Budget – Day 18 of the 30 Days of Indie Travel Project

Every traveler has a budget; for some it just might be higher of lower than for others What’s your style? What do you spend very little on and what are you always willing to pay more for?

Budget is key for me, so much so that I’ll choose a destination based on whether it’s more budget friendly than another spot. Yes, we could go to Barcelona…..or we could spend half the money and go to Colombia instead! This is such a weird thing with me that I’ll pick a price point before I even start looking for tickets sometimes. I’m almost OCD with finding budget friendly options. There are definintely limits to this though. While I’m very interested in taking the 9 hour bus ride that only costs $8 sometimes it’s better to opt for the $60 one hour flight.

Typically the lowest expense items on the budget is food. Rarely are there meals at restaurants, most of the time it’s cooking at the hostel or street food. I’d rather go hungry than pay what I would at home for a meal especially if I’m somewhere that’s not in a “tourist” part of town. I’m the guy that will haggle for a taxi or take the local bus even it it might not be quite as efficient. Aside from being part of the adventure how can you refuse an hour and a half bus ride for $1.75!?

What I am willing to pay more for are the occasional splurges on private accomodations or even resort style lodging to take a break from the 10 bed dorms and crowded hostel kitchens with half broken cookery. Most of my travel budget expenses come from taking the various tours and excursions, especially if I’ve never done/seen them before. $60 for ziplining, yes I’ll pay for that. $75 to swim with nurse sharks and sting rays AND it includes rum punch…uh, hell yes I’ll pay for that. I’ll also spend money on flights if there isn’t time for the bus or train. As much as I love the previous options when I’m traveling with limited time the money spent to get somewhere sooner is definitely worth it.

I’ve never found that being very budget conscious has ever stopped me from doing the things I really wanted to do or taken away from the trip in any way. Even if the accommodations are less than luxurious or the food may be just something to fill your belly or the bus ride leaves you with a sore neck and new appreciation for guard rails it all works out to make a good story. To me there’s nothing exciting about staying a four star resorts and eating in fancy restaurants. Give me a good hostel meal with strangers, a drink with one of the local Couchsurfing hosts or any of the other myriad situations you find yourself in when traveling on a budget. I’ll take those every time.

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