To this, it all depends on your expectations and creativity. You’ve probably heard about those people who can get by on $5 a day, using every scrap of funds allotted by their tax refund estimator and you wonder how on Earth this is possible – and then you see those who can drop $1000 in an afternoon and you think ‘it must be nice’. Both cases aren’t realistic and shouldn’t be barometers for your own travel plans, as everyone is different in both their spending habits and means.
The truth is, you really don’t need to be super wealthy to travel but if you’re not, you need to at least have an understanding of how to budget, plan and stick to those things. There are countless obstacles and distractions that will try to derail your frugality but if you remain resolved, you shouldn’t have a problem.
Some people think the only way to have a good time is by staying at an all inclusive resort where you every desire can be taken care of in absolute comfort. The drinks flow as freely as the food is plentiful and you want to try and get a good deal but there are some things you won’t compromise on. Stay at a 3 star resort? Please! The lowest you will go is a 4.5 star and that’s a Jamaica or better 4.5 star – none of this Cuba stuff.
On the other end, some people don’t consider it to be truly travelling and seeing the world unless they are scraping by on next to nothing. They have the belief that material goods and excess somehow detract from the pure essence of travel and will deny themselves the simplest of pleasures in order to get the experience they hold as the truth. Couch surfing is their preferred method of travel and they spend their days walking around rather than checking out museums, filling up their water bottles and bargaining for the cheapest street food they can find.
Yet it is still possible to travel with an extremely limited budget without the worry of crashing on a stranger’s couch. Say, for instance, you’re traveling the around the Malaysian peninsula and decide to crash in Phuket. You might not be able to couch surf in the area, and you could be completely exhausted. So what do you do? You don’t necessarily have to sleep in an alley, especially when it’s incredibly affordable and easy to book a hotel room in Phuket. There are plenty of options for remarkably cheap, yet surprisingly nice, hotel rooms in just about any country online.
It’s the same issue here – it’s not realistic for everyone and in many cases, even the people who do this are delusional. Travel isn’t a competition, meaning it’s not about who can see the most or do the most compared to their friends – and it definitely isn’t about who can spend the least or the most. They key is to get the trip that you want. Some expenses are worthwhile to others while not to you and if you need to cut something out because you literally can’t afford it, then that’s more responsible than going over because you don’t want to be judged.
But even this non-competition has its limits.
If you really do enjoy seeing how much you can go without, or you do possess the means necessary to live the high life on the road, then do so. The only time it becomes an issue is when you’re doing so in order to impress others or rub it in their faces. In that instance, you’re a jerk and being a jerk isn’t dependent on a budget.