Thanks to cheap flights and the rise of youth hostels, backpacking is the best way to see the world for young people. It is indeed a great idea to experience different cultures and see different situations before hunkering down to years of hard work. This way, you will be more sympathetic and grounded in your future actions.
We know how hard it is to budget your university savings when you want to do as much as you can. Riding on chicken buses, hiking for kilometers carrying two overloaded backpacks, and staying in a ten-bed dorm room are just a few sacrifices to stretch out your budget.
However, whatever you do to save, there are things you should not do just to save money. These are already dangerous enough to do when you’re in your home country what more when you’re in an unfamiliar place, alone or with just one or two friends?
If you have your own prescription medicines with you, it should be no problem to keep taking them. But if you have the misfortune of falling ill while traveling, go see a doctor. You don’t know the health history of the place. You might take for granted symptoms of some serious disease. It’s better to have an expert look at you. For this matter, it is also best that before leaving home, you check with your insurance company if they cover the countries you will be traveling to.
Don’t do your own hair
A good haircut is one of the things we take for granted when we’re at home. The parlor is just around the corner. But when we’re backpacking, we suddenly don’t have enough money to get our hair done. If you’re backpacking for several months, it becomes infuriating. But please find it in your budget to have a professional do it for you instead of trying to inflict a disastrous hairdo on yourself. It’s ridiculous. You don’t have proper scissors for the hair, for one. Second, no matter how you bend yourself, you will never see the back of your head properly.
This is actually a common adventure for travelers especially for those who do not plan their schedules and end up in some desolate area, not knowing the time for the last bus. If it’s not a must to travel that day, like you’re not trying to catch a flight, spend another night in that place where you’re stuck and wait for the bus the next day. Hitchhiking in a foreign land is very risky.
Don’t skip meals
There’s a love-hate relationship between food and backpackers. One meal it’s all about tasting the flavors of the place. The next meal, well, there’s no next meal because the budget for food had been busted for the day. Balance your expenses on food. You could try local dishes but maybe you could schedule them so that you have money to eat at the right time. Several hostels also offer free breakfast so take advantage of this.
Don’t walk late at night or very early morning.
Although this is for countries that have high crime rates, it would be safe to follow this rule even in ‘safe countries.’ It’s nice to go out when there aren’t people crowding the tourist spots, but don’t do it too early. At least wait for daylight.
Don’t accept drinks from strangers.
This common sense is not just when you’re traveling. You should practice this wherever you are and whatever the occasion. Drug varieties are multiplying and human trafficking is a very serious problem all over the world. And it’s not just about the sex trade. Human trafficking has different faces, so it’s best to be safe.
Don’t get locals to fund your adventures.
You, an outsider, get into a community and ask them to provide you free lodging and food just because you are a foreigner is beyond comprehension. But surprisingly, that is how some backpackers behave. Some fly all the way to a country without enough money, share their sob story with the locals, and expect to be given freebies. There are some travelers who sell some of their belongings for outrageous prices, again asking the locals to buy them so that they could continue traveling.
Please don’t do that. It was your decision to bust your savings on a plane ticket without thinking about what you would do once you’re at your destination.
Of course, for each country you travel to, you should look up ahead what customs and traditions they have. Don’t arrive at a place making a fool of yourself or thoughtlessly offending the locals because you didn’t do your research. When you travel, be mindful that you are a visitor. You should be responsible for yourself and your actions.