Australian Backpackers Guide

Are you planning a backpacking trip abroad? If this is your first time, the two most important rules are: pack light and stick to a budget. But international trips can be pricey, and you’ll want to make the most of your money while not skimping on the experience of a lifetime. There are ways to live abroad cheaply, and then there are ways to live abroad really cheaply. Backpackers usually want to keep their budgets tight no matter what, and with travel insurance and the right planning, you can have the time of your life while keeping expenses down.

Stay Cheap vs. Stay Free

Hostels
More affordable than hotels but not quite free, hostels are a popular choice for many backpackers interested in budget-friendly accommodations. Perks typically include:

  • At least one complimentary meal per day, usually set up buffet-style, allowing you to take some extras for later.
  • Secure lockers and baggage storage areas that help reduce the risk of theft while you’re out, sleeping or in the loo.
  • If you’ve packed super light, hostels usually have travel-size toiletries that are either free or can be purchased for less than in a grocery store.


Space Sharing The number one reason space sharing has become so popular is there is no charge (unless, of course, the host asks you to provide your own food and towel). Backpackers love this route, because you get to meet locals and really experience the local culture. While space sharing is free, there is some concern about safety when searching for a host and booking your stay. Four popular resources are:

Going Solo vs.Travelling with friends

Solo
Some backpackers prefer to travel alone because:

  • You have more opportunity to meet locals and fellow travellers (WithLocals is a great new resource that connects you with local residents for drinks, tours and other activities).
  • You don’t end up spending money on activities you don’t want to do, which sometimes happens when travelling with a group of people.
  • A lot of solo backpackers prefer to be alone as a way to experience a deeper connection with their new surroundings.

With friends
Notable benefits of sharing the adventure with friends include:

  • From a safety aspect, you know there is someone to rely on in tough situations.
  • Travelling with even just one other person can cut your costs on things like hotels or hostels, food, attractions and even some transportation.
  • Someone is always there to watch your back and look after your baggage while you nip to the loo.

Whether travelling alone or with people, there is always a risk of theft, injury or illness while travelling. Opting for travel insurance covers all of the above, across all destinations, for as long as you’re travelling.

Long Stays, Few Places vs. Short Stays, Many Places

The bucket list splurge
If you’ve always dreamed of touring America:

  • Bus tickets and train passes can take up a lot of money, so if you’ve been in Los Angeles for a week and are ready to hit San Francisco, check out rideshare resources like RideJoy. You typically only have to help pay for gas, and it’s even more affordable when there are several passengers.
  • Stay in the suburbs of major tourism cities and either walk or bus to the busier areas, as even hostels can be pricey and space shares go fast.

The economical spend
For those trying to see as much as possible in as little time as possible:

  • Move quicker through the expensive countries and slower in more affordable places (i.e., you’ll want to spend more nights in Phuket than in Paris.)
  • Plan to do things like laundry, buy souvenirs, take yourself to a nice meal or opt for a private room in a hostel in the less expensive regions.

Ask anyone who has taken a backpacking trip, and they’ll tell you it’s worth every dollar; that is, as long as you prepare and know what to expect from each of your options. Using the resources above will help get you started on planning your trip abroad without breaking the bank. They will also tell you that ensuring safety while travelling is crucial, so do your research and take the necessary precautions for a worry-free trip of a lifetime.

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