last night of the trip. But it’s nice if you still have the excitement of new destinations so you aren’t just leaving your hotel to go home.
- Research your destination’s offerings and amenities and pick a place that offers something special. A great pool, beautiful grounds, a fantastic restaurant – be sure that there’s a reason why you want this travel experience.
- Treat your splurge destination as you would any site on your sightseeing list and make sure you schedule enough time to enjoy it. Don’t just check in and check out. You can even stay longer than the checkout time by asking the hotel if they can store your bags. Use that time to enjoy the common areas, lounge by the pool, walk the grounds or have lunch at the restaurant.
- Eat your meals at the hotel. If you have a great room, get room service! Why leave your fantastic hotel when you can save that night on the town for the evenings that you can’t wait to get out of your room?
- If the hotel has a concierge, make the most of it. Ask for sightseeing tips and restaurant recommendations. You can even ask for the concierge to make you a restaurant reservation on another night in town. The concierge might have more pull at getting you into that fantastic restaurant in town.