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I feel no shame in travelling on a budget. There are many ways to travel. You can book on to a tour, you can stay in luxury or you can live – as they say – on a shoestring.

In India and Nepal, a shoestring can still buy you the life of a Prince, even if it falls just short of being a King.

Now in Singapore I’ve already I’ve had my fair share of down-the-nose stares. There are luxury hotels, air conditioned perfume malls and generally many a place where my scruffy trousers attract some attention. (The same trousers which picked their way through slum passages some four days ago.)

I am lucky enough to be able to afford my passage to so many places around the world. Barely anybody I met in India or Nepal will ever have the chance to explore even some of the places I will see. Even living on the bare minimum here in Singapore, I am living in absolute luxury.

I have, though, been living on little for my whole trip. My budget has not only been manageable, but has in fact also created some unbeatable experiences which 5* travellers could never find. It is for these reasons that I walk tall and proud past people who look down at me.

Without buying guides I have discovered hidden gems unnoticed by crowds. Without gracing tourist hotspots I have eaten sumptuous fare at charming local restaurants. Without staying in classy hotels I’ve stayed on farmlands with home-grown breakfasts. And without lounging in air conditioned coaches I have jostled with friendly passengers on bus rooftops.

Budget-constrained travel in fact seems to open new passages that remain closed to those with open wallets. It is enjoyably challenging, culturally illuminating, and something to be proud of.

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