Too poor not to buy quality

An old saying… many variations some of which are “too poor to buy cheap”.  At first glance it almost didn’t make sense until I really thought about it.  If you are on a tight budget and you want to buy something you want to be sure that what you are buying is going to last or do what it is supposed to do.

Another variation is “cheap is expensive”.

So what has this got to do with travel you ask.  Well …. I prefer the first saying “too poor not to buy quality”  rather than “too poor to buy cheap” because let’s face it sometimes you can get really good quality at a cheaper price. Nothing wrong with that.  It is just a matter of checking the quality of what you are getting.

Let’s say you find a cheap deal on a hotel – OK – let’s do the due diligence.  What is the regular price of this hotel?  Maybe there is a sale on because it is out of season.  Or maybe dig a bit deeper and you find that the location is not in the centre of town but rather on the outskirts.  Now you have to factor in the cost of taxi fares to get into the places you have flown so far to see.  As you can see – it will end up being “cheap is expensive”.

Same with a cruise deal.  You see these amazing prices on the cruise line advertisements but note that the pricing is “from $xxxxx” which means that the price is based on the lowest possible stateroom on the ship – which generally means an interior stateroom.  Ummm – well how bad is that?  For some people it is no problem at all.  They regard the inside stateroom as just a place to sleep and shower and spend their time enjoying most of the facilities on the ship that everyone has access to – even the guy in the owner’s suite.

For a first time cruiser who has no idea what to expect it can come as a shock to find out that you are sleeping in a “cupboard”.  When you close that door you can get a little claustrophobic (I speak from experience).  It is amazing the difference one little window can make – even if you cannot open it.  When I cruised on Star Clippers we had two portholes in the room – great.


My first river cruise was in the lowest category – no french balcony but a nice large-ish window pretty much on water level.  Yep – we said hi to the swans each morning as they peered into our stateroom.  Both were fine but if you purchase a cruise on the basis of the promotional pictures you see online….

cruise ship couple

then you might be a bit disappointed to have spent your hard earned money on this

inside stateroom 2

if you really freak out about having no window at all.

It’s all relative.  For some the purchase of an inside stateroom is just fine – a great saving and I guess you can always sleep late because you don’t need black out drapes!  For those people they got value for their money.  For others however it could be a nightmare week and a total waste of their time and hard-earned cash.

You can see why I don’t like the word “cheap”.  It doesn’t really measure what you are buying and each individual situation and person is different.  What I do look for in any purchase – travel or otherwise – is quality and value for money.   What do you look for?



By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. Depends on the trip but definitely a value / quality trade off. Hurtigruten ferry Bergen to Kirkenes 2018 was cheapest outside cabin which was randomly assigned as lower deck with 2 portholes just above water level. Very good. Lowest cost hotel near downtown on convenient transit routes with private bathroom: eg 2017 Paris near Gare du Nord for $86 / night for double. Marginally acceptable, bed clean, corridor quite stained. Restaurants to have good quality food with regional cuisine or a pizza place or a local pub / bistro. Or in a deli or supermarket, buy cheese, meat, bread and wine and eat in the park or the room. Food in very touristy areas often tends to be disappointing unless you’re going to expensive Michelin listed establishments. We fed most of our little fishes to stray cats on Greek islands as we tried to get the best deal. Bad decision. Pay big bucks for exotic trips without good public transport but read the brochures very carefully to understand what you’re getting eg Safari in Africa.


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