Backpacking by definition doesn’t only mean someone who travels around with a huge backpack strapped on their back. Backpacking can also mean someone who wants to save money on their travels. Even if you’re still a student or well into your middle-aged years, saving money during your travels will make perfect sense. You don’t want to travel around, enjoying the first few weeks then struggle with money in the last few weeks. You won’t be able to enjoy your trip, and you might even be forced to go home prematurely. No matter where you travel, here are a few tips on how to save money.
Less is More
Don’t bring too many things when packing your bags. This will slow you down, making movement difficult and you might miss out on sights along the way. Imagine lugging around your heavy carrier or bag around while trying to catch that train or using public transportation. You’ll have to mind your belongings all the time, taking your focus away from your travel. In addition, you’ll also save on airfare fees since you won’t pay for excess weight charges or checked-in bags.
A good method is to pack only 2 or 3 items per clothing type. This means that you don’t have to bring 6 pairs of jeans or 10 t-shirts for your trip. If you’re expecting to travel for a long time, then finding a laundry shop is mandatory. For underwear though, make sure that you pack good enough for a whole week.
A lot of people don’t like the idea of buying used items. However for backpacking, there are a lot of good quality items which the owner doesn’t use anymore. In your case also, you won’t be backpacking all your life so you won’t need that expensive gear for just a yearly trip. As long as the item’s condition is good and it’s something that you can rely on during your travels, then it’s a good buy. If you travel with expensive equipment, you’ll already be wasting money even before your trip.
Don’t Bring Valuables
During your travels, there’s no need for you to bring that expensive graduation ring or necklace handed down in your family. Again, one of the basic principles in backpacking or traveling is to bring only the basics. Your focus is on traveling or seeing new sights and experiencing new things, not flaunting your riches around. In the event when your bag is lost or your valuables are swiped, you won’t lose expensive and valuable things. When you pack your things, keep in mind if an item is replaceable or not. You’ll be able to cut down on your items and on your luggage weight.
Check-in at Hostels
Hostels are a backpacker’s best friend. These places provide a place to stay for the night without breaking your budget. After all, you’ll only be staying for a few nights so you don’t really need an expensive suite or hotel-room like amenities. Plus, staying in a hostel is a good way to meet fellow backpackers whom you can swap stories and traveling tips with.
For more savings, you can choose a hostel with a shared kitchen. This will give you the option to prepare your own meals, avoiding the need for restaurants and expensive food shops. Of course, you can always eat out, but it shouldn’t be on a daily basis when you’re trying to save money. If you indeed find one, just make sure to clean up after yourself – you’re not the only one who will use the kitchen and you’re not at home.
Purchase Alcohol in Stores
For popular tourist destinations, alcohol can be very expensive. This is because bars and clubs live off tourists and everything they serve is on a “tourist price”. You can instead buy your alcohol and snacks in a convenience store. They will be at a reasonable price and you’ll still be able to enjoy getting tipsy if that’s your thing. For locations, you can drink in your hostel if it’s allowed and some places also allow public drinking so you can check on that.
Take a Walk
If you want to see the sights and sounds of a new place, the best method for this is to take a walk instead of using public transportation just to go to tourist spots. You’ll be able to experience the local scenery without spending too much. In fact, some of the best spots in a local area is only accessible by foot. Plus, you might also meet interesting locals along the way who can point you to a good place only locals know. Just make sure that they can be trusted and you should keep your wits about you when you take evening walks all by yourself.
Mix Credit and Cash
One of the most reliable places you can story your money is in the bank. You can bring credit cards with you, making sure that you can use your card internationally without any additional charges. A lot of banks offer this feature and you can even create another account just for traveling purposes. This way you can control and limit your spending if you need to. Spending cash can be too easy and you might not realize your total expenses.
However one problem with this method is that some places might not accept credit cards. This is why you should also keep a small amount of money with you at all times. This will serve as an emergency fund of sorts when you need it. For example, when you need to take a taxi in the middle of the night, you have to solely rely on your cash for this.
Choose Local Delicacies
The temptation to buy in an area’s classiest restaurant can be very overwhelming for the traveler. Since you’re only going to travel in that place once, you would think that you should try their best foods. However an area’s best food isn’t always in a restaurant. Small food shops or even stalls are a good place to try authentic local food at a reasonable price. Some street foods are even very cheap yet still healthy.
Be Cautious with Scammers
Even in the most cosmopolitan area, there are still pickpockets and scammers. They prey on tourists for a living. No matter how hard you try to blend in, there will always be a way to sniff you out. It can be when you ask for directions, how you dress, or when you’re carrying that huge backpack. It’s best to research about your destination first so that you’ll know if they’re telling the truth or trying to mislead you. You also need to be familiar about the actual price in an area so you know your budget and if they are overcharging you.
Backpacking is a very great adventure and it’s not that expensive if you know what to do. There are many more ways on how to save your money when backpacking. The items listed here are basic guidelines and something that simply requires your common sense when you travel.