“I would gladly live out of a backpack,
If it meant I could see the world.”
If you are considering going on a backpacking trip, one thing is for sure and that is – YOU HAVE A SET BUDGET.
The whole idea about backpacking is not to travel extravagantly and luxuriously,but to instead spend that money on other pleasures like visiting more wonderful cities,eating local food and to go as far and out as possible.
One of the items on the expenditure list which usually always contributes to the majority of cost is the accommodation.Well,one needs a roof to spend the night even if it is planned as a rugged backpack trip.In my case,I look for a cheap but clean place.I can definitely let go of the luxury but comfort is still important to me.
While on my trip across Peru and Bolivia,I was pleasantly surprised.The hostels in these countries are plenty in option and along with being reasonably cheap(around USD 8-10 per night),they are very clean with comfy beds.Obviously there are variations in the kind of rooms and thus prices vary,but most of these rooms are dorms and thus are on sharing basis.
The best way to go about choosing or at least shortlisting some hostels is to do the online research via sites like Tripadvisor.com,Hotel.com,Booking.com etc.
In fact in my previous blog 7 Steps to follow when planning your backpack trip, I have given a detailed explanation on how I went about shortlisting hostels and I am happy to report that I was more than satisfied with all my choices in the end.
These hostels are also of different types and I broadly divide them in the below categories:
1) Feel at home hostels(suitable for travellers of all ages)
2) Get some rest hostels(suitable for travellers of all ages)
3) Hard core party hostels(suitable for younger travellers or travellers who don’t mind loud music till wee hours).
I actually managed a mix of all the above three categories and each have their own benefits over the others.But frankly the last option is the option where I found most number of backpackers like me.These ‘party hostels’ are hostels where the backpackers come to meet other travellers,make new friends and have a great time with these new friends.
These hostels have a great vibe to them.There is music,dancing,comfy bean bags to chill in,games like ping pong,pool etc.This category of hostels also happened to be my favourite of all and I stayed most in these kind of hostels.Only when I would be super tired after few days of tiring and stressful activities like trekking,cycling etc would I prefer the quieter hostels to get some sleep.Other times,you would always find me here.
Now these hostels have dorm options as well as some also have private rooms for couples who want their privacy and yet want to socialise with other travelers. The dorms also have different options.They differ in:
1) Number of beds.
2) Gender-Mixed dorm and Girls Only dorm.
The prices vary for these categories.The more the number of people in a dorm,the lesser the price.Also Mixed Dorms are less expensive than the Girls Only dorm.Basically price is directly proportional to the comfort of your stay.The difference would be around 5 dollars appx.
While I stayed in all variations and combinations,my favourite was the Girls Only dorm,and that was because in most we had hair dryers as well as straighteners(small pleasures of life
). Also women tend to be more considerate and try to be as quiet as possible in case the others are sleeping.Trust me,men just don’t get it. And if you end up in a mixed dorm,be prepared to be woken up by loud talking noises,the slamming of the door when someone enters or leaves the room(that someone will most probably be a guy
My solution- sleep mask and ear plugs. Works like magic in most cases :).So now I have covered,options of what kind of places you can stay and the kind of rooms you can choose from.
Lastly,there is another option to save some money on the accommodation when travelling on a budget.
I met a lot of people who had adopted this technique and this was to volunteer.Against the work you do,one gets free stay and meals.There are many options online from which one can choose what kind of volunteer work you are interested in.Some of such sites are WWOOF
etc.There are options of working in farms,working in resorts,working in hostels,animal care in forests etc.The chance of getting to save huge amounts on accommodation and meals attract a lot of travellers and thus is often a choice made by many.
The only things to keep in mind if you are planning to volunteer are-
1) One must apply on websites for volunteering well in advance.
2) Most organisations expect you to volunteer minimum for a month but then there is no hard contract for the same.
So now you have it.All your options of stay and kind of rooms to expect and choose from.These work out cheaper than staying in even 2 star hotels and are so much fun.
So when planning your next backpack trip,keep my pointers in mind.Keep reading and I will keep writing :).Till then,