Life

Why Traveling On The Cheap Isn’t Always A Good Idea

There are some things you should never scrimp on.

As uni students, we’ve really got to scrape our shrapnel together in order to afford a Euro trip.

After finally saving up from working every weekend since the start of sem (with no penalty rates), often we’ll guilt ourselves into surviving off a two minute noodle diet and staying in the cheapest accommodation possible.

It’s totally normal to head overseas with nothing but a few dollars and a bit of chutzpah. But travelling cheap isn’t always the smartest or safest idea.

Safety First!

Paying to stay in unisex hostels might cost a few dollars less, but is it worth compromising your safety?

Last weekend I stayed in a cheap, unisex hostel in Spain. Besides the noise and mess, it seemed perfectly fine the first night.

During the second night, however, I was woken up at 7am by a drugged-up, semi-naked man urinating on the floor next to my friend’s bed. After finishing, he then attempted to climb into another person’s bed.

Using my Aussie advantage, I screamed, “Oi! What the hell are you doing mate?”, which was pretty effective considering the circumstances. That was until I met another intoxicated man in the hallway who wasn’t from our hostel, but had apparently stayed in our bathroom that night. He was in such a state that he couldn’t even find the door to sneak out, and needed me to show him.

Later, the owner of the hostel accused us four girls of being oversensitive and hysterical, even after he was unreachable for two and a half hours. We realised soon afterwards that the hostel had no locks on the doors or security system.

Unfortunately, being a female traveller means having to take extra precautions and being laughed at for standing your ground, even when you feel unsafe and afraid.

I would have paid an extra $100 to avoid that experience. Trust me, it’s worth paying the extra coin to stay somewhere safe and not have to wash someone else’s urine off your shoes.

Almost Nothing Ends Up Being Free

You’ve saved up for this trip! So why not pay a little extra to visit the tourist sites, try the best local food and make day trips to nearby cities? Isn’t that the reason you came in the first place?

There’s absolutely no point of visiting a city and spending the day doing nothing. Come to terms with the fact that you’re going to have to pay money to see the most beautiful churches, historical buildings and even to go to the toilet (especially in Europe!). This isn’t Australia, so even getting free tap water isn’t a sure bet.

There’s absolutely no point of visiting a city and spending the day doing nothing.

Sorry to break it to you, but even “free tours” aren’t what they seem. The tour staff rely on donations to make a living so for a two hour tour, you’re going to have to give a pretty generous tip.

Take Care Of Yourself

It’s pretty easy to forget to take care of yourself and eat cheap and unhealthily, or even skip meals to save money.

Don’t do what I did in Indonesia and survive off street food to save money. It’ll end up costing you time and money when you’re hospital bound after developing a bad case of food poisoning.

Think of it this way: this is your chance to travel before being locked into a nine to five gig. Make the most of it and treat yo’self because it’s an investment in your happiness.

Eden Gillespie is an International Studies/Media student at UNSW with a love for breakfast bagels and Louis Theroux.