It’s funny how your style of travel can change as you spend more time on the road.
When we quit our jobs in September 2011 to start traveling full-time, we started calling ourselves “backpackers”. In fact, we were more than that: we were “backpackers on a budget”. I remember one of the first destinations we hit was London, and I cursed us several times for going there, thinking we would burn a big part of our travel budget in a small period of time.
Funny enough, months later, after going around several countries in Latin America, our budget became naturally smaller. One would think this was the right time to adopt a frugal life-style, correct? Well, no! Awkward as it might sound, we became less worried with counting the cents and started doing most things we just felt like in a given moment.
So are we Po$h Packers now?! Not really. Not at all! We still manage our travel funds quite reasonably, because we want to make the most of our money. We want to live as many interesting experiences as possible as that money takes us further and further away around the world. As we travel, we have learnt a lesson: it’s important to keep a balance between frugality and splurging. If you want to go around for a while, it’s ridiculous to spend all your money in a week doing crazy expensive things, but you shouldn’t either be counting your cents in a way that will end up making you enjoy less. After all, if we wanted to be doing that, we would be having a “regular” life style, that is, not living a nomadic life.
Good examples of this balance between splurging or limiting your experiences based on the obsessive desire to save money were our trips to the Galapagos Islands and Easter Island. We met several travelers (mainly backpackers) both in Ecuador and Chile where these islands are respectively attached to. Although all of them seemed to have a fascination with the islands (and believe me, that fascinations is 100% justified after what we’ve seen!), they opted to visit just the mainland and skip the islands. That way, their money would last longer and they could be on the road for longer.
And I wonder: would you rather do MORE or BETTER?!
Flying out to the islands is indeed expensive, but if you’ve already come this far, there is no better moment in life to do it than NOW! When are we going to be in Ecuador or Chile again? Would we come all the way from Portugal or India to visit Easter Island or the Galapagos? Logistically and financially, that would make even less sense than spend a chunk of our travel budget going there when we are closer than ever!
Ultimately, everyone has their own travel style and we’re all seeking different experiences. While some travelers want to soak in all the cultural aspects a certain place might offer, others just want to party all the time. While one might be counting the cents, another one might be spending the entire budget in a few intense days.
So… what kind of traveler are you?
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yep, I’m super frugal, but I have fun anyway…
I like a cheap flight, inexpensive accommodations and usually carry my own snacks and water. My splurging takes the form of scenarios like: $40 three hour taxi vs. $10 six hour bus ride… If I can have the taxi I will – more comfortable,time is often precious and 3 hours of one-on-one conversation with the taxi driver can be priceless. Not sure which group that puts me in.
I can relate with this, Maria!
We love saving in things like flights, accommodation and all.. but sometimes we do “splurge” in things that add to our comfort while on the road.. nicer transportation, or a good hotel to relax every now and then.. all for the sake of physical and sometimes even mental comfort! ;)
That’s why we’re not frugalitarians, neither posh packers… more like balanced packers!
I think i’m just an Explorer (without the S!) I always want to see what’s around the corner. Interesting post!
Love the blog, kind regards, Si
ps I’d love you to take part in our Picture The World Project http://www.thedepartureboard.com/picture-the-world-project
Sure, we’ll participate in the Picture The World Project… perhaps Mexico or other country that it’s still available! We’ll do so soon!..