The word backpacking can conjure up two very different images:
- Packhorse - carry all your stuff on your back.
- Vagabond - have little money and will sleep anywhere!
- Scary - strangers will steal your money and belongings.
- Stereotypes - students, hippies.
- Freedom – go where you want when you want.
- Flexibility – stay at places you like for longer or leave the next day if the city/town is not for you. Change your itinerary as you go.
- Economical – can travel longer when you spend less on accommodation. Or use the extra cash to do wonderful day trips and tours.
- Friendships – make new friends from all over the world – which you may visit them one day!
- Learn - get recommendations or tips (good, bad or scams) from fellow like-minded travellers.
- Unplanned – every day is a surprise; the people you meet, the places you see or find.
- Naturalness – get back to nature, breathe in the fresh air!
The old images of backpacking are a thing of the past. Some have changed their ways. Did you know that we have two new species of backpackers?
"Flashpackers" - travelling with expensive electronic equipment like laptops, tablets, phones etc. In the past these items were bulky and heavier - adding extra weight to the backpack. These days the electronics have become smaller and lightweight, satisfying the modern day desire to stay connected at all times (the way of the 21st century).
“Glampackers” – independent travelling but with a higher budget. They can afford to stay in private rooms rather than dorms.
You no longer need to look like a hippie to fit in!
Pre-internet days, upon arrival there were two ways to make a reservation at a hostel/backpackers:
- Locate the hotel booking desk at the airport or train station.
- Look up the hostel location in the Lonely Planet, make your way there (by bus, train, taxi, walk) and hope they had some beds available for instant check-in. You could also call them if you had spare change!
However, today, you can reserve rooms or beds on the internet. You do lose the sense of adventure of the old ways, but now have the comfort knowing you have somewhere to sleep before you arrive.
A popular website to pre-book hostels/backpackers and other cheap accommodation is Hostelworld. It lists almost all backpacker hostels (more than what is written in the Lonely Planet guides) with bedding/bathroom configurations and prices.
You can read lots of information on the property and amenities plus photos and travellers reviews.
All you have to do is pay a non-refundable deposit to hold the reservation. Or choose the Standard Flexible Booking option, and for a small fee (USD2.00) the non-refundable deposit can be used towards future bookings should you need to cancel the current booking. A handy option if you think there may be a chance you’ll need to change your plans or if you simply want the flexibility.
It's not only backpackers that tend to favour cheaper airfares these days. Saving money on flights boosts our holiday spending money!
I haven't found yet a third party website (eg. Skyscanner, Expedia, Kayak etc) that lists all the airlines (including low-cost airlines) around the world for each flight sector. Therefore you are never sure if you have actually found the cheapest deal. So I end up doing other research online to find a low-cost or budget airline.
However, to make your life a little easier, below is a link to a complete list of Low-Cost Airlines for you to checkout and fly cheaper.
Always remember to take out travel insurance and check the fine print if you want to be covered for certain outdoor activities!