How To

Money-saving Advice for Travel Backpacking

Travel backpacking is a great option for those who want to explore on longer trips but are financially limited.

Travel backpacking is a great option for those who want to explore on longer trips but are financially limited.

Before setting out travel backpacking, no matter where you’re going to be gone for a week or several months, check out our tips for ways to save money. Spending too much on travel, food, or housing are sure ways to damper your mood and add stress to an otherwise exhilarating vacation.

The reputation of hostels does not do many of them justice. Portrayed in movies as unsanitary, confined spaces you share with many other people, the reality is that a large number of hostels offer private rooms, bathrooms, high-end cuisine, and laundry service. While a hostel that comes with those features may not be the most cost-effective, it shows how far they have come. Most are dormitory-style shared rooms with a bathroom for every few people, although some have larger community bathrooms. Many endeavor on backpacking trips without the slightest bit of planning so as to fully experience the freedom that comes with travel, but researching the best deals on hostels will save you from financial struggles along the way. If your trip has more of a schedule, reserving spots is a great decision, as better deals are likely to be found when booked in advance.

Packing light is one of the most obvious pieces of advice when it comes to travel backpacking, but how can this save you money? On top of the strain you will save your shoulders and back from, carrying a smaller pack with some extra room it in will allow you some flexibility when it comes to making purchases. Even though travel backpacking is often done by those who wish to stay on a budget, there are likely to be several items you wish to buy to remember your trip by. Being able to foresee this likelihood will make sure both your wallet and backpack are prepared for extra belongings. If you fall in love with an item, but there’s no room in your pack, you must either say your goodbyes or spend additional money to ship the item home.

Check, double check, and triple check your packing list before departure. While it may seem to be a waste of time to review your checklist so many times since any forgotten item can be easily purchased during the trip, it’s worth it. The realization of forgotten supplies is likely to occur at the exact moment that item is needed. If you’re lucky enough to be near a city where things are easily found, then this doesn’t present much of a challenge. However, if you’re exploring in more of a wilderness area, this can pose problems. In addition, consider the price difference hat you may run into and how much that item would cost if you had done prior research.

Learning the language that is used in the country you’re traveling in is also a great skill. You’ll find it’s much easier to not just simply communicate with people, but how they can point you in the right direction of the most affordable places to eat and sleep. Quite a bit of money can be saved this way. Not only will it keep your costs down, but it will make your trip more enjoyable, as locals can inform you of the best places to visit while on your trip that may be more hole-in-the-wall than well-known features.

A big money-saving recommendation is to buy the majority of your food at the grocery store. While traveling in countries that are limited in regard to quick, affordable meals, grocery shopping is your best option. Understanding the language comes in handy with this money-saving technique as well, because depending on the country you’re in, food packaging may not be descriptive enough to understand what it is.

Lastly, take the bus whenever possible. In most countries, this is the most affordable means of travel. Even if you weren’t planning to make as many stops, you may be surprised by how cheap it is to move around. Some of the cheapest places to travel within are Vietnam, Peru, Romania, India, Guatemala, Morocco, and Laos.

Image from KF on the Wikimedia Commons

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