I wrote this post sitting at a shack on Calungute Beach in Goa. The weather was hot and humid and my body was dehydrating. I ordered a fresh lime soda, took a pen and paper and thought of writing something that inspired me to visit Goa.
I traveled to Goa for my friend's bachelorette. After the Saturday night party, we checked out of the guesthouse Sunday morning and all my friends left for the airport. I didn't want to spend extravagant amount on flight tickets, and decided to book a bus. As my bus was going to depart in the evening, I thought of sitting at a beach and reading a good book. I sat peacefully in what felt like a hot summer afternoon...."happily tanned"....wondering why people go for budget travelling? Why did I choose to save money on flight and booked a bus?
The buzz word nowadays is budget travelling. Everybody talks about how you can travel on a budget. You will find many posts like '10 Tips for Budget Travel in Europe' or 'How to travel on budget in Thailand', that give you tips on saving money. I feel that budget travelling is over-hyped term now a days. Even though I come from a middle class Indian family and don't spend extravagantly on travelling, I don't usually prefer traveling on a budget. Here are my reasons for not traveling on a strict budget:
- Freedom to choose what you like - Travelling is about setting yourself free to explore the world you live in, eat to your heart's content and experience something you have never experienced before. Budget travelling curtails your freedom to experience all this. If you are travelling on budget, ensure you save enough money to try things that you like - local cuisine, shopping, adventure sports, entry tickets for museum or concerts etc. Do not skip things that you would have loved doing
- Safety -Even though you would have thoroughly researched about the place you are visiting, you might put yourself into situations that compromise your safety just to save money. Do not take decisions that compromise your safety. It is true that you should take risks to bring out the adventure and fun in your travel, but these should be calculated risks. They should not leave any permanent negative impact on your life.
- Stay in clean hygienic rooms - People often compromise on hygiene if they are travelling on a tight budget. In the budget hotels/ hostels sometimes the rooms are not clean or you have to share the washroom with unknown people. You do meet few like minded travelers in hostels but you also end up sharing room with people who do not understand basic hygiene. These small things spoil your travel experience.
- Comfort - Setting travel goals and following a bucket list is great. You can make yourself uncomfortable for your passion (Biking, driving, trekking etc).But there is no point in making your life miserable while travelling by compromising on basic things just because you are on a strict budget.
- Try local cuisine - Often food delicacies are expensive. If you are visiting a new city, you would want to try the local cuisine. You can enjoy the street food which is a cheaper option or you can dine in a nice local restaurant. When we went to Greece for our honeymoon, we researched online and finalized what all local cuisine we were going to try rather than just going to a restaurant and ordering anything and everything that was delicious. The reason was, for a salaried employee earning in Indian currency Greece is an expensive country. That was the time I decided not to compromise on food and to eat to my heart's content wherever I go.
Are you a budget traveler by choice? If someone is willing to sponsor your trip, would you still choose budget travel? I would say, think about how you can earn more and travel the way you want to. After your trip, don't regret that you could have done it in a better way or would have tried something which you couldn't due to budget constraints.
Budget travel is about travelling frugal and not cheaper!
This blog was originally published on 'HAPPILY TANNED'