Backpacking can be the experience of a lifetime. However, even when done on a shoestring, it can cost a pretty penny to fund around the world adventures for one, six or twelve months! While itâ€™s easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning your tripâ€™s itinerary, itâ€™s important not to forget your financial planning.
Avoid these common mistakes for a stress-free, safe and enjoyable backpacking break:
Not Saving Enough Before You Leave
So youâ€™ve just finished college or uni, and youâ€™re super keen to jet off in the sunset on a gap year? Hold your horses. You need a healthy looking bank balance first and if you donâ€™t have that then it means postponing your trip for a few months while you save.
Even if youâ€™re planning on working during your trip, many popular backpacking destinations, including Australian, New Zealand and Canada, insist upon seeing evidence of your back balance before they will grant a working visa â€“ so itâ€™s no good thinking that youâ€™ll just bump up your balance when you get there.
Pick up casual work; waiting tables, working in a bar, in a call centre, or a retail outlet. Seasonal work is great if you can time it right as the contract is often just the right length of time and you can leave on good terms.
Skimping on Insurance
While keeping costs low is a good move, there are some things that just canâ€™t be skimped on and insurance is one of them. Choose specific backpackers’ insurance that will cover you for any activities, sports and excursions that you may fancy giving a go, as well as ensuring you while working abroad. Try Insure and Away for low cost comprehensive backpackers’ insurance.
Not Doing Research
While the prospect of â€˜going where the wind blows youâ€™ is no doubt tempting, this attitude can mean that your trip ends up costing you more. Research where the cheapest, best value accommodation can be found, and when to buy your travel tickets for the lowest fares. Find out where and how to get the best deals on excursions and activities, and which are the best value places to eat and drink. Good research can save you from wasting a fortune for convenience, so be sure to spend enough time looking into how to drive down the price of all aspects of your trip.
Doing your research will also allow you to put together a realistic budget. Not budgeting is one of the biggest mistakes backpackers make as they will invariably underbudget, leaving them short on occasions. A dream trip can quickly turn into a nightmare if you have to go hungry for days or canâ€™t afford to travel to your next destination, so work out a realistic budget before you go and stick to it.
Not Keeping an Eye on Finances
Internet banking makes it easy to keep an eye on finances, no matter where you are in the world, so sign up now! All it takes is for a forgotten about direct debit to plunge you into your overdraft and you can get hit with charges without even realising it. Keeping a close eye on finances will also quickly alert you to frauds and also let you easily transfer funds from other accounts.
If using public computers, such as in internet cafes and hotels, always be very careful with your login details and be sure to log out fully after use.
Avoid the above financial mistakes and any backpacking trip will run smoother. Choosing to take such a trip is a big investment if done properly, however, remember that this will pay dividends in character-growth, great memories and experience!
Photo by Flickr User Images_of_Money