Sleeping in a new hostel every few nights also means meeting tons of different people who are traveling on all kinds of budget. Those Swedish girlies getting Longchamps & Sephora on their parents money, the French guy entering the country with 800$ & a year ahead, a German photographer running from Coles to Aldi to Woollies supermarkets hoping to save 0.45 cents on a pack of white pastas…
As a newbie in this strange backpacker’s culture, a balance can sometime be hard to find. I do not want to live from privation, nor do I wanna find myself comparing the prices of every brand of granola to save pennies. So when do I decide if it is time to open my wallet or to keep my cash for something more useful? Because we may not realise it while planning for our trip, but saving $5 a day while away can really keep our ass from using the hashtag #BrokeAF on the regular.
If you’re a foodie…
Here’s the first thing you gotta learn: Your healthy-fitness-queen lifestyle from back home has to take a side. Quickly. There’s no way you can afford making quinoa-salad and chia seeds smoothie every day, and I know for a fact that Kombucha isn’t a concept in the backpacking industry. Let Pennes and sauce become your go-to, and make yourself proud when adding some kidney beans to the dish for an extra protein boost. Absorb your dose of morning vitamins with fruits from the local Farmer’s market. Start getting your essentials from the Reject Shop (or any dollar-store): $1 soap – $1 shampoo – $1 Snickers…Replace the word ”Restaurant” by ”Domino’s value menu” for good in your head, and definitely delete the word ”delivery”. You’re often gonna have to face hard decisions: Do I have food tonight or do I get pissed drunk with the girls? Good thing is: In Australia, cheap wine is really, really cheap. But keep a bottle of water handy, cuz $2.9 red is also the promise of a terrible hangover. **IMPORTANT** Do not drink too much. You can’t afford to start shouting things like ”Next round’s on me!” nor a Uber ride back home.
As long as there is a bed !!
Food aside, the real money goes straight & quick into accommodation. The internet tries to make you believe you need to pay $40 a night to sleep like a baby, but trust me: $30$ a night is luxury and $21$ a night is probably your best option. BOOKING.COM + HOSTELWORLD.COM. Shop from a low to high price range and pick the hostel that is somewhere in the middle. The 3rd or 4th cheapest which is 15 minutes from d-town but has a pool table and a descent kitchen. Don’t be afraid of 6 mix bed dorms, but stay away from the 8 to 14 bed ones. The more people there is, better are the chances of finding yourself squeezed-in between snorers. If on a road trip: sleep in your car or camp as much as you can. the WikiCamp app. will show you all the legal spots to do so and where to take a hot shower on the way to your next destination.
Taxis from airport to hostel are for dummies, but no one will judge you for taking a shuttle bus. Try to find a road trip or a lift from a ride share website (I used HopHopRide.com) before booking for a Greyhound. Walk as much as you can trough the city to avoid those $4 tram tickets (and to forgive yourself for all of those pasta nights).
Make friends before the tours
Once you get in a new city, I highly suggest that you wait at least 2 days before booking your tours. During that time, try to connect with people in the hostel. Who knows: You might become friends with this guy who has a car and a plan on going to the same waterfall spots where this $100 day-trip would bring you…
Those advises are suitable for Australia, probably for couple of other country too! Pick what ever you think is good and make yourself a lil’ richer, a lil’ happier! x