When my wife and I are about to take a holiday, we’re very selective about asking our colleagues for hotel recommendations. 

We live in Singapore, a haven-like jumping point for delicious trips into the exotic locales of Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia or India.

My colleagues (as well as my wife and I) are prolific travellers, and as school teachers, we get plenty of time off every year.  But like I said, we don’t generally ask our closest friends (in Singapore) for hotel or itinerary suggestions when heading off into the wild frontier.

Why Not?

True, they earn the same salaries my wife and I do, but most of them spend with a high-rolling capacity that could nearly satisfy Paris Hilton.  Despite being able to keep up with them financially, we choose not to. 

 True, we do work with teachers who are frugal…I’d even call some of them cheap.  I know of one couple in their 50s that only stays at hostels.  But the majority live lifestyles akin to the rich and famous.

This week, I’ll be attending the EARCOS conference in Borneo,  where hundreds of expatriate teachers will convene to attend a variety of professional development workshops.

The head of the conference asked me to deliver an investment seminar.  So my wife and I will be flying to Borneo tomorrow morning.  Since we don’t have to be there until Thursday, we’ll take a 3 hour bus ride to Northern Borneo, then take a boat to an idyllic island, where we’ve booked accommodation costing roughly $35 U.S. a night.  In Malaysia, that kind of money can get you a pretty decent place.

After a few days of scuba diving, snorkelling, relaxing and exploring, we’ll head south to the conference—taking the same three hour bus ride back to Kota Kinabalu.

That’s when we’ll be settling into a resort that can put Beverly Hills to shame. It’s the site of our conference.  And luckily for us, our school is footing the bill.

This is the sort of place that many of our colleagues frequent on holidays.  It’s beautiful. But I think it’s isolated.

That’s why we’ll probably rent a scooter.

When you’re stuck at an isolated “high-roller” resort, you might need to take out a mortgage for a meal.  And if you’re there for a few days, like we will be, you can come home with a visa bill in the nosebleed section of a hockey arena…even if the hotel room itself is free.

Sure, we’ll probably fork out the money for a meal or two at this plush resort….just to be social.

But we’ll have the scooter as an auxiliary.  With no plebeian eateries near the royal grounds, we’ll be forced to ride a few miles from the palace.  But it’s a heck of a lot better than the alternative.  Sidestepping excessive costs is one way to ensure that you won’t have to work until you’re 80.

What about you?

Do you have friends you can’t financially keep pace with?  And how do you get around that?