Backpacking on a Budget: How to Plan a Trip Without Breaking the Bank


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Backpacking On A Budget: 8 Core Tips For Planning A Thrifty Trip

Backpacking can be an exciting and rewarding experience, with the chance to explore new cultures, expand your horizons, and make new friends in far-flung places. But it’s no secret, it can also be expensive. Traveling to countries far off, purchasing one-way tickets, eating out, and booking accommodations all adds up quickly! That’s why in this article, we’ll look at 8 helpful tips to consider planning a backpacking trip on a budget.

1. Research Cheap Flight Options

The most expensive part of any trip is typically the flights, which, depending on your destination, can cost upwards of hundreds of dollars. To help save on costs, our first tip is to research multiple flight sites and compare prices. Take a look at online travel agencies such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Skyscanner, which often have better deals than booking directly with the airlines.

Additionally, it may be worth looking into airlines that offer low-cost flights. For instance, in Europe, there are companies such as EasyJet and Ryanair. Also, compare the prices at different times of the year as fares have a tendency to fluctuate.

2. Find Cost-Effective Accommodation

Accommodation can be another hefty expense when it comes to backpacking, especially in the big cities. One cost-effective option is to stay in hostels, which are often the go-to accommodation for budget travelers. Do research online before hand to seek out the best-priced hostels with the best reviews.

You can also look into couchsurfing, which is an exchange of free housing often by staying on someone’s couch or spare room. Couchsurfing is great as it not only helps save money, but it also provides you with the chance to meet locals and spend time getting to know the real fabric of wherever you are visiting.

3. Rely on Public Transportation

Another effortless way to save on backpacking trip costs is relying on public transportation. A majority of cities around the world have heavily trafficked mass transit systems, such as underground trains, buses, and ferries, that are relatively cost-efficient. Do your research and explore your urban environment to make the most out of these economical options.

4. Eat From Local Markets

Eating out can add up quickly, so another affordable option is to try local markets and street food. This is not only cost-effective, but a great way to truly experience the local cuisine.

Fresh markets are also always an option, and you can buy simple ingredients to make your own meals, such as pastas and salads, in cheaper versions than you would find in a restaurant.

5. Take Advantage Of Free Events

Free events and experiences can help to fill your backpacking experiences without breaking the bank. To seek these out, do your research before-hand and look into which galleries, museums, beaches, and parks are free for entry. You can also check out local markets and festivals that are often free or have minimal entrance fees.

6. Set A Budget And Track Your Spending

Obviously a great way to stay on a budget while backpacking is to set one and track your spending. To start, look into the average cost of staying in your expected location and make a plan that works with your available funds.

To help with tracking your spending, we suggest bringing a debit card. Often, banks have no international fees when it comes to withdrawing or depositing so the currency exchange rate is often the same as the International one. Get a travel card to draw money from international ATMs with no fees and you can keep tabs on everything easier.

7. Choose An Itinerary with Flexibility

If you’re looking to save money on your trip, it pays to have a flexible itinerary. It’s always better to book open-ended tickets when backpacking so you can alter your departure date if you find more budget-friendly offers elsewhere.

If you’re able to stay flexible, you’ll be able to change your plans around much cheaper accommodations, flight tickets, and more. And the more flexible, the better in terms of saving money.

8. Use the Right Apps

From currency converters to city guides and transportation, there are numerous available apps to help make planning your backpacking trip easier. For instance, apps such as Rome2Rio provide you with multiple transportation options to get from one destination to another that can range from flights, buses, trains, ferries, or a combination of the four.

Additionally, Couchsurfing, Airbnb, and Hostelworld are all good choices for booking accommodations, which are typically the most expensive aspect of travel. Lastly, many cities have special deals available on dining and entertainment, and apps such as Groupon or Living Social can help to keep tabs on these.

Final Thoughts On Backpacking On A Budget

Backpacking on a budget can bring with it its own challenges, but also many rewards. With some careful planning and preparation, you can plan a successful and enjoyable trip. Take into consideration our 8 core tips in helping to plan a thrifty backpacking trip, and you can soon have an adventure on a budget that will be both memorable and rewarding.

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