I’ve met a lot of long-term travelers. Most are amazing, insightful, generous, and open-minded people. They’ve taught me a lot about the world and myself. This gave me a clear idea what exactly a Budget Traveler are.

Unfortunately, within the long-term travel community, there seem to be some travelers who make travel out to be a competition. Maybe you’ve seen it during your travels. These travelers seem to support an unspoken one-upsmanship about who can visit a place while spending the least amount of money.

To them, it’s a badge of honor to say, “Well, I did France for X dollars cheaper than you,” as though the cheaper you go, the more authentic your experience is.

I’ve seen this attitude expressed on my site when I share my cost-of-traveling posts. There are always a few people who say things like, “Well, I think you overspent because I did it for half the price.”



I’ve never understood this cheapness competition.

To me, being a backpacker or budget traveler has nothing to do with how much money you spend. Rather, it has everything to do with how you spend it. Just as you don’t have to have deep pockets or a trust fund to afford to travel, you also don’t have to live on a shoestring to call yourself a budget travel.

One of my biggest pet peeves is this obsession with cheapness that I see among a lot of travelers. I’ve never understood why a person would live like a pauper while saving money for a trip, only to then go on that trip and still live like a pauper.

If you only have a small amount of money to spend, better to take a shorter trip doing all the activities you want than constantly saying

“I would love to do that, but I can’t afford it”.

To me, traveling is about being frugal — not cheap.

It’s about not wasting money on frivolous stuff. Not snacking or buying a million tacky souvenirs or going out and getting drunk every night. It’s about knowing when and where to spend your money, no matter how much you happen to have.


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