Named after how the luggage is carried, backpacking refers to low-cost independent tourism. Normally, backpackers are tourists who are traveling on a tight budget and utilize the most affordable means of experiencing different attractions. Characteristics of backpackers include using public transport, staying in affordable hostels and typically spending more time in a destination than a regular tourist. Backpacking, as a form of tourism and travel, was made famous by Italian Giovanni Francesco Careri in the seventeenth century. It is a favorite for researchers, conservationists, students, and the not-so-wealthy tourism enthusiasts. Many people describe backpacking as more educational than leisure. Backpacking works on the belief that one is likely to meet good people everywhere who are ready to assist if something goes wrong. As backpacking becomes a more popular form of tourism, tourist attraction sites are introducing friendlier services for backpackers. There are many tips that favor budget backpacking all over the world.
5. Avoid tourist traps
A tourist trap often exists with the sole aim of attracting wealthy tourists. They are often oversaturated and crowded, with many visitors perhaps more drawn by the reputation of an attraction than the attraction itself. Tourist traps can seem fun and exciting and can help tourists learn different things, especially in culture and traditions. However, for visitors on a tight budget, it is easy to get mixed in the craze with other tourists who are out to spend their money. Tourist traps can easily divert one’s attention from the important activities they had planned. Because of their strategic design and location, a tourist on a budget should avoid these traps to maximize their overall experience. In Africa, tourist traps include ornamental shops located at strategic locations. These ornaments are usually sold to unsuspecting tourists at inflated prices. It is advised that visitors do their research and travel independently without guides to avoid these traps. Another easy way to avoid the traps is to ask locals for recommendations of places to visit. Locals will be honest and are often more knowledgable than tour guides.
4. Walk as much as possible
Walking provides a great alternative to tour vans or buses for the money-conscious traveler. By walking, tourists notice and get to spend more time on interesting things which they would have missed if using another mode of transportation. While walking, one may be surprised at how the local community may help them. Taking a walk is a good way to exercise and save money on transport expenses. Walking immerses travelers in the community which makes it easier to pick up the local language. The slower the mode of transport, the higher the chances of stumbling on something unexpected.
3. Cook when you can
As a visitor on a budget, one is encouraged to find the opportunity to cook for themselves rather than spend on the overpriced hotel delicacies. Visitors can cook in communal hostel kitchens or picnic sites which will save a lot of money. Cooking also enables visitors to sample and learn how to prepare local foods. Many hostels have kitchens and encourage visitors to cook for themselves, thus helping tourists eat affordable meals. For people with strict dietary restrictions, cooking is a great solution where quality and quantity is assured.
2. Hostel reviews are your best friend
People often think that only hotels are reviewed online but a quick search will show there are many reviews of hostels. Most tourist attraction cities have affordable hostels hidden away from hotels. Depending on the budget, visitors can do a simple online search for reviews on price and facility status. Hostel assessments provide vital information about the proximity to different attractions, cooking, camping, and accommodation among others. Based on the reviews and budget, tourists become aware of what to expect and what to bring. It is important to book ahead as hostel accommodation rates may shift depending on the number of visitors, or the day of the week. During peak seasons, even the most inexpensive of hostels hike their prices. It is important to note that many hostels are family friendly. Booking as a family costs less and enables families to cook an affordable meal together.
1. If possible, aim for the off season
Off seasons provide the best experience for any tourist to fully enjoy their holiday. During peak periods, prices are hiked and establishments tend to provide lower than average service due to the high number of visitors. On the contrary, during the off seasons, prices are at their lowest and facilities receive fewer visitors. When compared to peak seasons, visitors who travel during off seasons have a higher bargaining power. Most facilities are not crowded during this time which allows tourists to have a more intimate experience. Off seasons also provide the best weather to tour and interact with locals. Promotions and affordable flights can often be found during off seasons. Compared to peak seasons, off seasons last longer and favor backpackers who tend to spend more time learning and enjoying tourist attractions.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
Your MLA Citation
Your APA Citation
Your Chicago Citation
Your Harvard CitationRemember to italicize the title of this article in your Harvard citation.