Luxury VS Budget
Two intrepid travel experts tackle the ultimate debate — whether to rough it or luxuriate in opulence?
Alex Pasquariello: Luxury
One's state of mind upon returning home from a vacation tells a lot about their travel philosophy. Some people show up at work after completing their radiating relaxation, ready to return to their everyday lives with vigor, grateful for all they've seen and experienced. That's fine, for them. Me? I show up at the oﬃce exhausted, often rolling my Louis Vuitton luggage from a flight because I want every trip to traveled in a maximized way. I'm here, but my mind is still devouring whatever Alice Waters is serving from her garden, strolling snowy Pushkin Square, shredding Aspen's back bowls. Basically, life should be lived for the luxury of travel and traveling should always be luxurious.
When I'm stuck at my desk, I day dream about riding every wave, exploring endless blocks, downing every drop, and, really, basking in the richness of experience. I am a glutton for the finer things and if I'm on vacation, that's exactly what I want — a cashmere robe with shearling slippers, cocktails flecked with edible gold, deluxe tours, private golf courses and rooms that don't just have a view of the pool but one right next to the king-sized bed en suite. Luxury isn't just expense — it's exclusivity, comfort and elegance. If I can bathe in gilded waters or swallow a spoonful of foie gras, that is all part of the adventure, the essential part.
Andrea Minarcek: Budget
I like high-threadcount sheets and good wine just as much as the next person. But those kinds of indulgences aren't necessary when I travel. Why go hundreds of miles just to find luxuries you could easily get close to home? When I hit the road, it's to seek out a bit of adventure and novelty, a taste, however brief, of how life is lived elsewhere. I go to experience something new. My career has been like one long crash course in how to vacation right. Lesson number one: Listen to the folks who live there. Every story I've worked on starts with research. I tend to follow the locals lead. In Ely, Minnesota (pop. 1,281) — a bed & breakfast owner referred me to a brewery I would never have discovered on my own — and in Irkutsk, Russia, in the middle of Siberia, I ate impossibly fresh fish at a Mom-and-Pop joint that I found thanks to the recommendation of a student. The family-run cafes and hole-in-the-wall joints tend to serve regional specialties you can't find anywhere else — a heck of a lot tastier than some generic 4-course meal I could splurge on in any other city in the world. Traveling on a budget isn't about being cheap. It's about getting to know a place and the way life is really lived there. You can't downplay the upshot of vacationing for less — because that means having more in the bank for another getaway!
$-So budget, it's practically free, $$-A savvy steal, $$$-A bargain-priced luxury/high-end bargain, $$$$-Probably includes foie gras, $$$$$-The finest this world has to offer