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Best Money-Saving Tips For Backpacking & Budget Travel

Written by Jessica Steer
Do you dream of island hopping in Greece or road tripping around New Zealand with nothing but a backpack on your shoulders? You’re not the only one. Backpacking trips are more popular than ever with students, young professionals, and even retirees forgoing the typical vacation for an off-the-beaten-path adventure. If you’re thinking about taking an epic backpacking holiday, read on for the best ways to fund your travels and how to save money on flights, accommodation, and more.
Table of Contents

    How to save money on flights

    • Be flexible: If you haven’t ironed out your itinerary yet, use Google Flight’s Explore Map to find the most affordable destinations for flexible or specific dates. 
    • Book flights well in advance: Booking flights too early or too late can end up costing a fortune. A good rule of thumb is to purchase domestic flights between four to ten weeks before your departure. International flights should be booked four to five months out.
    • Book flights on the weekend: According to a recent study by the Airlines Reporting Corporation and Expedia, booking flights on Sundays can save you up to 36%. Tickets tend to be most expensive on Thursdays and Fridays. 
    • Sign up for e-newsletters from deal sites: Stay up to date on the hottest flight deals by subscribing to emails from Scott’s Cheap Flights, Y Deals, and Secret Flying
    • Set alerts: Create fare alerts on Google Flights, Skyscanner, or Airfare Watchdog and get notified right away when prices go down. 
    • Pack light: Save on baggage fees by travelling with a carry-on bag.

    How to save money on accommodation

    • Sleep in hostels: Shared dorms allow you to save a ton of money and meet travellers from around the world. HostelBookers and Hostelworld are great places to start your search. You can also save a few dollars by booking with properties directly.
    • Try Couchsurfing: Couchsurfing is an online community where you can meet locals and crash at their place for free.
    • Take overnight trains and busses: Minimize accommodation and flight costs by taking an overnight train or bus to your next destination. 
    • Go camping: Campsites are cheap and sometimes free to stay. Make sure you pack the right gear if you choose this option.

    How to save money on food and drinks

    • Cook: Hostels have shared kitchens so buy groceries and make your own meals. 
    • Stay at places with free breakfast: Fuel up in the mornings and take a pastry or piece of fruit so you have a snack for later.
    • Avoid tourist trap restaurants: Restaurants near popular tourist attractions are notorious for serving lousy food at steep prices. Ask locals where they like to eat and go there instead. 
    • Go out for lunch: Discounted lunch menus are quite common in many countries. Look out for the menu of the day which usually features multiple courses of local cuisine for a set price.
    • Order tap water: Most restaurants in Europe automatically serve bottled water. Reduce your bill by asking your server for a pitcher of tap water instead.

    How to save money on activities and attractions

    • Free museum days: Many museums, especially national ones, offer free admission on certain days. Check their websites for more details. 
    • Tourist passes: Tourist information offices in many cities and companies like CityPASS sell discounted ticket packages to popular attractions.
    • Student and senior discounts: Bring your ID or student card as many attractions have special rates for youth and seniors.
    • Free walking tours: Strawberry Tours and Sandemans run free walking tours all around the world. Join one to learn about local history and get insider tips from expert guides.

    How to save money for a backpacking trip

    You’ll need to figure out how to finance your globetrotting adventures before you book that plane ticket. Not sure where to start? Check out these effective ways to save money and grow your travel fund:

    • Work a side hustle: From tutoring to becoming an Airbnb host, there are so many ways to rake in extra cash during your spare time.
    • Automate your savings: You can set up automatic transfers on your online banking account so a portion of every paycheque goes directly into your dedicated travel account.
    • Use budgeting apps: Create a savings plan and track your progress using budgeting apps such as Mint, Wally, and You Need a Budget.
    • Try the cash envelope system: If credit cards are your kryptonite, switch to the envelope saving method which only allows you to use cash.
    • Cut back on unnecessary spending: Before you buy your next coffee, lunch, electronic gadget, or pair of shoes, stop and ask yourself: “Do I really need this?” You’ll find the answer is no most of the time.
    • Reduce monthly bills: Save on your utility bill by lowering the heat and always turning off the lights when you’re not using them. You should also cancel any unnecessary monthly subscriptions like magazines, gym memberships, and streaming services.

    If you have decent credit, consider applying for a travel credit card. Travel credit cards allow you to earn points from everyday purchases which can be redeemed for flights, hotels, car rentals, and more. You may even be able to fly for free if you have enough points. These types of credit cards often come with generous welcome bonuses and include perks like lounge passes, travel insurance, and elite hotel status.

    Consider a travel loan

    Are you trying your best to save for your holiday but still coming up short? Just because you don’t have enough digits in your bank account, doesn’t mean you can’t take the backpacking trip you want. A travel loan, aka a personal installment loan, can be put towards any of your holiday expenses. 

    A personal loan is a convenient solution for your travel budget thanks to reasonable interest rates, flexible repayment plans, and predictable monthly payments. This type of installment credit can help you build credit as well!

    Backpack the world with Spring Financial

    From relaxing on the beaches of Thailand to hiking the Inca Trail, Spring Financial can help you turn your backpacking dreams into reality. Trusted by Canadians from coast to coast, Spring Financial offers unsecured personal loans of up to $35,000 so you can cover all kinds of travel costs without having to put up property or assets as collateral. 

    You can also expect:

    • Quick access to cash: Advanced technology sends funds directly to your bank account almost immediately after approval.
    • Reasonable interest rates: Spring Financial offers much lower interest rates compared to payday lenders.
    • Flexible repayment plans: Terms can last between nine to 60 months – it’s your choice.
    • No hidden fees: You never have to worry about application fees, maintenances charges, and other hidden costs.
    • Ultimate convenience: Applications can be done online so you never have to step foot in a bank. Expert advisors are also just a call away.
    • All credit scores welcome: Get approved even if you have poor credit, no credit, or filed for bankruptcy.

    Secure the funds you need for your backpacking trip today. Apply for a personal travel loan online or call 1-888-556-6441 to get started.

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