Traveling however much we want it to be isn’t free and there are certain costs that will have to be met. We backpackers, however, are a thrifty bunch and look to keep the costs low and the fun high during our adventures. This, however, is easier said than done to many as a lack of planning and tracking of costs tend to balloon the final costs and steer you clear of your travel budget.
There are however certain foolproof ways that many backpackers swear by when it comes to staying within a budget.
1. Fly during the low/offseason
Tickets during the peak periods are notoriously expensive and will make a huge dent in your backpacking budget.
2. Use Couchsurfing or Camp
Accommodation is usually one of the hardest hitting expenses for a backpacker. We recommend Couchsurfing as a first option as it allows you to make friends with locals who are bound to teach you more than a hotel or a hostel.
Camping is also a viable idea provided you have the necessary gear with you. Do however remember that wild camping is prohibited in certain nations.
3. Eat local
Stop looking for comfort food from home as they are bound to be expensive. Eat where the locals eat and chances are you’ll discover great food. Do however make sure that you purchase food from shops with high concentrations of people as that’s where the food will be at its freshest.
4. Score free local transport
Transport in between destinations is bound to put pressure on your wallet and we recommend hitchhiking. Its free, easy and is a great way to meet the locals.
5. Learn to haggle
Haggling is vital for staying within the budget as the price of many items on your travels is bound to be costlier for you as a tourist. Do however be reasonable on your quest to haggle, the extra dollar you pay might be their next meal.
Take a look at our haggling guide here.
6. Get a job
Getting a quick job in bartending, cleaning or any other role is a good way to stock up your money coffers. There are plenty of these to be found in the hostels and hotels on your way.
Check out our list for ideas on how to earn money while on the road.
7. Travel in a group
Traveling in a group will help you keep the costs of activities down as its divided. Do however make sure you fit in as group dynamics is important for a great time.
Buying locally sourced materials and cooking for yourself in hostel dorms is a surefire way to keep the costs low. Make sure you prepare enough food, however.
9. Take advantage of the free activities
Most destinations have free walking tours for tourists in English. We highly recommend taking advantage of such tours as it will allow you to learn about your destination from a local.
10. Track your expenses and have fun
Keep careful track of your expenses to ensure you stay within the budget. Do not however prevent yourself from having fun in your quest to stay within the budget. It is better to make memories in a short time than a long penny counting experience!