How to Travel on a Budget – Hostels and Backpackers
By: Julie Davidson
Are you on a shoestring budget but still have the travel bug? Or would you really want to experience the day-to-day life of a community, its people and the sights of a certain country that you feel you might not see with a guide. Then, you could enjoy travelling and staying at a backpacker. These are also known as hostels, and are reasonably priced and efficient accommodations that are available worldwide, allowing backpackers a chance to experience the world on a tight budget.
If so, you might enjoy traveling and staying at a backpacker. Also called a hostel, these low-cost and efficient accommodations are available all over the world, giving backpackers a way to see experience the world on a tight budget.
1) Expect To Save Money!
The greatest advantage to staying at a backpackers is the price. These little gems offer clean, safe accommodations at a fraction of the price of a hotel, allowing you to do more or stay longer in the country you wish to visit. If you are going on an extended trip around Europe, or visiting a part of Australia you’ve always wanted to visit, there is a hostel waiting for you.
For example, if you’ve always wanted to see Venice, Italy, you can stay at a hostel for as little as $21 per person for a shared room, or $46 for a private room.
Want to see Paris? You can, for as little as $26 for a shared room or $55 for a private.
Want to bask on a Brazilian beach in Rio de Janeiro? You can, for the cheap rate of $14 for a shared room!
When you consider that the cheapest hotel rate for a single person for Venice runs around $91, Paris at $126, and Rio de Janeiro at $80, you can get a sense of the savings you’ll reap by going the backpackers route.
2) Be Prepared To Be Friendly.
Besides being low cost, backpackers tend to be a great place to meet other travelers. In fact the layout of the hostel encourages getting to know other visitors more so than a hotel or motel. Unless you request a private room you’ll stay in a dormitory-style bedroom, often co-ed. Most have a common area to gather and socialize, as well as a kitchen and an area to do laundry. It’s a great way to get to know people, but if you’re shy or value your privacy, you might want to think twice about staying at a hostel.
3) Carry Proper ID.
If you’re traveling in your own country, you’ll still want to carry proper identification, such as a photo driver’s license, passport or state/country ID. Most backpackers ask for more information than a hotel or motel would when staying with them because they want to ensure the safety of their guests.
Also, because of their cheap prices, hostels want to make sure that locals aren’t taking advantage of their hospitality, thus taking space away from an international traveler who really needs the cheaper accommodations. If you don’t have a passport, you might want to invest the time to get one, even while traveling your own country, just to give yourself one more ID choice.
4) Pack Lightly!
If you’re a true backpacker, you’re going to travel from hostel to hostel with your clothes on your back. You’re probably going to use local transportation, such as the bus or subway system, or your own two feet. Even if you’re not packing your way from hostel to hostel, keep in mind you’re not going to have a ton of space to toss open countless pieces of luggage. In either case, you don’t want to carry a ton of clothing and valuables to weigh you down and keep you from enjoying your trip.
What will you need?
– A sleep sheet: two sheets sewn together to put on your mattress so you can sleep in your own, clean bed. Some hostels rent them. Most hostels don’t allow sleeping bags because they offer ample places for bedbugs, fleas and ticks to hide in. Most hostels offer clean blankets.
– Toiletries, such as soap, shampoo and toothbrush
– Your own towel
5) Lock Up Valuables.
Although backpackers offer a secure and safe environment, you don’t want to take a chance of losing your more expensive personal goods by leaving them about. Just as you would in a hotel, you want to keep your valuables safe when staying in a backpacker. Most hostels offer a locker or safe of some sort to store valuable items while you’re out. You could also invest in a lock and key before starting your trip to keep handy in case it’s needed.
6) Check for bedbugs!
Unfortunately, bedbugs happen everywhere, be it a five-star hotel or a backpacker. These little pests do suck blood but don’t transmit any diseases, and aren’t any more pesky than a flea bite in most cases.
However, they do carry the stigma of a place being ‘dirty’ if you discover them. This just isn’t so. The cleanest, most expensive accommodations can have them. It’s important to know what they look like so you can tell the backpacker host/hostess. They will take the proper steps to clean the room and get rid of the little pests, since no one wants bedbugs around.
– Most people think they’re so tiny you can’t see them, but this isn’t so. Bedbugs are about 5mm long, oval in shape and brown in colour.
– Check for flecks of blood on the sheets, mattress seams and bed slats
– A large bedbug infestation has an almond-like smell that’s very unpleasant
Bedbugs like to sneak into clothing and gear to travel to the next location with you, so if you think you’ve been infested with bedbugs, you should:
– Wash everything you own in the hottest washer setting and then dry on hot for at least 20 minutes-this includes your backpack!
– Wash yourself in a hot shower
– If something can’t be washed, check it carefully for signs of bedbugs
– Tell the backpacker hostess/host or staff so they can clean the room thoroughly
7) Learn the Etiquette.
When traveling in a different country or even in your own it’s important to know the proper etiquette and rules for that area to enjoy your backpacker stay. For example, some countries don’t allow smoking in public areas and others may have stipulations about drinking alcohol, such as age. You don’t want to end up breaking the rules and find yourself without a place to stay, or worse, locked up in a foreign jail cell.
You’ll also want to check if your backpacker observes a curfew or lockout times. A curfew means that unless you want to find yourself sleeping outside, you’ll be in the hostel at that time. You’ll also want to learn if there’s a lockout time, meaning the backpackers is closed for cleaning or to give the hosts time to run errands, so you can plan accordingly.
8) Book Online.
To ensure you have someplace to stay when traveling, you’ll want to book your stay in advance. The easiest way is to book your backpacker stay online. BUG (http://www.bugeurope.com) and Hostels.com offer accommodations worldwide as well as online booking. You can also see how others rated their stay and compare between other backpacker locations in the same city.
Going round the world or even travelling through your own country can be exciting and fun when staying at backpackers hostels. Providing you don’t forget to take proper ID, stick to the rules, check for bedbugs and pack suitably, you will be able to mix with the locals and save money while you travel. You may make a few new friends along the way!
About the Author
World travel isn’t just for the rich and famous–even if you low in cash you can still explore the globe! If you’d like to find an
hostel, Start Local is the spot for you. Start Local is Australia’s fastest growing local search engine and business directory. Get a list of the most popular backpacker hostels in Australia at => http://www.startlocal.com.au/accomodation/backpackers/
(ArticlesBase SC #601590)