Backpacking on a budget? You’re not alone. In fact, part of the backpacking experience is seeing how many countries you can see on the money you’ve got! Luckily, there are some fantastic ways to save money on the road and you can take advantage. And traveling more cheaply offers the opportunity to really immerse in the local culture, rather than staying far away at high-end resorts! So follow these tips for a great and budget-friendly backpacking experience: 

Prepare Wisely

Even if you plan to fly by the seat of your pants when traveling, take care of some basics before you head out. You’ll save yourself a ton of money in the long run if you purchase domestic travel insurance (for trips in the country) or international insurance for your trip. They’ll take care of the costs of any unexpected mishaps that might arise, from losing your luggage to dealing with illnesses and travel cancellations. Also make sure you take care of any visas you might need for your trip while you’re home, if possible.

Book Early

One of the most important ways you can save money on your trip is by booking flights and accommodations as early as possible. You can get some seriously cheap flights by booking in advance, and by checking many different sources for the best deal. Tuesday night at midnight is the cheapest time to buy an air ticket! Call around different hotels for the best deals, because you won’t always find them online. If you speak to a hotel manager, you might be able to score a special deal if you’re traveling for a birthday or anniversary, for example. 

Eat on the Cheap

Definitely get out and try local food at restaurants, but don’t let it be a budget-drainer by doing it every day and night. Buying ingredients at a local market and cooking up meals in your hostel can be just as fun, and save you tons of money! Communal kitchens in hostels are often the social hotspot anyway, so you can meet new friends over a homemade meal. 

Volunteer for Accommodation

Try WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) for a work-exchange program on organic farms. You can do all kinds of work from picking grapes on vineyards to taking care of animals and learning about growing and harvesting organic foods. Workaway is a similar program connecting prospective volunteers with opportunities to work for accommodation. They’re a bit different from WWOOF because they offer opportunities in many fields, from tourism to teaching, au pairing and farm work.