As a traveller, you will be exposed to scams, unfair pricing, and people living in extreme poverty. These financial truths affect you mentally and emotionally. This is my three (3) point strategy for promoting inner peace and maximizing travel benefits.
Let’s first imagine a few scenarios. Have you ever taken a cab from the airport and discovered you overpaid for your transport, or purchased an item in a market and later wondered if your negotiation was adequate? Have you experienced emotional discomfort after refusing to give money to a street child, or paid a substantially higher price for a handicraft because you knew the proceeds would benefit the under-privileged or disabled?
The way you spend your money during travel will have certain undeniable affects on your emotions and thoughts. While there is strong evidence to suggest that travel influences life in powerfully positive ways, I believe that it is critical to synthesize a variety of Stressful Experiences Associated with Travel to actualize these benefits.
In the following sections we will examine psychological phenomena, and derive practical steps to help nurture a healthy traveler’s mind and maximize how much travels benefit your life.
One study on Consumer Behavior in Travel and Tourism identified seven (7) dimensions of consumer dissatisfaction. Several of these dimensions are apparent as we explore commonly experienced travel occurrences including taxi fraud, and unfair pricing differentials.
For me, one of the most stressful recurring travel challenges is the disorienting airport terminal exit. The typical confrontation is characterized by a sea of new faces screaming to discover where you are from and where you are headed. I have, more than once, concluded that getting from the airport to my hotel should have been cheaper than the amount surrendered. In every instance I was a victim of dishonesty and poor service quality as cab drivers exploited an information asymmetry. And each time this happens, I find myself angered to know that the first exposure to my new host country is tainted with the explicit violation of my trust.
Nevertheless, dissatisfaction in its many dimensions ultimately serves to distract us from fully synthesizing our travel experience, and so we should avoid dissatisfaction.
Regret is defined as a negative, cognitively based emotion that we experience when realizing or imagining that our present situation would have been better had we acted differently.
Regret crops up on travel all the time. Constrained by time and money, we are continually left wondering if one decision or another would have produced a more rich, fulfilling, cultural, euphoric, or otherwise satisfying experience.
No matter how long we have been travelling, it seems we can always feel as though there was something else we would have liked to experience. In fact, most travelers admit that the more you see, the more you realize how much more there is out there!
A common traveler’s mantra is Carpe Diem or “sieze the day.” In order to fulfill this slogan, by definition we must be “present.” More precisely, we must not be occupied with thoughts of regret.
Cognitive dissonance is a state in which people are observed to undertake mental gyrations to reconcile conflicting thoughts. For example, a well-to-do person might think that she or he is a good, generous person, and yet refuses to donate money or food to a begging child on the street. How do they reconcile the cognitive dissonance? For some, they perceive the beggar as evil, lazy, or otherwise unworthy of help. Alternatively, they reason that sparing a few rupees contributes to a systematic enabling of child exploitation, a practice they do not condone.
Another great example of cognitive dissonance is presented by Andy Jarosz in his article on Why Other People’s Holidays are Always Great, where he helps us reconcile the difference between the fantastic stories we hear from those who have returned from their breaks and the miserable faces that many of the same people wear while they are actually enduring their holiday.
Here again, it is important to note that a distracted mind is unable to synthesize the travel experience. In otherwords, by thinking too much we don’t optimally enjoy our travels, and learn from the lessons presented to us.
Earlier we abstracted dissatisfaction, regret, and dissonance within several common travel spending scenarios. Logically we concluded that if we can reduce their effects on our psyche we augment the benefits of travel. In this section we will focus on highlighting practical steps to diminish dissatisfaction, reduce regret, and denounce dissonance.
Avoid the Relativity Trap
Focus on what the money means to you globally. In other words “what is a 30 rupee tea compared to a $5 chai latte at Starbucks?”
Own Your Destiny
A Duke University Study found that “Persons characterized by greater control over their destinies and effectiveness in life are not likely to permit themselves to experience (or even acknowledge) great upset during buying activities, nor in other personal affairs, for that matter.” In this regard, by taking responsibility for your future you can experience less dissatisfaction and more joy.
Do Your Research
“People can still feel regret if they put forth cognitive effort but are still dissatisfied with the product,” Park said. “But consumers can feel less regret if they decide ‘I’ve done all that I can’ instead of ‘I should have done more and this is my responsibility.’” So it is important to have done diligent research to ensure that you understand your product, and reduce the potential for regret.
By ensuring your negotiation skills are sharp, and adapted to your local environment, you can eliminate the cycle of thoughts that make you wonder if you paid too much. When haggling be flexible and polite; remember that the small difference in money saved probably means more to a local family in a tough economy.
Appreciate Your Priviledge
While you may be paying more than a local, your currency is often stronger. It is important to realize that the principles of market justice such as “things are worth exactly what people are willing to pay for them” and “to each what his/her market-determined purchasing power permit him to buy”? are the same principles that promote a strong valuation of our currency ultimately determining the prices we pay while travelling.
Wash Your Hands
The simple physical act of washing ones hands can have a cleansing affect on our psyche.
So go forth, engage in resolute, peaceful spending, and enjoy every minute of it!Share This: