Traveling like a hippie does not mean that you’re stinking up a greyhound bus, although that option does allow for several more empty seats around you to lean into, over, and prop your feet on. Traveling hippie-style this day and age means that you keep an eye out for reasonably priced alternatives to corporate hotels and think ethically about whom you’re buying services and tourist activities from.
I will compare two different trips to the same place, Hawaii, and show the difference in pricing between the choices of the suave businessman on vacation and a hippie on an adventure. My friend, let’s call him Alejandro, took a trip to Maui. He paid about the same price I did for a round-trip plane ticket, roughly $700 because the tickets were bought a few months in advance of the trip. During his trip, Alejandro spent about $1000 to stay at a nice hotel on the beach for one week. I, the hippie in this story, flew to the Big Island and spent two weeks, because I paid precisely $5 per night to camp on various scenic beaches that the Island had to offer. Some of these beach-camping hot-spots even had clean and well-functioning showers – my SWORN ENEMY!
In comparison, by choosing to camp at the beaches available with a $60 tent, I saved $870 on living expenses and was able to stay twice as long.
Now, let’s talk about ethical purchase of tourist attractions. Other people are learning something that hippies have known all along: lives other than human lives matter, and we would be bored on this planet without our furry, scaled, or finned brothers, sisters, and distant cousins. With that fact in mind, I’d like to encourage both avoiding tourist services that have violated ethics with interaction with other species and stress that there are ways to see and interact with other species you’ve always dreamed of without having to put them in danger or spend a lot of money.
Let’s again compare my friend and I. Alejandro went on a whale tour without researching the company he was purchasing services from. He paid about $100 for the tour. Come to find out, that company was one of the groups that steered their boats too close to the whales. The NOAA, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has long set a guideline that tourist boats are to remain 100 yards away from whales in the water at all times. Some tourist companies disregard this rule to please their customers. Pleasing customers has come at the cost of injuring some of the whales, slashing them, and running them over with boats.
In comparison, I bought a $20 snorkel set and swam on a rocky beach on the Big Island where the waves weren’t harsh enough to crash me into the rocks. Without causing any harm or spending any more funds, I found a pair of large sea turtles heading for the shore. They stopped, I stopped, and we stared at one another, startled. They moved on their way, I moved on my way. I got to see them and younger sea turtles, though I of course kept my distance.
Travel is more than possible both at a budget and in a way that doesn’t cause harm. When people remember we are part of the earth and live here, and aren’t just visiting, it reminds us how to act responsibly in regards to the connection we have with the environment and also allows us to not be taken advantage of by corporations that want to charge us for things that could be close to free. My friend Alejandro probably had some great champagne and a great view of the beach, but I was able to have several scenic beach views, and adventures that barely cost me anything.
Being a hippie pays while traveling.