Last Updated: 8/12/20 | August 12th, 2020
I often get asked why I want to leave home and travel. Won’t I miss everyone and everything? Won’t I get lonely? What am I running away from?
We all have our reasons for traveling: wanderlust, the love of a different culture, a desire to just leave it all behind, the need to forget, or a want to meet new people. Travel becomes a way for people to deal with different situations, experience new things, or help search for a sense of self. At its core, budget travel is a personal development tool. It’s a way for us to grow and learn and connect.
And because budget travel offers so much to so many different people, travel holds an allure for us all. St. Augustine once, “The world is a book, and he who doesn’t travel reads only one page.” I keep that quote, and a famous one by Mark Twain about having no regrets, in my mind constantly.
In the book of the world, all the pages are different. Everything is new, everything is changing. I believe that is why we travel – for the change. Whether you’re going to see a pyramid or experience a new culture, whether you are going to get away or to learn, and whether you go for a month or a year, we all go because we seek change. We seek something different. A change of self, attitude, daily routine, or impressions of another culture, change is the one thing travel brings us.
The constant change creates a chance for us to come to terms with the world around us and find out who we are.
In this modern world of 9-to-5, mortgages, carpools, and bills, our days can get pretty regimented. Under the weight of mindlessly moving from day to day, we often lose track of what’s important to us and what our goals are. We get so caught between commutes and errands or driving the kids to soccer, that we forget how to breathe and smell those roses.
When I was working 9-to-5, I could plan out my days months in advance. It was commute, work, gym, sleep, repeat. Yet on the road, every moment represents a new beginning. No day is the same. You can’t plan out what will happen because nothing is set in stone. No commutes, no errands, no scheduled meetings. Just you and your wits and the open road.
Places, cultures, cities, countries were always changing. No day was (or is) ever like the last. In fact, every day is so different, that I sometimes wonder if I haven’t lived three lifetimes already.
This lifestyle is not for everyone but, for those that go, I notice the subtext of change in the reason for their desire to leave. The new, the exciting, the different, and the adventure – it’s all there when you travel. Your days no longer are dictated by business hours, but by the changing winds of your own heart.
Out in the sea of freedom, with no compass to guide us, with nothing to force our direction, we all sail onward.
We are looking for something new, something unseen. The next page in the world’s book, if only for a little while. That’s what makes budget travel so interesting, intriguing, and inviting to us all. It calls us. It beckons us to come with it to new lands and unfamiliar retreats. It gives us a respite and sanctuary from the chaos and regimented world of 9 to 5.
I am in the driver’s seat on this road and, though it’s mostly unseen, I can read the only signpost on it – “Change Ahead” – and do nothing but smile. As I look around at the other drivers on the road, I see them smiling, too. We all smile together, knowing something new is just up around the bend. A new adventure, a new challenge, a new lover, or a new friend.
We crave the new right around the next bend.
That’s why we travel.
And why we’ll never stop.
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day
My New York Times best-selling paperback guide to world travel will teach you how to master the art of travel so that you’ll get off the beaten path, save money, and have a deeper travel experience. It’s your A to Z planning guide that the BBC called the “bible for budget travelers.”
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- SafetyWing (best for everyone)
- Insure My Trip (for those 70 and over)
- Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)
Want to travel for free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation. They are what keep me traveling so much for so little. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.
Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.