I’ve been doing a bit of research on the prices of retreats lately, in part because I’m running one but also because I want to make sure my guests are getting the best value for money on their luxury getaway.
So far, I can see I’m on the mark, but it can be hard to save and even justify the cost of a retreat considering that it is an all inclusive chunk of money upfront (not to mention they don’t often include flights to the destination you’re going to). Most 7night retreats range from $700 AUD (for a retreat in India) to $4500 AUD (for a retreat in Iceland) and can vary greatly from one to the next on the list of ‘inclusions’ you will get for your money (based on www.BookYogaRetreats.com).
What I’ve also found is that some retreats or ‘escapes’ offer the ability to book your own accommodation, which in theory sounds perfect because you can match your living needs to your budget but I do wonder whether that takes the fun out of turning up to a retreat and having everything, and I mean EVERYTHING taken care of… For me, that’s the best bit! No worrying about how I’m going to get from the airport to my hotel, no expectations of 4* accommodation and turning up to 2* and no hassle trying to organise activities, find my way on public transport or converting my money to know how much food I can budget for. Call me lazy, but sometimes I like to treat myself and I am more than happy to pay for that luxury.
So how to budget for the all-inclusive retreat holiday where you can get the both worlds including looking after yourself, being looked after and exploring a new destination? It’s pretty simple really.
Firstly, choose the destination and the retreat (plus the dates, some retreats like my Croatia retreat only run once at year at the most), then figure out what you need to save, not only the cost of the retreat but the cost of flights to get there, spending money (usually specified on the retreat information page) and hopefully your retreat includes transfers from the airport, but make sure to check that before you commit because you don’t want to be paying a 2 hour taxi fare to your final destination.
The sooner you can figure out how much you need to pay and when you need to pay it by the easier you can budget for that amount. Depending on whether you are paid monthly or fortnightly will make a difference in how much you either want to pay or put away for your retreat.
A great example, my SUP Yoga retreat in Croatia is about 5 months away (so exciting) so you can divide the price of £1400 into 5 equal payments which comes to £280 per month until the retreat. Think of this as the money that you would usually spend on the ‘extras-in-life’ and remember; depending on the type of retreat you choose to go to, once you’re there you will usually have minimal spending requirements.
When you’re budgeting also have a think about the 'negotiable' things that you would usually spend your money on like going out for drinks, new clothes, fancy dinners and try to put some of that money towards your escape. I’ll be the first to admit that I love great food and beautiful clothes but for some reason it always seems easier to cut those things off my list when I know I’m planning some travel and am budgeting for that. It also helps to write down each of the different things you HAVE to pay, like insurance, loan repayments, rent/ mortgages and food, then you’ll know how much you have left to put away for the extra special stuff you’re saving for.
The other recommendation I have to keep costs reasonable is to book the flights that you need as soon as possible. Around this time of year a lot of airlines have sales on because not as many people are investing in flights straight after the New Year. Make the most of those deals and grab yourself a bargain rather than waiting last minute (for anyone in Brisbane, there’s a travel expo on this weekend).
It’s always great to plan in advance because most retreats will offer an ‘Early Bird’ discount for anyone who books in before a certain date and sometimes even a discount for 2 or more people and most offer payment plans where you can pay smaller amounts until 1 month before the retreat (often keeping the discounted price). I always look at value for money based on what is included in the retreat, what would it cost me if I was to organise the trip myself and how can I get the most out of the retreat that I’m booking (i.e. can I add on a small trip wherever I am afterwards to help my travel bug?).
Retreats and active holidays are often expensive, and it can sometimes be hard to understand the value for money, but if you’ve ever been on one you will know that they are an experience of a lifetime!
Happy budgeting! See you at a retreat soon x