If you are planning a trip to an exotic location, far from your home, where it is likely that money will not be readily available, then budget backpacking is probably not for you. But if you are planning a trip where you can stay in a comfortable hotel and use some of your funds on food and rent (or both) then yes, budget backpacking might work for you. The first step is awareness before you hit the open road. Knowledge is power. And once you return from backpacking across the globe on a budget without money (as you will probably be bone dry by the time you get back) there’s a second phase of planning.
Backpackers have a lot of advantages when it comes to budget backpacking. Firstly, backpacks are usually cheaper when bought in bulk. So it is a very economical way to travel if you know how much you want to spend and which backpackers you prefer to backpack with. Also, backpackers are usually considered to be more independent travelers. So, for the backpacker who wants to backpack without the comfort of an expensive hotel room and a host family around, a budget backpacking itinerary is just what they need.
In addition, backpacks are generally smaller than tents; they take up less space. For backpackers who camp on a regular basis, this is a great advantage. Most backpackers take their camping backpacks along with them on extended jaunts across the country. So if you plan on doing any serious hiking or backpacking in remote areas where a tent would be impractical or impossible, backpacking gear is your best option.
Backpackers can also save money by using their backpacks to get around when they are not backpacking. Couchsurfing is a popular means of traveling for couch potatoes who are on a tight budget. Couchsurfing involves sleeping on other people’s mattresses and sleeping bags. But unlike backpacking gear, couchsurfing is practiced on soft ground or bare floors.
Borrowing or ‘parallel hiring’ is another way for budget backpackers to travel cheaply. With parallel hiring, a backpacker will often find themselves renting a car when they’ve finished their tour. Car rental can be a great way for a budget traveler to see more places and travel less money. Renting a vehicle is a great way to go sightseeing without incurring travel expenses. A good rule of thumb is to try to parallel hire a car that is only worth as much as the cost of two hotel rooms for a week-long vacation.
When it comes to making travelling to new and exciting places fun again, backpacking should definitely be a consideration. But don’t forget to check into your options before you make trips to areas with strange names, where street food tastes terrible, and where you might run into some nasty locals. If you take the time to research locations beforehand, you’ll have a great adventure, and a good chance at saving money for a long time to come.