Why Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

Comparing value to cheap

cheap vacation

Photo credit: 401(K) 2013 via Flickr

Everyone likes to save money; that’s a given.  We search for deals and steals and feel good when we find a bargain.  But are we always getting the best value?  We tend to stop and think about this when buying something like say, a camera.  We want a good deal, but we probably don’t want the cheapest camera.  Why?  Because we care about having good pictures of our families and the cheapest camera probably isn’t going to do that.  So instead, we may watch for a good deal on a quality camera, trying to save a little money but getting a good value overall.

Many more people, though, don’t necessarily think about this when traveling.  One of the most popular searches for vacations on the internet is something along the lines of “cheap vacations” or “cheapest flights.”  Is the cheapest vacation truly a good value?  If you save money but end up being miserable, or even just mildly unhappy, was that vacation a good investment?  Probably not.

I’ve got an example for you.  I was taking my family on vacation and we were looking for a flight.  We saw some deals and thought, “Well, it’s just a flight.  We’ll look for the cheapest deal.”  It meant flying on an airline we’d never flown on and not getting to pick our own seats.  Hmmm.  Well, why not, we’ll try it, we thought.  Bad idea!! So bad!  We ended up in the least comfortable seats on the plane – the row before the exit row, which means the seats don’t recline at all.  To us, this mattered (especially to my husband)!  The service was lackluster, and to top it off, we had a 3 hour layover each way, which with two very small children is just not a great idea.  It would have been worth it to pay for a flight where we could pick our seats, have a shorter layover (or none at all) and had a decent flight to start off our vacation right.

Another great example is when considering a cruise.  I often hear people saying they want the cheapest cabin possible.  If they have cruised before and have tried this and say they love it, that’s one thing.  But for those who have never cruised and are just admiring the price, they may be in for a surprise: those interior rooms are tiny.  And not only are they tiny, but they are dark, as there is no source of natural light anywhere.  Because I work with families a lot, the thing that needs to be considered here is: Are you willing to save a few dollars in exchange for stuffing 4 of you into a room much, much smaller than your average hotel room?  Are you going to fully enjoy your vacation in that close of quarters?  Or is it a better value to move up a category and enjoy not only the activities on the ship and in port, but also enjoy each other when all four of you are not sleeping mere inches from each other and annoying each other at every turn?

It’s not to say the cheapest trip will never be a good value, just that it needs to be looked through thoroughly and evaluated.  Like anyone, I’m a big fan of saving money.  Just be sure the good deal you are getting is actually a deal you will enjoy.

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