Rick Steves' name is about as closely associated to travel advice as Google Maps. The renowned European vacation expert (man, how do you get that job?) has long been an evangelist for budget-conscious travel and getting the best deals in major destination cities. That said, Steves explains in a recent Seattle Times article that being too frugal can be a detriment to your travel experience. He lists several key areas for which it's okay to splurge a little:
1. Hotel: In a city like Rome, it's almost always cheaper to stay on the periphery. But Steves says that you'll get more value if you pay for a room in the center of the city near the sights. He notes that often these old hotels are steeped in history and are sights in and of themselves.
2. Transportation: While riding on a city's public transportation system is a novel cultural experience, there are "time is money" instances when Steves recommends just taking a cab to your destination. You don't want to waste precious minutes of a short stay waiting for a bus.
3. Take a Tour: If you do some adequate research beforehand, a jaunt around town with a good local tour guide will be some of the best money you spend on your trip. There's no other way to get more out of seeing a city's basic sights unless you're a practical Magellan with the hotel map.
Steves offers other tips that you can get to on your own by reading his entire piece at The Seattle Times. One notable thing he does recommend is dishing out for one of those fancy Venetian gondola rides. There are some experiences, he says, that are so entwined with the cities you visit that you just can't afford to miss them.
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