Ahhh, the age-old question and the one I hear most, “What did that cost you?” It’s quite surprising to think about the amount of people willing to ask this question, so freely. They don’t bat an eye when you are stuttering, looking for a vague answer to give. It’s like that death stare your mom gives you, and her eyes just say: “I’ll wait.” I respond modestly trying my best not to give them any sense of my yearly income based on my trip to Iceland.
Clearly, only a few people in a Pennsylvania dive-bar got the memo about my rapper, sugar daddy. Psh, the audacity to think I pay for a thing!
People seem to care less about the culture, scenery, food, and adventures I experience on my travels, but rather a great deal more about how much I spent. I want to act smart the next time I’m asked this question and snap back, “Oh my God, are you a financial planner? I’ve been looking to hire one!”
But realistically, I’ll just say, “Ask on my blog and maybe you’ll find out!”
::Wink, wink:: :: Shoots hand guns:: *chuckles*
That is precisely the embarrassing way I would act.
… Since that happened on Tuesday, here we are.
Readers, don’t get me wrong, I fully understand why people want to know what I paid for my holiday (very British of me). I’m just bitter because they don’t allow me to tell them, in far too many words, about the crepe I ate on the streets of Paris. They just want to know if they can afford that crepe. My friend Bailey can confirm that these thin pancakes are worth writing home about. We were actually just texting about them, recently. You really should give them a try.
I want to clear the air, here. The type of travel I do is backpacking. It is a world of a difference to stay on a secluded, all-inclusive, island resort; than a twenty person, mixed-gender, dorm in a hostel.
Do you know I had the hardest time deciding whether or not I should stay in a Guatemalan hostel that is known for bed bugs, because get this—the view was good!? That’s backpacker mentality, right there. Bed bugs versus a not so epic sunset.
I read a review about a guest finding a tarantula in their bed at said hostel, so I just canceled my trip altogether! I’m kidding, I stayed at another place with bed bugs but no spiders. Now that you know this, the question of what it cost me soon transpires, “Have you showered?”
I have found some of the most incredible room options for as little as $8.00 a night including a full breakfast. I’ve had free night stays, drank complimentary cocktails, and received nice meals for nothing. If you plan wisely and utilize these perks, it can cost you less to visit a new country for a week, than spend a weekend out in your hometown. Why not go somewhere new? That’s how I look at it. If you can handle vacationing as a budget backpacker rather than a business mogul, then you can afford it, too.
If traveling the world interests you, do not worry about what others paid for their trips, instead focus on how you can afford to live your dreams.
Cutting out any type of luxury is my biggest suggestion to achieve this. In the end, you get a true experience within the country you visit by immersing yourself in their culture. At a resort, you’re lucky if your server is a native to the land. I could go on & on about the benefits received from traveling as a backpacker.
Hostels are loaded with like-minded people that are happy to give you the best tips about the town you are in, and quick to take you to the secret spots a local showed them.
Nearly every major city has free walking tours, yes free! Hostel employees (who are generally travelers, as well) will give you a map of the city with all of the best attractions labeled, and tell you where and when tours meet. Your bunk mates may be headed the same way you want to go. They will be happy to split on a camper van to road trip, a cab to the airport, or share a lovely Airbnb in the next town.
The world caters to backpackers, nowadays. I have stayed in places that are absolutely gorgeous, and closer to the coast or mountain, than the expensive nearby hotel. Don’t let the stigma of backpacking stop you from affording the trip you want to take.
Flying coach is also a not-so-bad means of engaging with others from the area while staying on budget. Many passengers are from the country you are visiting and full of advice on where to eat and what to see. They may know how to get discounted entry fees or help you surpass lines by going through an unmarked entrance.
You do know about the side entrance to The Louvre with the quickest route to the Mona Lisa, right? I did not—until a local informed me, and saved me a whole day of waiting in line.
I have had interactions on planes without either of us knowing one another’s language. A Spanish-only speaking girl braided my hair by using hand signals to communicate when she saw me struggling. Some travelers are headed your way and can help you catch the right train because they planned ahead before they entered a foreign country, and knew where they were going—oops!
I’m sure the perks of first-class are incredible, but for shorter flights, interacting with the commoners can be a good time and great money-saver. Coach flights: cost effective travel with the added benefit of making friends. Well, except when a flight leaves you indefensible towards making a friend you did not want…
I was flying from Sydney, Australia to Vancouver, Canada which is a very long flight. If my memory serves me correctly, about fifteen hours.
The lady in the middle seat was older with all gray hair. Her style was messy, more like a twenty-something beach bum. She kept flipping her unbrushed hair, wore no makeup, and dressed in an oversized tee shirt and shorts. She honestly looked more ready for bed than an airport. After a forced introduction by her, I learned she came from Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory of Canada. I didn’t even know white people inhabited those areas. I just imagined Inuit that embrace the arctic weather. Regardless of my ignorance, she was not what you would expect from the Yukon.
My new “friend” began chatting to me non-stop. She told me how she was having an affair with an Australian man, but that it was problematic because twenty-three year olds were flocking to her in this new land, and she wasn’t sure whom she should have been sleeping with. I allowed her to continue, questioning in my mind the validity of her stories, and silently praying it was not true. If she has dilemmas of this nature, there is certainly no hope for me.
One Australian guy was flirty with me. He looked about thirty—no shirt, Aussie hat, and all muscle; but when I got closer I realized his leathery skin. He was probably closer to seventy-five. Oh, a few drunk Irish guys may have offered to take me home right before they started a bar fight or puked on themselves.
I took note of character flaw number one when home-girl angrily removed a woman’s bag from the overhead storage, and began an argument because her goods were being squished. She literally just ripped the back down and threw it on the floor. The other woman was non-confrontational, but as you can imagine, my 15-hour flight neighbor decided to grumble about how crazy people can be. Crazy knows crazy, right?
Within minutes of sitting back down, this oh, so lovely lady informed me that AirCanada supplies its passengers with unlimited booze for international flights. I sarcastically acted surprised that she knew this secret. It was clear to me that, although not advertised, this woman was going to be taking full advantage—and she did.
The airplane wine bottles started pouring. I tried avoidance tactic number one with a crossword puzzle. Quickly, this became a game that the two of us could play, despite me asking her to join!
I decided to drink some wine, as well, and just maybe talk-it-out of her. It is extraordinary how much really happens in the Yukon. The tales never seem to end, EVER! You-know-who was not satisfied when our bottles were empty, and the stewardess hadn’t been by in the past thirty seconds since she finished. That’s when things got weird.
Okay, weird-er. The man sat next to the aisle was elderly. I believe his wife was just behind him in the middle section of the plane, and both were fast asleep. Miss Canada chose not to gently tap the man and ask if she could arise—oh, no—but rather, she decided to get-up, face the man, and slowly straddle him to fetch the booze. In her mind, this was standard protocol for standing up on a plane. The innocent man awoke to my horror (and his) with a crotch in his face, but she just carried on with her wine mission.
She was back within moments and I cringed, imagining her straddling him again, which is precisely what she did. That poor man was just as shocked as I was, and we both looked at each other questionably, as if to ask, “How many more unwarranted lap dances will be given in 14 hours?” We hated our decision to leave Australia that day, and both of us decided a nap would be our only defense against this pest.
It’s very hard to sleep when the person next to you puts her feet in your leg room and continually bumps & nudges you. Especially when she aggressively taps the seat in front of her, and loudly demands that you show her how to use the in-flight computer screen. I obliged, did my good deed, and developed a new plan. I was going to put my headphones up full blast and watch a movie. She can’t possibly find a way to disturb me now!
The stewardess brought my neighbor a few more mini bottles of red. I was in heaven watching her get drunk (fingers crossed she passes out), and watching Jake Gyllenhall get super buff in Southpaw. My jaw nearly dropped out of my mouth when this crazy woman reached over and removed my headphones from my ear. Who does that? She insisted I drink another bottle of wine, and so she mounted the geriatric on a mission to get it for me.
The entire plane was dark. Everyone was asleep & quiet when I heard the stewardess cutting her off. Do passengers on planes get cut off like a twenty-one year old, birthday boy on a shot taking spree? I guess flights to and from the Yukon are long, but surely this was not the norm. Drunky, was not happy and she weaseled another drink out of the accommodating stewardess.
Breakfast couldn’t come soon enough to shut this lady up. I ate, I suffered, and I dreamt of my life before I met this woman. I snapped back to reality when she decided to help herself to my tray, where she just placed all of her trash without asking, got in straddle position, and gyrated her way to the bathroom. I may have cried a little.
By the end of the flight, I literally RAN as fast as I could to customs. I have never been more relieved to be groped by TSA (or equivalent) because I knew that it was only temporary. The man at the end of the metal detector was like the light at the end of the tunnel. I was free.
The moral of my story: When someone asks, “What did that cost you?” in regards to getting drunk in-flight. You get to respond with, “It was free! Flying coach is the best.”
Another travel lesson was learned here: The very last place you or I should ever visit on planet Earth is Whitehorse. Sorry, Canada.
I’ve been camping, glamping and stayed in a variety of other unique but beautiful rooms for cheap. I also hear great reviews on couch surfing and home stays.
I always read reviews and other travel blogs before I book rooms and flights. World trekkers always offer advice to make other backpacker’s trips more affordable.
I have found great websites for flight deals, which I will touch on another day.
What are your favorite sites to book accommodation? Please comment with any tips you have for savings.
Until next time, my friends.