How Do Backpackers Afford To Travel? | Hikers University

Just like everyone else coming across stories about backpackers, you must have also wondered: How do backpackers afford to travel?

Backpacking is an experience many desire to have. Since it involves a lot of travel, sometimes it means that the backpackers don't have a stable job or monthly income.

The answer to this question is actually quite simple: backpackers save up money before they leave on their trip, or they find remote jobs that help them pay for their journey, and they also budget carefully while they're traveling.

Of course, saving up money can be difficult, especially if you're living on a tight budget, to begin with. But there are a few things you can do to make it possible. Today we'll discuss how backpackers save enough money, and we'll also share some tips for budget-friendly travel plans.

We have been following backpackers for a long time now, and their journey and experience have helped us take a peek at how they afford to travel so often to so many beautiful places.

Table of contents


How do Backpackers Afford to Travel for Extended Periods of Time?

The most common way that backpackers afford to travel for extended periods of time is by working while they are on the road. This can involve a variety of different jobs, from waitressing and bartending to more unusual positions like fruit picking or working at hostels.

Many backpackers also save up money before they set off on their travels, either by working extra hours or by cutting back on their spending in other areas.

Another way to save money while traveling is to couch surf, which involves staying with locals for free instead of paying for accommodation. This is a great way to meet new people and experience different cultures, and it can also help you save a lot of money!

Finally, backpackers can also afford to travel by budgeting carefully and looking for deals on flights, accommodation, and attractions.

What Are Some Common Ways to Save Money While Traveling?

It can be hard to save money while traveling and there are a lot of reasons for it, but for now, let's talk about some ways to save money while traveling which are also commonly used by backpackers:

Bring Your Own Food and Drinks

This can be a great way to save money, especially if you are traveling to a place where food and drink prices are high. Simply bringing your own snacks and drinks can help you save a lot of money.

Stay in Hostels or Budget Hotels

Staying in cheaper accommodations can help you save a lot of money while traveling. Hostels and budget hotels are often much cheaper than traditional hotels, and they can offer a great way to save money.

Beware of Tourist Traps

Tourist scams are frequently pricey and ineffective. You might save a good amount of money by avoiding these locations.

Do Your Research

Before you travel, research ways to save money in your destination city. This can help you find the best deals on food, accommodation, and activities.

Travel During Off-Peak Times

Traveling during periods when there are fewer tourists can often help you save money. Prices for flights, accommodation, and activities are often lower during these times.

Use Public Transportation

Using public transportation can be a great way to save money while traveling. In many cities, public transportation is much cheaper than taking a taxi or renting a car.

Walk or Ride a Bike

Walking or riding a bike is often the cheapest way to get around a city. This can help you save money on transportation costs.

Buy Souvenirs in Local Markets

Buying souvenirs in local markets is often cheaper than buying them in tourist shops. This can help you save money on souvenirs.


Haggling over prices is common in many parts of the world, and it can be a great way to save money.

Join a Tour Group

Joining a tour group can often help you save money on activities and transportation. Tour groups often get discounts on entrance fees and transportation costs.

How do Backpackers Make Money While on the Road?

There are many ways for backpackers to make money while on the road. Here are some ways that help backpackers make money:

Work Exchange Programs

One popular way for backpackers to make money while on the road is through work exchange programs. In a work exchange, backpackers agree to trade their labor for room and board at a hostel, farm, or other business.

Work exchange arrangements are often made through online platforms such as Worldpackers and HelpX.

Tour Guides or Language Tutors

Another way that backpackers can make money is by offering their services as tour guides or language tutors. Many backpackers are happy to share their travel knowledge with others, and this can be a great way to earn some extra cash.

Remote Jobs

Many backpackers also find odd jobs as they travel. For example, they might work as a waitress in a cafe, help with farm work, or do some construction work. These jobs usually don't require any special skills and can be a great way to earn some extra money.

Backpackers can also use their skills in other areas, such as teaching yoga classes or giving music lessons.

Business Ideas

Finally, some backpackers use their time on the road to start their own businesses. This could be anything from selling handmade jewelry to providing freelance writing services. If you have a good business idea, there's no reason why you can't make money while you travel!

So if you're looking for ways to make money while you travel, be sure to keep all of these options in mind.

What are Some Tips for Budget-Conscious Travelers?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best tips for budget-conscious travelers will vary depending on individual circumstances and preferences.

However, some general tips that may be helpful for budget-conscious travelers include:

Start by Planning Your Trip in Advance

This will give you time to research different travel options and find the most affordable flights, accommodations, and activities.

Be Flexible with your Travel Dates and Destination

You may be able to find better deals if you are willing to be flexible with your travel plans.

Look for Discounts and Promotions

Many airlines, hotels, and tour operators offer discounts and promotions throughout the year. Keep an eye out for these deals, and you could save a significant amount of money on your trip.

Travel During the Off-Season

If you are willing to travel during periods when tourism is typically lower, you may be able to find better deals on flights, accommodations, and activities.

Consider Alternative Accommodation Options

Hotels are not the only option for accommodation when traveling. There are a variety of alternative options, such as vacation rentals, hostels, and bed and breakfasts, that can offer a more affordable option.

Be Mindful of your Spending

It is easy to overspend when traveling, so it is important to be aware of your spending and stick to a budget.

By following these tips, you can save money on your next trip and stretch your travel budget further.

What Are Some Ways to Reduce Expenses While Traveling?

It's no secret that travel can be expensive. Whether you're taking a trip across the country or around the world, there are always costs associated with getting from one place to another. And once you're at your destination, there are often additional expenses for things like food, lodging, and activities.

But just because travel can be expensive doesn't mean that you have to spend a lot of money to have a good time. There are plenty of ways to reduce your expenses while traveling, and in doing so, you can still enjoy all the best that travel has to offer.

Here are a few tips for reducing your expenses while traveling:

Use Travel Rewards Programs

Many credit cards offer travel rewards programs that can save you a significant amount of money on airfare, hotels, and other travel expenses. Be sure to check with your credit card issuer to see what rewards programs are available.

Avoid Acting Like a Tourist

When it comes to being a budget backpacker, there are a few essential things you need to keep in mind. One of the most important things is to avoid acting like a tourist. Tourists tend to spend a lot of money on unnecessary things, and they also stick out like a sore thumb.

Trade Your Skills for Accommodation

Offer to help out around the hostel/hotel/guesthouse in exchange for a free night's stay or a reduced rate. This is a great way to save money, and you may even learn some new skills along the way!

Limit Your Spending

It's easy to overspend when you're on vacation, but if you're mindful of your spending, you can save a lot of money. Avoid unnecessary purchases and stick to a budget to keep your costs down.

Use Public Transportation

Using public transportation is often cheaper than taking a taxi or renting a car. If possible, take advantage of public transportation options to save money while traveling.

These are just a few of the many ways you can save money while traveling. By being mindful of your spending and taking advantage of discounts and deals, you can stretch your travel budget further and enjoy your trip without breaking the bank.

What is the Best Way to Manage Finances While Traveling?

There are a few key reasons why it's important to manage your finances while traveling. First, if you don't have a plan or budget in place, it's very easy to overspend while on vacation. This can quickly put a damper on your trip and leave you feeling stressed and anxious.

Additionally, not keeping track of your spending can also lead to problems down the road. For example, if you return home and realize you've overspent your budget, you may have to make some tough choices in order to get your finances back on track.

Lastly, by managing your finances while traveling, you can ensure that you have enough money to cover all of your expenses. This includes things like food, lodging, transportation, and activities. By planning ahead and being mindful of your spending, you can avoid any stressful surprises down the road.

But what are the best ways to manage finances while traveling?

There is no definitive answer to this question since everyone's travel style and budget will be different. However, there are some general tips that can help you manage your finances while traveling:

  • Create a budget before you leave and stick to it as much as possible. This will help you track your spending and ensure that you don't overspend.
  • Consider using a travel credit card to help you earn rewards or take advantage of travel-related perks.
  • Make sure you have adequate travel insurance coverage in case of an emergency.
  • Keep your bank and credit card information handy in case you need to make any changes while on the road.
  • Be aware of the exchange rate and try to get the best deal on currency exchanges.
  • Keep an eye on your bank account balance and credit card statements to avoid any surprises.

Managing your finances while traveling can be difficult, but you can make it a little easier by following these tips.


Peter Brooks

Peter Brooks

I’m a hiker, backpacker, and general outdoor enthusiast. I started hiking out of college while working for the National Forest Service, and have been hiking ever since. I’ve been solo hiking and leading hiking groups for two decades and have completed hundreds of small hikes and some majorones such as the Appalachian Train and the Pacific Crest Trail, and hiked on four continents. I’d love to share some of my insight with you.

Read More About Peter Brooks