Some people say the best things in life are free. I strongly disagree with them. For me the best things in life are priceless, which is slightly different of being free. Particularly when talking about travelling: sometimes by prioritising the “free”, we’re actually throwing the “priceless” straight into the bin.
Just to clear things up: I’m not rich. At least not financially speaking. But I like to think about myself as culturally rich, adjective that wasn’t acquired “on a budget”, but by spending some money on very valuable experiences that only the fact of taking a plane to somewhere in the globe wouldn’t give me. The “travel on a budget” trend doesn’t convince me in the slightest.
Every time I read something like “travel somewhere on a budget”, apart from cringing violently, I wonder what that actually means in terms of travel experience. Is it really worthwhile to go all the way to another place just for the sake of taking some pictures in front of the landmarks and having a stamp on your passport to feel proud of? Been there, done that? Not quite.
To put in other words: would it be worth going to Paris and not having a glass of champagne up the Eiffel Tower whilst admiring the amazing view around? Or going to the Vatican, but not seeing the incredible art collection of its museums? Visit Barcelona and not experience Gaudi’s architecture? Or, talking about ridiculously expensive stuff: going to London and not eating a fish & chips paired with a big pint of beer in a cool pub? For me, these would be as bland as eating a hot dog without the sausage.
Seeing things doesn’t necessarily mean we’re experiencing them. Sight is just one of our senses, and why should we neglect the others by travelling on a budget? To truly experience another country, another culture, we must feel it, taste it, smell it, hear it… Sometimes is possible to do it for free, but more usually than not, we have to open our wallets to pay for the best experiences in order to create the best memories. And those, my friend, are priceless (got it now?).
Don’t get me wrong. I love free stuff. I’m a human after all (the penny pincher kind actually), and I definitely enjoy doing most of my trips without spending any unnecessary money. But I will never be guilty of the silliness of planning a trip around a restrictive budget that won’t allow me to truly get in touch with the idiosyncrasies of the place I’m visiting. As a very wise man once said: “less is more”, which for me in this specific situation can be translated as “travel less but travel properly”.
Travel far and you will find yourself? Blah!
What’s the point of doing five cities in ten days? Seven countries in a month? The eagerness to “see more spending less” some “travellers” live by it’s nothing, but a really amateurish way to see and do less (I wonder if they actually consider the amount of time they will have to spend to get from one place to another?). Things will backfire every time you choose quantity over quality.
Life is simple: no budget, no travel. Who wants cheap memories? I certainly don’t. And why the hurry anyway?
I’d love to read your insights on this! Leave us a comment!