I get the desire to want to travel the world on the price of 2 McDonald’s Value Meals per day with a few bucks left over for a bottle of gut-rot local booze. I really do.
I understand why the “$5 Hotel Room View” post was so insanely popular. I do.
And I totally get why most of us choose to travel more frugally for longer as opposed to packing half-way-round-the-world trips into one work week and a pair of weekends.
But 99% of the ridiculously low bullshit budgets posed in this forum are just that: bullshit
You’re not helping anyone by fudging the numbers on how little you spent during your travels – all you’re really doing is setting up those who don’t know any better to run out of money.
There are only three ways that these “I can’t believe it” budgets are being calculated:
A flat out lie.
A genuine miscalculation that’s not accounting for transport costs or any of the other one-time expenses that come up during a long trip.
You are relying on the kindness of strangers’ money along the way…which in essence means that your trip “did” cost more, it was just someone else footing the bill.
So if you’ve yet to take the plunge and are all woopity-doo excited about seeing the world on $20/day, remember that these figures are always skewed one way or another. They don’t account for the times every hostel is full and you have to pay for a hotel or the medical bills when you get sick or the extra fees you get for going overweight with your baggage or the coat you had to buy because it was colder than you’d planned and on and on and on.
When people tell you these daily costs it’s almost always just room & board that they are calculating.
Travel can be cheap. Very cheap. But not nearly as cheap as a good number of people in this sub perpetuate…and certainly not if you want to actually “do” anything and enjoy yourself.
So please, if you want to advise others with a ridiculous shoestring budget, at least be honest about which expenses you’ve omitted and which activities/experiences must be skipped to make this budget work (if it’s even possible).
EDIT: I’ll try to express this as succinctly as possible – I am not telling anyone how to travel or saying anything disparaging about super shoestring travelers…travel as you wish and do whatever you’d like…all I am saying is that if you are the type to travel like a hobo (no judgment, that’s just what it is) then don’t tell someone who’s never been overseas before that some crazy low $X/day is “more than enough” when you know damn well the experience the average backpacker is after can’t be had on that budget.
The average budget traveler doesn’t want to sleep on strangers’ couches, hitchhike, illegally camp off the side of the highway and never go to bars/restaurants….if this is how you travel, I am simply suggesting you save your budgeting advice for others who are seeking the same.