Monday debate: Can you define Budget Travel?

Walk the streets of Paris by night or in the rain. For free. No Gill Pender included.

 

‘Happiness is different for everyone’

Quote,  from my Charlie Brown notepad

 

 

Given I write about Budget Travel I thought it would be appropriate to write a post to attempt and arrive at some sort of definition of Budget Travel.

 

Personally I hate definitions. It’s boring to put everything in a box.

 

However given this Budget Travel is a big part of my life and I get asked a lot about this on my travels and by people within the travel industry….. I will try an attempt to explain my philosophy of Budget Travel.

 

Given the subjective nature of travel is and how personal the experience I think it is difficult to pin down an exact definition of what budget travel means.

Plus one person’s idea of budget might be another person’s idea of luxury.

 

Even though as a travel blogger I have my own personal interests in travel, I often try and balance this with what my readers are looking for.

 

My tagline for BudgetTraveller is ‘Budget Travel doesn’t have to be boring’

 

For me Budget Travel isn’t about travelling as cheaply as possible. My focus is on about discovering a great travel experience without breaking the bank. I think what all Budget Travellers ( all travellers in fact!) have in common is trying to find a travel experience that is unique and fun. We don’t mind luxury but prefer budget hotels or hostels if there is more fun involved in staying with the latter.

 

I was having this debate with fellow budget traveller enthusiast Chris Richardson ‘The Aussie Nomad’ in the summer and he told me that as a solo traveller he enjoyed hostels because they were convenient, great place to meet people, well located and also cheap. Which is great and exactly why when backpacking solo, hostels are always hands down the best place in town to stay in.

Ok. So here’s a question for you and a thought

When you are travelling with your loved one and you’re on a budget do you tend to stay in hostels or prefer staying in a budget hotel chain, apartment or a bed + breakfast?

 

While travelling on a budget can limit one’s travel options it doesn’t necessarily limit or hinder your experience.

I recently went on a 48 hour, £100 challenge to Paris. £50 a day in Paris. It was similar in concept to the Frugal Traveler’s $100 Paris challenge.

Exception here was that I did not include is the cost of my stay in St Christopher’s hostel within my daily allowance. Whereas the Frugal Traveler couchsurfed.

So technically it was a £150 challenge.

For me the essence of setting a budget was to give people fun ideas of what cool things they can try within that budget.

I think couchsurfing is great and fun way to meet people but I don’t think it’s a realistic way of travel for most of my readers.  Or am I wrong?

 

[ To find out more about my readers I am launching the first BudgetTraveller annual survey this week with prizes for those kind enough to spare a few minutes and fill out the survey! ]

 

The Paris  challenge for me was all about seeing how far could I go with £100.

I found out that £100 doesn’t really stretch far inParis, especially when you’re looking at costs of transportation, basic lunch and the odd treat like a maison cocktail with a friend.

 

I got creative. I walked and avoided the tube.Paris is a city made for walking.

 

I had recently read Hemingway’s moveable feast and was keen to check out all his Paris haunts. So it turned into a bit of an adventure quest hunting down all the places he used to hang out or live in. It was such good fun.

 

In the end I was exhausted by late afternoon and spent a few hours just on the banks of the Seine River watching the people walk with their dogs or waving to the tourists on their river cruises. Was great.

 

I enjoyed the St Christopher’s Hostel- great vibe and I enjoyed hanging out with a bunch of travellers there. Good wifi-free. Nice breakfast.

However sleeping in a dorm of 10 with a bunch of drunk Brazilians was an experience.

After a few too many mojitos at the bar they all stumbled in at 3am and soon snarling like hyenas.

I am a light sleeper so once I wake up I find it very hard to sleep again.

Then one of them at 4am starting eating a big pack of crisps. He was eating slowly. It was the equivalent of Chinese Water Torture. Terrible.

 

Which brings me onto the next point:

I think the concept of budget travel changes as we grow older.

Probably we become less tolerant and more fussier?

When I was backpacking around Europein my 20’s I would happily stay in hostels.

Now that I am older, I find that if I am travelling with someone or in a group- I enjoy staying in an apartment which sometimes works out as the same cost of staying in a hostel.

 

Also if I get the opportunity to stay in a 5 star luxury hotel at a reduced price- I won’t say no. In my opinion if I can stay in a 5 star luxury on a budget at sub £100, that counts as a very good deal and value for money. It’s amazing with a bit of planning in advance how you can get some amazing deals and that is something I will be covering more in the blog soon.

 

Lotof luxury chain hotels can be soulless affairs so again my point here is that irrespective of the pricetag, travel has to be about having fun.

 

I am planning a hostelling project with a difference next year. Can’t reveal much but its going to be fun.

 

It’s the experience that counts.

That is the focus of my travels & my blog. Price tag is just part of that equation.

 

How would you define budget travel?

I’d love to hear your thoughts….so please comment!

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