Get more out of your trip with less money
Most travelers cannot afford all the luxury that popular destinations can offer such as five-star hotels, fancy restaurants, guided tours, rented car or more specialized amenities, like an underwater cage to see white sharks, perhaps. For this reason, many local entrepreneurs have developed a wide range of options that are more suitable for
However, it is easy to magnify the hardships that one has to face when choosing the budget option, that is, choosing to walk your way to the hostel, sleeping in a bunk bed along with other three (or more, many more) people, or the poor conditions of the bathroom. According to my experience as a budget traveler, despite money restraints, I believe there are at least five reasons why budget traveling is a good idea.
1. You get to see more…of the good and the not so good
It is true, we all get to that famous place for the picture, and if we had the premium choice, we would be taken there briefly, with some air conditioning, refreshments while we commute and with a guide to take our pictures until we are satisfied. Ready for the next social media post. But there is a question to be asked. What else would I learn from that place on my own? How many daily-life scenes did I contemplate? How many flavors and smells did I try? Naturally, as a traveler with more limited resources, there is more physical exhaustion, but paying less usually means being more like the locals, sharing their struggles and joys at least for a little time, and this can become one of the best rewards of traveling. I never imagined how delicious the Pho soup is until I went for a walk through the streets of Hanoi and saw a bunch of locals just sitting on the sidewalk having this hearty dish. On the other hand, I never imagined how hard it can be for Myanmar to catch a boat to cross the Yangon river to Dala at the sunset after a working day until I went to buy some fruits just next to the ferry terminal.
2. Higher engagement with other travelers
Who would have thought that those bunkbeds conversations are like a gold mine when it comes to valuable
3. Unexpected adventures
The travel plan can be improved greatly after sharing experiences with other visitors. Even more, with enough luck, you and one or more people have the same plan to see that landmark. Some attractions can be more affordable with more people included, say, sharing a taxi, renting a scooter or discounted tickets. Personally, some of my best adventures are those that I shared with other backpackers who I met the day before in a pub, at a landmark or at the hostel. I am still in touch with some of them, to share details about more recent trips. Not having a tour guide can mean more planning, but it can also mean more flexibility to appreciate specific details or special interests that otherwise would be missed due to the rush of the tour schedule. If the place captivated your interest, why not staying in that place for longer? Locals can definitely surprise you when they offer their help to get you where you want to be, and that can also be the beginning of a great story to tell your friends back home.
4. Know yourself better (and your travel buddies)
Traveling on a budget can be a great
5. Greater sense of achievement
Either you traveled alone or with your buddies, once you put your feet on that plane that will take you back home, the emotional bag (and the backpack, of course) feels full. Full of treasures in the shape of sights, memories, conversations, food, distances walked, night buses, midnight snacks in the middle of nowhere. When you look back at that picture or show that video to your friends, there is so much else to tell. You realize that you were in more control of the experiences you wanted to have, but left enough room for those small surprises that will put a smile on your face later. You will realize that you already have the experience for the next destination. It is truly an achievement.
Traveling on a budget can become a more gratifying experience for all the little (good and bad) details that make it much more authentic. With all that said, I am definitely not against traveling first class. If I can do it, I do it. Surely the indulgence feels great. But next time you are planning your coming trip, maybe you want to build it thinking on these factors, feeling excited about the budget restraints.