10 tips to save money while backpacking

So you’re ready to pack your bag and fly somewhere you haven’t been before? You probably already decided where to go? I am so jealous. The adventure is ahead, and here’s some advice¬†on what you have to think about before you go.

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When we started planning, we got in touch with a travel agency and told them what we wanted to do and where to go. We e-mailed back and forth, and we finally agreed on a route, and they booked our flights and tours. Don’t do it like we did it. Don’t get the agency to book your flights and tours before you go, but feel free to use them for advice and pay for their services! I like travel agencies. They really know many cool places that you wouldn’t even think about, and have tips on what to do and where to go in a country. It’s just that you will use way more money than you need to, and that’s why it’s best to just travel – and see what happens.

You will learn as you go, and you will probably read this article and don’t remember much. But try. It will save you some money, and some time. I wish I trusted the travel blogs before we travelled.

  1. Don’t plan everything before you go.¬†
    Research as much as you’d like, but don’t book any tours online or have a too tight schedule. We booked everything for the first two months of our travels, and we regretted it. We spent way too much money booking stuff online, and we had so little time too explore the areas around, because we always had to move on.
  2. Always stay more than one night at a place.
    You wanna see one country in a limited time, but the right way to do it is not to rush away from place to place. Then it’s best to find a few places you wanna see, and then stay there for some days.
  3. Decide your daybudget before you go.
    This is so important. Everybody tells you that you should do this, and you have to. If you don’t have unlimited money on your account, of course. We travelled with a lot of money, didn’t think that we would spend it all. After a little while, we noticed our account was almost empty, and we had to live cheap the last few months. So annoying.
  4. Don’t book flights before you go.
    Of course you have to book the one getting you to the country you are going to, and maybe you need an exit ticket for the visa. But don’t book more than that. There’s always cheaper options once your in the country. Don’t book your ticket home either, cause you don’t know when you want to leave before you’re there.
  5. Don’t use a travel agency if you want to save money.
    This is our biggest regret. We used a travel agency for our trip, and it was a good one. But they take all your money, book flights you don’t need, book hostels you could find cheaper on hostelworld.com or booking.com, and book expensive tours that you can find waaaay cheaper at your destination. We spent around 2000$ on unneccesary stuff from the agency. Once we took three flight to get from one place to another, and it took 18 hours. If we booked it there, we would take one bus and one flight, and it would take 3 hours.
  6. Always buy a cancellation protection
    You sure that you are going to take that flight? Even if you are, order cancellation protection. We were so sure so many times that we would take that flight, but then something happens that you didn’t see coming, and you have to cancel. I think we spent around 1500$ on cancelling and booking new flights, when we could have got it for free if we just had a protection.

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  7. Pack light. Superlight.
    I read an advice before we left about packing light, and I was so sure I had packed light. My backpack was 11 kg. Then I met some backpackers having a bag that weight only half. You don’t need much clothes. And you definitly don’t need a big bag of first aid stuff. You can find everything you might need everywhere you go! If you think “I might need this if…..”, then you don’t pack it.
  8. VISA’s.
    Book as many visa’s as you can before you go, or in the embassy in the country you’re in, it’s so much easier. Visa on arrival is ok, but if you are travelling by bus or train, the police might me corrupt and you will spend more money than you need to._mg_3121
  9. Eat streetfood.
    Some countries have cheap restaurant food, but most of the restaurants are so expensive compared to the good street food you can find everywhere. If you see many locals sitting together eating food, stop there and try it out. It’s mostly plastic chairs and tables, but the food is often amazing. And sometimes very spicy. This is probably the cheapest place to drink beers as well. Just beware that you are paying the right amount of money, because they like to trick foreigners.
  10. Google “free stuff to do in …” when you get to a city or town.
    This cool search we only tried in the last part of our trip, and it was worth it (of course, if was free). You don’t have to go to expensive museums and adventure parks, when there’s free stuff to do there that is as fun and free!

Also, I have to give some advice, probably the same as your mother would give. Always look after your bag and your valuables. And check out what prices you should pay before you start bargaining or shopping anything. It really helps!

And last but not least, respect the culture of the country you are visiting. Wear proper clothes, and be nice. I saw people having their after party at Angkor Wat, and that’s not cool.