If you are looking for the adventure of a lifetime, then you can’t go wrong with a backpacking holiday. What better way is there to see the world than by throwing some clothes and essentials into a bag and spending the next six months to a year traveling around South America, exploring Europe or discovering Australia?
You might think that being able jet off on a holiday that goes on for longer than a month is a pipe dream. How can people afford to go away for so long, especially if they aren’t working during that time? Yet six months of traveling is well within the financial grasp of most of us – you just have to take a little risk and make a few lifestyle adjustments to get there.
Here’s how to afford your backpacking holiday.
Sell items you won’t need while you are away
Go through all your worldly possessions and ask yourself one simple question – do I really need this? If it is something that you can live without, then sell it. Everybody has underused items from the 16 pairs of shoes they own to a whole host of books and other sundries that they are done with. Getting some cash for those, no matter how small, can help swell your travel fund.
If you’re going all-in with your traveling plans and intending to be away for a year or more, then you can obviously afford to be bigger and bolder with what you sell. What use is your car for example if it is just going to be sat on the driveway gathering dust for the next 12 months? Likewise, your furniture if you aren’t going to be renting a home anymore back in the United States. Selling high-value goods that are of no use to you while you are the other side of the world will bring in a lot of money.
Take on extra work and find additional sources of income
Aside from selling stuff, you can always raise money by finding additional sources of income. These can range from taking on a second job at the weekends to increasing your earnings by offering your expertise as a private tutor, taking up dog walking or even babysitting tasks. Anything that can bring in extra money.
You can also take advantage of the growth of the sharing economy, which it is reckoned will be worth $335 billion by 2025. You can rent out a spare room by becoming a host on Airbnb – which can be a great way to meet other travelers as well as they hire living space in your house – rent out an unused parking space or hire out your bicycles to visitors.
Stop spending on what you don’t need in order to save
Cutting what you spend will mean that you can save extra money for your traveling fund. There are so many little purchases we make throughout our day-to-day lives without a second thought that we could actually quite easily cut out.
Take coffee for example. Americans aged between 25-34 spend on average $2008 a week on coffee, which equates to around $167 a month. By getting your caffeine fix at home or in the office rather than buying an expensive latte from the local barista, you could be saving sums of money that can go a long, long way on a backpacking holiday.
Other ways in which you can avoid unnecessary spending are by cutting down on how often you go out to socialize by hosting evenings with friends and family instead, avoid “spending danger zones” of shopping malls or food courts where the temptation to part with cash is everywhere and cut any luxuries that you can live without such as that Netflix subscription or the expensive gym membership.
Half the fun about backpacking is that you aren’t meant to stay in luxurious, five-star hotels across the world. It’s all about budget accommodation, fun hostels and meeting lots of likeminded people who are also on an adventure.
Getting around can also prove to be a drain on finances, so rather than use expensive trains or flights to move between destinations, take that 12-hour overnight bus. Not only will it save you money, but you’ll also end up seeing more of the country you are visiting too. Likewise, walk everywhere that it is possible rather than forking out for taxis or public transport.
Finally, cook your own food. Yes, you’ll want to eat out from time-to-time to experience the local cuisine and culture, but virtually all hostels offer kitchen facilities which you can use to cook. By getting the balance right between home-made food and visiting restaurants, you’ll be saving money.
Consider your destinations
One of the best strategies when it comes to affording to backpack is being sensible with the choice of destination. Places like France and Germany are obviously must-sees, but you’ll find that your money runs out much quicker there than if you head to Eastern Europe or Asia.
In some parts of the world, it’s possible to live off as little as $10 a day. Sure, some of those countries are a little off the beaten track but that is what backpacking is all about – discovering new places and creating memories to last a lifetime.
From Cambodia to India, Georgia to Bolivia, here are 15 of the best budget destinations to go backpacking in 2019.
If a backpacking holiday is something that you really, really want to do, then you can always borrow money to put towards funding it. That might be in the form of borrowing a set amount from your generous parents or other family members, using credit cards or by taking out cash loans which are then put towards your spending while you are away.
As long as you know you’ll be able to pay the money back once the holiday is over and you return to work, then this is a viable option. They say you should only borrow money for something that is really worth it – and the experience of a lifetime the other side of the world definitely comes into that category.