5 Travel Tips for the Solo Backpacker on a Budget
How to make the most of travelling alone without breaking the bank.
1. Only pack the necessities:
Packing light is easier said than done, especially once the time to embark creeps up and you’re thinking about certain items you’d need in certain scenarios. In reality, half of those scenarios never happen and you end up carrying around extra items you’ll never use. So, before you officially put it in your pack, make sure it’s something you absolutely need.
You won’t need an outfit for every single day. You really only need a couple of outfits when solo backpacking. Firstly, packing your entire wardrobe adds a lot of weight to your pack. And secondly, you can always wash your clothes. To be fair, a trusty pair of jeans can go for a couple of days. A good tip for that is to pack items that can be layered if it’s going to be cold in some places. Pack clothing with colors that can be mixed and matched easily.
Lastly, before you go, test your pack out once you finalize your packing list. Take a nice hike with it on, you may reconsider the final list. You will likely be doing more walking than you anticipate, so over packing can be detrimental.
2. Expect the expected:
When you decide to solo backpack, understand that you are backpacking. Solo. You will be by yourself for a decent amount of time. Whether you are introverted, extroverted, or in between, prepare to accommodate for your personality. You can meet a ton of people along the way, and if you are someone who needs a lot of time around people, plan to make time for that. If you are going to get away from people, then planning on only visiting big cities may not be for you.
3. Stay flexible:
Two of the major expenses you’ll inevitably face will be for food and a place to stay. Cutting down those expenses each day can save you a lot. Shop at the local grocery stores more than eating out, or if you do chose to eat out, ask locals about cheap local eats away from the touristy areas. If you’re staying at hostels, most will give you the opportunity to cook your own food. To save money on accommodation, look for cheaper hostels or into couch surfing. Find the accommodation that suits you best.
Check the prices of the activities you may be interested in doing. When you’re in major cities, there will be lots of options and distractions for things to do. Budget on the activities you’re most interested in, but keep an eye out for things you’ll be able to do and see for free. Walk instead of paying for transportation in and around cities. You’ll save money, and get to experience more of the local culture, (it’s also good exercise).
4. Know before you go:
Make sure you roughly know where you’re going before you get to each destination, even with flexible travel plans. Having a basic idea of where your hostel is will save you time. Anytime you go to a new place, try to learn some of the basics of the culture before you go. Simply learning the basics of ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in the local language will take you far! The locals will love you for it.
5) Make friends with strangers
If you’re traveling alone, you’ll be desperate for human interaction. And guess what? Every other traveler is too! I’ve found it extremely rare to come across another traveler who isn’t eager to hear your story, where you’ve been, for how long, and your opinions and advice. You can seriously build a global network even if you’re traveling for just a few days. It’s a beautiful thing to say that you’re friends with people around the planet, and you’re all bonded by one common trait: love for adventure and new experiences. If you’re traveling alone, you’ll never really be alone, as there will always be someone wanting to tag along for an activity or just sitting next to other travelers on public trans. This is definitely my favorite part about traveling.