Hey travelers and welcome to my post where we will outline my 9 tips for backpackers to keep you moving this year. Backpacking can be a fantastic experience for some, and a nightmare for others. And yes there are the crowded hostels, overnight bus rides and the need to find cheap options everywhere but there are also fun experiences and lifelong friends to be made.

Tips for backpackers - Header

So for those of you looking to throw on your backpack and get out there, here are some tips to reduce the stresses and increase the good times that come with this sort or travel.

  1. Pack light
  2. Look for inclusions
  3. Travel with a group
  4. Buy before you go
  5. Don’t be afraid of street food
  1. Take a water bottle
  2. Be aware of the dangers
  3. Use WiFi
  4. Budget for fun

What is Backpacking?

Ok, for the purposes of this post I am talking about the type of travel that many of us do in our younger years where we pack a backpack and travel. In general this is done on a tight budget although often includes the incorporation of part time jobs along the way.

Accommodation is usually undertaken in hostels, pensions and home stays (or in your own campervan if you can afford it too) and tends to cover more than just a few weeks. In fact, many backpackers will travel for up to 2 years with many countries offering special tourist visas for this type of working holiday travel.

Tips for backpackers - Backpackers checking in

Check out these: Backpacking vs Flashpacking

Tips For Backpackers

Based on the information above and the focus on budget friendly and lengthy travel, let’s have a look at my 9 tips below:

1. Pack light

As we have discussed above, backpackers tend to travel for extended periods meaning the less gear you have, the easier things will be. So for this type of travel, there are a good number of reasons to travel light including:

  • No luggage or excess weight fees
  • It is much easier to move around in airports etc.
  • You always have all your stuff with you
  • You don’t have to book larger taxis or ride share cars to fit all your suitcases
  • You won’t get as tired from carrying all that extra weight

Trust me, in time you will become very good and working out what you need and what you don’t.

Check out these: Framed backpacks

2. Look for inclusions

And whilst we are talking about traveling light, this next tip is more to do with what you don’t pack rather than what to put into your backpack. If you know where to look, even the most basic hostels have some inclusions that you can make use of meaning you don’t have to constantly carry them around with you. This includes:

  • Hairdryers
  • Toiletries, sunscreens etc. (yep, we are talking about those little bottles here)
  • Use the towels provided by your accommodation
  • Rent your scuba or snorkeling gear at your location
  • Communal kitchens and cooking equipment
  • Laundry facilities
  • Discounted tours etc.

Other inclusions will of course be available dependent on your location and the level of accommodation you choose. I know we used to spend the extra on a 3 or 4 star hotel once every couple of weeks to stock up on the toiletries and do a decent wash etc.

Check out these: Hair Dryers For Travel

3. Travel with a group

In many cases, one major advantage that group travel has over traveling alone is not only a lot of fun, but also presents to opportunity to split costs on things such as campsites, hire cars, groceries and even the cost of travel apps etc.. Some tour companies also provide group discounts for larger groups as well.

Perhaps the biggest saving with group travel however is the cost of accommodation – especially in hostels where rooms are generally cheaper on a twin, triple or quadruple share basis. Sure you will be in a bunk bed, but you will definitively save some cash.

And of course if you use the kitchen, you can share the costs on some home cooked meals too.

Tips for backpackers - Backpackers high five

4. Buy before you go

This next tip is especially helpful if you have some time to prepare for your trip. This means you can buy a lot of your stuff in the time leading up to your departure giving you the time to shop around for the best price. The main things to look into here include:

  • Replacing your bulky headsets with earbuds
  • A Kindle if you like to read
  • Toiletries
  • Phone charger
  • Power adaptors
  • Medicines etc.
  • Bag locks (TSA approved if you are traveling in the United States)

And whatever you do, if you forget any of these things then wait until you get there – do not buy them at the airport!

Check out these: Ways to make an income while traveling

5. Don’t be afraid of street food

We mentioned the costs of accommodation above so now let’s look at the second highest cost when traveling – the need to eat. And whilst you can save the most money by cooking your own food, there a will of course be times when this is not possible and you will need – or want – to eat out.

If this is the case, great budget options can be found on the ‘street’ from areas such as food vans, markets and local food courts. Many fear these areas due to their perceived lack of cleanliness – especially in third world countries – however if you are careful, you can find some of the best tasting local dishes you can imagine – and at a fraction of the price of touristy restaurants.

Tips for backpackers - street food

6. Take a water bottle

Water is another costly exercise when traveling, especially if you can’t trust the local supply and need to purchase it. the cheapest and easiest way around this however is to add a filtered water bottle to your pre-travel purchase list.

Filtered water bottles are drink bottles that contain portable water cleaning systems that you can use to keep your water clean when traveling. As above, you can always purchase water however these are great to save money when backpacking and are better for the environment as well.

Check out these: Filtered water bottles

7. Be aware of the dangers

As it is in your home city, there are dangers everywhere when you travel and this is especially true if you are in high tourist areas or poorer countries. And whilst this is usually restricted to petty crimes such as theft and scams, there are some things you should do to ensure that you are safe at all times. This includes:

  • Do your research – know the parts of town to stay out of
  • Never walk alone in a strange area at night – another advantage of traveling in a group
  • Don’t look like a tourist – backpackers don’t tend to stick out as much however scammers target backpackers looking for cheap tours, transport and accommodation etc. as they know they don’t have the means to track them down afterwards.
  • Use safes – if there is one in your room – use it – if only to keep your passport and cash safe
  • Never leave gear unattended in a hostel – sadly theft is not restricted to the local population. Most theft I have seen in my travels has been from other travelers in hostels – and put a lock on your bag
  • Use official transport onlyUnlicensed taxi operators are well known to not only rip you off, but rob you on the way as well
  • Don’t write yourself off – drunken tourists are often targeted outside of pubs and bars – have fun but be safe about it. The same goes for leaving drinks unattended.

Check out these: Money Belts for Travel

8. Use WiFi

Most of the tips above require you to gather some sort of information in terms of accommodation options, travel, access to facilities and so on. The trick here then is to find places that offer free WiFi (McDonalds for example) and gather as much info as you can then.

Things to look for are:

  • Maps of the local area – download them for later use if you can
  • Free attractions – such as walking tours etc.
  • Public toilets
  • Coupons and discount codes for local eateries
  • Banking

In fact, many places are cheaper to book if you do so online and of course this is also the place to find part time work when needed too.

Tips for backpackers - man with laptop

9. Budget for fun

And finally, travel is supposed to be fun – I mean that is why we do it right? So with all the money saving tips you have at your disposal, don’t be afraid to spend some on the fun activities that you come across on the road.

Afterall – when are you ever going to get back to do it again?


So there you have it, my 9 backpacker tips to make your trip as memorable as possible. I hope it has been of assistance but as usual, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out by commenting below.

Do you have any other tips to save weight or space when travelling? If so, please comment below.

Until next time

Have fun


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