9 reasons why budget travel is the best way to travel

Sunrise in Tiwi
our tents
Camping on Tiwi beach.

Traveling on a budget is something that students do very well. But those who are working may feel that it is lowering their standards to budget travel. But this is far from the truth. In fact some of the best traveling experiences are when you travel on a low budget. Budget travel is good because:

1. It forces you to improvise. When you are staying in a high end hotel you may never leave the hotel in search of adventure because everything to entertain you is provided. When you are on a budget you need cheap food and transport. This forces you to interact with the community around you while looking for ideas for entertainment and food. You are likely to experiment with food, travel means, and accommodation as well.

2. It teaches you that you can have fun with little money. Many people do not travel because they assume travel and its associated costs must be expensive. Travel can be as cheap or expensive as you want. Camping and staying in youth hostels, apartments or even home stays can cut down on your expenses.

Sunrise in Tiwi
Sunrise in Tiwi

3. You can travel more. If you are willing to try new things budget travel can help you see more of the world. With budget travel you can see a lot more of the world for a fraction of the price. I have personally fount that one is younger they are likely to explore more and do more on less money. As we get older we want all the creature comforts of home and even more. We want to live it up.

4. Budget travel exposes us to new cultures and foods in a way that high end travel doesn’t. We are more likely to learn new words or a new language to blend in because we need to know how to get around. Most times comfort travel we expect others to know international languages and to cater to our whims.

5. Because you are on a budget you are likely to check out all the free public places like parks, beaches, and concerts. Also you are more likely to take advantage of free hosting by friends in another city or country. This could help you get faster acquainted with the city and observe how people live or lived in the past (just in case you like history)

6. You will be creative and fun. Sometimes the best things in a new city or country can be expensive. But sometimes they are not. By skipping some overdone tourist attracts you might be able to discover hidden gems available. You can buy a guidebook, then walk and explore. Check for places which may have something you have always wanted to see. In Kenya for example you could o a tour of the greater central region and the western region. There is so much to see and do. You can also check out the parks all around the country but there are also other attractions to be found.

7. Take public transport. Using the bus or train or local means of transport can allow you to see more of a country then if you took a plane from point A to B. (make sure that the transport works and is reliable and safe before using this option)

8. Street vendors usually have tasty, affordable food. It is very possible to get good food being sold by street vendors. In Nairobi it is usually choma sausages and mshikaki (meat on a stick); in Mombasa you can get bhajias and viazi karai (fried potatoes) among other things. In places like US you can get hot dogs or other local delicacies. Street vendor food is usually cheap, convenient, and filling. If you have a sensitive stomach it would be advisable not to try such food as you stomach may react to some of the ingredients. Also if you must eat from roadside vendors or kiosks in a strange country or place please make sure you go to a place where there is a lot of human traffic. This usually indicates the food is good and it also ensures that the food is fresh so less likelihood of getting sick. For safety please carry some over the counter medication for an upset stop so that you can take it if you start feeling funny.

octopus or pweza in Kiswahili
octopus or pweza in Kiswahili

9. Budget hotels also allow you to meet fellow travelers from across the world and find out where all the good spots are on a budget. You can also travel together.

Things to note even when traveling on a budget.

If you are traveling outside the country make sure you have travel insurance. There is nothing as bad as getting sick in a foreign country and you do not have travel insurance. This is important not just for illness but for your luggage and also just in case your travel plans are messed.

Leave scanned copies of your documents in a safe place. Also have copies on email and also have a friend or family member who has the same details just in case your email doesn’t work so that if something happens to your documentation you know how to get the information fast.

Just because you are traveling on a budget does not mean you do not have valuable items with you that can be stolen. If you have important stuff find out if your hotel/camp or hostel has a safe where you can leave your important documents.

Do not agree to be taken on tours by anybody you meet. If you do not know anybody in the city to take you around ask the place you are staying to recommend somebody. And let somebody know where you are going.

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it’s lethal.” – Paulo Coelho #TravelTuesday

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Potentash Founder. A creative writer and editor at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]