Many travelers find backpacking a great way to travel because it is an affordable way to see the world. Air travel prior to a backpacking adventure can save some money if collecting travel rewards points with Aeroplan or a credit card such as the TD travel rewards card. Someone who is willing to sacrifice staying at a four-star hotel and for a hostel bed will be most suited to the backpacking lifestyle.
Choosing the Backpacking Way
A backpacker traditionally will carry everything packed in one or two bags on their back. Normally associated with a Canadian flag patch on the bag, the backpacker is a free-spirit with no set plans. A true backpacker will find ease in any difficult situation, will have flexibility in scheduling and a cool attitude.
For example, sleeping with a bunch of strangers, either gender, in a dormitory setting is considered an acceptable “crash pad” for a night’s rest. Sharing a ride with a bunch of local farmers in the back of a pick-up truck without a seat belt or taking a local bus with others carrying chickens and goats in a cage comes to mind as normal forms of transportation for a backpacker.
The backpacking way although cheaper on travel does have its drawbacks for some who are particular, inflexible and enjoy home comforts.
Ways to Save Money Backpacking
Travel during the off-season or “shoulder” season. Hostel and hotel accommodations generally drop rates as do most airlines on flights.
Ride the locals bus and sleep on it overnight if possible.
Collect travel reward points at home or on the road when purchasing flights or collect points on travel credit cards.
Have a flexible schedule.
Go to the grocery store instead of eating out all the time.
How to Collect and Redeem Travel Rewards
One of the easiest ways to extend a backpacking trip is the time spent saving up beforehand. There are many programs worth joining to collect points or air miles to take care of some of the expenses.
Depending on which airline is chosen, air miles can be collected on flights taken to contribute to a flight reward in the future. For example, an Aeroplan card is issued to anyone who flies with the Star Alliance fleet. Some Star Alliance airlines include Air Canada, Air New Zealand and Qantas. A card such as this one is a hassle-free way to save money in the end.
Another way to redeem rewards in travel usually comes in the form of a special credit card. For example, TD Canada Trust offers a travel rewards card. For every dollar paid on the credit card, there is a point system issued to reward the cardholder in the form of points. These points have an accumulated dollar value that goes towards flights, hotel stays and rental cars.
With these tips, it is possible to save money while backpacking. Collect points, save another dollar, and the next traveling adventure will become longer and cheaper than expected.
Travel Advice to Backpackers
Whilst traveling to far-off destinations can be exciting it is foolish to proceed without first taking on advice to make the holiday more successful. Should they plan their trip right, travelers can visit places as far away as Australia and South America without having to spend thousands of pounds. There are, however, more considerations than money to be taken into account for travelers, especially when young.
Traveling the World with a Backpack
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to travel is backpacking. Mostly popular amongst students and gap year takers due to low comfort levels, backpacking is an enjoyable way to see the world, assuming sensible precautions are taken. A seemingly trivial and easily overlooked point, the right backpack is far more important than often realized.
Should a backpacker travel with an ill-fitting or ill-suited backpack then problems could easily ensue. As opposed to simply buying one of the Internet or borrowing a friend’s/relatives, efforts should be made to ensure that the right backpack is acquired. The backpack needs to sit well upon the shoulders; if it is the wrong size then the uneven weight distribution could discomfort the traveler. Whilst seasoned travelers can take less notice of this advice, for the first-time backpacker it is important to make the process as easy as possible.
Why Hostels are Best
Hostels are invaluable for the backpacker on a stretched budget. Readily available in the majority of areas, especially those reliant on the tourist trade, they provide beds and shelter for what is often a very reasonable price. More than this though, hostels can prove indispensable to those traveling alone as they become meeting places for like-minded travelers. Lifelong friends can be made here at the same time as one-night-only acquaintances.
It can be intimidating traveling alone for the first time and hostels all but force the backpacker into the company. The word-of-mouth aspect of hostels is also useful, as the traveler can find out information about the best places to visit, and maybe acquire some company to join them.
The Need for Travel Insurance
An important preparation before leaving for the backpacker is to sort out travel insurance. Should funds run out or problems arise, no one wants to find themselves trapped halfway across the world. Even worse, should accidents or injuries occur, then finding a way of paying the bills shouldn’t have to be the priority. There is a wide range of travel insurance packages around, so be sure to do enough research before choosing one as the right deal will save money and hassle in the event of an emergency.
Further Travel Advice for a Better Trip
One important piece of advice is never to plan your trip out too exactly. The beauty of backpacking, especially when alone, is the freedom it provides. This gets lost if the traveler finds himself constantly hurrying along to meet a schedule.
Research your destination before leaving. There is a reason guidebooks are written, and the vast majority of them are useful and educational. Try and understand something of the language and cultures of the people you are about to visit, it makes you less of an ignorant tourist and more like a welcomed visitor.
Keep an open mind. You’ve spent time, money and effort to arrive at your preferred destination, there’s no point in just staying with friends and eating at McDonalds. Experience the native culture and meet new people. It’ll make the trip more enjoyable and more worthwhile.
Homesickness is common amongst those going away for the first time; it isn’t uncommon in those leaving for the tenth or the hundredth time. Whilst there are always things to miss about one’s home, the best advice for the backpacker is to forget about it and immerse himself in the experience. Backpacking can be a once in a lifetime experience when there enjoy it to the full!
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