Friday 23 April 2010

Tight Fist Tip #38: Travel to Cheap Countries

Come For The Food and Weather,
Stay For The Low Prices!

Welcome to the second in The Tight Fist's series on traveling. (You can find Part 1 here.) There's a common myth that traveling is expensive, but this is because most people foolishly just jet off to whatever place bought the most billboards in their home town. The great thing about traveling is that if you pick the right place, even poor, frugal, Tight Fisters can live like kings!

Let's think about some 'normal' places where stupid people in the US or UK like to travel, and think about Tight Fist alternatives.

1. Hey, wouldn't it be great if you could go on vacation to a beautiful place with warm weather, mountains, and great parties without ever leaving the comfort of the US? You sure can- it's called California. But for some reason that is beyond comprehension, people decide that it's a phenomenal idea to waste hundreds of extra dollars to instead fly to freaking Hawaii. Five extra hours in the air? Hundreds of extra dollars on the flight? Everything twice as expensive? Annoying pictures or people wearing grass skirts and smiling everywhere? SIGN ME UP!!! If you're going to fly all day, why not head south of the border to sunny, beautiful Ecuador?. It's 25% closer (to Chicago) than Hawaii, and also boasts great beaches, rain forests, and volcanos. And every night is dollar beer night!
I'll Bet That Cost Under A Buck

2. There are some Americans who are a bit more adventurous. They want the immersive cultural experience that can only be found at an all-inclusive beach resort. They can't wait to brag to tell their shocked friends about how they they couldn't drink the water. They want waiters (not just cooks and bus boys) with accents. They want Cancun! There is something especially painful about going to a (relatively) cheap country like Mexico but instead wasting your money (not to mention any remaining shred of decency) at Senor Frogs. But if you ever suddenly awake from hazy stupor and find yourself on a flight to Cancun, fear not! All you have to do is drive up or down the coast from the shudder-inducing isthmus to find little pieces of paradise such as the gorgeous Tulum. Or even better, skip Mexico altogether and head for the Tight Fist paradise of Honduras. Yes, for mere pennies you can plant yourself in a beautiful beach hut, eat fresh fish, drink coconut water, and love life.

3. I can guarantee that if you are a British man aged 30-50 and have a bit of a gut, your idea of absolute paradise is the South of Spain. Where else could you possibly travel abroad and find tons of other pudgy middle-aged British guys to hang out with? And where else would have real British pubs serving real British food (shudder)? And where else could you find real British prices? Quick, run, book those package holidays before they dry up! But if you're in England and you have any sense, you'll realize that for just a few extra pounds you can make your way to India, where you can live like an absolute king. India (where The Tight Fist is curently located) is any Tight Fist's dream. While The Tight Fist generally forbids taxis, the 15-minute ride from my home to my office only cost 35 pence. And while I forbid buying lunch, I'll take my hot curry for under a pound. And my 10p samosas. I will even allow the guy to come to my house every day to clean and do laundry when it only costs 6 pounds for the month. Living like a king, I tell you! Now if they could just get this country a giant air conditioner...

The guidelines are actually pretty simple. If you live in the US, avoid Europe or the Carribean and instead head to Central or South America. The flights will be similar, and your vacation will be awesome and easy on the wallet. If you live in the Europe, get the hell out of the Euro Zone and instead jump to India or Southeast Asia.

Confused which countries qualify as Tight Fist friendly? Here's a rule of thumb. If a beer at a bar costs more than a dollar, you're in the wrong place. Better luck next time!

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