How do tens of thousands of teenagers, every year, manage to spend years at a stretch in foreign countries after saving up little more than their airfare? Well, backpackers are fundamentally a niche class of traveler – they work at their destination and they share very close living quarters. But those aren’t the only differences in the way they travel … the backpacking culture has developed a raft of ways to make their travel dollar go further. We aren’t going to insult your intelligence by telling you to travel off-peak or to book your tickets in advance … we know that you know! Instead, we’ve collected ten of their best-kept secrets which you can use to get more out of your own holiday, for less!
- Lease a Car
Car hire gives you a lot of freedom and creates a lot of low-cost opportunities. And if you’ve leased a car by the day before, you probably don’t think you can afford to do so for a month … but in fact, long term rentals are MUCH cheaper per day.
- Make Lunch Your Main Meal
Lunch pricing at restaurants and even food stalls tends to be far cheaper than dinner pricing. Live large at lunch, and just top up your tummy at dinner time. If you have cooling facilities (esky or fridge), make sure you save your leftovers for the next day!
- Bring Your Tablet
Can you imagine finding the best deal on anything, from cheap accommodation to car hire to breakfast, without the internet? A tablet gives you the freedom to change plans on the fly and still save plenty.
- Champion the Little Guys
While London, Paris, Beijing and Bora Bora are filled with travelers burning all their cash in a blaze of glory, you can see much more for the same amount of cash in areas like southern Asia, eastern Europe, any farming community in Australia, and Africa.
- Travel out of a Backpack
Backpackers don’t just make life easy for themselves by travelling out of a single bag … they cut valuable cash off their airline tickets!
- Make Camping Part of the Mix
Camping costs next to nothing in most parts of the world – there are plenty of campgrounds that are safe and have amenities included. In Europe campgrounds are known as safer and cleaner than backpacking hostels. And there’s no need to spend the entire time within nylon walls – grab a discounted hotel room for one night out of five, and you have still cut your accommodation costs by 80%!
- Use Recycled Travel Gear
If you decide to cut costs by camping, borrow what travel gear you can and buy non-personal items like tent poles, cooking equipment etc on second-hand sites or travellers’ forums.
- Look for Free Activities
Be content with seeing any part of your destination country, and let go of the need to see particular tourist sights … most of them cost quite a bit of cash. There are plenty of free and famous things to see in many countries anyway – St Peter’s Basilica, the Berlin Wall and the Louvre (on the first Sunday of every month) included.
- Take a Walking Tour
These are the hot new thing in just about every country. You get time to soak up the atmosphere, an insider’s look at a city, and save a lot of cash compared to going on a month-long guided bus tour.
- Wire Some New Language Circuits
Although it will stretch your brain a little, learning some of the local language is worthwhile. Having the local language gives you a lot more power and understanding … and bargaining ability!
Of course, your entire holiday doesn’t have to be a compromise – pick a couple of these backpackers’ secrets and you have a life-changing holiday ready-made for you on the cheap!