When you travel you miss stuff from home right? I’m talking about “stuff” here not people.
Maybe it’s your favourite big cup of coffee. Maybe your own pillow. For me and the kids it was Vegemite!
When you are a budget traveller you have to live without a lot more than Vegemite. And when I say budget traveller, I don’t mean you stay in a $90 hotel instead of a $150 one! I mean hostel accommodation for $6 a night. Eating street food and catching public transport. Mixing it with the locals.
All those things you have to do to be able to make your money streeeeetch and your travel last longer.
So here’s my list of the 7 things you will have to kiss goodbye as a budget traveller.
- Towels that cover your arse! At home we had amazing fluffy towels. We bought extra large bath towels to cover our fat bums whenever it was shower time. You don’t get those babies when you stay in a $6 a night hostel in Egypt! Your towel will be a very small piece of cloth that once wrapped around you will not even be big enough for both ends to join up. Unless you are a tiny size 6 (which none of us are!) On a bright note this facewasher sized towel will be so rough that you’ll have no trouble thoroughly drying yourself. And it will dry super fast!
- Travel by private car. Public transport is your best friend when you are a budget traveller. The cost of public transport is ridiculously low in developing nations. How is it possible that a 17 hour bus ride can possibly cost just $9? How is a taxi for the entire day just $20? Once you hit Europe you’ll have to dig a little deeper into your pockets but, unless you are travelling in a group, it will still be cheaper in almost all cases to use public transport.
- Clean Undies. And no, I’m not referring to THAT Egyptian toilet incident! If you’re travelling on a budget and have been sensible and limited your packing, there may come a time when you don’t have clean undies. Suck it up princess, will it really kill you to wear underwear more than once? It will? Well then, you’ll need to keep an eye out for laundry places along the way. Again, probably super easy in developing nations. Easy if you’ve managed to score a stay in someone’s home. Easy if your hostel just happens to be near a coin laundry (if you’re being really cheap you are probably staying in the coin laundry neighbourhood!) Failing everthing else, you’re gonna have to wash those babies yourself in the hostel handbasin and hope to god they dry by morning! In fact, in the spirit or sharing, here’s a link to a cool tip on how to get your undies to dry quicker. Who said you don’t learn anything here at Life Changing Year?
- Fancy Restaurant Meals. No one says you’ll have to stop eating out but you’ll be eating $1.50 pad thai in Bangkok rather than going to the all-you-can-eat buffet at the Hilton! Be warned though – the more street food you eat, the more you will be horrified at how much a restaurant meal costs. We’ve had meals with meat, rice, fries and good old coca cola for 5 people in Thailand for about $11 total. We nearly fell off our chairs! The same meal at home in a restaurant would have easily cost us $120. Ok…so we would have been seated inside, away from traffic noise, passing pedestrians and the odd cat. But there’s no way we would have passed up that adventure for the chance to pay an extra $109 to sit in a sterile air conditioned room at home! The food was just as good too!
- Shopping for random stuff. When you’re on a long trip and you are watching the pennies, almost all shopping will cease! Aside from the obvious budget issues, you just can’t fit more crap in your backpack. In 2012 we travelled to 16 countries. Imagine if we bought a trinket, a t-shirt and a scarf in each of those places? Our bags would have been bursting at the seams! The other thing you realise once you see how other people live is that you don’t actually need all that crap. We’ve joined the frugal living bunch of weirdos we’ve always teased. I’m cured of shopping for life!
- Clean toilets. What really needs to be said about this point? Clean toilets are a luxury it seems, not a basic necessity. You’re going to see things you never dreamed you could see. Go with it. Those sights will make the best stories and you’ll be able to regale your friends for years to come!
- Time pressure. And here’s the most positive one of the whole list! Time pressure will be at an absolute minimum as a budget traveller. OK, maybe that cheap bus won’t get to your destination on time. Maybe you’ll be in a mild panic about making your connecting bus or getting to your hostel before curfew. But these things are easily taken care of. Especially if you’re swapping the time pressure of commuting to work, picking kids up from school or rushing to make a meeting interstate. If a budget traveller misses their connecting bus they’ll only be up for a new $8 ticket! Not exactly going to stress you into getting a stomach ulcer is it?
So there’s the 7 things you need to plan to do without when you decide to set out on a budget travel adventure!
Travelling cheaply gives you the chance to experience people and places you would never come across otherwise. Public transport is an adventure all on its own, especially in a country where you don’t speak the language!
When are you off on your next travel adventure?
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