The "Budget" Budget
For most people not born rich, the reality is that when we have time and energy, we lack the money to live it up -- and when we have money, we lack the time and energy to enjoy ourselves. Having never found the solution to having both at once, I keep going with time over money.
Being a person with more tic-toc than cha-ching, my trips tend to last longer than an average American tourist's while costing less per day. This is what's known as being a “shoestring budget backpacker” category of traveler. I go to counties where I can get by on 40 USD per day or [preferably much] less. I don't use vacations
to “pamper” myself with spas or shopping, but to see and experience as much of a foreign place as possible. This allows me to take the money an average American tourist drops in a week on a generic Disney / Vegas / golfing vacation and make it last a month in a foreign budget destination.
The best news of all? When it comes to world exploration, being on a low budget does not mean getting the suckiest, nastiest, lowest-quality goods, services and experiences! Quite the opposite: some of the most delicious foods I have eaten, the most picturesque places I've visited, the most welcoming accommodations I've stayed in, the most beautiful handicrafts I bought and the most culturally enthralling activities I have partaken in were not expensive and, in many cases, cost nothing at all.
And that is one of the few things rich people can't buy in this mortal world: in-the-moment authenticity. Ironically, thanks to the impenetrable “exclusivity” surrounding wealth and power, rich travelers are walled off from a lot of amazing cultural happenings and fascinating social circles (some happening right under their noses). So, don't bother envying the rich for all their comforts and opportunities in travel. You can get around on a small fraction of the money they throw away and still taste the sweetest fruits of cultural delights around the world.