Cultural Experience | Resources

What Traveling on a Budget taught me.

Why traveling on a budget is the best way to travel.

“Travel”, they say. “Do it while you’re young”, they say. “Do it before you have adult responsibilities and bills to pay”, they say. Most of us roll our eyes at those who give us advice and are two seconds away from yelling, “WITH WHAT MONEY TREE?!”. Do not fret, I get it.

The best memories you’ll have of traveling are those when you struggled to get wi-fi in your room when you couldn’t shut the door in the bathroom of your hotel because your legs are too long and the toilet is awkwardly positioned (I’m only 5’7” by the way). Here are five reasons why traveling on a budget has given me the best memories of my life.

1. I was forced to learn how things in other countries work. 

My roommates and I started in Rome one Spring Break. My lovely roommate,  was in charge of booking our stay in Rome. Our hotel was nicely located and not shabby for the price we paid ($50 a night to sleep three), at least that’s what we thought upon arrival. The first night in the hotel, I was getting ready to get into the shower, I was having the hardest time getting the shower to warm up. I exited the bathroom and pleaded for my roommates to help me, and they tried, but none of us could get it to warm up. I eventually sucked it up and took my ice-bath (one that I still have nightmares about today). I was not a happy camper afterwards.

After a few attempts by various flatmates to get the water hot – “What if we adjust the temperature of the sink to the temperature that we want in the shower?”. HOW? WHY? WHAT IN THE? Long-story short, my roommate was correct and when in Rome, do as the Romans and turn the bathroom sink on, put it on your desired shower temperature, and jump into the shower!

Helen Haile Rome Hotel Image

Hotel in Rome, Italy

2. I learned to think out of the box (or room). 

One of the stops on our Spring Break extravaganza was Mykonos, Greece. Anyone who has stayed at a low budget hotel knows that wi-fi signal is not always the greatest, or available for that matter. Our beautiful hotel, had horrendous signal inside the room. So what did we do?  One of my roommates got their selfie-stick, attached their phone, and stuck it out the window until their messages sent and posts posted. This my friends, I kid you not. Never would have I ever thought to do this, so to my roommates, thank you for opening my mind just a little bit.

Helen Haile Mykonos hotel image

Hotel in Mykonos, Greece

3. I learned you should know some of the local language. 

On a trip to Prague, Czech Republic, my friend and I stayed in this little hotel that was somewhat on the outskirts of Prague. This hotel was booked for a bargain. Upon checking in, my friend and I had trouble speaking to the man at check-in. This man spoke minimal English. He stared at my friend and asked, “Czech, German, Polish?”. My friend shook his head to all three and awkwardly replied, “English only”.  Reality is that not everyone is going to speak English where you go.

4. I made memories that I’ll keep forever.

There’s nothing like the common enemy of a uncomfortable shower or horrible wi-fi service to help you and your roommates bond. In our hotel in Rome, not only was the shower uncomfortable, but we had an interesting lock situation (one that we found common in other countries). Some hotel locks were built so you could not exit without using the key given(what a fire hazard right?). At one point in our stay, we smelled something burning and looked at each other and thought “THIS IS IT”. Safe to say, the lovely couple staying in the other room just burned a bag of popcorn, but hey, nothing like the thought of looming death to make you laugh and build lifelong friendships right?

Helen Haile friends in athens image

Roommates and I in Athens, Greece

5. I truly appreciate the nice hotels that I am able to stay in. 

The rainbow comes after the rain! I think that relates to what I’m trying to say? Anyway, during my time in New York City with my roommate this past March, we were able to spend our five day trip staying in the heart of New York City, Times Square. We were a two minute walk from M&M World and living lush. Now for some, this may be an every-trip type thing, but to us travel enthusiasts that want to make every cent count, because the more we save the more we can travel, there is true appreciation in experiencing a rainbow after some light rain.

Traveling on a budget may not be as glamorous as one hopes, but with the right people, it can be truly memorable and fun, so book that $30/night room and see it all!


Helen Haile las vegas Budget traveling image

Helen Haile

University of Nevada, Las Vegas | 6 stories

Helen is an Economics graduate from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She studied abroad in London spring of 2015 and will be returning to pursue her Master's in International Relations at King's College London this fall. When she's not traveling, she enjoys her free time working out, reading, and binge watching Netflix. Follow her travels on Instagram @helen.haile

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