It’s funny how the older you get, the more you start to crave the finer things in life. I remember when I was the young twenty-one year old, bright-eyed innocent that was fine to sleep in airports and to spend my days slightly uncomfortable traveling. That’s part of the adventure, right? You look back on those days and you think about the not-so-great things as a rite of passage. Like, yes, I conquered the eight-bedroom dorm and lived to tell the tale.
Now, as the wizened twenty-three year old I’ve become, my tastes and what I am willing to withstand have definitely changed. I’m completely convinced that the apartment I choose here in Europe will have my own space—I’ve discovered that I’m too old for roommates and that I need time alone to work. I’m frankly considering never choosing the dreaded eight-bedroom dorm again since sleep has become a much more important reality when you’re constantly on the road. I’ve also learned to take it easier on myself in general.
Some travelers’ tastes never change, but for the majority of us, the more time and money we have, the less we are willing to put up with uncomfortable situations. I’m still young as a Generation-Y traveler, and I’ve come to accept that with the budget I have that it will be a while before I can switch from hostels to hotels and I’m not constantly watching my bank account.
There’s a certain freedom you have as a young traveler—you’re expected to be poor and to make the most of your time this way. There are no expectations on the quality of where you need to stay; you’re certainly not trying to impress anyone because most likely the people whom you are traveling with are as poor as you are. But the truth is that sometimes it can really be frustrating—sometimes that freedom can be the very thing that defines your experiences and what you will go and see and enjoy. I remember being in Rome a few months ago and wanting to delve into a plate of pasta. However, I couldn’t afford to treat myself to a nice dinner in the city, and I’ll never forget my first taste of terrible pasta in Italy. It was truly, truly awful.
It’s a double-edged sword having the experiences that you want and knowing that you are sticking to a budget that you can deal with.
When did you decide that you are no longer willing to put up with the cheapest option when you travel?
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