It is easy to get overly enthusiastic about optimization, whether it is saving money, weight, suitcase space and so on. But the most important thing is using resources wisely to maximize enjoyment and benefits.
Sometimes the extras included make it worth spending more.
An example from recent travel: I decided to stay at a 5 star hotel near the hotel in Qindao airport, because the price included being picked up at the airport and breakfast (a “very good breakfast” per bookings.com). There were cheaper options, but our flight got in after mid-night and since our total travel time getting there was about 20 hours it was very nice to be met. Not having a taxi driver be my first attempt at Chinese in six monthswas worth a lot!
And it is lovely there and it has soft beds (many Chinese hotels do not). It made a gentle landing for us.
I don’t always do this, but for long flights, if the total cost of the flight is low, I will upgrade to comfort plus to get more space. This is particularly true if I am traveling solo since the last time I didn’t the overhead space was all full by the time I got on and I was very cramped for 11 hours.
This is another luxury that I occasionally spring for. Especially when the area is unfamiliar and hard to navigate.
Traveling to Xi’an with my father I hired a private English speaking guide. We would never have managed to see as much trying to use a taxi or public transportation.
In Buenos Aires we had a guide and driver for three of us for a half day tour. That got us familiar with the layout of the city and made sure we saw several of the main points. After that we made our own way about but the overview was very helpful and Hector realized that my dad was into things nautical so he tailored our tour in that direction. He also kept his eye on dad, who sometimes wanders off to look at cranes or wrecked boats, so I could look around in peace.
Also in Buenos Aires we took a small group tour by boat up to Tigre, in the Parana Delta. While it would have been possible to do that trip independently the package was well done, and saved a good deal of figuring out and arranging, we had someone to explain what we were seeing and make sure we (Dad) didn’t get lost, and it included a yummy lunch.
Next week we will have a private guide for four of us in Guilin. My thinking is that since the major sights are spread out and it’s a Chinese holiday period so public transport will likely be crowded, plus my husband speaks no Chinese a package with a driver and tour guide will allow us to relax and enjoy the scenery instead of worrying about how to get places. I’ll let you know how that goes.