Top 10 unknown challenges behind picture-postcard posts of budget travel

It’s not always carefree beach days and endless romantic sunsets in resort-style living. Sometimes, there are challenges to overcome in the life of budget traveler on a continuous, never-ending journey.

This list isn’t exhaustive, it’s a top 10 off the top of my head, and it’s in no particular order.

  1. The water goes out when you’re taking a shower and your spouse has to come in with a jug to pour over your head, or, the water pressure is a trickle.
  2. Your Airbnb rental runs out of gas and there’s no hot water and no way to cook.
  3. There are no emissions regulations in some countries and you gag on car, truck, bus emissions and other pollutants.
  4. Sometimes you’re walking down a pretty street your senses are assaulted with the smell of urine, or worse.
  5. Beggars constantly ask you for money, including while you are dining at a street side cafe or a beach joint.
  6. Vendors approach you continuously to buy their wood carvings, wall art and other large nonsensical items you have no use for while living a life of budget backpack travel, but you are on the same beach each day and see the same person walking down the beach under a ton of hammocks and blankets in 85 degree weather (or hotter) and you feel a little guilty for being lucky enough to just lie there and keep reading your Kindle Paperwhite day after day.
  7. You never realized how dependent you were on Wifi until it goes out – sometimes for days at a time in the entire town where you are staying.
  8. When bugs crawl out of the drains… yea, that happens.
  9. Public bathrooms sometimes have no seats, no paper, no soap, no water, and you had to pay five pesos for the honor.
  10. As fellow long-term traveler Emily points out, your family isn’t around to make and share Christmas cookies.

These minor points don’t deter us. They are part of the adventure, and make it all the more authentic, fun, real – and they make me grateful.

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