Call me a budget travel expert or a value travel expert, but I know when it’s time to be cheap and when it’s time to open up the wallet. Mainly it comes down to how you answer the question, “What is your time, your health, and your comfort worth?”
For some hilarious musings on this question, check out Leif Pattersen’s blog post Budget Travel or Rampant Self-Flaggelation? It’s about getting sucked into making himself extremely uncomfortable just to save a pittance. Crazy overnight buses when he could have flown for cheap and gotten some sleep. Staying in noisy an unattractive hostels to save what will seem like a pocket change in a few days when he is back home. He’s a newbie Lonely Planet guidebook writer and besides this post being enough of a reason to visit, you can read old ones and get some very interesting insights on how a LP writer deals with the pressure that comes with having the power to make or break a business.
While we’re on the subject, a while back I posted a link to a Doug Lansky article in the Guardian about some travelers being cheap to the point of ridiculousness. Go to it here.
Feel free to post your own tales of cheapskates that drove you nuts. My favorite is a couple I met in India. The guy had been dealing with diarrhea for three weeks straight but didn’t want to go see a doctor because it was “too expensive.” This in a country where a house call is eight or ten dollars tops, including antibiotics, where a visit to the clinic is even less. Who knows what he was carrying around in his gut. That’s not the topper though. As we’re talking it turns out the couple had been to New York City before and after arriving at JFK Airport, they WALKED TO MANHATTAN! Some lovely neighborhoods they crossed through on that trip…