I’m interrupting the travelogue of cheap travel destinations to share some photos with you. We’ve been looking at the part of the world that includes Indonesia, and I already made passing reference to Mt. Merapi. Reuters has posted a series of pictures you’re not likely to see in the US newspapers. Some of the pictures are pretty graphic. Here’s an “attractive” photo
This is a time exposure. click to enlarge
Here’s the link:
Don’t go there unless you can go to help out. This event hasn’t gotten a lot of coverage in the US, and I haven’t checked out ways to donate help, but this is not vacation material, and it’s occurring right in the middle of a very attractive part of the world…
This principle isn’t exactly a “how to spend less” rule, but it makes a good rule of thumb:
The less you spend, the more you will interact with the locals. Tourist attractions tend to be set up to isolate tourists from “furriners” and make it easy for the “guests” to spend money. Take a bus tour. You’re with the other tourists. When they stop, where do they do it? At places to buy stuff, where the locals are people whose livelihood is selling to tourists. Those beautiful luxury resorts, to be truly luxurious, are isolated from the (often poor) people of the country. People spending money on themselves don’t want to be bothered by beggars.
Exotic Zanzibar. Tourists are on the beautiful beaches, not here
Of course, this locale would disturb anyone’s vacation (but see the next principle). But if you get out into the countryside, away from the slums, in a lot of countries the people are making a living and getting by. They’re a pretty interesting place to visit, and you’re more likely to pay the local rates. Yes, you won’t have a liveried waiter at your every beck and call, but you’ll have real life experiences that you’ll never forget. All this suggests the next principle.
Principle 4: What if you volunteer instead of vacation? I never heard of a missionary of any flavor who wouldn’t love to have some folks come and help out. What skills do you have? Someone in an exotic locale can use them. There are lots of quasi- and non-governmental organizations out there, too, if something like that is more your style. Here’s another view of Zanzibar:
This guy is helping out in a school
Seriously—consider doing some good instead of just spending money on yourself.
More next time. What ideas do you have to share?