Travel Tradeoffs

Everything in life comes with a trade-off, and when it comes to travel some of these can change your entire experience. While at work, a coworker noticed how quickly I take my lunch and commented that I'm practically done eating before I even sit down. Now this I take as a compliment because for me this means I'm doing things right. For those that need to do some preparing for trips, whether financially, strategically, planning, etc. recognizing which tradeoffs are most important for you can make all the difference. Let's take a look at a few that I consider:

1. Live to eat vs. Eat to live - For me it's quite simple, I LOVE FOOD. Food is one of the greatest ways to experience the true culture of wherever you find yourself, and for me it is an area of travel I never want to skimp on. The best way I've learned to remedy this is by "eating to live" when I'm nearest home. What is eating to live? It's a pretty simple approach actually. Unless there is a special occasion (holidays, birthdays, etc.), I try to make an attempt to not spend ridiculous amounts of money on my regular everyday meals. Eat to maintain yourself.

As for when I am traveling...I allow myself to indulge! Shrimp po'boys, lamb kebabs, fermented shark(?), go for it! Live through the food. Eat what the locals eat. Get out of your tastebuds' comfort zone!

2. Hotel vs. Hostel - Up until ~3 years ago I was oblivious to what hostels were. I think my only recollection of that word was from some movie I hadn't even watched (and I don't think it represented hostels in the best light either). Anyway, since then I have come to love hostels. For young travelers on a budget, and looking to save a couple bucks, hostels are a fantastic alternative to hotels. They are usually a fraction of the cost and for those social butterflies or those looking to break from their social angst, hostels are a great place to meet other passionate wanderlusters.

Now don't get me wrong, hotels have their perks like their amenities, familiarity, private rooms, etc.

For me, if I can find an appealing hostel, that's my preferred choice for this lodging tradeoff.

3. One-way vs. Round-trip - This tradeoff may not always hold true, but in some instances purchasing one-way tickets to and from your destination(s) can end up with extra money in your pocket. I can't say why this is, but from my experiences buying one-ways is the cheaper option. Now this comes with some hiccups. Going this route usually means you'll be flying multiple airlines. This can complicate things such as luggage policies, flight delays, or just confusion to your itinerary.

Booking your entire flight plan in one round-trip might be less of a headache for some. For myself, I'm 50/50. If I can save a considerable amount of money I'll choose that option.

4. Ridesharing vs. Public transit - We've all heard of Uber and Lyft, but have you heard of Arlanda Express or University of Colorado A Line? This travel tradeoff shares some similarities with #3 on our list: is the extra "work" worth it or is convenience your priority? I get it, most people who leave home to escape reality are looking to unwind and relax. The last thing they want to do is get stressed out. I'm torn between these decision. So much so that I typically utilize both options on the same trip.

Ridesharing =
+'s: convenient, flexible, time saving
-'s: miss out on genuine experience, more expensive

Public transit =
+'s: cheap, more widely used, live like a local
-'s: sometimes confusing, time restraints, smaller scope of destinations

The thing to consider with travel tradeoffs is that everyone will have there own preferences and that is okay! As long as you are doing what makes your experience the best for yourself, go for it! Speaking along those lines, I'd love to hear about any travel tradeoffs you've come across in your adventures. Let me know here, on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! @theroamingcolt #traveltradeoffs #theroamingcolt

Just wing it,



  1. Good read! Although, I’d like some photo creds above please.

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