The luxury holiday: excessive or justifiable?

I want to go to the Maldives.

I want to stay in an overwater bungalow, and wake up every morning and jump into the ocean from my room. I want to dive with big pelagics and come back full of stories of the sharks I saw.

Everyone says its expensive, so I’m prepared for the worst. But I’m a backpacker by nature. I’ve spent so many months on the road, searching out the cheapest accommodation, and being happy with running water, even if its just coming out of a pipe sticking out of the wall and it’s cold, and in a shared bathroom, that it makes me feel guilty to spend money on a luxurious place to lay my head when I travel.

So nothing could have prepared me for what “expensive” meant in Maldives terms. And I have no gauge for what’s reasonable.

You want all inclusive? Well, everyone does say you’re a hostage to the resort so you’ll have to eat there every day anyway…ok, that will be another £1k for the both of you thank you very much. £1k? For 2 people for a week of food? That sounds ludicrously expensive. But if I don’t opt in, will that mean I end up paying cumulatively more, having to shell out for each individual meal?

You want a transfer from the airport? Well, you can come by speedboat – that’ll be £150 – or if you’re looking at that particular island, it will have to be seaplane – another £500, thanks. WHOA. I’ve bought plane tickets from London to Oz for not much more than that, and I’m pretty sure that the transfer doesn’t take 24 hours or provide meals and snacks.

They’ve got the whole deal on the Maldives completely stitched up. And the thing is, if you’re going to go to the expense of going, you feel like you may as well not skimp since it’s a once in a lifetime experience – how would the Maldives be any different to Spain if you just get a hotel room facing the pool? Surely a water bungalow (at an additional £600) is the only real option?

For regular Joe’s like me, splashing out on experiences like these are a big deal financially. But I’m lucky enough to be in a job, and have a partner in a job, that allows me to save enough to travel.  And yes, this is a much bigger saving job than usual, but its achievable if we focus on it.

The main issue is whether I can justify it to myself. When I think about all the other things that the money could be used for, I start getting heart palpitations. Guilt induced stress – and I haven’t even spent a penny yet!

But the flip side is that old stinker that keeps creeping up on me. That little devil on my shoulder that whispers “when you’ve got a mortgage / kids / moved back to Oz / are too old, you won’t be able to do it…and then you’ll have missed your opportunity!” whenever I think about potentially costly experiences. And he’s probably right. There will always be reasons not to do things.

And honestly, I can practically hear the call of the ocean.  So you know what they say – carpe diem. I think I’m going to just avoid looking at my bank account and make the most of life while I can. It’s all about the experiences we have along the way, and not the money we have at the other end after all, isn’t it?

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