The best place to begin your budget travel planning is to know your travel style. Here’s how.
Travel Style Quiz
Click here to access the travel style quiz if you don’t see it above
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 — because I didn’t understand my travel style.
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 travel style is mainly about exploring local culture, not lying on the beach. I didn’t get to learn anything about the people’s daily lives, their belief system, or 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! It would have been heaven for someone looking for a luxe experience though.)
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 profound 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!
Keep your travel style in mind
Remember that you don’t have to do everything your guidebook says or that friends enjoyed on a similar trip.
Travel time is precious. Use every minute to explore the activities that will make your trip meaningful for you.