I remember the early backpacking days when I was so naive, so curious, so vibrant. Life was easy. You just work, earn money and then go backpacking. I had little or no stress in it and I certainly had no depression. Those were my glory days and sadly they were over a decade ago now. But as I should sometimes pass on some wisdom or experience, I thought I’d write a “How to budget for your first backpacking trip” article.
1.Work Hard: Hold multiple incomes
This is the most important. You need to work and work and work. Before my 2005 – 2007 trips, I was holding down three jobs at one point as well as being a freelance writer, supporters club chairman and volunteer radio DJ. Keep busy. I worked in hotels, bars, theatres, ice cream kiosks, cheeseburger joints, shops. If it means working in one job from 6 am until 3 pm and then a second job from 5pm to midnight, do it. In 2004-2005, I was doing this as well as my degree. If I can do this, anyone can do this.
Even when I lived in Australia, Hong Kong and Poland, I was working a lot…in ANY job I could get.
I guess I was lucky with bar jobs and food venue jobs that I didn’t always have to spend a lot on food. This ironically gave me some licence to eat in restaurants now and then, and sometimes with discount. How much does it cost to make a cheese and bacon toastie? Not a lot. Eat cheaply and drink tea and water at home. When you’re on the move, buy cheap food from supermarkets and you can really save a lot of money.
By milk, I don’t mean actual “milk”, I mean the verb “to milk” which generally means to “take advantage as much as you can”! When it comes to loans, yes I took them before and it really helped. Whether it is requesting student loans for your studies, taking out personal loans for your trip or even getting car loans, it’s a good way to have money in advance to spend that you can later pay back. Just be careful not to overspend and you can get into debt as well.
Once you have cracked those three methods, then take your money and off you go on your adventure. Be aware that you will have ups and downs and cannot trust everyone you meet, but get out and see the world while you can.
And don’t stop living.