Travel Backpacker "wrong"?

Travel quality or travel comfort

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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.

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?

travel comfort

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.

life quality

travel quality

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?

External circumstances

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.

Relatively comfortable

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.

Your opinion?

How do you feel about comfort and quality?

  1. It probably plays a role, what exactly you expect.
    If you like to be on vacation Pasha and to be served, who may just have other claims to his personal holiday quality. Maybe it does not matter to him to see something of the country - just relax. To experience or get something he does not have at home.

    Personally, I can do without such luxury well. Want to see more of the country and try to travel slowly. Unfortunately, I do not always succeed. I either do not have the time I can / do not want to take for professional reasons or have family responsibilities.

    One may just check his list from the guidebook, the other will look for something that is not in the guidebook.
    I just think everyone defines luxury and quality individually. What is pure luxury for one person may be quality for the other.

    • What you say has a lot to do with the eternal discussion "traveler / tourist", right?

      Who wants to relax in his 2 weeks of annual leave with as much comfort as possible and a maximum of a guided bus tour, which is so far from my travel ideas that I honestly did not enter.

      I was more concerned with the different demands of different backpackers, who can still be very tall.

  2. We have just returned from a backpacker vacation in Thailand with three children. And I find it difficult to see comfort and quality so differentiated. We preferred to use guesthouses or hotels with wifi (comfort), so we could upload our travelogues and check on the internet, which means of transport we could best use to reach our next destination or what our next destination should be. The result was that we were able to travel independently in the speed we wanted. We even had a pool with us, but for us as a parent this was more in quality, because the kids really enjoyed it.
    We are not a fan of organized tours, which are everywhere like sand on the sea. What good is it to me if I see more in one day than I can cope with and yet could not really enjoy anything because there is not enough time for a place? As long as the planning of a trip to certain places / attractions with reasonable effort itself is achievable, some we like that and also enjoy this independence and you're also a bit proud to have managed it yourself. But there are situations where you have to resort to such guided tours. Namely, if the organization would cost too much time, money, and especially nerves, and if you could only see half of what you imagine. At that moment, a guided tour enriched our lives and gave us an unforgettable experience.
    We can forgo comfort as long as the travel experiences do not suffer. Because these impressions must hold for at least a year, so that you can remember at home in stressful situations back to the time and revel in thoughts to recharge your batteries.

    • Alex, we may agree more than you think. In the article, the examples pool and tour are arbitrary and do not claim universality.

      As I said, comfort-being is relative and subjective. If you would not change your boundaries with children, I would be quite surprised!

  3. Hi Florian,

    I do not have the feeling that luxury travelers or package travelers think bad about us backpackers. I think they are more jealous that backpackers have plenty of time, time they would like. In my experience, it is rather we backpackers who can not accept other forms of travel. So despise travelers who travel a country in just 2 weeks, or stay in luxury hotels ..

    Best regards,
    André

    • Hi André,

      So online, I have sometimes seen that package travelers complain about the "backpacker pack".

      I was even in the situation that I have to defend myself because I no longer spend money traveling. In the future I would answer that I want quality and not comfort ...

  4. I am fortunate enough to know both sides: the comfortable group travel, the great luxury hotel and the backpacking trip with the simple hostel. Both have their justification, both can mean comfort and quality, depending on the circumstances. Travel quality can also be that you learn about a country and people through a good tour guide that you could never have worked out for yourself. It can also be quality of travel if you "let others do it" and you have time and freedom for the country, its history and its people, if you do not spend most of your day searching for the next hostel. I like to travel with my backpack, but I find it wonderful to have my own room, clean linen and a good breakfast. Even after 3 years, I like to remember two weeks all-inclusive 5-star holiday in Turkey. And now I'm planning my next backpack trip to China, looking forward to a simple hostel in a small village that I've just found, and wondering if I'll spend the last 2 nights in a luxury hotel. Everything goes, everything means travel quality for me.

  5. Personally, I have experienced what you call quality traveling, both funnily and at a very spartan level, and at a fairly high level of comfort. For example, on the one hand in a local guesthouse in Sudan and on the other hand in a relatively expensive bar with a view over Istanbul. Both create deep moments of experience, just in a completely different way.

    I think that just because quality, according to the above definition, can in principle mean anything, the distinction between comfort and quality does not make much sense, it does not say anything. Whether an experience produces memories is already the more interesting question (but otherwise unpredictable), only the mA has little to do with a special distinction between comfort and quality.

    It is certainly true that you can set yourself up in comfort and thus lose your open-mindedness.

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