Backpacking Without Money: 8 ways you can continue & thrive

Long term traveling is different and so is budgeting/funding

Go with whatever we can…

That’s stupid, I will not be backpacking without money!

  • You’re still new and getting used to prices
  • Not understanding currency properly yet
  • Miscalculating expenditure
  • Spending too much in overpriced tourist zones
  • Not understanding the dynamics and mechanics at play
  • Locals over charging you because they see you as a tourist
  • You’re caught up in the whirlwind of travel life and forgetting how much you’re spending
  • It’s your first few weeks you were just enjoying yourself
  • You got ripped off/scammed/conned and didn’t know about it
  • Didn’t want to come across like you didn’t have much money and spent when you shouldn’t have
  • Not aware of certain charges — banks, surcharges, exchange rates, tipping etc

Your mentality and ability to learn plays a big part

Backpacking without money long term is part of everyday life

Break your expenditure down

  • Food/Drinks/Recreational
  • Transport
  • Accommodation
  • Tours/activities/discovery/excursions

Your education begins

  • Take stock of where you are
  • As you’re walking around look at prices of things
  • how much does one café compare to another
  • Look out for markets, don’t be afraid to eat in local eateries because guess what — you’re going to have a real home cooked meal there and not in that ‘authentic or traditional restaurant.


  • Move away from the tourist areas, sometimes just a block or two away is much cheaper
  • Don’t be afraid to eat where the locals do
  • Find local eateries
  • Cook for yourself rather than eating out
  • Shop in local markets instead of supermarket chains — produce will be fresher and cheaper
  • Cook in bulk to last a few days
  • If staying in a hostel or other shared accommodation group together and cook for each other
  • If your hostel provides a free breakfast or meal take advantage of it, but don’t moan because It’s not hotel quality
  • You can buy simple ingredients for virtually pennies like rice, pasta, eggs, veg
  • If you enjoy cooking — make a deal, you will cook if others buy ingredients — in hostels great way to save money and make friends
  • If drinking water out the tap is safe, do that instead of buying bottles of water all the time
  • Drink in local cafes rather than big international chains
  • Think about if you really need to buy that second cup of coffee
  • Find smaller cafes in side streets
  • Buy local alcohol over imported
  • Be friendly, get to know locals. In some cases once they start to recognise you, it prices drop
  • Realise in some places there is a local price and a touristy price
  • If you’re into other recreations substances, seek out local people who will give you a better deal and more quality — ask around, be friend people in the know

Transport and accommodation


  • Look for the best mode of transport to get around
  • If moving between countries, check if flying is cheaper than land travel
  • Subways/metro/underground are largely very cheap but look into passes and discount cards
  • Take buses, shared transport rather than hiring a driver or tourist coaches
  • When moving around nationally or long distance do your research into the best options
  • If renting or buying a vehicle check around, check bulletin boards, notice boards to find your best option — Don’t just walk into a rental showroom or at the airport and take what’s offered straight away
  • Do your due diligence if renting or buying a vehicle — you don’t want to spend your budget on constantly fixing problems
  • In certain countries you need to agree on the price of a ride before getting in like with Tuk-tuks and off the meter taxis
  • Be careful with Taxis, with the rise of Uber and other privatised taxis, traditional once will try rip you off because they can see you’re a tourist
  • Find a balance between comfort and price — Some luxury options are not worth it, and some journeys can be back breaking


  • If your backpacking funds run dry do look for cheaper alternatives
  • Hostels are great budget travel accommodation and great place to meet fellow travelers
  • Hotels are really a viable option when trying to converse money
  • Walk around the local area and see if there is accommodation that isn’t listed on comparison sites — You find some good bargains without compromising on comfort
  • Check bulletin boards, notice boards in local cafes, posters on lampposts for shared accommodation — if somebody is looking for a roommate.
  • Slow down. Sometimes you can get a long termer rate for staying longer, it works out cheaper
  • To save on rent, or to even get a bed for free look at working in hostels, or look into volunteering, homestays and housesitting
  • Start camping — a great way to save money and you can camp out in some amazing and picturesque locations and get in touch with nature


  • Research well but don’t over plan; there’s a big difference in knowing what to do and actually paying and planning for everything at once
  • Talk to locals, they are your best guides not your favourite blogger, vlogger or guidebook
  • Read between the lines when reading blogs that implore you not to miss something, a lot of the times they are paid or sponsored to write that post (might put a few noses out of place)
  • Break trips, tours down — If you want to do something but can’t afford an organised tour, see ways you can do it yourself.
  • Get creative, look into excursions, is there tourist prices and entrance fees as apposed to local prices (It’s very common)
  • Are there days that are cheaper or even free. Is it better to visit during the week or weekend
  • What’s the best option to get there — is there local transport that can take you, can you walk or cycle?
  • Do you need to stay overnight, if so are there cheaper accommodation just outside the area
  • Are there local places to eat or is it better to take your own food
  • Can you arrive at the location by yourself rather than an overpriced tour
  • If you really want to do a tour, don’t just take the first price, shop around look for more
  • Learn to haggle it will hep you out no end
  • Are there less popular ‘hidden gems’ you can explore for free instead of that popular spot
  • Can a local be your guide rather than paying for one. Do you even need a guide


  • Be wary of hawkers, street merchants and people trying to sell you things. In most cases that authentic souvenir you think you’re buying is mass produced. Unless you are in a remote area and seen the personal make it themselves they’re more than likely scamming you
  • Slow down you’re a long term traveler, take your time, if you’ve overspent one day try to do nothing the next to balance out.
  • Have down days, there is nothing wrong with having days where you do nothing. You can save on money by not spending and just chillout. Pay a weeks rent in advance, do some food shopping for the week and then you don’t have to spend money.
  • Don’t take traveling life too seriously just because you can’t spend too much doesn’t mean you have to be too serious about it
  • If you’re a smoker (like myself) turn to tobacco instead of cigarettes most of the time It’s cheaper and lasts longer

Replenish funds when backpacking without money

  • If you’re on a working holiday visa you can work legally in any job that employs you. You can work for one single company for up to 6 months (but there are loopholes)
  • There is possibilities of sponsorship (but that’s a long game
  • You can get rural work
  • If you don’t need a visa then you can apply for any job you want or have the skill set for
  • Work in the hostel
  • See if local builders, construction jobs are available
  • Cash in hand jobs (nothing on the books and no tax records)
  • Exchange work for food and drink
  • Volunteer programs (Woofing, work exchange)
  • Work on a farm in a rural area
  • Odd jobs in the local area
  • Walking tour guides/ promotional work
  • Teach online
  • Work online id you have the skillset — freelancing etc
  • See if you can do your old job remotely
  • Get creative, if you can make things, trinkets, pottery etc you can sell them

Backpacking without money over time turns you into a savvy traveler