Good backpacking tips for limited budget

Those who want to travel but do not have a big budget. MAY tips below are suitable for us.

Just because you’re pinching pennies doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun backpacking trip. It does mean being smart, finding ways to cut corners and watching your spending throughout your journey. Figure out which country you want to visit and how you’re getting there, and then make it your goal to have a little money left over for your next trip. Use these 10 tips to keep your backpacking trip on budget.

Pack light

The key to backpacking is “less is more.” If you try to bring 4 pairs of jeans, there’s no way you’re hiking that mountain or catching that last minute train. Leave stuff behind and it will all be there when you come home. This includes objects with sentimental value! Whether it’s your favorite piece jewelry or a letter from a grandparent, bringing valuable items is asking for disaster. Only pack what you wouldn’t mind replacing. Dodge an emotional disaster and avoid paying airlines for overweight luggage or extra checked bags.

Camp out

If possible, try camping out for at least part of your journey. In developed countries, there are plenty of comfortable campsites that won’t dent your budget. It’s a great option for a seasoned camper who doesn’t mind carrying their own tent. Just remember to stay safe, especially if you’re backpacking solo.

Get a hostel with a kitchen

If camping isn’t your thing, then try one of the hundreds of backpacker-friendly hostels across the world. Check to see if they have complimentary breakfast or, better yet, a communal kitchen stocked with basic utensils and cooking items, as these are the best places to backpack. Making a couple meals at your hostel will save you a lot of money in the long run. A communal kitchen is also a great place to meet and bond with other travellers.

Bring your own snacks

Backpacking can be exhausting. Snacking between meals will help you stay engaged in all your adventures. Even in the cheapest countries to visit, local vendors know this, and will upcharge tourists who come to them for a quick bite. Bring your own granola bars and save that money.

Buy a train pass

In certain regions, like Western Europe or Asia, you can pre-purchase a train pass that allows you to travel relatively freely over a period of time. If you know you’ll be travelling a lot within the region, the pass could save you money over the course of your trip.

Walk instead of taking a cab

It may seem convenient to take a cab to your destination, but don’t do it! Between the mileage cost, tipping, and the added secret tourist fee (many cab drivers can charge tourists more than locals because they don’t disclose rates) you could rack up a hefty bill. Walking a little extra is good for your body, the environment and your wallet. If something is too far to walk, then take a bus or metro. Public transit costs less than $2 in many cities.

Be careful of pickpockets and scam artists

Whether you’re backpacking through Europe or Southeast Asia, every city has some form of pickpockets or scam artists. They can spot a tourist from down the street and they will take advantage of you. The fastest way to lose money when traveling is having it stolen, so keep that cash close to your body, in hidden pockets and money belts.

Visit the liquor store

As you’ve probably realized, local businesses are eager to squeeze every penny possible from foreigners—and can you really blame them? Bars and clubs located near major tourist sites will charge more for beers, because travellers won’t know the difference. Pregame at your hostel and buy less drinks when you go out. Many cities also allow public drinking, but check the local laws in your travel guide before you leave.

Also be aware that a lot of European clubs use drink cards. The club gives you a card when you enter, it gets punched each time you order a drink and then you cash out your card at the end of the night. Pay attention to your bartender to prevent over-punching. And don’t lose your card! The fees for a lost card can be astronomical.

Avoid tourist traps

Follow the locals. Where do they go for lunch, how do they spend their Friday afternoons? Make a list of things that are free all week: parks, sculpture gardens, window-shopping, etc. Make sure you have enough free entertainment throughout your backpacking trip that you never feel forced into paying money (take advantage of free walking tours, but keep in mind you’re expected to tip your guide). Then figure out which tourist attractions offer the best deals. Museums and playhouses sometimes offer student discounts, or free/reduced admission on certain days. Prioritize your activities to keep net costs low.

Travel with a group

Solo backpacking is a freeing experience, but if your friends are willing and able, bring them along! Travelling in a group can save you major money. For starters, you share necessities and downsize your luggage. One person carries toiletries, the other brings snacks. In a group, less food is wasted and you can take advantage of each other’s particular set of skills. You might not know how to pitch a tent, but your friend does (see tip 2). Meanwhile, you might be the only one who knows how to cook (see tip 3). Of course, travelling with other people complicates the planning process, and you might not always agree on where to backpack, but don’t let that scare you. Even if you split up for part of the trip, you can reconvene in certain cities.

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