Tag Archives: cheap is expensive

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?




Bit by bit …. That’s how airlines manage to run profitable businesses.  They charge extra for things like seat selection, meals and now even for a good spot in the line up.

This $9 charge will annoy a lot of people

So is this how to make money?  Apparently so because it seems to be working. Don’t forget in this online world the cheapest flights will be reflected up in the top of your search screen.  What the online booking engine won’t tell you is how much you will have to shell out for meals, drinks, cushions, blankets and now even a place in the line up.

The nickle and diming upsell is not just common in the airline industry – think about the world around you?

Would you like fries with that?

Shall I super-size that booster juice?

Would you like to go with the 9 oz glass of wine rather than the 6 oz?

large glass of wine

So it is understandable that especially when you come to low cost products such as economy airfare or those really cheap cruises then of course you are going to get sold to …. And sold to …. And sold to… until it drives you round the blinking bend.  A colleague who recently went on one of the big big cruise ships said she got utterly sick of people trying to sell her dining reservations and drinks packages.  You would think you would be in the clear when you buy an all inclusive package – but no – at many resorts you get hounded by time share reps and even if they are not around you get hounded on the beaches – at least in Mexico.  That is one thing that can be said for Cuba – you don’t have that same kind of aggressive sales people.

Ah well – everyone has to make a dime.  As the old saying goes “Cheap is expensive” in the long run you end up paying for it.

Many of the luxury cruise lines do interesting comparisons between their cost per day and the main stream non inclusive cruise lines and the numbers seem to show that you end up paying one way or another so might as well pay up front in Cdn $ if you can and at least have a relaxing holiday.

The problem is – we all love those deals – and we end up paying for them!