Tips for Backpacking on a Budget

Asako Maruoka's picture

Tips for Backpacking on a Budget

Aside from being able to see unbelievable sights and have time for self-reflection, outdoor backpacking also has numerous health benefits, physically, and mentally. The best thing about backpacking is that you get to make the rules – you pick the country, mode of transportation, and accommodations. 

Do you want to go backpacking on a budget? You need to remain smart by cutting corners whenever necessary and watching your wallet carefully. Here are some tips for cheap backpacking:

Tips for Backpacking on a Budget

Pack Light

Your mantra should always be ‘travel light’ when it comes to backpacking. When you are going hiking, four pairs of jeans will just weigh you down. Leave most of the things you planned to pack at home, and carry light clothes and other essentials.

Leave your favorite jewelry, as well as other sentimental stuff, at home. Only pack the things you can afford to replace in case something unexpected happens. That will also save you money on luggage fees.

Camp Outside

If you can do it, plan to camp for the whole duration of your backpacking trip. In most countries, you will find comfy campgrounds that will not drain your bank account. Having some experience with camping is another reason why you should make this choice. There are many resources online for free camping, if you're on a supreme budget. Otherwise, head to campgrounds (especially at our national parks!) for beautiful camping locations.

You just need to be armed with one of the best sleeping bags used by backpackers and some essential tools like first aid kit, pack of matches, a map, and a jar of peanut butter. If you are ready to embrace your inner caveman, you can make camping work anywhere. However, if you are traveling solo, be careful which spot you choose and stay safe. 

Bring Your Own Snacks

Living out of a backpack and going on an adventure can really drain you. Although snacks might seem like a silly addition to your supplies, they will help you keep your energy up between rests and meals. Even if you are visiting the cheapest country, snacks are a necessity during travel.

Buy Train Passes

In Asia and Western Europe, you can pre-purchase train passes for your journey. These passes will allow you to travel throughout the country without worrying about cost implications after buying them. 

If you want to travel around the same region, getting a train pass will save you money over the course of your backpacking trip. Moreover, train hopping could give you a great view of the country you are visiting.

Be Careful

Scam artists and pickpockets prey on the naivety of tourists. No matter where you are going, always be on the lookout for such people. It would be heartbreaking if you managed to stay within your budget only to have your trip ruined by a crafty thief.

Get a Room with a Kitchen

If camping is not for you, do not be afraid to rent a cheap room for the duration of your stay. Look for a backpacker-friendly hostel, where you can meet other like-minded individuals. The best hostels offer free breakfast or have communal kitchens where you can cook your own meals. By buying groceries and cooking your own meals, you will end up saving a ton of money.

Instead of Taking Cabs, Walk

Do not be lured in by the convenience of a cab ride. You will part with a substantial amount for cab fare and the driver’s tip. Sometimes, the cab driver can also offer to show you the scenic route, which invariably ends up costing more.

Tips for Backpacking on a Budget

Walking is good for your body and saves you plenty of money for other important things. Moreover, when you walk, you will see more of the country. If you are going somewhere that is too far to walk, look for public transit first, as it is reliable and cheaper.


What are your best tips for backpacking on a budget?