I just finished reading world travel blogger, Mark Wiens 7 Simple (but Effective) Strategies to Save Money to Travel the World. One that I found interesting was his advice to Sell Your Crap and Turn Your Clutter into Cash. He readily admits this money-saving strategy wasn’t his idea. E-bay and Craig’s list have been around for a while. But Wiens does recommend a different approach. One also used by fellow blogger Adam Baker from Man v Debt. Baker’s story too is about consumerism and clutter. His mantra – Sell Your Crap . . . Pay Off Your Debt . . . Do What You Love . . . and in this case what he loves to do is travel.
A lot of us like to travel and if you’re like me you have a lot of crap but I don’t necessarily want to spend time turning my trash into someone else’s treasure or indulging in an occassional treat. I do want to be financially smart and simplify my life but I’m not inclined to give up too many of the perks I’ve worked hard for to see the world. I’d rather travel like an Italian.
I’ve been traveling in Italy with my Italian family and friends for the last 14 years. I’ve learned many things about Italian food and culture, how Italians think and what they value. One lesson I’ve learned is that whenever there is a decision to reach for your Euros, ask yourself this question. Is what you’re spending your money on gotten at un buon prezzo (a good price)? Italians are concerned about quality and spending money on something of value and that extends to the way they travel. Local country inns, locandas and motor hotels are generally favored over the more publicized tourist diggs. Being Italian means loving good food but an overindulgent price tag is not on il menu. Once again favoring locality, my Italian family and friends seek out the authentic and travel off the tourist radar. Not that they don’t like fine dining, after all they are surrounded by some of the best food on the planet. But savvy travelers know that although the number of Michelin stars is certainly a measure of excellence there are many excellent eating experiences on the strada dei vini e dei sapori of Italy without stars.
You can travel at the top of the food chain gobbling up everything in sight or you can travel with a discerning eye. In Italy la dolce vita (“the sweet or good life) is not just a cliche’ from a 60’s Fellini film. Italians truly appreciate and value the beautiful life and strive to live la bella vita. If the wine is bad, don’t drink it. If the food isn’t fresh don’t eat it. If there’s not value in a purchase don’t buy it. But if there is then by all means make it a part of your life. Invest in the experience. Go ahead sell your crap, turn your clutter into cash, forego an occassional treat , break a spending habit. Do whatever you feel you need to do to save money to travel. And when you do, travel smart with money well spent. You don’t have to go on an austerity program to travel well in Italy. If you travel like us you can even stop in Maranello to drive a Ferrari at un buon prezzi. After all you are traveling in Italy.
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