“Travel Cheap”, “budget travel!” “Go to Thailand for $500!” if you read travel blogs those phrases are all the rage. I admit I have a Fly Cheap post as well. But have you ever stopped to think about what shoestring traveling looks like?
I travel for three reasons
Experience culture and history
Try exotic foods
Meet guys (not anymore in case my partner is reading this ; )
What cheap travel looks like
If you want to go to Thailand for $500 for example. That means you’re staying in the cheapest, shittiest, unairconditioned hostels or worse staying in a strangers’ house. Woah…
You’re eating bottom of the barrel probably unsanitary street food (don’t get me wrong Thailand has some good street food also), and you’re mostly on foot the whole time.
You can’t visit any significant museums or see any significant sites
Cheap Travel Housing
If you stay at a cheap hostel that is is what you can expect. Seriously? How is that comfortable? You’re sharing a room with strangers who probably don’t smell that well. I backpacked when I was younger and I never was comfortable sleeping in these things.
A Strangers House
There are sites like Airbnb where you can stay at a stranger’s house for a cheaper rate than a hotel. The problem is the house may be far away from anything worth seeing and you have to constantly be on your P’s and Q’s. That’s not a vacation. Aren’t you exhausted after a long flight? I want to check into my room throw my stuff on the floor and plop on my bed. Also I’m sure most people are nice but what if you don’t get along? What if their home stinks from their natural smell or cat pee?
I don’t think either one of those options is good for bringing a hot guy into and if I have to rent a hotel room then that defeats the whole purpose of staying in these options anyway!
Cheap Travel Food
Disclaimer: I eat street food on some occasions. Thai street food can be good but you’re doing so at your own risk.
I’ve personally seen tourists get very sick from eating shady street food. Business Insider claims up to 10% of cooking oil in China is in fact sewer oil. Yum!
Wouldn’t it be nicer to just sit in a nice air conditioned restaurant and taste some wonderful cultural delicacies? Street food is a good option for a snack while between sites but I wouldn’t want it as a primary meal everyday.
It gets worse many sites advocated eating garbage. Literally. It’s called vagabonding.
Cheap travel transportation
Let’s keep it real cheap travel transportation is mostly walking combined with occasional public transport. Yeah that’s fun walking around all day getting lost in the heat (most cheap travel destinations are tropical), the rain, or worse at night. Or better yet maybe I stumble upon an unsafe part of time alone and obviously lost.
Not to mention if you’re backpacking the backpack can weigh over 40 lbs.
Yeah that’s my idea of a good time…
Cheap travel site seeing
Most sight seeing on a shoestring budget is being on the outside looking in. Sites that are worth seeing require an entrance fee and for good reason. You being there causes damage to the sights. Those sites need to be maintained your entrance fee pays for that. When I tried backpacking I talked to other tourists and they said their time was spent looking at the sites from the gate and then sitting in the park. Wtf?! I can sit in the park at home!
“If you can’t afford to do it right don’t do it at all”. That’s something my mom used to always tell me. The good news is you don’t have to be rich in order to travel comfortably. There are a plethora of options to get nice hotels at cheap prices.
If you don’t want to hire a tour guide then a guide book is your best option. I recommend a tablet to read it on so you’re not lugging a bunch of books around. Nowadays you can get a KindleFire for less than $80.