When #TravelGoals took social media by storm, almost everyone boasted about their international trips. Sure enough, the tourism industry in many countries boomed, and travel content on the internet garnered the most engagement.
But traveling didn’t become any cheaper, even during its peak. Airline passengers still had to wait for sales to be able to snag the lowest-priced tickets. International travelers had to settle for Airbnb rooms or hostels to save money on accommodation. These budget-friendly hacks paved the way for backpacking, a style of traveling in which you’d pack light and lodge in cheap accommodations with other travelers.
Backpacking got so famous that even travelers without a budget at all got to travel. They often went to Asian countries, especially those in the South East, where traveling costs are cheaper. But their behavior sparked outrage among the locals because many backpackers resorted to “begpacking.” As the term suggests, it’s the practice of Western travelers begging locals for money so that they can continue their travels.
This makes you wonder why they are traveling if they can’t afford it. Many locals in the countries they visited thought that Westerns took advantage of their visa-free travels. But whatever the actual reasons were, locals wouldn’t tolerate begpackers.
So if you’re also a budget traveler, consider this: be a tourist in your own country instead of backpacking abroad.
Whether you’re from Singapore or the U.K., don’t take advantage of the travel perks given to your rich country’s citizens. If you’re short on cash, domestic travel can satisfy the adventurer in you.
Reasons to be a Tourist in Your Own Country
1. It’s Cheaper
Without plane tickets to pay for, your trip can be much cheaper, even if you’d take a plane to visit another state. Plus, it’s easier to budget without converting currencies. A foreign country may be cheap by their standards but still expensive by your own.
While not all domestic destinations offer affordable tours, you can use some money-saving hacks. For example, instead of availing all-inclusive package, you can settle for the tour alone and find a cheaper place to eat and sleep. That’s a trick that not all international travelers can use. In an unfamiliar country, it’s always safer to stick to what’s recommended than to DIY your whole itinerary. Doing so runs the risk of getting lost or ending up in an unsafe hotel. Those incidents will end up costing you more.
2. It’s Can Be as Fancy As an International Trip
If you’ve lived in a country all your life, its allure gets lost to you. This might be true for many Singaporeans because they only live in a 728.6-square meter land area. Their whole country is just a tiny fraction of California, Florida, and other regions.
But Singapore never stops coming up with something new. Changi Airport alone already bursts with surprises. Locals and foreigners alike can explore its many wings, most notably Jewel. The 10-story attraction boasts a waterfall, luxurious boutiques, and an indoor forest. Tourists can stay in cozy airport hotels, some of which are affordable.
Despite that, though, fancy travel isn’t characterized by the price you pay. Rather, it’s by the quality of your experience. If you felt enriched at the end of a $100 domestic tour package, that trip isn’t any less fancy than a $2,000 cruise.
3. It’s a Booming Industry
Since the pandemic limited international travel, jet-setters turned to domestic travel. In the first week of January 2021, nearly 70% of TripAdvisor’s activity was for booking future domestic trips. Sixty percent of Singaporeans also planned a domestic trip in the same period. And around the world, 74% planned to take at least one overnight domestic trip.
Fortunately, vaccinated Singaporeans may now tour around the country, though health protocols still apply. Many other countries have also begun allowing their vaccinated citizens to make domestic trips.
4. It Gives You an Opportunity to Rediscover Your Country
It’s easy to assume that you know everything about your country simply because you were born and raised there. But if you haven’t toured around it yet, you don’t truly know your country.
There’s more to a small town than its plazas and parks. There’s more to a big city than its skyscrapers. Many places have hidden gems, including secluded Instagram-able spots. So explore your country, no matter how small it is. Being a local tourist allows you to rediscover your country and appreciate it even more.
Sure, it’s amazing to explore different countries and see your travel list getting longer. But if your international trips are making you take your country for granted, step back and consider looking at what’s already before you.