Backpacking is a uniquely fun way to travel, being a hands-on form of trip that gives you incredible opportunities and irreplaceable memories alike. Once the haunt of pre-university teenagers, backpacking has now been embraced by people of all ages, having been recognised for the transformative experience it is. But travel isn’t cheap, and backpacking travel is no different. How can you go about saving for such a life-altering experience?
1 – Assess Spending
Naturally, in order to put together a meaningful budget for your backpacking travel plans, you’ll need to engage with your own spending – both to find out what is possible in terms of monthly savings, and chart an actionable way to build up your cash reserves.
The best way to do this is by creating a spreadsheet on Google Docs or Excel. Here, you can create two tables for income and outgoings respectively, and log every transaction over a given month. With income and essential costs, you can establish exactly how much it is physically possible for you to save, giving you a ‘ceiling’ for your saving plans.
2 – Start a Travel Fund
Next, you’ll need a repository for your saved travel funds. A conventional savings account would be a serviceable way to save up cash with a decent return through interest, particularly if with a reputable bank. For more expensive round-the-world trips, a more considered approach might be necessary. Ideally, you would use a financial product that guaranteed high interest – to further maximise your savings – and that disincentivised attempts at withdrawal, such as a fixed-rate bond, or the best High-Yield Savings Account (HYSA). An HYSA can offer competitive interest rates, providing a secure and liquid option for building your travel fund.
3 – Cut Expenses
To maximise the amount you save for your trip, you’ll need to make sacrifices. Essentially, this means cutting down on your monthly expenses and engaging with non-essential costs. While cutting back on lattes and avocado-on-toast might not do much for affording a first home, it could be that little bit extra that makes an extra few hostel nights affordable.
This process works both ways; you can also think carefully about the in-situ costs of backpacking, outside of hotel and travel fees. This is the trip of a lifetime, but that doesn’t make eating restaurant-style meals each day any wiser! Indeed, frugality can serve to make certain legs of your journey much more memorable, particularly where cheap street food and hole-in-the-wall dinner spots can outshine expensive sit-down meals in flavour and quality.
4 – Keep Safe
Backpacking is the adventure of a lifetime, but also an unknown quantity. Safety and security should be chief concerns for you, particularly when it comes to handling physical cash. Investing in a fanny pack that you can wear under your clothes can help you keep your daily budget close and safe from potential loss or theft, reducing the risk of getting thrown off budget by an unexpected event.