What’s value for travellers?
What is good value on your travels? is it value for money? does it mean getting an extra bed for your child at no charge, a free breakfast, a duvet instead of a blanket, a pool with a view that you share with other travelers, far and away from the crush of humanity, or uptown?
How about value of a different sort? The ability to see, feel and taste more different things than you would at home. I was on a work trip to Valencia last year. I was living near the town square, which was also within walking distance of the beach. After work, I walked back from the office in the cool, sunny Spanish evening. There were tired, jaded protestors in the square; petite women walking their petite dogs; groups of boisterous teenagers seeking the attentions of someone in their group, and me, the tourist soaking in the atmosphere and rays of pink 8pm sun that I had never seen before, right up to my doorstep. I was in thrall, and went upstairs to catch the scene from my balcony, where I could also look over the roofs, and see puffs of smoke from chimneys where families were preparing to dine. That, for me, was the value in where I was staying.
There’s always been a chasm between what practical, family-oriented travelers, and backpacking, solo-travelers perceive as value. To oversimplify, it is vastly preferable for a family to have the trappings of air-conditioning, endless retail options and clean toilets stretch all the way to the very foot of Angkor Wat. Conversely, these trappings should end at the airport for a backpacking traveler. Value for the family traveler is to have the aforementioned trappings cheaply, and stretch as far as possible. The backpacking traveler pays to see something other than that, and only sees value once these symbols of a familiar world fade into the dust cloud behind you.
What are your yardsticks of value?