If I had to sum up my budget travelling experiences, here’s what I’d say, “What I saved in money I often paid in time and stress”.
When I see travel titles bearing ‘budget travelling’, makes me want to run for a pillow to comfort the throbbing of my body. I have travelled enough and often to clearly understand the pros and cons of budget travelling. While I don’t necessarily think of it to be awful but the idea of glorifying budget travel is what ticks me off. It’s usually NOT luxurious, glamorous, easy, or even very comfortable! Here are some of the biggest pitfalls of cheap travel.
1. Low-priced Airline
The cheapest flights, bus and train tickets are usually the cheapest for a reason. They are the least popular times. They might be late at night or super early in the morning. They may have 4 layovers, one of which is 9 hours and let’s not forget the baggage restriction. What you save on money, you often pay in time and hassle. If you take it in your stride, this doesn’t have to be terrible. But it’s certainly not slick and seamless.
2. Hoofing it with a heavy bag
Walking is a budget traveller’s best friend. It’s free and provides exercise and a chance to explore more of the city. When you have your suitcase with you, however, manageable walks can seem interminable and infinitely more difficult. I can assure you at some point amidst the heat or the rain, you would consider whisking all of it away.
3. Ah, the home stay’s and hostels
Doing a budgeted trip means the demands of the hotel has to be moderate and restrained. The whole point of going on a vacation is to leave the stress behind and to treat yourself to the goodness of life from the other side of the world. I’m not suggesting a star hotel all the way, but wouldn’t it be nice to have some privacy and personalized service? Do you really want to be worrying about using the washroom on a holiday?
4. Not Buying Travel Insurance
If you have to differentiate between an experienced traveller and a tourist, ask his/her opinion on travel insurance. If he/she says you will do just fine without it. Wham, a bad piece of advice right there. While on the road, you never know what may happen. Invest in a good travel insurance plan to guard you against thefts, lost baggage or medical emergencies.
5. Their Schedule, Not Yours
Hitchhiking is a great, free way to get around in a lot of the world and save a ton of money. But it does mean you might have to wait for long periods to hitch a ride or modify your route or destination based on where your driver is headed. It involves a lot of standing around and walking to find the best spots to get picked up. You can throw your schedule out the window!
6. Public transportation
I am the wariest of public transportation in a country I have had no prior experience in. Also, taking public transportation when you are commuting in a group is a lot more stress-free than alone. In most places private access costs thrice as much of the public transportation and its certainly justified for the lack of inconveniences. Let’s just say not everyone is comfortable riding a bike due to reduced safety. What happens then? You can’t afford a cab all days if you are on budget travel.
7. Failing to benefit from newer experiences
Budget travel doesn’t allow you the chance for newer experiences of a destination you are exploring. Less money means lesser access to unique travel experiences. Had we been on a tighter budget we would have missed out on some of the rarest and finest activities. Be it from indulging in the gourmet food or the exotic cultural experiences, it is extremely important to live the city and what it has to offer.
8. Forgetting the budget and running out of money
In case of an emergency, having a shred of money leads to more trauma, especially if you are a solo traveller. Instead, You should consider your budget as a way to experience the place more creatively and more authentically; not as a restriction. Create a realistic budget you can stick to and allow some breathing room for unexpected expenses.
9. Skipping the tourist trial
If you dare to explore outside the commonly done and seen to create your own unique experiences and not follow what others have done. Then, you need to go off the beaten path, mind you this doesn’t come easy or economical.
10. The Joy of collecting
The delight in purchasing a souvenir that is particular of the region is a reminder of your journey regardless of the passage of time. If you will, in the long term the same souvenir turn into a stellar private collection and who isn’t keen on that. Excuse yourself from this pleasure if you are on a tight budget.
Basically, it boils down to personal preference. Although travelling on the hobo is romanticized largely, it is definitely not for everyone. I think a lot of people underestimate the difficulties involved drifting the derelict way. In short, it’s fun to travel on the hobo if you’re doing it for a thrill. It’s not so much fun if you’re doing it because you can’t afford anything else. But, of course, that shouldn’t stop you from touring. All I am saying is don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Instead, educate yourself on the hacks of reducing big expenses. For instance, my friend and I ditched the heavy baggage and travel light, this cut down our costs considerably plus, it is efficient. So, the next time, before you feel despair about someone else’s budget journey, ask yourself would you really want to be pursuing a budget journey taking into account of the pain and suffering as well?