Summary: Insider tricks for planning your backpacking adventures.
You know you want to see more of the world, but you don’t know how you’ll realistically afford to do everything you want. The preparation stage is absolutely essential for ensuring a successful trip to experience all these different countries, cultures and customs.
Bite size Chunks
You don't have to see everything, at once! You have years of travelling opportunities ahead. The world deserves a slow, gentle, appreciative exploration.
Look at your main source of income, how can you add to this before your desired departure date? Can you take on some extra duties, some baby/pet sitting, cleaning work for a neighbour, some bar work (get those bar skills honed, they could come in handy for money making on your travels). Sell on ebay; be ruthless - anything you haven’t worn or used in the last year, that’s dead money! Sell it, and have a jar for the proceeds. Your excitement at your approaching adventure will increase as the jar starts to fill.
Plot your monthly outgoings and income on a spreadsheet and highlight your savings. Then calculate the total to be reached by the departure date. Add in any additional funds you might make. Now you have your budget, we can look at your travel plans.
Budget Your Destinations
Be sure to plan or you may find yourself overreaching and coming home without having experienced anywhere near as much as you could on a budget. Try to budget not just your funds, but your destinations. Write a list of ten must-visit places. Perhaps you want to practice martial arts in a temple in China, yoga in India, climb Kilimanjaro, explore Hindu shrines in Indonesia or learn to surf in Australia..
Most likely, you cannot afford to do it all on this one trip. Rather than go the whole hog, consider exploring fewer places more intimately. From your list, look at a map, at airline offers, and cross out any places which are not on a similar path. There is always next time! Reduce your list to about 3-4 must-see places.
Consider getting your traveller stripes closer to home. Exploring Europe on a budget will bring many dividends and prepare you for future journeys. Becoming a seasoned budget traveller when your trip home to the UK costs you less than £100 can be far less scary than being stuck without funds half way round the world. Look for great flight deals to European cities, and consider planning your first backpacking adventures across Europe.
Budget Your Travels
Research and estimate the cost of your ticket, and subtract this from your budget.
Use your guide books to judge food and accommodation costs. In far-flung countries, this can be quite cheap, but factor in the occasional luxury hotel; you might need it after all that travel and rucksack hauling.
In Europe, camping and hostelling is safe and cheap. Take a lightweight tent. Use local markets for veg, and your food bill will be low. Use trains and buses to get around, or, consider carshare schemes. Your larger costs might be museum visits and local attractions, but with low basic outgoings you can afford to actually see the country.
The Package Holiday Trick
Package holidays can be a cheap way of exploring a country. With flight, bed and some food already paid for, you can abandon the resort and take a train or local coastal walks and find out about the country itself, with a comfy bed and dinner when you get back from roaming. Many travellers are looking into package holiday ideas these days, as they discover how comfy cheap travel can be.
Budget your Packing
Pack as little as possible, and don’t give yourself backache. You really won’t need half of that stuff. Most things can be picked up cheaply on your travels. Leave room for all the wonderful things you’ll want to bring back. If you’re taking a tent, do have a rollmat and a nice sleeping bag, but don’t go overboard on camping gear.
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