If social media is anything to go by, as a traveler you fit into one of two categories: either you’re a backpacker on a shoestring budget, or you live in opulence wherever you go. As the title of the post clearly indicates, I have strong feelings towards the latter. I also have my opinions regarding the former, but I’ll save that for another day. Certainly, the whole premise of this post is extremely subjective, not to mention that people may interpret this as radiating jealousy and snobbery; to some extent, yes, it is. However, as someone who travels and lives within my means combined with a recent surge in posts I’ve seen, it was necessary for me to address this.
For me, I personally cannot see the point in luxury travel. Yes, it would be nice to have everything catered to your personal whims, but again, that’s not my thing. If anything, that defeats the purpose of travel. The way I see it, travel is more about the small things that turn into bigger and brighter ones, and if you splurge, it takes things away. Furthermore, it doesn’t feel authentic. If you’re enjoying a bottle of expensive champagne on your balcony, as nice as that probably is, you’re not interacting with locals in a meaningful way-you’re isolating yourself. Sure, I’ve seen some pretty spectacular views posted, but I honestly would forgo them if it meant actually making lasting memories. Paradoxically, the richest experiences come from not spending a lot, whether that be from hostel excursions or even just spending time with fellow hostel guests. There is very real vibe when you bond over your plans to cheaply maximize your time and money on the road, especially when on hostel-arranged excursions. And really, isn’t always going with luxury a bit of a soft lifestyle? This definitely is subjective, but there’s more to travel than comprehensively exploring your fancy hotel suite. You have the world at your fingers, yet opt to live in a quasi-bubble. Seems strange, no?
On a more personal scale, I’m just jealous that people like that have that kind of money to throw around for traveling. Certainly, it’s your money to spend, and for that I can’t begrudge you. Though, as someone who travels when I can afford the time and money, it feels like a slap to the face. When I’m on the road, things are better because I live within my means. When you need to budget, you’re essentially forced to look for the hidden gems. Every purchase you make, large or small, swells in value because you know that, “Shoot, my bank account is going to hate me”. That delightfully cold beer after a long day exploring just became tastier because it was a treat for myself…and also because it was a euro I could have saved. Now, while I appreciate the logistics and costs in trying to arrange vacations, you’ll excuse me if I find it hard to muster up sympathy when you gripe about, “Oh, I had to cancel both my trips to Fiji and the Maldives.” I’d say you have a rough life, but I really can’t relate.
But, my biggest peeve is that some of the people who travel in style act like they’re representative of everyone who travels, because you’re not fooling anybody. It’s obvious that you’ve got a luxurious lifestyle going on, and again, it feels like there’s a disconnect. When you flaunt it on your platform of choice, it becomes ugly. Even if you want to show how fortunate you are to have that comfort, we all see you and resent it. Furthermore, one cliche about travel I’ve found to be true is that the small things become increasingly more meaningful. While I haven’t exactly been privy to this mode of travel, I highly doubt you’d ever feel like you’re deprived or missing something. Having said that, I’ll shockingly concede that I like those travelers’ pictures they post; there’s no shame in admiring the beauty of them, because they are spectacular. But, the difference is that I don’t think I’d ever want to be in their position, and am perfectly content with my economical style of traveling. After all, I’m able to meet a wider variety of people with whom I’m better off with-it’s the one thing your abundant spending can’t buy.
So, there we have it. If you agree or disagree with me about this premise, I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts. Until then, you can find me blissfully researching cheap things to do in non-touristy places.