If your priority is traveling and experiencing every destination to its best, backpacking is a great way to do it. It isn’t very expensive, you get to decide the pace of your journey, and you can pretty much control every aspect of the trip without a lot of hassle. Now, don’t get it wrong, backpacking isn’t fancy. Sometimes, it is slightly uncomfortable too. But it gets you a lot of traveling for a lot less money.
That being said, there are many pitfalls in the idea of backpacking, the biggest one being that without proper planning, the bills can quickly stack up. So, here’s a list of travel tips for a backpacker on a budget!
Travel insurance is one of those things that seem like a huge and useless hole in your pocket, only until you need it. If you’re wondering what travel insurance is, it basically covers you against risks and financial losses that could happen while you travel. This ranges from minor inconveniences like an overbooked hotel and missed connecting flights, to more serious things like a major illness, loss of property, and even an accident.
Depending upon how your insurance works, you might have to pay a fee that you will feel is a big chunk of money. It might be for nothing, or we hope so at least. However, it instantly becomes priceless when you need it. For example, there are chances that you might get into an accident or lose an important piece of your luggage (your passport, bag, camera, etc). In a situation like this, your insurance will cover your losses instead of burning an unfillable hole in your budget. Remember that it is like a safety net so get the best one in your budget.
Packing light sounds like very common advice. However, you’ll be surprised by how often we miss it. Packing light doesn’t just mean there’s less weight on your shoulders. It means saving a ton on airline tickets by only having carry-ons. It also means traveling easy on public transport and skipping cab fares. And of course, you can decide to walk across a city and not have huge bags literally weighing you down.
So, how do we do that? One of the easiest ways is to lessen the amount of things you carry. This can include skipping on alternate outfits, multiple backup outfits, and outfits that are made out of multiple items of clothing. Alternatively, buy a smaller backpack! That way you’re forced to carry less things.
Good-quality gear might seem like a huge expense in the beginning. However, ‘good quality’ equals not having to spend more money on the same piece of equipment, since a single piece is supposed to last a lifetime! Moreover, if it’s something like hiking shoes, having good quality shoes can directly translate into not getting injured or having accidents. So, dedicate a part of your budget just to gear and get the best ones you can.
One way to save some money while buying gear is to check out pre-owned sales. You can raid garage sales, eBay, OLX, and the sorts. Or you can go thrifting. These ideas may sound counterproductive. However, if you look closely and buy a decent quality pre-owned piece of equipment, it will be better than a brand new one of low quality. The last one might be a tad difficult in India since the thrift culture is still picking up. But, it's definitely worth a shot, eh?
Pro Tip: One sneaky expense that can quickly catch up to your bank account is buying food and water. We suggest you pack small snacks for the road, along with a water bottle. You’ll find a lot of public drinking stations to refill it. If you’re worried about the purity of the water, carry a bottle with a built-in filter. This itself will save a significant amount of money.
Accommodation is the next biggest and most obvious expense during any sort of travel. However, if you decide on staying at hotels everywhere you go, you will lose a lot of money. There are two ways to save some money on accommodation: staying in hostels and camping.
The hostel culture has been a thing for quite a while in India. Regardless of if you’re looking for a place to spend a night or a few weeks, hostels are one of the most cost-effective modes of accommodation. There are several backpacker hostels across India that have a number of amenities like safety lockers, a kitchen, and potential travel buddies! Most importantly, you can book a bed at a backpackers hostel for a fraction of the price of a hotel room.
Some parts of India allow free camping in the wild. If you own a set of camping gear, you can easily save a ton of money by just pitching a tent whenever you want to lay down. We do recommend you make sure that it is allowed for you to camp in a spot. Lastly, even if it is legal for you to camp, make sure the spot you choose is safe to stay. That being said, if you want to take a trip to experience camping in India, check out these 6 Interesting Camping Experiences In India.
A work exchange program, also called work travel or voluntourism, is a concept that is gaining popularity throughout the world. In fact, you’d be surprised with the amount of programs currently running in India itself!
To give you the gist of it, you find a host looking for a certain kind of job, then barter your skills for accommodation. While this sounds easy, you need to make sure that you’re doing a fair amount of work for the benefits that you’re going to receive. This way, you can avoid paying for accommodation, and in some cases, food. These two are the most consistent and heavy expenses on any trip. Not having to worry about them in itself would take a load off of your head. Check out sites like Workaway and Worldpackers to see the opportunities available and start traveling!
If you’re planning on covering places that are a significant distance away, this one idea can help you save a ton of money. First of all, make peace with traveling slow. This doesn’t mean you have to walk everywhere, but this does mean being grounded - literally.
If your destination is a couple of hours away by flight, take an overnight train or bus. This will help you in two ways: you won’t have to book any sort of accommodation for the night, because you’ll be in a train/bus. You’ll also have a place to sleep, because you’ll be on a train or bus! Moreover, you’ll also save a ton of money by not taking flights. So, win-win!
At this point, a few destinations across the globe have become expensive for tourists. This is mostly because tourism is the primary source of income there. While the logic checks out, it isn’t very helpful for the travelers trying to keep their bank accounts alive.
For example, when you think of a mountain getaway, you might think of going to Rishikesh or Manali. However, these places will put a hole in your pocket. On the other hand, a town like Lansdowne is comparatively very affordable. In the same spirit, unless you want to see a very specific place, decide the vibe you want to set and look for cheaper locations that will provide the same.
This trick might work for some places very well, not so much for others. However, where it does work, it’ll work wonders! Every destination has a peak season, like summers, New Year’s Eve, or even early January for that matter. You’ll see that places like Goa and Manali are in demand, and just as expensive at the same time.
However, if you choose to go to these places in their non-peak or off-season, the prices of things like travel and accommodation go down significantly. The off-season for every destination will vary according to seasons and demand. So, do a little research on the place you want to check out, then go there at the financially best time!
A lot of times, backpacking trips are almost expected to be spontaneous. We figure this to be the result of movies showing gorgeous people deciding to jump off of planes (with a parachute, of course) on the fly and then just doing it. However, as someone trying to travel as much as possible on a limited budget, this is a bad idea.
As a backpacker, if you decide on the places to want to see and the things you want to do, you have the opportunity to do ample research. You can look for discounts, cheaper alternatives, and save money to a good extent. In fact, you can also look for things to do or see that you might’ve missed out on otherwise. So, plan ahead, people.
Pro Tip: Take the concept of packing light one step ahead and ease out on your plans. For example, when you’re making a plan and scheduling everything for your trip, make sure you don’t try visiting too many places in too little time. Additionally, always keep a little bit of buffer time between all activities.
On a backpacking trip, there’s a very high chance that you’ll make friends. If you manage to make friends with locals, you’ll strike a food-based goldmine. The thing is, as a traveler in a new city, you’ll mostly see the restaurants and cafés that are registered on Google, or the ones that are in close proximity to where you’re staying.
If you manage to make friends with the locals, you will essentially have an expert guiding you to the best places in the city that you want to explore. Moreover, they’ll know the best eateries in town, even the ones that won’t blow a hole in your pocket. The best part of this deal is that after the food and the exploring, you can hear magical stories and share conversations with your new buddies.
Backpacking seems like a very exciting idea and an equally nerve-wracking idea at the same time. However, once you pick your backpack up and get on the road, it starts becoming easier and even addictive sometimes. With the tips, tricks, and hacks in this blog, we hope to help you have the best possible trip while you backpack through the world. Cheers!
What Does It Mean To Go Backpacking?
You can think of backpacking as the activity of traveling extensively with all your belongings only inside a backpack. Usually, this also comes with the self-drawn challenge of not spending a lot of money.
How Much Does Backpacking Cost In India?
If you play your cards right, you can backpack in India for about INR 1,500 for a week. However, this means using public transport, staying at hostels, and making sure you spend as little as possible.
Is Backpacking In India Easy?
Honestly, backpacking isn’t the easiest idea in a country like India. The distances are huge, traveling is a little bit of a task, and the culture changes drastically as you go through the different states. However, once you get used to it, you’ll see why it’s worth the trip!