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Why I Broke My Travel Budget in Montreal

montreal travel budget




Traveling on a budget is a hot topic. Understandably so. At least in the United States, there’s a lingering misconception that travel must cost a ton of money and thus, vacations are reserved only for the rich (or, at least, those who are well off). Totally a lie, right?

We all know travel is possible on less money, and besides, it’s smart to stay within a budget. No one likes a bank account with $0.00 inside it. Yikes. If you search the internet, you can find millions of blog posts on how to save every penny, and a lot of the advice is awesome and worth considering.

Buuut aren’t we all guilty of spending *cough* way more *cough* money than we should, especially on travel experiences? Of course! For example, I blew my budget in Montreal. Big time.

Granted, I’m, uh, not really in a position to spend extra cash. The cost of living in New Jersey isn’t cheap. Actually it’s sky high. I blame my close proximity to New York City, and the fact that I’m on a direct train line into Penn Station, but I digress. Complaining about the Garden State will have to wait for another day.

So why would I ever do such a financially silly thing? Brace yourselves, wayfarers! I’m about to offer some controversial advice, haha. Why did I break the budget in Montreal? What was I willing to splurge on? A five star hotel and fine French dining? Nah.

why i broke my travel budget

Hockey.

“Are you serious?” you might be thinking.

Yes, I’m very serious. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved going to hockey games, which is funny seeing how I can’t stand most sports. But hockey steals my heart every single time. Forget baseball. Pucks and ice rule.

Plus my dad and I went to tons of hockey games every year, so the sport reminds me of simpler times, haha.

Furthermore, hockey is fast paced. You need mad skills on ice skates. It’s exciting. Guh, I can’t get enough of hockey! If I was rich (I’m not), I’d have season tickets to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Plan your epic trip to Montreal and Quebec City.

why i broke my travel budget




On my food tour, I met another solo female traveler, and she asked me if I wanted to go to the Montreal Canadiens game the next night. (As a side note: it’s really not hard meeting other travelers if you’re worried about it!). I said I’d think about it, because the price? Wasn’t something I had budgeted for. $95 US dollars.

In my hostel room, I quietly mulled over the possibilities. I could relax tomorrow, eat some crepes, take some pictures, tweet some wanderlusty messages to make my friends jealous, and go to bed. Or I could be at a game. In freakin’ Montreal.

Guess what won?

Upon arrival, the stadium’s mad energy consumed me. Locals are serious about their hockey. Talk about way more buzz than I ever experienced at any hockey game in Philadelphia. Music, crowds, cheerleaders, colorful red signs, it was so easy for me to get swept into the enjoyable chaos, and forget about the hefty price tag.

To make it even better, our seats were only a few rows away from the “Blues” located at the very top of the arena. The top rows are wild. And fun.

why I broke my travel budget

So, at the end of the day, although my bank account was $95 poorer, I discovered I didn’t regret my purchase one bit.

I actually reflected on the financial dent as we took a cab to a nearby restaurant. What would I have done otherwise? Slept in my hostel? Ate a crepe and fiddled on my Instagram account? Would I have a story worth fondly remembering on those dreary New Jersey March days when I needed a memory to make me smile? Heck, nah!

Now what about you and your trip? Should you break your own travel budget? Honestly, it’s a personal decision, and I’m not advocating pissing through your money (sorry, but there’s no other way to say it).

For me, sucker punching your bank account depends on two different things.

why i broke my travel budget

1. You have enough to pay your bills.

I’m not insane. Don’t spend money you need to pay for your rent, bills, groceries, etc. Travel isn’t worth homelessness and a destroyed credit score. Be smart and real. I always pay my credit bills in full, so I honestly don’t advocate making purchases if you have important financial obligation. And for goodness sake, do not go into debt for a travel purchase.

However, if you have enough cash in the bank to cover your necessities, and only need to sacrifice Starbucks for a month to enjoy an incredible night tour of Paris, then go for it! Spend the money! When will you be back again? And aren’t those memories worth way more than your billionth chai latte?

Be reasonable, but don’t be cheap either.

why I broke my travel budget

2. The opportunity outweighs the price tag.

At the end of the day, only you can make the call whether or not a tour, meal, or hotel is worth the heavy cost. As travelers, we all have different interests and passions, so I can’t tell you if you should spend your hard earned cash on a product or tour.

For me, hockey has a personal price tag and Montreal is hockey heaven. Ultimately, the game had a much deeper value than the cost of the ticket.

Tell me about a time when you spent waaaaay more money than you intended to. In addition, do you think a strict travel budget is always a good thing? Share your thoughts in the comments. 




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20 Responses to Why I Broke My Travel Budget in Montreal

  1. Tamara Elliott February 25, 2017 at 2:44 pm #

    Atta girl! As a Canadian I fully approve of your decision to break the bank to enjoy our national game- in one of the league’s best arenas, no less!

  2. Barbara Wagner February 25, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

    Yes, it is important to experience a hockey game in Canada. Hockey is such an exciting sport. I am sure you must have enjoyed the game!

    • Rachel Elizabeth March 1, 2017 at 6:01 pm #

      Barbara —

      Hockey is so, so, so exciting! The game was marvelous!

  3. Lillie February 25, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

    This article made me smile because there are so many articles out there about how to do a certain city on a budget… but I see why you broke the bank in Montreal! I agree that the investment in money is totally worth it in the experiences and memories created.

    • Rachel Elizabeth March 1, 2017 at 6:01 pm #

      Lillie —

      Hahaha, glad I could make you smile! I think we’re all guilty of going over budget.

  4. Annie February 25, 2017 at 3:38 pm #

    Oh girl I know all about the cost of living in New Jersey. Sometimes it’s totally worth it to break your budget for awesome adventures though, glad you decided to enjoy yourself in Montreal!

    • Rachel Elizabeth March 1, 2017 at 6:02 pm #

      Annie —

      Isn’t New Jersey’s cost of living SO RIDICULOUS?! I want a discount, damn it!

  5. Marlene Marques February 26, 2017 at 5:18 am #

    “Spending way more money than we should on travel experiences”… Guilty!! I’m always in a tight budget when I travel, but I always leave some money to indulge myself with experiences I won’t have any other way. That’s what traveling is all about, I guess. As you said, don’t go living in the street because you spend all your money in your trip, but as you think of buying some superfluous thing, think what you might do with that money on your next trip 😉

  6. Mel Jones February 26, 2017 at 11:59 am #

    Don’t worry I’ve overspent on my budget whilst travelling quite often (I don’t think we ever intend to!). It usually starts with a night out or a day excursion you just don’t want to miss out on and Montreal has too much to offer. I went to see ice hockey in Belfast on a whim and it was quite expensive but I’m so glad I didn’t miss out it was so fun! We can always make more money but can’t always make more memories 😉

    • Rachel Elizabeth March 1, 2017 at 6:03 pm #

      Mel Jones —

      Ohhhh, ice hockey in Belfast sounds super awesome.

  7. Polly February 26, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    Yep, my weaknesses are soccer, theater, and food. In the long run, splurging on a special experience here and there has always been worth it!

  8. Bryanna February 27, 2017 at 1:02 am #

    Sounds like it was worth it! I love your advice on when it makes sense to break the budget every now and then!

  9. carla abanes February 28, 2017 at 12:45 am #

    Guilty! Im guilty of blowing my travel budget too. Its just that sometimes I want to take a vacation from usual hostels and baguette and treat myself to a decent dinner. I usually do this on the last night of my trip as a reward to me!

    • Rachel Elizabeth March 1, 2017 at 6:04 pm #

      Carla —

      Hahaha, I know all about splurging on food. I can only take so much jam and toast.

  10. Claudia February 28, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

    I’m so glad the you enjoyed a truly special Montreal experience! Going to a Canadiens game is really up there with the best things you can do. 🙂 Sometimes we have to make those tough monetary decisions, but the memories are totally worth it.

  11. Rachel Elizabeth March 1, 2017 at 6:07 pm #

    Claudia —

    It was so special! I had such a great time.

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