The Cost of Dealbreakers While Making Travel Plans
When I was an undergrad studying abroad on the tightest budget imaginable, my pals (who were also on tight budgets) and I did what a lot of young people do in similar situations: We stayed in hostels, ate street food, and did a lot of walking. When we decided to visit Venice, we stayed at a campsite nearby and took a ferry over; the facilities were minimal, it was hot and humid as heck, but it was also cheap as heck and that’s all that mattered to us.
It’s been more than a decade and I’m going back to Italy with some pals this summer. We won’t be staying in any hostels this time—we’re adults with good jobs and disposable income and we’re renting an apartment. After looking through listing after listing for the past few weeks, I thought I found the perfect place: located near the train station so we can easily visit surrounding towns, and big enough to accommodate us all plus two more pals who are on the fence about the trip right now. Plus, my 20-year-old self would be pleased with the find: It would cost around $250 per person for the entire week.
When I emailed the listing to my pals, one of them pointed out to me that, yes, the place I found was nice and affordable, but there was one problem: Italy gets hot and humid in the summer and the place had no air conditioning.
“Good to know!” I responded. “I’ll keep poking around.”
Poking around some more, I discovered that air conditioning in rentals were few and far between; indeed, there are forum posts on sites like Fodor’s and TripAdvisor that note that Italians don’t care much for air conditioning; they’re mostly just used in hotels to cool down visiting tourists who expect to have it.
Air conditioning is not a must-have for me. In the warmer months, I use the window unit in my apartment sparingly, and quietly freeze in office buildings that have their systems on blast. But in instances like this, I defer to what the group wants.
One of the places I found with air conditioning that could work for us was literally twice the cost—closer to $600 each for the week (which isn’t terrible considering, but still: twice the cost). Next steps are to discuss with the group to decide whether or not everyone feels the additional cost is worth it.
What does everyone here think: Is this kind of amenity worth it? If not, is there one that would be worth it to you?
Photo: Colby Blaisdell