(Click on a country below for detailed budget)
Keep in mind when formulating your budget that everyone is different. Most “budget” backpackers will live off the bare minimum, but if you are someone that needs a little luxury once in awhile or even just a well-rounded meal you will want to budget a little more money. My advice to you is to pick one cost that is important to you and one cost that you don’t care about as much. For example, if sleeping in a quiet room is vital to your comfort, spend a few extra bucks on your accommodation but skip a fancy dinner. It’s all about checks and balances. Keeping this in mind, if you go over budget one day try your best to stay under budget the next day.
Here’s a few tips to keep your costs down:
- Location, Location, Location! Just like buying a house, when booking an accommodation you want your top priority to be location. Pick a central spot that has access to the bus route and is in walking distance of major attractions. This is will eliminate the need to spend money on transportation. Think about location when choosing where you want to go as well. The more remote the location, the harder and more expensive it is tho get there.
- Sleep for FREE! If the circumstances are right, couchsurfing can be a great option for saving a few bucks! I highly recommend this in any areas where accommodation costs more than $15 per night. Not only do you save on cost, but you also get some insight from the locals.
- Walking tours. Many major cities, especially in South America and Europe offer free walking tours at a specific time everyday. You will learn some fascinating history and meet fellow travelers. Your guides work for tips, so bring a few bucks.
- Cook your own meals. This can be a HUGE money saver. Unless you are traveling somewhere that offers super cheap street food, like S.E. Asia or Central America, you are better off going to the market and cooking up a meal in the kitchen of your hostel. Considering making your meal in bulk so that you have something to munch on for the next few days.
- Eat where the locals eat. Many of the big restaurants cater to tourists and their prices are ridiculous. You can ask around or follow (don’t be creepy) locals to see where they go to eat.
- Fly with a national airline. If you plan on flying domestically within a country, don’t book your ticket through a large airline in advance. Wait until you are in the country and ask your hostel or a local who they fly with. Typically you can fly within any given country for under $100.
- Take an overnight bus. If you don’t want to spend the money on domestic airfare, your other option is to take an overnight bus. Not only will you save money on accommodation that night, but you also typically get a few meals on board. Be prepared to be uncomfortable for 16+ hours though… well worth it in my opinion!
- Avoid booking activities online. Unless you need to book well in advance, don’t book any tours online. Once you are in the country you have bargaining power and you can also go straight to the source rather than paying to have a middle man book your activity.
- Only spend local currency. The moment you whip out your fancy bills, you will be targeted as a tourist. By the time it takes you to convert the local currency into your home currency, you will have already been scammed. Even if they are just tacking on a few extra cents each time, it eventually adds up.