Cheap backpacking, Your guide to trouble free travel

Cheap backpacking, Your guide to trouble free travel

Backpackers Guide

If you're after ideas on cheap backpacking, the internet is a rich source of research.

There are some brilliant backpacker guides out there – dedicated sites, blogs and forums packed full of information. Not just about cheap backpacking, but everything to do with travelling – from backpacker insurance to local customs.

So before you set off to see the world, have a good look around the web. In the meantime we've picked out a few things to think about.

Budget, budget, budget

As any good backpacking guide will tell you, your budget is key. Be realistic. You can't go everywhere and do everything. Budget enough for the places you really want to see and the things you've always wanted to do. Price up travel, accommodation and food, but don't forget money for doing stuff while you're there - that's why you're going.

Work out if you need to work

If you're going before or after university, you may or may not want to spend your gap year working. But often working on your travels can be part of the fun. You'll make closer friends and maybe even pick up a few new skills. And of course, you'll have more funds to play with.

Plan how you'll get from A to B

Travelling across Europe? Interrailing could be your best bet. Get a ticket that covers up to 30 countries or a pass for just one country - visit www.interrailnet.com to find out more. If you're travelling further afield, you'll want to fly. You can choose long haul or around the world tickets and use the internet to compare prices.

Get some official advice

Backpacking guides are useful but wherever you're planning to travel, foreign office advice will always come in handy. Visit www.gov.uk/fco for the latest advice on each country and information on Visa and work permit requirements. It's essential to get the right jabs and medical advice before you go away too. The NHS website is a good starting point for finding out about vaccinations and other things you need to consider.

Pack light

Take clothes to suit the climates you're travelling to. But don't over pack. You can always wash your clothes and carrying too much soon becomes a pain. Take a small set of toiletries and pack a small first aid kit too.

Do your homework

Read up before you travel. Foreign countries all have their own local laws and customs. Common practice in the UK could be offensive or illegal elsewhere. Research where to stay, where to eat, local attractions and events. Sites like www.vtravelled.com are full of reviews and recommendations. It won't take long to find a popular restaurant or a highly-rated backpacker hostel. And if you're spending your gap year working abroad, get some job leads before you go.

Don't cut corners on essentials like insurance

You may be after a cheap backpacking experience, but don't go too far with the cost cutting. It's vital to have some insurance in place. You can find specialist backpacker insurance to fit your needs. And one of the best tips is not to skimp on your backpack. Get a good one that will last you the trip.

Squeeze every drop of enjoyment out of it

Some backpacker guides forget the most important bit. Enjoy yourself. You're going for the experience of a lifetime. Of course, you need to do it on a budget, but being smart with your money doesn't have to mean bread and water and low-grade backpacker hostels. Don't go cheap at the expense of cheerful. Have a great time and make as many memories as you can.

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