Backpacking is an exciting adventure that allows you to explore new places, meet new people, and create unforgettable memories. However, one of the most important things to consider when planning a backpacking trip is how much money to bring. The amount of money you bring will depend on various factors such as the length of your trip, the destinations you plan to visit, and your travel style. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with practical tips and advice on how much money you should bring on your backpacking trip to ensure a worry-free and enjoyable experience.

Planning Your Backpacking Trip

Budgeting for Your Trip

When planning your backpacking trip, it’s important to consider your budget carefully. Here are some key expenses to keep in mind:

Accommodation Costs

The cost of accommodation can vary widely depending on the type of accommodation you choose. Hostels and camping are typically the most affordable options, while hotels and resorts can be much more expensive. Be sure to research the average prices for accommodation in the areas you’ll be visiting and plan accordingly.

Transportation Costs

Transportation costs can also vary widely depending on the distance you’ll be traveling and the mode of transportation you choose. Buses and trains are often the most affordable options, while flying or renting a car can be more expensive. Be sure to factor in the cost of transportation between destinations as well as within each destination.

Food and Supplies

Food and supplies are another important expense to consider when budgeting for your backpacking trip. Eating out at restaurants can quickly add up, so consider preparing meals yourself or purchasing snacks from local markets. You’ll also need to budget for any necessary supplies, such as toiletries, medical supplies, and hiking gear.

Activities and Attractions

Finally, consider the cost of any activities or attractions you want to experience during your trip. This could include things like hiking, snorkeling, or visiting museums. Be sure to research the cost of these activities in advance and plan your itinerary accordingly.

Overall, it’s important to be realistic about your budget and plan accordingly. While backpacking can be an affordable way to travel, it’s important to budget carefully to ensure that you have enough money to cover all of your expenses without running into financial trouble.

Creating a Backpacking Budget

Determining Your Daily Spending Limit

When creating a backpacking budget, the first step is to determine your daily spending limit. This amount will vary depending on the location you’re visiting and the type of accommodations you plan to stay in. To get a better idea of what to expect, research the average cost of food, transportation, and accommodations in the areas you’ll be visiting.

Allocating Your Budget

Once you have determined your daily spending limit, it’s time to allocate your budget. This involves breaking down your budget into categories such as food, transportation, accommodations, activities, and contingency funds.

For example, you may allocate 40% of your budget to food, 30% to transportation, 20% to accommodations, and 10% to activities and contingency funds.

Contingency Planning

It’s important to have a contingency plan in place in case of unexpected expenses. This could include anything from a medical emergency to lost or stolen items. A good rule of thumb is to set aside 10-20% of your budget for contingency funds.

In addition to setting aside contingency funds, it’s also a good idea to have a backup plan in case your planned accommodations are booked or if there are unexpected changes to your itinerary.

Overall, creating a backpacking budget requires careful consideration of your daily spending limit, allocating your budget to different categories, and planning for contingencies. By following these steps, you can ensure that you have enough money to cover your expenses and have a safe and enjoyable trip.

Essential Items to Bring on Your Backpacking Trip

Key takeaway: When planning a backpacking trip, it’s important to budget carefully and plan for unexpected expenses. Factors to consider when budgeting include accommodation costs, transportation costs, food and supplies, and activities and attractions. It’s also important to choose the right clothing and footwear, as well as other essential items like a tent, sleeping bag, and backpacking stove. By carefully selecting the items that you bring with you and creating a realistic budget, you can ensure that you have everything you need to stay healthy, safe, and comfortable during your adventure.

Clothing and Footwear

Choosing the Right Clothing

When planning a backpacking trip, it’s essential to choose the right clothing to ensure comfort and functionality. The key is to pack clothes that are versatile, lightweight, and quick-drying. Here are some clothing items to consider:

  • Quick-drying shirts or T-shirts
  • Long-sleeve shirts for sun protection and insect-repellent purposes
  • Lightweight pants or shorts
  • Comfortable hiking socks
  • Underwear and bras that wick moisture away from the body
  • Lightweight and compact rain jacket or poncho
  • Beanie or hat for sun protection and cold weather
  • Sunglasses with UV protection

Choosing the Right Footwear

Proper footwear is crucial for a successful backpacking trip. The right shoes or boots should be comfortable, supportive, and durable. Consider the following factors when choosing footwear:

  • Fit: Ensure that the shoes fit well and have a little room for your feet to swell during the trip.
  • Support: Look for shoes or boots with good arch support and cushioning to prevent foot fatigue.
  • Traction: Choose shoes or boots with a good grip on various terrains, such as rocky or muddy trails.
  • Water resistance: Opt for shoes or boots that are water-resistant or quick-drying to keep your feet dry in wet conditions.
  • Weight: Lightweight footwear is essential for backpacking, as it reduces the overall weight of your pack.
  • Ankle support: Consider shoes or boots with sturdy ankle support to prevent ankle injuries on rough trails.
  • Breathability: Breathable materials like mesh can help keep your feet dry and comfortable in hot weather.
  • Durability: Invest in high-quality footwear that can withstand the demands of backpacking, including rough terrain and various weather conditions.

Shelter and Sleeping Gear

Choosing the Right Shelter

When it comes to backpacking, shelter is one of the most crucial items to consider. The type of shelter you choose will depend on several factors, including the climate and weather conditions you’ll be facing, the terrain you’ll be hiking through, and the number of people in your group. Some popular options for backpacking shelters include tents, hammocks, and tarps.

  • Tents: Tents are the most traditional form of shelter for backpacking. They provide a sturdy and weatherproof structure that can withstand the elements. There are many different types of tents available, ranging from lightweight and compact to larger and more spacious options. When choosing a tent, consider the number of people who will be sleeping in it, as well as the terrain and climate you’ll be facing.
  • Hammocks: Hammocks are a great option for backpackers who want a lightweight and compact shelter. They can be suspended between two trees or rocks, providing a comfortable and secure sleeping platform. Hammocks are especially useful in humid and buggy environments, as they provide a bug-free sleeping experience.
  • Tarps: Tarps are a versatile shelter option that can be used in a variety of environments. They can be pitched between trees or rocks to create a simple shelter, or used in conjunction with a bivy sack or sleeping bag to create a more complete shelter system. Tarps are lightweight and easy to pack, making them a popular choice for backpackers who want a minimalist shelter option.

Choosing the Right Sleeping Gear

In addition to shelter, sleeping gear is another essential item to consider when backpacking. The type of sleeping gear you choose will depend on several factors, including the climate and altitude you’ll be hiking through, as well as your personal preferences. Some popular options for backpacking sleeping gear include sleeping bags, quilts, and pads.

  • Sleeping Bags: Sleeping bags are a traditional and popular choice for backpacking. They provide a warm and comfortable sleeping experience, and are available in a range of temperatures to suit different climates and altitudes. When choosing a sleeping bag, consider the temperature rating, as well as the size and shape of the bag.
  • Quilts: Quilts are a lightweight and versatile alternative to sleeping bags. They consist of a fabric sack filled with insulation, and can be used in a variety of sleeping positions. Quilts are especially useful in warmer climates, as they allow for better ventilation than traditional sleeping bags.
  • Pads: Pads are an essential component of any backpacking sleep system. They provide a comfortable and supportive sleeping surface, and help to insulate against the cold ground. There are many different types of pads available, ranging from lightweight and compact to larger and more comfortable options. When choosing a pad, consider the thickness and material, as well as the weight and packability.

Food and Supplies

Choosing the Right Food

When it comes to choosing the right food for your backpacking trip, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure that the food you bring is both nutritious and filling. This means opting for items like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables that will provide you with the energy and nutrients you need to power through your hike.

It’s also important to consider the weight and size of the food you bring. Backpacking trips often involve carrying all of your gear and supplies on your back, so you’ll want to make sure that the food you bring is lightweight and compact. This might mean opting for items like energy bars or trail mix that are easy to pack and eat on the go.

Another thing to consider when choosing food for your backpacking trip is the length of your trip. If you’re going on a shorter trip, you may be able to get away with bringing less food and relying on supplies from the campsite or nearby towns. However, if you’re going on a longer trip, you’ll want to make sure that you have enough food to sustain you for the duration of your journey.

Choosing the Right Supplies

In addition to food, there are a few other supplies that you’ll want to bring on your backpacking trip. These might include things like a tent, sleeping bag, and backpacking stove. When choosing these supplies, it’s important to consider their weight and size, as well as their durability and functionality.

For example, if you’re planning on camping in wet or snowy conditions, you’ll want to make sure that your tent is waterproof and designed to withstand the elements. Similarly, if you’re planning on cooking meals on your trip, you’ll want to make sure that your backpacking stove is reliable and easy to use.

Other supplies that you might want to consider bringing on your backpacking trip include a first aid kit, water filter, and navigation tools. These supplies can help you stay safe and prepared in case of any emergencies or unexpected situations that may arise during your trip.

Overall, when it comes to choosing the right food and supplies for your backpacking trip, it’s important to consider their weight, size, durability, and functionality. By carefully selecting the items that you bring with you, you can ensure that you have everything you need to stay healthy, safe, and comfortable during your adventure.

Backpacking Money-Saving Tips

Finding Cheap Accommodation

Backpacking often involves traveling on a tight budget, so finding cheap accommodation is crucial for stretching your funds. Here are some tips for finding affordable options:


Hostels are a popular choice for budget travelers, as they offer shared dorm rooms and private rooms at a fraction of the cost of hotels. Many hostels also offer additional amenities such as kitchens, laundry facilities, and free Wi-Fi. To find the best deals on hostels, book in advance and compare prices across multiple booking sites.


Camping is another affordable option for backpackers, as it allows you to sleep under the stars and enjoy the great outdoors. Camping sites can be found in national parks, state parks, and private campgrounds. To save money, consider bringing your own camping gear and cooking equipment.


Couchsurfing is a free platform that connects travelers with locals who are willing to host them in their homes. This is a great way to save money on accommodation while also gaining a unique perspective on the local culture. To find hosts, create a profile on the Couchsurfing website and search for available stays in your destination city.

Eating Cheaply

Eating cheaply is a crucial aspect of budgeting for a backpacking trip. Here are some tips on how to save money on food while still enjoying delicious and authentic meals:

Street Food

Street food is a popular and affordable option for backpackers. It offers a wide variety of flavors and is often cheaper than eating in restaurants. Some popular street food options include:

  • Tacos in Mexico
  • Pad Thai in Thailand
  • Souvlaki in Greece
  • Falafel in Israel
  • Dosa in India

When choosing street food, it’s essential to prioritize hygiene and choose vendors with high ratings. Always opt for freshly cooked food and avoid items that have been sitting out for extended periods.

Local Markets

Local markets are an excellent place to find affordable and delicious food. They offer a wide variety of fresh produce, meats, and seafood at reasonable prices. In addition, many local markets have food stalls and vendors selling ready-to-eat meals, such as samosas, spring rolls, and grilled skewers.

Some popular local markets for backpackers include:

  • Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, Thailand
  • La Boqueria in Barcelona, Spain
  • Mercado de San Juan in Quito, Ecuador
  • Markthalle Neun in Berlin, Germany
  • Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan

When visiting local markets, it’s essential to try the local specialties and taste the unique flavors each market has to offer.

Cooking Your Own Meals

Cooking your own meals is a great way to save money on food while backpacking. Many hostels and budget accommodations have shared kitchens or cooking facilities where travelers can prepare their meals.

Here are some tips for cooking on a budget:

  • Buy food from local markets or grocery stores to save money on meals.
  • Prepare meals in bulk and pack leftovers for future meals.
  • Try cooking local dishes or cuisine to save money and learn more about the culture.
  • Use affordable cooking tools, such as a portable stove or a cheap knife set.

Overall, by following these tips, backpackers can save money on food and still enjoy delicious and authentic meals during their trip.

Cutting Costs on Transportation


Hitchhiking is a popular mode of transportation for backpackers, especially in rural areas. It’s free, but it’s important to exercise caution and follow safety guidelines. Always hitchhike during daylight hours, stick to well-traveled roads, and avoid hitchhiking alone. Make sure to signal clearly to drivers and be prepared to pay for tolls or gas if necessary.

Public Transportation

Public transportation is a cost-effective way to get around in cities and towns. Many cities have public buses, trams, and trains that offer discounted fares for backpackers. Research the public transportation options in the areas you’ll be visiting and plan your route in advance. You can also purchase a public transportation pass, which can save you money on individual fares.

Walking and Biking

Walking and biking are great ways to explore new places while also saving money on transportation. Many backpackers choose to walk or bike between cities or towns, and this can be a rewarding experience. It’s important to be prepared with appropriate footwear and clothing, as well as a reliable map or GPS. Walking and biking can also be a great way to discover hidden gems and get some exercise while on the road.

Finding Free Activities and Attractions

While it’s easy to assume that backpacking trips are all about roughing it in the wilderness, many travelers find that some of the most memorable experiences are had in urban areas. However, these destinations can also be some of the most expensive. To help stretch your budget, consider these tips for finding free activities and attractions during your backpacking trip:

Hiking and Nature Trails

If you’re looking to escape the city and enjoy some hiking, there are many trails and parks that offer free access to breathtaking views and natural wonders. For example, the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine, offers stunning vistas and challenging terrain for experienced hikers. Alternatively, many state and national parks offer free admission, such as California’s Yosemite National Park or Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.

Museums and Galleries

While many museums and galleries charge admission fees, there are also many that offer free entry. For example, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. offers free admission to all of its museums and galleries, including the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History. Similarly, many cities offer free admission to their municipal museums and galleries on certain days of the week or during specific times of the year.

Festivals and Events

Backpacking trips can also coincide with a variety of festivals and events that offer free entertainment and activities. For example, many cities offer free outdoor concerts and film screenings during the summer months. Additionally, many cultural festivals and events offer free admission, such as Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Check local listings and event calendars to find out what’s happening during your trip.

Summing Up

Backpacking is an incredible way to explore the world, immerse oneself in different cultures, and create unforgettable memories. However, one of the most crucial aspects of planning a backpacking trip is determining how much money to bring. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of how much money to bring on a backpacking trip, including factors to consider, tips for budgeting, and recommendations for saving money.

Factors to Consider

When deciding how much money to bring on a backpacking trip, there are several factors to consider. First, it’s essential to determine the length of the trip and the destinations visited. Longer trips or trips to more expensive destinations will require more money. Additionally, the mode of transportation, accommodation choices, and activities planned will also impact the budget. It’s essential to create a realistic budget based on these factors and consider unexpected expenses, such as emergencies or unplanned activities.

Budgeting Tips

Creating a budget is a critical step in determining how much money to bring on a backpacking trip. It’s essential to consider all expenses, including transportation, accommodation, food, activities, and miscellaneous expenses. Additionally, it’s a good idea to set aside a small amount of money for emergencies or unplanned expenses. It’s also essential to consider the exchange rate for the local currency and the cost of living in the destinations visited.

Recommendations for Saving Money

There are several ways to save money on a backpacking trip, including:

  • Traveling during the low season
  • Finding budget accommodations, such as hostels or camping
  • Eating at local markets or street food stalls
  • Using public transportation or walking instead of taxis or rideshares
  • Avoiding tourist traps and seeking out local experiences

By following these tips and creating a realistic budget, backpackers can ensure they have enough money for their trip without breaking the bank.

Tips for Future Trips

For future trips, it’s essential to continue budgeting and saving money. Consider opening a separate savings account for travel expenses and setting aside a portion of each paycheck towards the trip fund. Additionally, research destinations and accommodations in advance to find the best deals and plan activities that fit within the budget. Finally, be flexible and open to new experiences, even if they don’t cost a lot of money.

Final Thoughts

Backpacking is an incredible way to experience the world and create unforgettable memories. By determining how much money to bring on a backpacking trip and following these tips for budgeting and saving money, backpackers can ensure they have an amazing trip without breaking the bank. Remember to be flexible, open to new experiences, and always keep an eye on the budget.


1. How much money should I bring backpacking?

  • The amount of money you should bring backpacking depends on a variety of factors such as the length of your trip, the countries you’ll be visiting, your travel style, and your budget. As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended to budget around $50-$100 per day for backpacking in developing countries and $100-$200 per day for developed countries. However, this can vary greatly depending on the country and your travel style.

2. What are some ways to save money while backpacking?

  • There are many ways to save money while backpacking, such as:
  • Traveling during the low season when prices are lower
  • Eating local street food instead of expensive restaurants
  • Taking public transportation instead of taxis or private shuttles
  • Booking hostels instead of hotels
  • Using cash instead of credit cards to avoid ATM fees
  • Avoiding expensive tours and activities and instead doing independent travel

3. Is it better to bring cash or use credit cards while backpacking?

  • It’s a good idea to have both cash and credit cards while backpacking. Cash is useful for small purchases and in places where credit cards are not accepted. However, credit cards can be a convenient way to pay for larger purchases and can provide added security. It’s important to be aware of credit card fees and exchange rates when using credit cards abroad.

4. How do I budget for my backpacking trip?

  • Budgeting for a backpacking trip involves estimating your expenses for the trip and setting aside enough money to cover those expenses. It’s important to consider all expenses such as transportation, accommodation, food, activities, and any other costs. It’s a good idea to research the costs of traveling in the countries you’ll be visiting and to make a detailed budget plan before your trip.

5. What should I do if I run out of money while backpacking?

  • If you run out of money while backpacking, there are a few options such as:
  • Using ATMs to withdraw more cash
  • Finding a job or volunteer opportunity to earn money
  • Cutting back on expenses to save money
  • Borrowing money from friends or family (if necessary)
  • Contacting your bank or credit card company to see if they can help with an emergency cash transfer.

6. How can I avoid overspending while backpacking?

  • To avoid overspending while backpacking, it’s important to stick to your budget and be mindful of your expenses. This can involve setting daily spending limits, researching the costs of activities and meals beforehand, and avoiding impulsive purchases. It’s also a good idea to travel with a group of friends or other budget-conscious travelers to keep each other accountable and avoid overspending.

How Much BACKPACKING FOOD Should I Bring for an Overnight Backpacking Trip?

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