The best place to begin your budget travel planning is to know WHY you want to travel. Here’s why.
I was 40 when I got my first passport and started figuring out the secrets of travel on a shoestring budget. I had no money at all, and a lot of pent-up wanderlust, so I got excited about every bargain I saw.
That led to a weird dichotomy: I was finding great deals on trips, and wasting money at the same time.
You can never get enough of what you don’t really want
I scored a trip to an all-inclusive resort in the Dominica Republic, including airfare, meals, alcohol, snorkeling, the whole shebang, for just over $600. I enjoyed the trip, but it didn’t scratch my travel itch and I was shopping for more trips within a few hours of returning home.
Why? Because my particular urge to travel is about exploring culture, not lying on the beach. I didn’t get to learn anything about the people’s daily lives, their belief system, their neighborhoods. It was a great trip, and I’m sure it was perfect for someone — but I’m not that person. (I had a similar experience on a cruise ship; I felt like I was in prison!)
Finding clarity with a travel partner
If you’re traveling with a friend, it’s not enough to agree on a destination. You need to talk about the experiences you hope to have and make sure you’re on the same page (or prepared to compromise).
A friend of mine took a trip to Mexico recently with a travel buddy. My friend was very excited to practice her Spanish, go hiking in nature, shop in the mercados, and enjoy a deep experience of Mexican life. Her travel companion, who did the planning, booked a resort experience and several bus tours. My friend was miserable while her companion had a ball!
Know what you want
I created this quiz to help you identify what kind kind of experience you’re seeking, so you won’t waste money and precious vacation time on the wrong experience. You can use it to clarify your own reasons for travel, or as a starting point for a discussion with your travel buddy.