“I used to be more like you, but these days I could never travel like you do. It’s really not a lifestyle that I could do anymore, I’m too old for that, and I prefer things to be more comfortable”.
That was my mum last week.
She still travels a few times a year, and when she does, it’s all in pretty comfortable ways. She prefers to spend a little extra to make things more certain, and if you can afford it, is that really a problem?
I love backpacking, and to travel around the world on a budget. You learn many things and have some crazy experiences you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Will You Always Be A Budget Traveler?
To be honest, right now a different way of traveling is not an option for me, I simply can’t afford it, and since it’s not an option, I don’t usually think about it that much.
But then I meet these people who earn more money than most, and have the freedom to stay and fly anywhere – yet they’re still sleeping in hostels, eating in budget restaurants and living as cheaply as they can.
Does it have to do with the feeling they get from a budget lifestyle, is it more of an obsession to find the cheapest deals?
Or is it something else about backpacking that attracts them, something they get out of that way of traveling that you can’t find anywhere else?
Maybe it all comes down to the people you meet – no matter who you talk to, no matter how old or young they are, they all say the same thing:
It’s not about the places you go, but the people you meet.
It’s the people you meet that makes the trip, they are the gems you will remember the most. And this is where backpacking comes in handy.
When you backpack you simply meet and interact with more people than you normally would.
When you share the same room, same kitchen and sometimes the same shower (!) it’s hard not to talk to each other.
I also think that backpacking brings some sort of feeling of freedom and excitement.
With things less planned and organized, you can end up at so many strange places by traveling this way.
Perhaps this becomes the reason to why you travel – it becomes an addiction to always have that feeling of freedom and the experience of new situations.
Are You a Tourist or Are You a Traveler?
Anyone who has spent time traveling is probably already familiar with the philosophical debate concerning tourists versus travelers. There seems to be a mindset that suggests that being a traveler is somehow superior to being a tourist.
Being able to travel is such a blessing, some of us are more adventurous than others and we’re all just so different when it comes to budgets. drive and adventurous spirit.
It’s truly a subjective question, and you may find yourself on different sides of the debate at various times in your life.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to this subject, none is better than the other By looking at the qualities that make up a tourist or a traveler, it becomes easier to define where you fit in. Of course, you may discover that you prefer to straddle the fence.
What Is a Tourist?
At almost any destination in the world, it’s easy to spot a tourist. There’s a camera dangling around their neck and a map or guidebook peeking out of their bag.
They have a highly detailed itinerary that includes all of the major sights in the region. If there’s a worthwhile museum or vista, the tourist is determined to take it in. They’re staying at a nice hotel that’s rated at least four stars, and they’ve got reservations at the top restaurants for each evening.
No matter how exhausting it may be, they’re determined to complete every item on their “must do” list, and they love every minute of it.
They return home tired with a memory card full of photos and the satisfaction of knowing that they’ve “done” that destination.
What Is a Traveler?
Travelers are more difficult to pick out of a crowd. In fact, a true traveler can sometimes be mistaken for a local. That’s because travelers are seeking an authentic experience.
You won’t catch them at a tourist trap. Instead, they’re interested in life as it is lived by the local population. They want to discover the hole in the wall restaurant that serves amazing food but isn’t listed in any of the guidebooks.
You’ll see them talking to the locals, trying their hand at the native tongue, and finding out the secrets of the local marketplace. They have no itinerary or agenda. Rather than seeing sights, they are interested in experiences.
When they return home, they feel that they’ve completed a journey of the body and the spirit.
Which Are You?
Whether you consider yourself a tourist or a traveler doesn’t have to be an either or question. On some trips, the tourist profile may suit your goals while you may feel more like a traveler in another destination.
One of the beautiful things about travel is that there are no right or wrong answers.
There are only experiences, and each one is valuable in its own right. Whether you choose to be a tourist or a traveler on your next journey, make the most of it.
Is there an age, or financial situation when budget travel needs to end for a traveler?