When planning a backpacking trip, many travellers say budget is their number one concern. It is natural to worry whether you have enough money to keep you going, but the best way to avoid the pitfalls of overspending is to research your destinations, plan a budget before you leave and stick to it! Exchange rates will affect your budget, so remember to leave a little extra in case they change while you are traveling.
Budgets Before You leave
Look into what equipment you need for the countries you are visiting and the activities you want to do, get some great deals shopping around online or in the sales. If you are planning on doing any trekking, make sure the budget is adequate for a good quality pair of boots, and don’t forget necessities such as a first aid kit. Ensure you have covered the cost of vaccinations and travel insurance in your budget; these are often overlooked and can be more expensive than you think.
Many countries offer loads of cheap accommodation opportunities, but it is always worth researching before you book. There are many traveler forums online, which offer invaluable advice from backpackers who have stayed there. If you are on a tight budget, consider looking at accommodation just slightly outside the main backpacker areas of a city, that ten-minute walk could save you around 20% and you will get a better night’s sleep at a hostel that is not above a bar! If you are thinking of visiting at a peak time, for example Carnival in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, make sure you budget accordingly and pre-book your accommodation at least three months in advance. Hostels quickly get full, and they can charge ridiculously inflated prices for the last few dorm places available.
Australia and America are some of the most expensive continents to travel in, with accommodation costs draining your budget, if you feel you will struggle, think about altering your trip to spend more time in less expensive countries. Consider getting a years working visa for Australia, the strong dollar gives you the opportunity to earn enough in a few months to finance traveling in cheaper countries such as Asia and India. If you only have a three-month tourist visa for Australia, there can still be volunteering opportunities that will help, offering free accommodation and food in return for work.
Cutting Costs (and keeping to a budget)
When you are planning your trip, look at transport costs as well as average accommodation and food costs for a country. If you meet people in a hostel who are traveling the same way as you, go to a travel operator together, you can usually barter money off for group bookings. It’s makes good economical sense to travel overland for most journeys, and it’s a great way to see the landscape. Buy snacks for the journey before you leave, stops in many countries are overpriced. When you have planned your budget, you can relax and look forward to an amazing time backpacking around the globe – but only as long as you stick to your budget!