I love to travel. I want to visit every corner of the earth and experience every culture, but like so many other people, my budget is limited. Darn!
Before we departed on our last trip, we set a budget and a destination. Then came the planning stage, where I squeezed as much destination as I could out of my budget.
When travelling, there are several things on which one spends money, including transportation, accomodations, food, and recreation. Naturally, the first two are the big-ticket items, and present the greatest opportunities to save.
An example: a night at a five-star hotel can cost a thousand dollars or more. That translates into a month of nights at one of the hotels where we stayed in Mexico. Of course, the accommodations were not nearly as nice, but I don't travel to experience my hotel room. In fact, 99% of my time in the hotel is spent with my eyes closed, which means I can't see it. My major requirements of a hotel are that it be safe, have hot water, and a bed that does not leave me aching the next day. Almost everything else is negotiable.
Likewise, first-class airline tickets can cost a bundle. The difference between airfare and first-class bus tickets is enough to allow us to travel deep into Mexico, and stay for days. The personal cost is the time I spend sitting on a bus, from which I can enjoy the countryside. I can also take an evening bus, which does the double duty of a night's accommodation and transportation.
Restaurant food can be expensive, and I find restaurant fare tiresome very quickly. I'm happy eating strawberries and Mexican pastries for breakfast, and buying dinner from well-patronized street vendors whose clientele are local and whose food smells good.
These kinds of economies allowed us to stretch a weekend budget to cover about 10 days.
Where do you draw the line? What are you not willing to give up for the sake of going further or longer? What amenities are "must-haves" on your list?