What “budget-travel” teaches us? A guide for dummies

Dear friends, last week I had a whirlwind trip to Hyderabad.

For non-Indians, Hyderabad is a city of-

  • heritage,
  • chaos,
  • delicious biryani,
  • traffic, 
  • pearls,
  • dust,
  • Koh-i-noor and many more.


Before the trip, I thought that this trip would give me enough IG-worthy, carefully-manicured moments to sustain blogmas.

5 things _budget-travel_ can teach you


Turned out, I’m lazy af when it comes to tapping the mobile screen before an iconic-something, I’m seeing for the first time.


The Result –

I’m back with tanned skin, fried hair, un-inspiring photos and maybe…a bit of wisdom only budget-trips can teach you.


1. Don’t get frazzled by anybody claiming to tour a continent multiple times


I know when travelers (or “nomads/vagabonds”) blow a horn about visiting a continent/country many times in a short life-span ( like: “ I’ve backpacked across Europe 5 times under 25”), we should take it with a pinch of salt.


Rather, it is a part of bragging.


We’ve explored only Hyderabad and it’s immediate surroundings and turned out-

5 days make too short a duration to explore a historic city properly.



The Japanese doll, Salar Jung Museum


We were intended to use as many public vehicles as possible. So-

  • waiting for public bus/metro,
  • bargaining fare with bawdy auto-drivers,
  • jostling our way thorough jam-packed roads during peak office-hours, chipped way precious time..



Remember: everyone is seething under fear of missing out. Yes, that 22-year digital nomad who traveled through Europe/Asia/Australia many times, as well. .



2. Airbnb might be disrupting the way we travel, but it’s not for all


Technology is imperative but might not be all-inclusive. Or it might become all-inclusive when a disruption happens in already disruptive-technology.


This was the first time we used Airbnb in order to book our stay in Hyderabad and it had been a fine experience.


Guess what I sensed?

For toddlers, who need constant diaper changing, boiling water, potty training in their lives- Airbnb might not be the best choice.


Same goes for senior citizens who are on medication, get cranky if morning tea is not available by 7.00 am or say-

“I’m paying so someone should be on my beck-and-call for 24*7”.


Our Airbnb flat was in an apartment complex at the suburbia and I didn’t find any supermarket/medicine shop within stone’s throw away.

The closest one took minimum 15 minutes by foot.


Here comes the biryani-top


We rented via Airbnb to save money. So we didn’t mind hunting the road up and down for one tea-strainer/ paracetamol but it could’ve been strenuous for my father.



3. Local drivers tend to be “certified” political analysts



“Every door is the right door”

I’ve seen it before.

The local cabbies would teach you about the-

  • political condition of the state/city you’re in,
  • the incompetence of police,
  • the youth going astray, etc.

In case, you want to “soak into the atmosphere”, you know whom to lend an ear or make the good use of another,if the chatter is non-stop.


4. Not all foreign tourists (read: “white” tourists) come loaded


Every museum, palace, the park we visited during our trip, the entry fee is way higher for “white” foreigners.

This made me so mad during my recent trip, whereas I’ve been seeing it since childhood and never given it any thought until now.


The Green Lantern


I mean, having lighter skin-tone and coming from a country with better passport ranking/GDP doesn’t automatically make someone money-bag.

This is shameful and callous- from the administration’s part.


5. Things that look grandiose on pictures/books may look underwhelming in person

Before Hyderabad tour, I saw many Hyderabad pictures on IG, read “top 10 things to do”/ “top 10 dishes to eat”/“top 10 items to buy” in Hyderabad.


However, the top 10 things to do turned out to be-

  • chaotic,
  • marred by long-qued,
  • over-expensive and
  • lengthy.


The top 10 foods are good, but not otherworldly good.


Top 10 items to buy came off as –

  • inflated,
  • non-exclusive and
  • something you can buy online at discounted price.



Upstairs, downstairs…


*Dear Travel Influencers of IG*, do guide us authentically next time.


Related post: 10 random things that made me happy




What other travel myths you found untrue, overhyped while hitting the road? Let me know in comments.
















































12 thoughts on “What “budget-travel” teaches us? A guide for dummies

  1. Becky Ginther says:

    Wow, that’s crazy to think that they up the prices for “white” foreigners! I agree that you shouldn’t compare your travels to people who do it all the time and brag about it. No matter how often you have the opportunity to travel there will always be more things to see and do!

    • Jheelam says:

      Actually price is elevated for foreigners, irrespective of nationality. But if someone is brown, there is a chance to pass off as Indians. For “white” ones, that is impossible. Couldn’t agree more about the last part of what you wrote.

  2. Stephanie says:

    This was such a fascinating read. I guess I never really considered the end “cost” to traveling budget-friendly. Good to know for the future when considering places to visit and how much to save!

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