Budget Traveler

I’m A Budget Traveler, But I Don’t Mind Spending Money

Derek Travel Costs, Travel Tips & Advice 52 Comments

Budget Traveler

It happens all the time of course. I show up in a new town, I check out a few different guesthouses or budget hotels, I ask for the room prices and then I make a decision. And when I first started traveling, I would almost always choose the cheapest option for the sole purpose of saving my money. However, that is no longer the case these days, and the same is true whether I’m looking for a place to eat, an activity to participate in or anything else I might do while on the road.

I’ve realized something. The cheapest option is not always the best option…for me.

When we travel, especially as budget travelers, we tend to have the mindset that we must spend the least amount of money possible. We want whatever money we have to last longer, we want our travels to last longer, and as a result, the only way to achieve those goals is to stay at the cheapest guesthouses, to eat as cheaply as possible, to skip out on certain activities and to make use of only the cheapest transportation options available.

And that is perfectly fine. If I spend $10 overall today instead of $30, the money I save will absolutely help me stay on the road another day or so. Likewise, if you have $3000 in your bank account, you could spend $1000 per month and travel for three months, or you could spend even less money everywhere you go, travel for $600 per month and extend your trip for another sixty days.

But the thing is, travel, even budget travel, is not all about spending less. It’s about having the most complete experience, or in better words, the experience that matches your interests and goals the best. That is why, even though I naturally prefer to save money wherever I can while traveling, I also understand that sometimes it’s actually worth it for me to spend more.

Here’s an example…

For the past six nights I’ve been in Istanbul staying at a place called the Agora Guesthouse, the same guesthouse I stay at pretty much every time I’m in this great city. Prices at the Agora are definitely not the cheapest around and even a bed in a dorm room costs up to one and a half times what you can find elsewhere. As a result, many people would instantly give this place a pass.

However, I stay here because the extra money I spend leads to a much more enhanced experience than if I stay somewhere else down the road for a fraction of the price. My extra money gets me a supremely comfortable mattress (even in the dorm rooms) that allows me to sleep ever so soundly each night, it gets me an excellent, healthy, fresh, varied breakfast every morning (included in the price), it gets me an ultra-cozy, enclosed roof-top terrace with a sea view for me to relax or work in whenever I want, it gets me a large team of friendly staff to not only receive assistance from, but to interact and converse with as well.

I’m able to enjoy my days of wandering, and gain so much more from my travels here in Istanbul, after such a good sleep, such a good breakfast and a productive few hours of work in the morning from that splendid roof-top. And this is why I’m perfectly happy to shell out the extra money to stay here (after all, that mattress, breakfast, extra staff, comfortable sofas and so on costs the owners of the Agora money, so it is reasonable that their beds and rooms would be more expensive as well).

Of course, it’s up to us as individual travelers to determine whether or not the benefit received from spending more on something is actually worth it. It depends on each of our needs and goals.

A Nicer Room in Riga

Another example for me involves the trains in India. When taking those trains, I now usually travel in 1st Class 3A, which is the lowest level of first class (there are three levels). I used to travel in 2nd Class Sleeper because it was cheaper, until I realized that paying some extra money for the 3A class made more sense for me. First, it’s more comfortable, the beds are thicker and come with sheets, pillows and blankets, allowing me to actually get a good night’s sleep, something that was much more difficult for me when traveling on 2nd Class Sleeper. In addition, the passengers in 1st Class 3A tend to speak more English and so, I typically end up having plenty of interesting conversations and meeting plenty of new people, something that has lead to a variety of rewarding experiences.

With 1st Class 3A, once I arrive in my destination, even after something like a 14-hour overnight journey, I’m well rested, feeling good and I’m fully ready to explore. I’m not tired and cranky as I would often be after a journey in 2nd Class Sleeper, which would force me to spend the entire next day catching up on sleep and trying to get into a better mood.

To me, what I gain from traveling in 1st Class 3A is worth me spending an extra $10 or $15.

First-class Train

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I always choose a more expensive option these days when faced with a spending decision. Trust me, there are plenty of times when the value received by spending more money is not worth it to me and I’m perfectly content with the cheapest option available. It’s just that I’m more aware of what I want to gain from my travels and I understand that sometimes it will cost a little extra to achieve what I’m after.

I also understand that a higher price doesn’t always equate to a more enhanced experience. Sometimes tourism-related individuals and companies inflate their prices simply to try and squeeze as much money as they can from tourists, without offering much in return. Luckily though, we have online research available to us to make sure that something really is worth spending more money on and that it’s not simply a rip off.

In the end, as is the case with all things travel, it comes down to each of us. What works for me might not work for you and vice versa. Everyone needs to find their own balance in terms of the experiences you wish to have, what you hope to gain, how much comfort you need to achieve your goals and ultimately, how much you want to spend each day as well.

All I’m trying to say here is that instead of automatically thinking that the best option is to always spend as little money as you can in order to to try and travel for the longest period of time possible, you should first think about what you receive in return for the money you do spend. You may very well be happy always choosing the cheapest options, but for some, you might discover that spending some extra cash will lead to a more fulfilling travel experience overall, the kind of experience you were hoping for before you set out on your adventure.

How do you view money when you travel? If you haven’t traveled yet, do you think you would always try to spend less wherever you could?


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Comments 52

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  2. Jeremy

    I’ve become a big seeker of value of my travels, where I seek the best possible experience for the best possible price. It’s a tricky balance to achieve, but I seem to manage it well!

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  4. Sam

    Maybe as you get older comfort is more important? We have never been budget travellers or backpacks – as much as I would love to save the money, its just not my style! We enjoy luxury and yes we can get the same thing (a bed and TV) for much less but we enjoy travelling in style 🙂
    In the end it depends on what you want out of your trip right?

  5. Steve

    I totally agree with you, it never hurts to shell out a bit more for comfort, even if you’re on a budget. As with all things, it’s a personal choice and I’ve often found that it’s definitely worth the extra euro or 2 for a good night’s rest or a comfy seat on a train. Although to be fair, I usually take the cheapest option out of habit!

  6. Deia @ Nomad Wallet

    For me, it depends on how long the trip is. I go for the cheapest option if it’s a short trip because I’ll be back to the comforts of home soon anyway, so I can put up with a little inconvenience. But if it’s a long-term, full-time travel, then I’d go for something more comfortable because I wouldn’t get any rest from the discomfort any time soon, so I should go with something I’d be happy to live with, not just something I can tolerate.

  7. Emma

    I learnt my lesson earlier this year. I was in Ecuador and always stayed at the cheapest hostel I could find. Then one night I got woken up by water dripping on my head… The roof had a leak. After having had a long journey and being exhausted I put my umbrella up and just went back to sleep. Of course the next day I changed to a slightly more expensive but much better value hostel.

  8. Jennifer

    I don’t necessarily always choose the cheapest – especially with accommodation and transportation. I’d rather stay in accommodation with wi-fi and in a private room rather than in a dorm room with no sleep and having to spend money in an internet cafe.

  9. Renae

    I was in Asia for a year in the late 90’s on a very tight budget. I remember one little hut in Thailand costing 30 cents a night, with an amazing view’ I was in Nepal about to head to India and I was sick and tired. I decided to come home as all I could think about was my mothers bathtub. On the way back I ended up in a 5 star hotel for 5 hours waiting for my connecting flight. A bath, fluffy ropes, carpet on my feet and aircon! That was all I needed and I could have done another year in Asia. I did learn from that and now make sure I give my self some luxury amongst the cheap and cheerful. It’s not only the budget that will keep you going longer.

  10. Jeff @ planetbell

    I spend more money on accomodations than I used to, I just hope I’m not getting too spoiled 🙂

    I usually look for a good value, or if going cheap, the cheapest comfortable option. I agree with the trains in India – a little comfort and arriving well rested is worth some cash.

  11. Sara

    Great post as usual Earl! I totally agree with you. I try to save money when traveling, to make sure I can stay longer on the road and see more places. But when booking hostels I don’t always chose the least expensive one. I read up on reviews, and though I look for a clean and nice place, I put most effort into finding one that “feels safe”. In an okay part of a town, lockers available, people wiring they felt safe and so on. I don’t know how people did this before google and hostelworld. I guess it was more of an adventure back then!

    When it comes to modes of transportation I’m not very picky, but that’s because I can sleep basically anywhere. Just took the local night bus from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and had the best night’s sleep ever!

  12. Stefan

    Thanks for the post. It really touches a great point, and I’m constantly wrestling with it when I’m traveling and also when living somewhere for longer. I like good food and trying out new and sometimes unfamiliar dishes is fun that’s worth it spending some extra money on. At least for me. Also I like cheap bus travel because it’s easy to get in contact with locals. Sometimes I definitely try hard to make the buck last longer when it comes to lodging, but then I often end up staying at a cheaper party hostel and spending much more money on nights out with other travelers. When staying at more expensive boutique hostels like Kex in Reykjavik we spend the evening at the hostel thus saving money besides from feeling rested the next day. Right after Thanksgiving I’ll be in Istanbul for a while before traveling south, and I think I’ll hit Agora instead of a cheaper one

  13. Jon @ jonistravelling

    I find that spending even a couple of extra dollars on accommodation gets you so much more in South East Asia. Why get somewhere awful for $8 when you can get somewhere decent for $10 or $12, even if you are on a pretty tight budget.

  14. Traveling_Pat

    I agree with you to some extent. And I am fully aware that you go – as I do – for the best experience! And that`s exactly the point: Best Travel Experiences!
    But if you have never tried the 3rd class coaches in India, you miss out one of the greates experience you can make in India! So once you know how bustling, tiring but also rewarding a 3rd class ride can be, I think it`s a deliberate decision to go for the 2nd or 1st class. But if you go for the 1st class just because you can afford it, you will miss out a lot!
    And I think this example can be transfered to many other travel related aspects.
    Greets Traveling_Pat

    1. Wandering Earl

      @Traveling_Pat: That’s the thing…I don’t make my decisions just because I can afford something. I make the decision based on the experiences I want to have. For me, I’m perfectly aware that trying the 3rd class trains in India is an experience worth trying at least once and so I would definitely do that, which I have many times. But I wouldn’t take 3rd class all the time because that would wipe me out!

  15. Hannah

    I definitely agree on this. I think me and my husband really started out as a budget travelers. We wanted to get the best prices out of everything. However, i think it really comes with age. The more you age, the more you are likely to get something that makes you feel comfortable.

  16. Erin Jorgensen

    I concur. I love to travel on the cheap but, if you also want quality…a true experience…often, a couple more bucks can make the moment. It’s up to the individual, of course, but I’m right on board with you 🙂

  17. Sofie

    I can definitely relate to this post.
    Although I always watch what I spend, I also carefully look at what I get for the money I spend. There are some things that are not that important to me and thus I’ll likely go for the cheapest option there, where I’ll spend more than might be necessary on things that are important to me and that I know will make my overall travel experience better.
    For instance: I love to walk. I think it’s a great way to see sides of a city that you wouldn’t see if you would just take the bus or subway from point A to point B, so I always try to walk as much as I can and save money on transportation.

    On the other hand, i’m a real sweet tooth. I know I don’t NEED cupcakes, ever, I always buy one when I’m in a city I haven’t been yet before and I’ll gladly pay €2,5 for it. Yes, I could buy more than an entire bread for €2,5, but will I enjoy it as much as that one cupcake? I don’t think so.

    My examples might be a bit trivial, but I think they explain where I’m getting at:)

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  19. Epic Duo from the coconut life blog

    totally agree with you – the cheapest isnt the best option.. for us too. What I’ve found is, (we’re not budget travellers – my wife and hostels don’t go together lol) if i spend more on something, I’m most likely to have a better experience… and almost always leads me to something greater…

    But its all a matter of good judgement at that time. What Ive found – and maybe others are doing this too is, renting for a few months (and paying a bit more) and going on trips around the area like we have been for a year and a half here in Costa Rica – and because of that – we’ve developed good relationships with business owners that we get deals for almost nothing…

    Love your blog btw!

  20. Ashley

    I’d say I’m a budget traveler, but it’s definitely more about value and getting the most of what I can afford – rather than choosing the cheapest option. On my first trip abroad to Paris years and years ago, I realized that just a few more euros a night, my boyfriend and I could stay in a cute, little studio apartment instead of a hostel. Since then, I’m definitely more willing to do a little more research to find something amazing and affordable…instead of just affordable.

  21. Gaelyn

    Right on Earl, travel is about the experience, and we all do that differently, sometimes by choice and others by budget. I’m a budget traveler too but have learned the hard way that cheapest isn’t all better, especially when it comes to a comfortable place to rest and work. Plus there’s that occasional splurge, just because.

  22. Harry

    I am new to traveling. i usually checkout for the cheapest option. but i dont know if it just me or not. looking for cheapest option make me end up with full thinking. i gotta compare everything. think of what to eat, what to do bla bla bla. so its not really free, and i become a slave of money :(. so i think i just look something inbetween lol

  23. Tahlei's Travels

    Really timely post for me, thanks Earl. I’m battling with myself traveling Mexico at the moment – on one hand I’m determined to travel for six months but on the other hand that means my budget has to be quite restrictive. I can definitely do it if I move slowly and eat and stay cheaply and do very few paid activities, but at what cost to my ultimate experience?

    I’m tossing up whether I’m ok with my trip being shorter if it allows me to do more activities. I have no problem taking the cheapest option when it comes to transport and accommodation if it means I have money to do the mountain biking or diving for example. I keep reminding myself that my best memories from my South American trip a few years ago were ones that cost money.

  24. Lien

    Hey Earl, thanks for sharing this post, i absolutely agree with you. When i travel the breakfast is very important to me so i always choose hotel that gives me buffet breakfast so in case i don’t have time for lunch i just grab something light. This works out great for unfamiliar, developed countries where the price of hotel is still on the cheap side and i don’t have to worry about where to eat in the morning. Istanbul is one of my favorite cities in the world and i sure miss the food at Ciya Sofrasi, don’t know if you have tried it.

  25. Noor - Desert to Jungle

    Like everybody else, I agree, cheapest is not always the best decision. I rarely stay in the cheapest accommodation these days. The quality of the experience is important, not just the length of the experience. I want to feel rested and able to explore when I wake up in the morning and if it costs a little extra for that then it’s money well spent for me. My two priorities for places to stay have always been cleanliness and security. When I used to stay in the cheapest of places these priorities weren’t always being met.

    Apart from in India, I’ve never eaten at the cheapest places available because I’m vegetarian and I need to know what’s in my food. I can’t eat some unidentifiable from a street stall from somebody I can’t communicate with to find out what’s in the food. India was wonderful for that because they ‘get’ vegetarianism better than anybody else and I could eat anywhere.

  26. Wil @ Where's Wil

    My cheapest month so far was less then $250 and my most expensive month so far was $1700 (diving is expensive).

    Travel for me is to experience everything you can (and want to).
    Experiences are more important then money and that once in a lifetime opportunity might not wait.

    It just reminds me I need to work more.

  27. Oscar White

    I agree. Ten years ago, I skimped on everything as a backpacker. Now, I don’t. You live and learn. But even today, after years of travelling, I screwed up the date of my flight to Europe. That mistake costed US$140 cab fares. 😮 Still living and learning. Must of haad too much fun to double check my flight.

  28. JC

    Well said, Earl. Sometimes even just spending a couple dollars more for a dorm room with fewer people is well worth it as it usually turns into a much better sleep.

    It’s also definitely nice to treat yourself once in a while, eating at a nice restaurant or staying at a nicer hotel/guesthouse or getting a massage. It feels really good as you appreciate it a lot more when it doesn’t happen too often and makes the experience much better.

  29. Vanessa

    Quality is relative. I spend what I deem appropriate for a destination. In my day job, I expect different levels of flights and accomodation to what I book for myself. Like you, I would spend an extra $10 or $15 for a good night sleep – what’s $15 compared to a day wasted being sleepy?
    What I love the most about travel is that we have all of these options available to us! Wanna be as cheap as possible? Go for it! Want to be in luxury accomodation every night? You can do it!

  30. Michele

    I agree balance is the key. We aim for the cheapest however I do read reviews and what others say about a place any mention of bedbugs and uncomfortable mattresses sees me fleeing. We are about to embark on our longterm travels early next year and have set a highest level we are willin to pay so will be interesting to see how we go

  31. Gigi

    “But the thing is, travel, even budget travel, is not all about spending less. It’s about having the most complete experience, or in better words, the experience that matches your interests and goals the best. ” < — Spot on, Earl!

    I feel the same way. I stay in apartment rentals instead of couch surfing because I find that, for me, the quality of life (not to mention ability to get work done) that's offered by having my own space is endlessly valuable.

    Similarly, I take the trains in Europe, even if they're more expensive than planes, because I have more space, more beautiful views, and a more comfortable trip. For me, that's worth it.

  32. kzy1

    The soft bed would be worth the extra few $$ on its own. My own bed is the one thing i seriously missed while travelling round India earlier this year.

  33. Cheryl Cholley

    Earl, you’ve done it again. This post gets right to the heart of one of the most important decisions we have to make on a regular basis. Because Tom and I are older, and have more cash to spend, we choose more expensive options than someone like the couple mentioned in one of the comments who budgeted ten dollars a day for travel.

    We have, however, revised our requirements for our upcoming travel in South America. Instead of spending huge money for four-star hotels, we’ll be staying in private hostel rooms. I don’t think we could ever go for the bunkhouse atmosphere, but we’ll save a ton of money by using hostels rather than high priced “gringo” hotels.

    The same goes for transportation. We’ll be choosing buses and trains instead of so many taxis hired for the entire day. I admit that a full-day taxi driver can be cheaper than packaged tours while on a time crunch at a cruise port, but for regular living we’ll be using the bus a lot more.

    Thanks again for your insight, Earl. Love your blog 🙂

  34. Ryan from Jets Like Taxis

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s about perceived value for what you’re spending. It’s also about time. Time is money, after all. As an example, I don’t see the point in saving $X and living farther out, when the difference to stay in a good location isn’t much more. Not only will one save money on transportation, but the time alone to get places is less, making it a better overall value to shell out a few more bucks and stay somewhere convenient.

    This type of thinking can be used in all situations, every day. Like you said, it’s not always the best option, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and make a decision accordingly.

    I made a mistake in the same vein earlier this summer. I wanted a small phone to replace my ginormous one, and didn’t want to wait for it or pay a ton for it. I bought the best small phone available (an older one) before our U.S. road trip, instead of waiting a few months for a new one to come out. Well, that phone broke less than halfway into our trip. I paid less for an older product, and ended up with a brick. I could have kept my larger phone and waited for the new, smaller ones to come out later in the summer. My impatience cost me $300. A new phone when the new ones were released cost me $450. So, impatience certainly plays a role, but that of course is not always the case. Just an example of how I was impatient and got a good deal and ended up with an older (and now broken) brick of a phone. And I ended up spending more to get something brand new only a couple months later.

    We often think about things like this when purchasing new items. Especially because we only have one carry-on each and cannot own a ton of stuff. I’d rather have an expensive hoody that will last and fulfill all of my (perceived) requirements for a hoody, than a cheap one that won’t do the job in full and needs to be replaced every few months. If you can afford the investment, spending more on excellent products is much wiser than spending less on something less reliable.

    Of course and again, not always the case. But that’s what taking every situation into account as its own is for. 😉

    Thanks for another great write-up, Earl!

  35. Maria

    “It’s about having the most complete experience” This is a wonderful truism and it’s not that difficult to remember but often gets forgotten in the hustle and bustle of travel and trying to squeeze every delicious drop from a trip. Thanks for posting this.

  36. Shane

    I agree with you Earl, but my reasons are different. Since taking a career change, I’ve taken work that allows me to take extended vacations (3 months at a time) and as such, I want to make sure that the experience I have is the best that it can be, I mean I’m 38yrs old and have been to 15 countries, as much as I’d like to return to some of these countries on a regular basis (New Zealand), I feel that I would be missing out if I did. So when I go to these places around the world, it’s worth it to me to see and do as much as I can, after all I may never return. So while I may cheap out on a meal or a room once and awhile, I only do it if it doesn’t water down the experience.

    Keep up the blog (is that the right term?), I look forward to every new article, it’s inspiring…

  37. Megan Tasker

    Agreed. I met a couple in India who were on such a tight budget that they allotted about $3 combined for accommodation and no more than $10 each per day (including long haul transportation). One of them was really interested in going white water kayaking when she got to Nepal but didn’t have it in her budget. Of course, to each their own – they are enjoying each others company and two beautiful countries for 6 months – but I couldn’t help think… you’ve come all this way!

    However, having said that, it’s easier to spend a couple extra bucks for something more comfortable or lush in Asia, while in Europe (especially Scandinavia) the jump in price between quality can be astronomical! I am definitely more likely to ‘splurge’ or pay a bit more in Asia than in Europe, but I wouldn’t sacrifice experience ever (well within reason :).

    Good post!

  38. Eli

    Great post , couldn’t agree more.
    I think it also has to do with age, and of course, the financial situation.
    When I was younger, I always went for the cheapest option, because I was a bit stronger (cheap night bus seat didn’t get me cranky), and because I didn’t care spending the next day sleeping. I also had less budget.
    Now, when I am a bit older, I see that I can’t really tolerate some of the cheap options like I could when I was younger. In addition to that, my time has value (since I am working on the move), so the extra $20 for a bed on the train, can get you another day worth of working on the next day, which is worth more than what you spent.
    As the comments mentioned, we should consider value and not price. (value is also adding to the equation what you receive in comparison to what you spend, when price only takes into account what you spent)

  39. Nettie

    So true Earl! The old adage: “You get what you pay for” applies to travel—accommodations and food too! Many times, cheap is as cheap buys!!

  40. carola

    Thanks for the post, Earl. I think it comes down to consuming wisely. For me, rather than spending money on souvenirs that’ll catch dust on the shelf back at home I like to invest in experiences like food or a trip to the beach. That being said: when it comes to food I find thatthe 1$ street food option is almost always the better experience than the 10 (or more) $ fancy restaurant…

  41. Kathryn

    Definitely agree. We are value travelers. If it’s cheap or expensive, we’ll usually go with what seems to offer the best value.

    It is sometimes hard to go back down in comfort level after a bit of luxury! I don’t think I could do dorms any more but did them a lot in my 20s when traveling solo.

  42. Jac

    Great post Earl, it’s all about personal priorities, which then leads to the true value to yourself. I personally prefer to splurge on private rooms in hostel for peace of mind, better rest and some privacy even though shared dorms are often so much cheaper!

  43. Jerey

    I think we shared the same sentiment when we were hanging out in Bucharest. Being cheap on the road only goes so far. I choose comfort over roughing it these days, and I think taking care of yourself will actually let you stay on the road longer if you can avoid burnout.

  44. Julio Moreno

    I absolutely agree. I am cheap, no doubt about it, but it is about value, not absolutely the least.
    Value means different things for different people. Sleeping, in general, is pretty similar to me, which is why I feel that luxury hotels have the least value for their prices. To me, a $40 motel is slightly less comfortable than a $400 hotel.

    I have had quite a few instances where the extra cash was totally worth it though.

    In Siem Reap, I passed on the $2 crappy bunk bed, for a $12 really nice hotel.
    6x the cost but it came with a free massage and I hopefully avoided bugs :).

    What turned me from “absolute cheapest” to value was an experience in Mexico. I had a choice of $40 a night for what seemed like a nice place or $25 a night for a place with a 20% rating on hostelbookers. I went with the $40 one, because of claims of bugs in the other one. Even so, the whole way I felt like I should have sucked it up. That $40 place near Tulum, Mexico happens to be the best place I have ever spent a night. Complete with a sink hole lake in the back, which the owner let us use for free. Seriously, I had essentially, a crystal clear lake to myself.

  45. Sam

    I completely agree with you Earl. Zab and I now almost never stay at the cheapest place or take the cheapest bus/train/whatever. In terms of accommodation, we’ve realised that paying more for a comfortable place to sleep is invaluable for us, as it makes all our interactions that more pleasant when we’re able to sleep well, and in fact an interesting hotel/hostel/guesthouse is often part of the travel experience for us. But it’s different for everyone.

  46. karen

    Earl I think it’s called getting old 🙂 haha. I feel exactly the same. Sometimes to save a buck it ends up costing you more. I’ve seen people spend days bargaining to get a dollar off something when they would have been better to have just gone a day earlier and saved a day of their trip for something more productive.

  47. jonny

    I stayed in that guesthouse back in September when I visited Istanbul! (I also ate in that restaurant in Brasov you rave about…I swear I am not stalking you) I agree that at times the dirt cheap option can lead to a loss of enjoyment on many fronts; and the more I travel, the more I find myself justifying an extra expense for the sake of comfort.

    In fact, you can often get burnt when trying to save money. For example, just coming back from Romania a couple of months ago, my desire to use the cheap train network lead me to nearly miss my flight! I had to shell out 60€ for a taxi to Cluj-Napoca airport! Afterwards, upon arriving in Paris, my need to save money by using the cheap bus to get home once again shot me in the foot…I missed the damn thing! I had taken the cheapest option, even though it had meant a super tight connection…and then I’d ended up spending more money just to correct my error. But we live, we learn.

    As an aside, I personally wasn’t a fan of the Agora Guesthouse. I found the dorms unpleasant and too brightly-lit. The breakfast staff are great but the reception staff I found to be a little less warm. But hey, we all have different experiences. Enjoy your time in Istanbul – every time I have a kebab here in France, I can’t help but wish I was back there!

  48. Mark Mercer

    Absolutely a good idea, when done intelligently and in moderation. Getting an upgraded compartment or seat, in order to double-use as workspace or resting space, can be well worth the money. Supporting a business, like your regular place in Istanbul, that gives you consistent great value even if not the very cheapest, is both sensible and supportive of ethical business.

    Plus once in a while, even as a budget traveler, one deserves a small “splurge”.

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