When it comes finding the cheapest ways to travel, backpackers have it down to a science. From packing strategies to finding cheap eats, there is much to be learned from these frugal travelers. Their tips and techniques can be applied to just about any trip to help you save money. Let’s take a look:
Tip #1: Seek Alternative Lodging
There is no rule that says you need to stay in a hotel when you’re traveling. No one knows this better than backpackers, who often stay in hostels or pitch a tent to avoid paying top dollar for rooms. But how far out of your comfort zone are you willing to go to save some cash? For the truly adventurous traveler, options range from renting a hostel with a private room and maid service, to swapping homes with travelers on the other side of world, to crashing on someone’s couch for free.
Tip #2: Pack Light
When you’re backpacking it’s just you and your bag. So you’re forced to think about what you REALLY need. That’s why they pack multifunctional clothes and carry bags that are lightweight and easy to maneuver. Their packing strategies are definitely something you can (and should) take with you all the way through airport security where less and lighter bags can really save you lots of money.
Tip #3: Hunt and Gather
Hard core backpackers live off the land. They hunt, they gather, and they move on. Now, we’re not suggesting that you venture out into the great unknown with nothing but a pocketknife and a prayer. We’re talking about more of an urban hunt and gather here. Foraging not for nuts and berries but for local markets and food courts. Finding the fresh, the local and the cheap. Places where you can get a taste of that local flavor and still have some spending money left over.
Tip #4: Be Spontaneous
Backpacking is all about choosing a path and seeing where it leads. And sometimes, leaving some room in your itinerary for spontaneity can actually make it more affordable not to mention more fun. So give yourself the flexibility to change your mind. Open yourself up to the things and the people around you. Ask advice, open doors, and make alternative plans. Remember: Some of the best things in life aren’t the things we’re looking for, they’re the things we stumble upon.
Tip #5: Go It Alone
It may sound weird or even scary to take a trip on your own. But backpackers do it all the time. Not only is it cheaper to travel alone, it can be extremely liberating. You’ll meet friends you would have never met otherwise. Plus, there’s no one there to hold you back. So be brave. Test yourself. Grab your map and your cell phone, and find a way of your own.
Tip #6: Use Your Perks
Still looking for more of the cheapest ways to travel? A quick trip to UseMyBenefits.com can help you uncover hidden benefits and discounts associated with your credit cards and club memberships benefits you probably didn’t even know you had.
Travel perks could include anything from lost baggage insurance to airport lounge access as well as savings on dining and entertainment all across the U.S. Just take a few minutes to create an account and you’ll be on your way.