Lavasa

How to Get a 5* Luxury Travel Experience for 0 Naira!

So recently, a friend of a friend read my (micro) budget travel series and had a comment about how these trips were too stressful to be worth it. While I do appreciate a honest feedback anytime, I feel like I need to address this anyway. So, grab a cup of tea and let’s discuss! (I had a cup of tea picture – had to use it πŸ™‚ )

auberge de grand popoI don’t believe travelling has to be too expensive and I try to prove that by taking very rewarding budget trips to places around me.Β Often this involves land transport and all the hassles that come with it. Right now, I don’t mind all of it. In the not-so-distant future though, I doubt that I’ll be willing to subject myself to these same experiences. But right now, I don’t mind them. (I actually enjoy the challenge low-key!)

Of course, “expensive” is relative.

Let’s say a trip to South Africa costs N500K, but being the cost cutting maestro that you are, you were able to go on the same trip for about N250K, would you say that’s a cheap trip? (I’m assuming your answer is ‘yes’) – in the context of this discussion. It doesn’t necessarily mean that N250K isn’t a substantial amount of money. It is.Β But let’s say N500K gives you a 5* hotel stay, business class rides and other luxurious perks. You wouldn’t honestly expect to get the same perks with N250K (all things being equal).Β Basically, you’ll get what you pay for.

Bringing that logic home, you wouldn’t expect to travel to Benin Republic with N20K, stay in a luxurious resort, not have to deal with with the hassles of immigration for that amount. For the immigration bit, you should blame the corrupt system. (You spend most of the time at the borders haggling with the officials.)

It’s also worth remembering that travel experiences shared on this blog are personal.Β I mean, you could be lucky to have a stress-fee pass. After all, many people often go through the back roads without passing through immigration. Or you could get a free ride and breeze through immigration like I did entering Togo for the first time. Experiences may be similar but there will be variations here and there.

grand popoWhy then do I go on these trips even though they seem to be super stressful? Simple answer is that I can afford to. It is a choice that I consciously make and it is proving a point. It’s one thing to say ‘you can travel cheaply’ and it’s another to show you how you can.

Not all my trips have been dirt cheap. Our game drives in Tanzania were anything but budget. If I were to put up a breakdown for that, it would be fueling the same perception that I am seeking to change with this blog. Travel can be expensive but it does not always have to be.

Bottom line is this: Luxury travel is not cheap and cheap travel is cheap for a reason. You will have to compromise on a lot of things. You will share rooms with strangers in hostels or couchsurf, you’ll bus-hop, rather than having a single ‘AC’ ride to your destination. But does this mean you will not have a great experience? Absolutely not! Just ask me!

cheap travelSo, except you win the lottery or get an all expense paid trip, you just can’t get a 5* luxury travel experience without spending your money!

14 Comments

  1. This is brilliant. I completely agree. The concept of adventure is relative. A little trouble along the way does make it more memorable.

    • Thanks Kenn. The concept of adventure indeed relative. Everyone has a different idea of what they perceive as bearable or appealing.

  2. Well said. I don’t understand why anyone would be expecting luxury on 20k budget. Anyone’s travel experience is valid regardless of the budget.

    • My thoughts exactly. Experience is what really matters. If this kind of travel isn’t your style, might be best to save up and go with whatever you’re comfortable with.
      Thanks for your comment, Fola.

  3. Oh well, nice comments above which I completely agree with including the one that brought about this topic. Because, to me the difference is CHOICE, really.
    I’ll just add/emphasise by saying that, different trips budgets comes with different experiences and you cannot trade one for the other. Haven’t said that, the experience you share with us here about your trips, Amarachi, encourages people with low budgets to still go for trips and at the same time, helps them to prepare for the “unexpected” that could have discouraged a first time ever low budget traveller not to embark on another low budget trip, because not all the trips are stressful with delays, bad roads, et al. Someone could easily be discouraged with a really stressful first time ever trip with low budget. But with experiences of different trips shared here will make one to understand that low budget trips doesn’t necessarily mean stressful trips apart from the inevitable that comes with road trips.
    In the end though, trip budget is a choice.
    Thank you, Amarachi.
    Cheers!

    • Thanks for your comment, Danny. What’s presented here are just options and recommendations. In the end, it’s still a personal choice.

  4. I really liked this!

    Yes planning for trips and being on them can be stress sometimes but most of the time the reward is worth it! That being said, if someone thinks it’s too stressful then just don’t do it. The people that are willing to take 3 buses to get to their final destination or spend a night at an airport are doing it because they can. I think people forget that travel is a personal process. What my trip looked like doesn’t have to be what your trip looks like. There are tons of places to see and many ways to see them, so one either avoids what they think will be stressful or not! It’s all up to them.

    • Thank you so much for this! At the end of the day, it is certainly a choice and a personal one at that. Can’t emphasize that enough.

  5. Haha! πŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎ Really love this piece and just how you “bore it all”! Fave line: Luxury travel is not cheap and Cheap travel is cheap for a reason.! Need I say more?!…
    Thank you for sharing, Amarachi. Enjoyed reading.
    P.S: looking forward to migrating to Luxury travel in the next few years!!πŸ˜‚πŸ™πŸΎ [baba God pick up] LoL. πŸ’“

    • I’m so praying with you! Seriously, who doesn’t like the luxury travel life? haha! Looking forward to migrating too while absolutely enjoying this current ‘hustle’ life phase!

  6. πŸ‘ πŸ‘ πŸ‘

  7. Hehe this is so real, I love it. I actually find that budget travel exposes you to even more amazing experiences. I’d take a budget trip over a luxury one, easily, even if I had the money. Staying in hostels is one of the best ways to enjoy a trip cos you get to meet all kinds of people and tour the city with them, which is such an amazing experience.

    • Thanks Joy. I’ve also had the best experiences travelling this way and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world!

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