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5 Most Unexpected Travel Expenses for Backpackers
So you’re planning your next trip and you’re thinking, “I’ve got $7 bucks per night for a hostel, $2.5 per day for street food and $8 dollars a day for beer. Cuzco here I come!” Which is fine and you can sometimes get by on such a strict budget for a few days. But there are a whole slew of expenses that lots of us overlook.
First: You’re there, you might as well. Sure, you’re having a blast in Rio staying at your cheap hostel and hanging at house parties. But damn, that $75 dollar, once-in-a-lifetime helicopter ride over the city sure looks good.
Second: Life happens. We pulled into a Czech village around midnight thinking we’d go to the square and find a cheap place to sleep. A village is not Prague. The town was totally shut for the night. Expensive hotels will take you in 24 hours, but not the ones in our budget. Luckily, we found the only bar open on the square and met some locals who let us crash at their place. Point is, life happens. So leave a little cash in the reserve so it won’t mess up the rest of your trip.
Third: Friends. Sure, you’ve got a strict $8 per day personal beer budget, but you don’t want to be a wanker about it. You’re going to go out, you’re going to meet friends and they’re going to buy you rounds and pay with one check for food. And somehow you always end up paying more than you would have alone. But if you’re not willing to pitch in your share or buy your new friends a few rounds, you won’t have any.
Fourth: Nine hours on a bus or a 40-minute, $35 boat ride. You decide. Transportation is another area where planning doesn’t match reality. Sure, there are plenty of 10 cent bus fares out there. But remote doesn’t necessarily mean cheap. If the only way to get to that tiny island is on the boat of the only guy in the village who has one, it’s not going to be cheap.
Fifth: Nickel and Dimed. You didn’t tell me that on your website. Probably the biggest unexpected expense is the dozens of little costs that aren’t big enough to derail a trip, but add up over time. The $1 per night hostel locker fee, the $7 border crossing fee that somehow you didn’t have to pay last time, the volcano boarding trip you read about in Lonely Planet goes up $5 bucks. These little moments are out there at every turn. That said, backpack travel is still the cheapest and most enjoyable way to see the world. And even if you add up all five of these expenses, they still likely wouldn’t equal two nights in a Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam. So don’t stress about it. Just bring a little extra cash to keep the good time going.

Thanks for reading and if you want to save some cash before your trip (shameless plug here) get your travel gear and backpacks from us at Backpack Travel Store.