June 24, 2014

The "ABCs" of my Travel Style

The Mamaison Riverside in Prague, CZ
Judging solely by the name of this site, you'd think my travel style could be compared to the offspring of Ebenezer Scrooge or Mr. Potter.  This would play out by building my own raft, using my own breath for wind, arriving at my destination, saying bah-humbug while patently refusing to spend any money on sight-seeing, and sleeping in the meanest, most slovenly accommodations possible.  What a mental picture, eh?

While avoiding debt, being thrifty, and responsible with my money is something I strive for, it does not, however, necessarily define my travel style.  So what, exactly, is my travel style?  There are three parts to it - my travel ABCs, so to speak.  But since I enjoy mixing things up a bit, the "B" and "C" parts come before the "A."

"Traveling in a Budget-friendly, Culture-conscious manner to find a cure for my chronic wanderlust & in the process deepening my Appreciation for fine wine, good literature, culture and history."

In other words, I'm just a huge nerd -- with a regular 9-5 job and a budget -- who would prefer to learn history and culture in person than through the pages of my books!  That's my travel style.  A combination of all prices and types: decent hotels to roughing it at a campground; cheap street food to nicer restaurants; expensive sightseeing to free attractions.

But how do we accomplish this?

Window-view from our room at Mamaison. Choosing a hotel that
was a 20 minute walk from the main sites saved us money -
and saved us from being on a noisy street!
The first part of our travel style is being Budget-friendly.  We live within our means, so that we can travel beyond our dreams (I ought to trademark this phrase).  We prefer to cook our meals at home, not indulge in excessive shopping, avoid consumer debt, shop around for the best prices, and save, save, save!  This doesn't mean that we don't have a social life, but it does mean that we budget carefully and limit entertainment expenses to special occasions. 

And when we do travel, we spend hours researching the best prices and deals for our trip.  Sometimes travel expenses are unavoidable and certain must-see attractions come at a high cost (e.g., Westminster Abbey in London had a steep price tag!), but that's why we live frugally at home.  I'd rather forgo a dinner at a chain restaurant in Richmond and have a night-out in Rome any day!

The next part is being Culturally-conscious.  This encompasses a lot of things.  I don't understand travelers who go to countries simply to bar hop.  While I can certainly appreciate a fine brew or a glass of white, getting trashed in a foreign country and missing out on day-time sight-seeing due to nursing a hangover is just not my style.  We visit both big and little sites, explore what makes that country/location so unique, and try to blend in with the locals to get as much out of our experience as possible.

Appreciating the grandeur of St. Vitus Cathedral
in Prague!
Finally, it's being Appreciative, or open-mindedAlthough I map out our trips almost to the minute, I understand that the best parts of a trip can erupt organically and that I need to be flexible for spontaneous additions (or detraction) from the original plan.  This also means that while I possess a political, social, and religious opinion on everything (just ask my husband!), I try to stay open-minded towards the traditions of our current location while there and respect that my American ideas may not necessarily be the best practice for a different culture.  I hate when non-Americans hound me with their opinions on how our country should operate, and I don't want to commit the same error when abroad.


So, in a very large nutshell, that's my travel style.  What's yours?








Linking up with Bonnie, Van, Kiki and other travel bloggers for #TravelTuesday!

19 comments:

  1. We would much rather cook at home and save extra money to travel with as well. I think travel is totally possible if you make it a priority to save for it. Great tips thanks for thinking up!

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    1. Oh, absolutely! And cooking at home can be so much healthier than eating out, too. That's why I always pack a lunch since healthy lunch options are so expensive here in the US, and my stomach churns at the mere thought of eating at McDonalds anymore...

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  2. I love how you brought your travel style into words. I couldn't have described it better! And I totally agree! Just because I'm on a budget doesn't mean I can't dine out once in a while and visit some museums or staying in a hotel....I'm not the classic backpacker nor am I an all-inclusive kind of girl so I'm something in between. Great post! And sorry if we confused you with the postponement of the prompt! Feel free to link-up this post next week a second time ;)

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    1. Haha, I definitely will be re-posting this next week, I think. :D I'll be doing that for probably every Tuesday in July since I doubt I'll have any time to do writing while on the road!

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  3. This is a great travel style. I love this line - "would prefer to learn history and culture in person than through the pages of my books" I think that actually sums up my travel style quite nicely as well!

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    1. :D I would venture to say most travelers would have that in common - the desire to actually live out our books!

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  4. Great tips! I think travel is possible if you put it first, which isn't always easy! There are ways to make it happen if you really want it :) Although I have a clothes problem, I much prefer to travel than buy things. My boyfriend and I have started going on trips for birthdays and anniversaries rather than buying each other presents, and I love it!

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    1. That's what we do, too! Experiences and adventures produce so much more than gifts, in my opinion!

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  5. This is a great post, and I agree with everyone. I especially like how you said you'd rather not eat out in your hometown so you can enjoy a nice night out somewhere else like Rome. It's so true! I think overall it's a mentality - some people don't know how to think beyond "right now" and then they never get to experience much of the world. :(

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    1. I meant "I agree with everything" not "everyone" haha

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    2. :) You're very right. Our short attention spans, desire for instant gratification, and acceptance of living beyond our means is part of what has contributed to our society's huge problem with debt. People would rather purchase things on credit and end up paying tons of money through interest than wait a little longer and buy it outright with cash.

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  6. Great post - love the phrase, "We live within our means, so that we can travel beyond our dreams" - perfect description of how we like to travel too! Cheers - Ellen

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    1. Thanks! :) I wish more people would embrace that and make their dreams reality!

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  7. Great post! Agree with all of it! I meet a lot of stag nights here - I don't think they see the outside of the bars (apart from walking from bar to bar) but then I guess that's all they want to do ;) Much prefer your approach! And you should definitely TM that statement ;) Linda

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    1. Good point - I'd make an exception for a stag or hen night. ;) Although I'd want to be pretty damn familiar with the location before I'd feel comfortable enough getting that sloshed in a foreign country!

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  8. I love this post! It's exactly how I like my travels as well! I don't feel the need to overly spend because my priority is travelling! I will not spare my money while I'm on a trip though, visiting some things, getting to take the local cuisine and making sure to completely enjoy my time abroad! :)

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    1. Absolutely! That's why (so far at least) we don't fit in the backpacker category of traveler. But we definitely don't fit in the "luxury" traveler section either! We like affordable hotels - no bugs, no dirt, no frills - and we like to walk a lot.

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  9. I agree on that "bar hopping"
    It is pointless to go to some far off place and sit in a bar and guzzle down (which you could have done in your home town)

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    1. Precisely! Again, I like sampling local brews when abroad, but drinking to excess is just not my cup of tea anyway. :)

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