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19. Price & extras: (full)

SIT solo independent travelers span the gamut of costs expended.

Some may want full-on luxury in SIT solo mode: expensive hotels/B&Bs, fine restaurants, 1st class air travel. Others search for largest dorm room's low bed price, shop big market foodstuffs, cook in hostel’s kitchen & if an option, work in hostel. 

I am somewhere in between, but intentionally at the ‘low end.’ 

WADR, I can spend way beyond the level I travel at, but choose not to because IMO, the more you spend the farther away you get from the culture’s roots. Use expensive Uber/taxis and miss the immersive walking or tuk-tuk experience. 

Taxis are like buses, moving capsules...  insulating you from a culture’s sounds, smells and its nuanced street life by glass; kinda like watching TV. 

My walkabouts always reveal ‘little vignettes of a culture missed from a bus or taxi. [ytlk: MLV: Mandalay]. A mother breastfeeding her child, old men playing a board game, wafting aroma from a home’s window, a violin student practicing in a conservatories's upper floor. [ytlk: old men playing games] 

OTOH, being the hypocrite that I am, I rode China & India’s 4th Class train’s ‘hard seat’ once for ‘the’ experience, but thereafter my bony butt wants padding of a 2nd or 1st class seat. Same with long-distance bus rides: 1st class seat is definitely most comfortable & sleep-worthy.

High-end restaurants particularly near tourist areas are IMO too often Americanized/tourist-ized, however the wealthy of a country certainly have high-quality restaurants, if you can find them, .... perhaps in trustworthy guidebooks or hotel staff who may get a kickback. 🥴

Also, the same dish may have a different recipe in different restaurants perhaps because cooks brought them from their different homes.

SIT travelers and tourist who stay in expensive hotels & B&Bs remind me of an old 1950s TV series character, Paladin of "Have Gun, Will Travel" TV series: A visibly wealthy, worldly man living in a posh San Francisco hotel receives a business card with his iconic ‘silver Knight’ chess piece icon on it.  . . 

Moments later he's been transported in his all-black gunfighter’s outfit, the silver Knight icon on his black holster to ...  some scruffy western town to do justice. A western ‘paladin.’

Staying in an expensive hotel, or B&B, and then dressing down to walk the streets seeking, an authentic cultural experience, seems, IMO, disingenuous and somewhat hypocritical, but, in truth, I am a cheapskate. 😃

Currency fluency;
SIT solos travelers must skillfully & quickly learn to determine USD value of an item priced in the host country’s local currency. 

If you quickly learn to guess/estimate an item’s purchase’s price in host country’s currency,  you can quickly determine its worth to you relative to USD $1 or $10. [pplk: Resource: Soft:  ]

TIP: Easy to role-practice at home, pre-trip, using a free ‘foreign currency conversion’ app.. 

        Bus tours & cruises provide bulk of tourist costs relative to your EXclusive vs INclusive status. Personal incidentals are usually your responsibility: transport to/from starting point, alcohol, entertainment offerings, personal & free time purchases, and exorbitant  souvenirs.


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