We backpackers supposedly travel "wrong". Especially short breaks do not understand why we treat ourselves "on the road" and suppose that we travel spartan and cheerless.
If you've been backpacking, you probably find the idea of joyless and Spartan travel as outlandish as I am.
I think that's because of a misunderstanding between travel comfort and travel quality.
Pool: luxury or standard?
Comfort on the road is often advertised because comfort can be sold well. A hotel with large, clean rooms, comfortable beds, air conditioning, swimming pool, room service, buffet breakfast and shuttle service will dazzle you with its superb comfort. The staff tries to make the stay as comfortable as possible.
Traveling can be comfortable. Instead of taking public transport, you can call a taxi. Instead of traveling by night train, you can book a domestic flight. Instead of organizing a trip, you can book a tour. Instead of carrying your backpack in the mountains, you can rent a donkey. Instead of researching, you can pay a guide.
Does your travel experience change with more comfort? Certainly not! Comfort is everything you can do without having a fundamental change in your travel experience.
Quality of travel is among other quality of life. This includes the physical well-being with good and healthy food and the spiritual well-being, for example a steaming cup of tea or coffee - with cheesecake or chocolate, depending on your preference. It even includes the occasional pizza or even a Schweinshaxn with sauerkraut under the palms. Of course, wine and beer are also part of the mental wellbeing, and the most important things are good weather and sunshine.
Quality of life also means independence, so the chance to say no. If your environment limits you in your room for maneuver, then you sit on a luxury trip quickly in a golden cage. Hitchhiking, camping and couchsurfing, as well as multi-day guided tours are, for example, too great an interference with independence. Your time should belong to you and be abundant.
In addition to a high quality of life, travel-specific factors also play a role in travel quality. Fulfill your travel dreams, even if the Taj Mahal costs as much as a whole day in India . Listen to the sound of the sea at night, even if the front beach bungalow costs 50% more than the one in the second row. Ride on camel, horse and elephant if you've always wanted to do that.
Does your travel experience change with more quality? But yes! If you forego quality of travel, your travel experience will deteriorate.
More comfort, better experience?
Comfort is relative
We get used to comfort extremely fast. With the habit of what was just comfort was, soon to the standard and finally a prerequisite. We are only satisfied with even more comfort. At the end of this spiral, we find the best buffet breakfast and instead of indulging in comfort, we have to grab the purse neatly so we do not feel uncomfortable.
Comfort is subjective
Comfort is relative to your habituation level. Maybe you feel my example mentioned above with the pool not as a comfort but as a quality of life. Or maybe you can imagine a life without cheesecake and think I should not do so with my cheesecake comfort need?
Our ability to feel comfortable depends entirely on ourselves. External circumstances do not matter, as long as a few basics are given. How few of these basics really need to be fulfilled to feel comfortable, you will find out in a developing country of your choice.
Breakfast buffets are relative
Travel comfort vs. travel quality
Sometimes it is not clear at first glance whether an offer only promises comfort or offers quality. Just do the 3-year test: Will you remember this experience in 3 years? If not, it's probably just comfort. Better spend your money on quality.
Travel comfort affects travel quality
There are even situations where travel quality suffers from travel comfort. If you take the plane, you will see less of the land. If you eat in the hotel, then you will not know the local food. If you have air conditioning in the room, then you sweat even after 2 weeks in the heat. If you have a lot to do with staff, you will not get any insight into the culture of the country.
Quality goes first!
I like to travel as a backpacker minimalist and with a small footprint. Comfort when traveling is not important to me. The more important to me is quality when traveling. In general I do not like to sacrifice quality of life, for example to save money. If I let myself be carried away, I almost always regret it. If you think backpackers do not enjoy traveling, you should ask a backpacker or even better: just try it yourself! ;)
Comfort and quality in general
The same applies, of course, generally for comfort and quality of life, even at home in Germany. Quality enriches your life, comfort makes no difference. The difficulty is finding out what comfort is for you and what quality.
How do you feel about comfort and quality?