Most people look into budget traveling primarily in the hopes of saving money. Of course this is a wonderful benefit of traveling on a budget, but it’s not what it’s about. So here are five reasons why you should travel as inexpensively as you can, even if you don’t need to.
1. New Shoes
When you travel on a budget, you are most likely not going to be staying in a hotel. Renting a place to stay will not only save you money, but allow you to step into someone else’s shoes. Many rental sites are comprised of everyday people renting out their personal homes for you to stay in. These places have character and life, and you get a very genuine feel for the way people live their lives around the world. No hotel will ever give you that.
2. Street Smarts
If you are trying to save money, you will not be taking cabs everywhere. When you can’t afford that, you have to learn how to get from A to B in clever ways. You quickly learn the public transportation system in a new place, and although it can be stressful it is an amazing skill to have. I will almost never take cabs unless I have to, because figuring out how to get somewhere when you have to use a bike, a ferry, and a train is way more exciting than just riding in the back of a car.
3. Master Chef
Eating out at restaurants can be great, but it will add up quickly. You definitely shouldn’t skimp out and never try new places, but you also have to learn to choose them wisely and eat in when you can. Hostels and home rentals always have kitchens (or some way to make food). You are forced to learn how to make meals that will save you money, but are not completely void of flavor. This skill will serve you well throughout your whole life. I mean, it’s pretty impressive when you can look into an “empty” refrigerator or cupboard and find a way to make something delicious.
4. Bonus Points
Let’s face it, tourists have a bad rep. But when you are staying in an “up and coming” neighborhood in a humble apartment at the top of ten flights of stairs, you earn some bonus points. People like meeting travelers who are living the same way that they are. It means that you sincerely want to explore their country and their culture, and people respect that.
5. Who You Meet
I saved this one for last, because it is by far the most important. When I travel, of course I love seeing new places and experiencing everything that I can. However, long after I leave and the pictures are stored away on a hard drive, the people I met are still in my life and by far the most important to me. Everyone has a story, and when you travel on a budget it means that you want to hear it. It means that you want to experience life and see the world, because you know how important it is. Some of the greatest friends I have met in my life, I met sharing a bunk in a hostel – or bumping into them at a café in a neighborhood where I was living. There are so many incredible people out there, and you won’t meet them unless you truly immerse yourself.
By: Sarah Elly Johnson
For more information on traveling on a budget, be sure to visit Sarah on her travel blog : The Travel Project