There’s a certain romanticism to roughing it through half a dozen countries with an empty wallet and a whole lot of gumption. But that sort of travel can wear you down. Sometimes you just want to unwind and be treated like a royalty. And with these 5 tips can do it, too, on a backpacker’s budget.
- Location, location, location.
When searching for that holy grail, the first step is to pick a country where you know your buck will go a long way. South East Asia is famous for backpackers for being incredibly affordable. But city is also of utmost importance! Get off the beaten track a bit and go to cities that list as 3rd or 4th most popular to find prices at a fraction of what you’d usually expect.
Perfect example: the Philippines! Naturally, everyone makes a beeline for Manila, Boracay, and Palawan. Totally understandable. But there are some wonderful hidden gems like Bohol or the islands and beaches off the coast of Cebu. There, you can find some truly wonderful spas and resorts for ~$40.
- Go off season.
Going off season can have plenty of perks! Everything be a bit cheaper (and if they’re not, find a different hotel or inquire directly through e-mail for first time visitor discounts — no harm in asking, right?). And, better yet, you might have the whole beach to yourself! It’s a win-win.
- Sign up for frequent flyer miles!
I am floored by how many people I’ve met who travel all the time, internationally, for years! who have never signed up for some sort of rewards program. I took a trip to Morocco earlier this year and I came back 25% of the way to a free ticket to Costa Rica. By mid-2016 I’ll have enough to cash in on that, saving me hundreds of dollars for a trip I was inevitably going to go on.
Southwest and Jetblue’s reward programs have a lot of fans, but feel free to signup for whatever airlines you seem to most frequently use.
Pick one thing to focus your decadent trip around. For example, you might be really into good food. If that’s the case, budget your whole trip around it. Fly that rickety, budget plane, ride those crowded buses, sleep at a hostel… and then that night go to a luxurious restaurant to enjoy a 5 course meal. You’ll forget about everything else if you find something you really love to indulge in.