budget, opinion, travel

Why I Think People Don’t Travel More

I recently saw an advertisement that made me do a triple take.
It was an 8-day tour of “The Highlights of Scotland” for $4,055 CAD. EIGHT DAYS. WITHOUT FLIGHTS.
In this tour you were to stay in hostels and do the typical beaten path of Scotland. One of the “inclusions” to sell this was eating scones with a local.

I nearly fainted.

Now, I am really privileged with my abilities to travel around Scotland in particular. My partner is Scottish which means a place to stay, a kitchen to cook in, feeling of comfort etc.
HOWEVER. That figure above for what you are getting is not even remotely in the frame of reference of where the price should be and could be if you were to plan it on your own.

Which immediately made me think: This is why people don’t travel.

Sure, there are a myriad of reasons. Time off work, commitments, fear of flying etc.
But money is probably the bottom line for most people.

So, let’s talk numbers.

$4,055 for the tour.

An Extra $670 if you are a solo traveller (we will assume yes for this)

 If we look at flights from YYZ to GLA (Toronto to Glasgow), the cheapest I have ever paid is $560, that was 3 years ago but we will keep that number as the bottom line ($700 is about average for what I have paid). This is for the SUPER ECONOMY. Like “you are lucky if you get a water” economy.

Then you have food and spending- with the CAD to GBP exchange rate without a kitchen, eating in fairly cheap places- most people doing these types of tours will probably still go to places and get a “full Scottish Breakfast”, get the Sunday Roast, a Haggis supper (you can ABSOLUTELY do these cheaply or deciding on living off of Tesco Meal Deals, but tour guides will often give preferred client restaurants or the tourist map will tell you where to go and those are sponsored.)
But let us average 50 Quid a day for food and bevvy ($85 CAD). This company suggests 450 GBP ($760 CAD) for meals, which probably reflects the restaurants they will guide you to. We will keep with my 400 GBP figure.

Then whatever else you want to spend your money on. A tartan scarf, shortbread etc. Let’s throw an even $100.

Then there is gratuity for your guide/driver/local guides etc. Would is commonly 10 Quid a day (80 GBP~$134 for the trip)

Travel insurance. If you do it through CAA or an equivalent you are looking at roughly 50 bucks. Travel Insurance is mandatory for most tours- some companies force you to buy their package which is often much more expensive.

$4,055 (Tour)+$670 (Solo Travel) +$560 (Flight (MIN)) + $674 (Food) + $100 (Spending) + $134 (Gratuity) + $50 (Insurance)

Before upgrades. Extra museum visits. “Free-time” fun.

Not many people are willing or able to justify spending 6k on 8 days.

I completely understand that there are a lot of mouths to feed with the money that you are spending in going with a tour.

When people are dreaming of going away and tend not to have a lot of time to do proper research, they do a quick Google, open up a tour site and get WHAPPED in the face with a figure like that and go “I’ll never be able to do that/go there/see that/experience this place” thinking that it is a true representation on how much a trip of that caliber can cost. It is a downright shame.

My partner and I decided to backpack around Italy. We ate, drank, were merry. Went to Rome, The Vatican, Pisa, Venice, and Florence. We didn’t stay in a single hostel. Overall it was a 19-day trip. We split expenses fairly evenly, we made our own itinerary, schedule, entered museums and saw so much.
My portion, ALL-IN (Including flights, train, hotel/B&B, meals, spending, activites, small tours, travel insurance etc.) was $2,800. It is safe to assume because of how we split it that two-adults, not really holding much back from our experience, all-in was $5,600 (probably less).

Could we have done it cheaper? Hell yes. Stayed in hostels, skipping meals, eating in cheaper places, less gelato (I ate a lot of gelato…), not going to places like the Colosseum or seeing things like the Statue of David. That was a very “care-free” trip in terms of not allowing ourselves to limit our experience while also not being frivolous. (Had we not gone to Venice that number would probably be less.)

More than double the amount of time, for two people, who did what they wanted, all-in was less than this one 8-day tour to what I wouldn’t even deem the highlights of Scotland.

Travel can be cheap. It requires time, patience, planning, and sacrifice. Would I have loved to stay in a 5-star resort on my backpacking trip? Obviously. But we stayed in B&Bs instead.

Don’t lose hope when you see an outlandish number like the tour I am mentioning above. Take the time to look and plan it for yourself. If you do want to just do it through an agency just for the sake of convenience, call around! Go with a local agency, quite often real people (and not a link on a website) will be able to be a little more flexible.

You CAN travel if you want to and are able to. It is more realistic than a lot of people think. It just takes a little bit of research.

If you have questions on how I plan my travel for so cheap (or how I keep cool in the sea of options) ask-away! Travel is accessible if you know where to look!

“You don’t have to be rich to travel well.” – Eugene Fodor

2 thoughts on “Why I Think People Don’t Travel More”

  1. Love this post and the quote at the end! Travelling can be much cheaper than people think. It just takes a little time to find the best deals!!


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