Gone are the days of “splurging during travelling” or “once in a year trip” or detailed planning itineraries”. Welcome to the time of backpacking. Today it’s more about visiting as many places, gathering as many experiences in a year and be totally spontaneous about the whole “travel thing”. It’s liberating in a lot of ways. Imagine the cultural exposure you get when you stay with a bunch of friendly local families or travel in inexpensive public transportation or spend a night under the stars. Sounds like an interesting “holiday life”. Right? Well that life is the backpacking life.
Must Read: Backpacking Getaways From Delhi
Now imagine exploring the mountain life, the beach-stays, the desserts, the backwaters and every possible terrain in a single country. Along with culturally rich experiences like no other. That too at an extremely easy-on-pocket budget. India is undoubtedly a dream destination for the new age travellers or backpackers! From staying with families in home-stays or other backpackers in hostel dorms to travelling like a local on inexpensive train journeys, backpacking in India will offer you an unforgettable adventure. To help backpackers set off the right foot forward, we’ve put together a few significant tips.
Tips to save money while backpacking:
Well travelling on a budget is the only rule for backpackers. Otherwise how will travel to as many places as much! There are alternatives to hotels, alternatives to ‘flying to different places’ (especially in India) and cooking for yourself is possible when travelling.
Look for discounts anywhere and everywhere: Coupons and discount codes are just a Google away. Download apps that let you book tickets and offer discounts on your next booking (you will definitely need that). If you know you’re hitting up a particular attraction (theme park or trekking under guidance or camping under the stars), be sure to check the Internet quickly for deals, and ask your hostels & local tourist centres if they have coupon books.
Look for the word “free”: Anywhere you visit in India will have free activities and attractions to do and see. Research beforehand or take the help of the locals to figure those. Monuments, museums, art centres, gardens, may be a local fair; these will have free entries and will offer you the local charm for free. Take advantage of that!
Walking is the best mode of travel: To explore a city (the lanes and by-lanes of India give you the glimpse of the country), walking is the best mode. Bus and taxi fares add up quickly, so walking from place to place will save you a ton of money. You’ll also get to see the city better. So make sure to carry your walking shoes at all time when travelling.
Cook your meals or eat away from touristy places: Many hostels and guesthouses provide you kitchens, so if you are looking to cut your food costs, you can always prepare your own meals. You can have breakfast and pack food for the day before leaving. It’s best for those who are quick to make their meals (you don’t want to spend so much time doing this, do you?). If you are not the best cook kind, don’t opt for eateries that are close to big tourist destinations. The prices around these areas are grossly inflated and the quality is often not great. Also, snacks, drinks, bottled water and pretty much everything will be cheaper at a grocery store. If you feel like you need fuel throughout the day, buy some goodies in advance so that you don’t make hungry and impulsive spending decisions.
Collect memories, not souvenirs: It may be tempting to collect small trinkets throughout your trip, these little expenses add up and also take unneeded space in your bag. And you know what count as souvenirs, the photos that you have taken, the train ticket for your journey, the map you picked up on the way, etc. Save money AND space by forgoing souvenirs – that has a lot of worth!
Must Read: Backpacking Guide to India
Tips to pack before your backpacking trip:
Quite a dilemma that is: packing your bags for a trip (especially for backpackers who have just started off!). Well, the first trick is simple – pack your bags with all the things you think is necessary for the trip and then make it half. You should be absolutely sure what to pack for which destination (you will get a hang of it). From clothes to accessories, you may have a list of essentials, but the following are a must have in your backpack.
Pick the perfect backpack: Imagine it’s a wardrobe that you are carrying for God knows how many days, so make sure you invest time and money to pick the good one. We recommend you to buy a smaller backpack with only 40-50 litres instead of 70 litres one. Use compression packing bags which makes it easier to categorize your belongings and faster accessible. No more unpacking every time you need something! Pack light because most of the time, you would be carrying the backpack on your shoulder. Get rid of extra clothing items and gadgets you won’t be using. Look for comfortable straps that will evenly distribute the weight of the bag.
Don’t miss the essentials: Carry Noise-canceling headphones – they may be expensive but essential and effective. Now you can sleep in crowded vehicles and loud dorms again. You won’t notice anything with these headphones on. A travel towel – lightweight and dries really fast. Inflatable Pillow – As big as your fist but will make your sleep and travel much more comfortable. An environment-friendly bottle – fill it up with filter water from the hostels you are checking out from to keep you dehydrated throughout the day.
Pick a tent meant for backpacking: Be it camping under the stars to enjoy the natural beauty or giving hostels a miss save some quick bucks, carrying a tent proves a win-win for backpackers. But a mistake that most of the travellers make is that they go for tents which are bigger and bulkier. If you are planning to backpack across a country, you should opt for tents which are lighter yet spacious. As you would be carrying them with your backpack for most of the days, you wouldn’t want extra weight. Plus backpacking is all about minimalism – carry just what is absolutely needed.
Pick a sleeping bag (If you aren’t carrying a tent): Similar to tent, a sleeping bag comes handy if you are planning to spend some time exploring the wilderness of the destination, Keep this in mind when purchasing a sleeping bag that it should have an ideal balance of comfort and lightweight (one of the backpacker basics). Pick a sleeping bag as per the requirement.
So, plan now, pack your backpacks, get hold of the coupons and leave your comfort zone to live the life of a backpacker. It’s going to be “super adventurous” and the trips will remain close to your heart, forever.