Travel Pros Share Their Top Tips for Backpacking on a Budget

May 8, 2016

Many people believe that you have to be rich in order to travel the world – but that’s simply not true.

Ordinary people with average incomes are able to save up and take amazing trips around the world and travel doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might think. The key is to know how to make the most of your money when you are backpacking on a budget, so that you can go further for less.

In this article, we will take a look at seven travel bloggers who practice the art of backpacking on a budget. Take a look at the tips and tricks they use to stretch their travel savings as much as possible, so that they can see the world without having to spend a fortune.

Candice from

Candice keeps her expenses down by sticking to a strict budget and keeping track of every dollar, pound or euro she spends. She says, “I always try to have a budget projected for each day, and then I stick to that budget religiously.”

“On my last trip, I walked the Camino de Santiago on a budget of 25 EUR per day, and meticulously recorded everything I spent. Every coffee purchase, every beer, every night’s stay in a hostel. It actually worked wonders, even if I was forced to stray from my budget on some days. Writing things down meant I could really assess where I was wasting money.”

Candice also recommends using hostels with loyalty programs such as Hostelling International and St. Christopher’s Inn. “It usually costs nothing to sign up, but they function on a loyalty program. So you’ll save a percentage when you continue staying at their hostels.”

Matt from

Nomadic Matt has been travelling for years and he has backpacking-on-a-budget down to a science. He points out the importance of being aware of ATM fees, as they can really add up.

“Fees vary around the world, but on average you end up paying $5 USD per withdrawal. That is $10 per week, $40 per month, or $520 per year.” He says, “Even if you only use the ATM half the time, that’s still $260 USD per year.”

He recommends using a bank in the Global ATM Network which offers free ATM withdrawals. He suggests using a low fee card as well as looking for a credit card without a foreign transaction fee. He also explains that you should not use ATMs that are located in hostels or hotels because they are convenient but you will pay for that convenience with high fees and poor conversion rates.

Janice from

Janice has a lot of experience with solo budget travel and she has plenty of great advice to offer. According to her, one of the biggest travel budget mistakes that people make is just paying attention to the big ticket items and forgetting to budget for the smaller costs of day-to-day life.

She learned this lesson when travelling to Sydney, thinking that the trip would be cheap because she was staying with family. However, she forgot to budget for the cost of food in Sydney. “This is where I messed up,” she explains. “A typical lunch at a coffee shop was $15 to $20 – yummy (Sydney is a foodie destination) but expensive. And buying in a grocery store didn’t seem that much less.”

Kash from

Kash’s blog is one of the best resources out there for those who want to travel in style on a budget. He recommends finding rates online and then calling the hotel or hostel directly to see if you can negotiate a better rate.

I’ve also used this tip and find that it works really well. Many hotel or hostel owners will be happy to give you a discounted rate in order to get your business, especially if you are visiting during low season and the room would be empty otherwise. It’s definitely worth a try!

Neil From

Neil offers a lot of fantastic tips for backpacking on a budget on his website. One of his simplest but most effective pieces of advice is to walk as much as possible.

“Ditch the expensive cabs, rickshaws and tuktuks, even the trams, buses and trains,” he says. “Just walk, quite often walking will have you find somewhere amazing you would have otherwise missed.”

I love this budget travel tip because not only is it good for your wallet, it’s also very good for your health as well.

Caz and Craig from

Caz and Craig are an Australian couple who have been travelling for years and these days they bring their two young daughters with them as they explore the world. When it comes to backpacking on a budget they have a lot of great tips to share.

One clever budget travel tip from Caz and Craig is to use social media to get discounts on travel. “Go and “LIKE” your favorite search sites on Facebook and follow them on Twitter,” they recommend. “It’s getting more and more common for sites to release hot deals directly through their social media channels.”

Kelly and Lee from Global Goose

Lee and I are digital nomads and we have been traveling the world full time for the last five years. One of the ways that we save money is by taking overnight transport. When you have a journey to your next destination that is 8 hours or more, it makes much more sense to take the overnight bus or train than to take one during the day.

The overnight transport allows you to sleep while you are getting from point A to point B and saves you the price of a night of accommodation. Also, it means that you won’t be wasting one of your precious sightseeing days sitting on a bus.

One way we save money on accommodation is by only booking a couple of nights online in advance before we arrive somewhere. This means that when we get there, we can scout around and see if we can find any better deals that are not advertised online (which is the case in many countries). Then we have a choice to switch to a cheaper hotel or extend our stay at the original hotel if we can’t find a better deal.

How Will You Save?

These are just a few of the ways that travel bloggers save money as they explore this great big amazing world. If you have any other budget travel tips of your own, please share them with us in the comments below.

Kelly Dunning is a Canadian freelance travel writer. She lives a nomadic lifestyle with no fixed address – working from the road for the last 5 years with her partner Lee, a web-designer from England. They have traveled to over 40 countries and they offer travel tips, stories and inspiration on

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