An experienced backpacker is an expert planner. When you carry your belongings on your back from city to city and up and down mountains you know should how to do your packing, take what’s important, and leave behind what you don’t need. Backpacker budgeting is no different. Planning in advance and prioritizing is the name of the game. So what’s the best approach to budgeting a backpacking trip? We’re here to lay down the ground rules.
Don’t wait ‘til the last minute
Last minute budgeting is a dangerous game. Set aside money in advance, estimate accommodation and travel expenses as you do your research, and do your best to estimate food costs on a day to day basis.
Spend based on priority
Backpackers are efficient with their packing and should be efficient with their spending as well. Accommodate the essentials first. Food and transportation costs are usually the least flexible so set aside funds for them first. Next should be accommodation costs. How much are you willing to pay for your hostel or hotel? Decide and then book. Finally, create a “fun expenses” fund. This fund is for day trips, tours, nightlife costs and other expenses that are harder to predict and generally account for the adventure aspect of your trip.
It doesn’t always go as planned. New expenses pop up, you did the math wrong, someone went to the hospital after cutting their hand in a nasty fall, etc. You have to have an emergency fund set aside for when things stray from the plan.
Manage your money on the go
Having a banking app is a great way to track your funds as you travel. Less experienced travelers have a tendency to lose track of their daily expenses. Checking in on your banking app will let you help you keep track of your spending habits and ease up if necessary. A handy app to help keep on top of your budget while traveling is the Wander Wallet, great for pinching the pennies on the go.