By Gabrielle Boucher
Most backpackers have at least one thing in common: they want to see the world without spending a fortune.
And believe it or not, this goal is easy to achieve with the right mindset!
Traveling can be very affordable when you bypass the luxury hotels, first-class plane tickets, and five-star restaurants.
Sure, these things are fun to indulge in once in a while. But as a backpacker, it’s important to maintain certain frugal habits t if you want to travel the world on a budget.
So here are 8 specific ways to save money while traveling as a backpacker.
If you follow these tips, your budget will sustain you for longer, allowing you to travel for longer and have spare money to spend on cool experiences.
How To Save Money While Traveling As A Backpacker: 8 Actionable Tips
1. Stay In Hostels
Accommodation is usually the biggest expense while traveling. To cut accommodation costs, stay in hostels. A shared dorm room with anywhere from 4 to beds usually costs around 10-20 USD per night. In cheap countries like Southeast Asia, hostel dorm rooms cost less than 10 USD! You can also find private rooms or single-gender dorm rooms in most hostels.
Most hostels are packed with all the amenities you could need, like lockers, laundry, hot showers, city maps, computers, printers, and cozy common areas. Some hostels offer free breakfast and group tours, and they usually have a laid-back, social environment. Browse Hostelworld.com and check the ratings and reviews when booking a hostel!
2. Try A Work Exchange
Hostels are cheap, but there are ways to travel the world without spending any money on accommodation at all. You can actually work in exchange for your accommodation.
A workexchange allows you to live with locals and experience their way of life. In exchange for a free stay and sometimes free meals, you have to work roughly 20 hours per week. Common jobs include running reception or bartending in a hostel, looking after a local’s children or pets, housekeeping or gardening at an Airbnb, or doing photography or social media work for a local business.
Work exchanges allow you to learn new skills, give back to the community, and have an in-depth cultural experience. And you get to save money! One of the best platforms for finding workexchangesisWorldpackers (use the Promocode: BROKEINLONDON10 to get $10 discount if you sign up through our link).
This website allows you to browse work exchanges from all over the world, directly message the hosts, and read reviews from past travelers as well. You can choose many volunteer positions around the world with Worldpackers and become a WP traveller!
3. Pack Lightly
Most backpackers travel with just a backpack, believe it or not. However, it is still possible to overpack. Keeping the weight of your luggage down is key to saving money while traveling.
Budget airlines tend to charge hefty fees for overweight luggage. So if possible, pack only the essentials to keep your bags under the weight limits (be sure to research the weight limits for any airlines you may be flying).
Once you start traveling, you’ll realise that you only wear the same comfy clothes over and over anyways. And you’ll want to buy a few souvenirs along the way. So try not to overpack!
4. Pack The Right Things
Though you want to keep your bag weight low, make sure to pack a few key things that will help you save money while backpacking. Here are a few money-saving essentials for backpackers:
Reusable water bottle: Don’t spend money on plastic water bottles while traveling! It’s wasteful and expensive. Invest in a good quality, reusable water bottle to refill at water stations. If you’re traveling somewhere without clean tap water, get a water bottle with a built-in filter.
Microfiber towel: Normal towels are bulky and take up tons of space in your backpack. However, if you don’t pack a towel, you might have to pay for hostel towel rentals. Instead, pack a microfiber towel. It is lightweight and rolls up small. It also dries very quickly, so it’s convenient when you’re on the move.
Luggage locks: Hostels usually offer lockers to store your valuables. But pack luggage locks just in case, as some hostels make you pay to rent a padlock. It’s also smart to lock your luggage on the road in case of pickpockets.
Universal Travel Adaptor: If you’re visiting multiple countries on your backpacking trip, invest in a universal travel adaptor. This small box adjusts to fit any outlet in any country, so you can charge your devices all over the world without having to buy new adaptors everywhere you go.
5. Eat And Drink Like The Locals
In touristy cities, restaurants catered towards tourists tend to be more expensive than the local joints. Sure, you can find a pizza place, or a sushi restaurant, or a burger shop anywhere. But if it’s not the local cuisine, chances are it’s overpriced for tourists.
To save money on food while backpacking, eat and drink like the locals. Visit street markets and be adventurous. Instead of ordering fancy cocktails and imported liquors at bars, order the local stuff. This will save you lots of money when eating out abroad, and you’ll get to experience more of the local culture.
As a Worldpackersvolunteer,you can take advantage of volunteer positions with food included.
6. Bring Your Student ID Card
If you’re a student, take your ID card with you while backpacking! Lots of attractions and activities abroad have student discounts. Sometimes the discounts are huge as well, so it’s worth bringing your ID card just in case.
7. Take Public Transport
It can be tempting to catch taxis and Ubers when you need to get somewhere. However, public transport is much cheaper. Foreign metro or bus systems can seem confusing at first, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Locals are usually happy to help you with directions. With a bit of confidence and courage, you’ll get more comfortable with public transport and save lots of money while traveling.
8. Make Friends
The last tip for how to save money while traveling as a backpacker is to make friends! You’d be surprised how different your experience will be if you make a few friends along the way.
When you start traveling and having adventures with other people, you learn new things and broaden your experiences. Other backpackers may have their own budget travel tips that they share with you.
Also, if you can book group tours or shuttle buses with a big group, you’ll often get a cheaper or discounted price. So you can save money when traveling with a group, and you’ll get to share your adventures with other backpackers, which is always memorable.